The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [86]

Here, parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85.


In the Catechesis 28, Symeon returns on the aspect of personal holiness of the priest:

„Of some as these, [that sanctify their life in continuous mode o.n.], is the fact of to bind and of to loose [Mat. 16, 19; 18, 18], of to serve the Holy and to teach, but not of those who received the vote and the cheirotonia only from men.

For says the Scripture: „nobody takes from itself this honor, but only the one called of God” [Heb. 5, 4]. Not said: the one who received the cheirotonia from men, but the one who had previously been decided and arranged to this by God.

For [the priests] made ​​by men and through men are thieves and robbers, as the Lord said: „I am the door. All who have entered and enter not through Me, but they jump on elsewhere, they are thieves and robbers”[Jn. 10, 7, 9, 10]”[1].

If the passages from the anterior subchapter spoke about the power of to bind and to loose the sins and, on their base, we established, that Symeon did not refer at the sacramental power of forgiveness of sins, but at the power of to put, through the Ghost, on disciples, in the true trajectory of cleansing of passions, in the passage just quoted we are dealing with an express reference at the priesthood and at the sacramental power of to forgive the sins and with a distinction between the priests who feel the Ghost’s work in them and those who do not feel it.

In the passage of face, Symeon does not contest the legal cheirotonia of those who do not feel the Ghost’s work in them. He says that they received the cheirotonia from men, but in illegal mode from the point of view of mystical experience, which asks as the one that comes at cheirotonia to be hallowed vessel of the Ghost through ascesis and divine sight.

The pauline citation and the johanneic from the symeonian text reveals us the fact, that the cheirotonia is choice and calling of us by God and that, in the true sense of the word and in fact, feels that is priest and serves the Holy, the one who feels in him, in any time and, especially, then when he serves, the grace of God in his being.

The lack of interior dimension of the priesthood manifests as lack of boldness to God, as  blasetion, liturgical routine, effeminacy of liturgical side and of predicatorial of priest, as packing of him into a read and stiff typiconal ministry, without the conquering experiencing, seizing of God’s glory, that descends at each holy service and fills all those who senses the His energetics presence in Church.

For Symeon, the priest must be full of grace, to have the boldness of love in front of God, to know to lead in evident mode on men through the Ghost and to deify, through the ghostual irradiance of his being, on the ones who can perceive it.

The priest is a charismatic Father for Symeon, a servant of the altar conscious of the holiness and the glory of God and not a liturgical services provider[2], that does not know the value and the deepness of things which he serves.

Therefore, on good righteousness, Symeon is trenchant in which regard the demonic boldness of those which are approaching of cheirotonia with unbelieving hearts, that buy the grace on money or that behave indifferent, after what dress, into unconsciousness, with the priestly cassock.

In the Catechesis 34 we have a passage, which we might entitle him: the pradigm of true priesthood. Here we find on Symeon in his hypostasis of servant of the Holy Ghost.

Symeon recognizes that he is not at the height of God’s Saints, but he sees in him the grace of priesthood, who works with power:

„We, being indigent and unworthy, are away from any holiness and of the Holy men of God. But we cannot deny the gift given to us from God [tin dorean tis dotisan imin apo Teu], as some what are constrained by His grace to serve you the words of God and to discover you the talent, which we have been given through tha charism [harisma], that we have been made ​​through prophecy with the setting of hands [I Tim. 4, 14] of archiereus [meta epiteseos to hiron tu arhiereos], that accomplished us into priesthood [tu is tin ierosinin imas teliosantos]”[3].

Emerges from here, that Symeon is conscious of the power of the Holy Ghost, which cheirotoned priest and that he is responsible of serving of his ghostual sons.

He confesses to his audience with respect at the feeling of grace in his being and this confession of ghostual understandings, that come from the charism of priesthood which he received it, he considers it his real contribution at their ghostual growth.

Symeon knows that he received the grace of the priesthood in the frame of legal cheirotonia, ie through a legal bishop of the Church, but is conscious, in the same time, that God is the One who has cheirotoned through bishop, that He called him to the priesthood, that, through Him, he saw descending the Ghost over the Gifts brought ​​by him and that, without His presence into him, he could not feel a priest, a real intercessor, a true liturgist of Church.

The interior realism of symeonian priesthood enroll in the full realism of any liturgical act of the Church, which promoted it the New Theologian.

The conscientizing of deifying dimension of the Holy Mysteries is the center of symeonian sacramentology.

If in the frame of matrimony, the Mystery of Church develops married couple towards a reciprocal interiorization the increasingly higher, in the frame of priesthood however, the man called by God to His service, for that he has renounced and renounces at all for Him, he experiences daily the road of interiorization with the Master of his life.

Saint Symeon surprises, in fundamental mode, the unifier character and communional of matrimony and of priesthood, that keeps of our real communion with God.

Only in the measure in that we live in real mode, tells us, in essence, Symeon, the immense outpouring of grace which we receive it in the two Holy Mysteries and we grow, in personal mode, in holiness, we can feel us one body with the husband or our wife or feel us one ghost with God of our love.

[1] SC 133, The Catechesises, XXVIII, 291-300, p. 150-152 / Ică jr. 2, p. 300.

[2] Rev. PhD Student Dorin Octavian Picioruş, The Priest of the Postmodern World: a Provider of Services or a Charismatic Father?  [Preotul lumii postmoderne: un prestator de servicii sau un Părinte harismat?], in  the newspaper The Bell  [Clopotul], no. 1, 2006, p. 13.

[3] SC 113, The Catechesises, XXXIV, 138-145, p. 282 / Ică jr. 2, p. 350.

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