The Sight of God in the Theology of Saint Symeon the New Theologian [97]

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, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96.


Father Professor Stăniloae highlights thus the fact, that the sight is a presence of light in us, that it brings a divine knowledge the one which sees it and a profound communion with God[1].

With other words, Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae assumes the theology of glory and considers it an unique personal event and savior.

The knowledge of light „is an eternal progress”[2], continues his Holiness, and the experiencing of the light gives us the understanding „of absolute unknowability of divine being”[3].

The experiencing of the light is an understanding through communion of the trinitarian God and the one who is full of light „becomes to himself and more full of mysteries, as a deified being, beyond nature, inspiring he himself a continuing self-amazement”[4].

The sight of light deifies us on measure what fills us of a theological experiential understanding  of the dogmas of faith.

The deification is the foundation of charismatic theology, of theology of sight, for that is, in the same time, an ontological reality, interior.  The light penetrates in us and it remains in us and it is the one which personalizes us continuous, because disinfests us of the irrationality of passions[5].

In OSAM III, 2, Father Professor develops the discussion about ecstasy, describing the ecstatic sight right the event, which occurs in the link full of love between man and God[6].

„God sends His energy in man”[7], says Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae, and this divine energy, „once communicated to man…it turns towards God, and in this its return, it dresses the form of the affection of human subject, awakened by the divine energy”[8].

The sight takes place in the frame of personal relation between man and God and it provokes on man at a love and a greater communion with God.

The communion and the reciprocal love between man and God is the frame in which produces the event of ecstasy, for that the divine sight is „just the smiling irradiation of divine love”[9] in our being.

The evaluation of sight, on which makes it Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae, is extreme of positive: „The light is simultaneously knowledge, and the light of knowledge is the fruit of love. But a light or a knowledge, which springs from love, which is not than an expression of the state of love, is, in the same time, life”[10].

Discussing about the role of mind during of ecstasy, Father Professor says, that the mind no longer sees, in this moment, on himself, but it works only through the divine work[11]. The sight is the moment when we live „the love with which God loves us and we love Him”[12].

Then we experience not an ephemeral love, bodily, possessive, but „an uncreated love, springing from the being of God”[13].

The central role of ecstasy in our life is shown by Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae in that, that in the frame of sight of light, God gives us His work[14] for as to deify us.

The exist of mind from itself, which takes place in the frame of divine sight, is not ontological, he specifies, but is a union of the mind with the divine light[15], on which he sees it in himself but and beyond himself [16].

The sight of the divine light means „the supreme step of self-consciousness”[17] and the light of God „is spreading from soul in outside, on the face and on the body the one who has it inwards[18], deifying the entire being of its seer and luminating and on those who see him and maintain themselves at discussion with this.

The Saints Dionysius, Maximus, Gregory Palamas and Gregory of Nyssa appear in recurrent mode in the pages of the theology of glory of Father Professor Dumitru Stăniloae.

Is observed over all the personalist mode of the theology of glory, on which his Holiness has developed it and the heat of communion and of beingly confession, plenary, on which educes it his theology to the one who reads it.

Is observable therefore, that Father Professor  Dumitru Stăniloae speaks from within of the theology of glory and not from outside it. This does not put under the sign of question the mystical experiences but he explains them on measure what he assimilates them.

In the introduction and in the commentaries which accompany the translation of the symeonian Hymns, Father Professor returns at the theme of ecstatic knowledge as and personal communion, through love, of the man with God.

Speaking about the impossibility of transmission of proper experience through words[19], Father Professor prepares the ground for the presentation of our capital union with Christ, with the One who „has the supreme sense or the richness of all senses toward which tends the man”[20] and through Whom and into Whom „become and us the possessors of all senses, [ie] become gods after grace”[21].

Therefore he identifies right the central theme of the symeonian Hymns the light, which irradiates from the person of the risen Christ[22], saying that „the sight of the divine light does not depend…only of its spread through the body of Christ, but and of the voluntary opening for/ toward it of the human persons”[23].

The opening towards the light of Christ means ascesis and breaking of the crust of the proper egoism[24].

[1] Father Professor Ştefan Buchiu, commenting the apophatic knowledge at Father Stăniloae, wrote: „The divine infinite knowledge at which accedes the mind in ecstasy, give birth in the human subject at the sentiment of plenitude, of plenary joy, of an unending love”, acc. Rev. Doc. D. Th. Ştefan Buchiu, The Apophatic Knowledge in the Thinking of Father Stăniloae [Cunoaşterea apofatică în gândirea Părintelui Stăniloae], Pub. Libra, Bucureşti, 2002, p. 194.

[2] OSAM, ed. 1992, p. 210-202.

[3] Idem, p. 202.

[4] Ibidem.

[5] Father Professor Dumitru Popescu said, into a critical evaluation of Olivier Clément, that „the theology, the spirituality and the eastern ascetica…[considers the passions] irrational beingly motions, which alters not only the existence, but and the human ontology”, acc. Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Popescu, Christ, Church, Society [Hristos, Biserică, Societate], Pub. IBMBOR, Bucureşti, 1998, p. 131.

[6] OSAM, ed. 1992, p. 260.

[7] Idem, p. 261.

[8] Ibidem.

[9] Idem, p. 280.

[10] Ibidem.

[11] Idem, p. 281.

[12] Idem, p. 283.

[13] Ibidem.

[14] Ibidem.

[15] Idem, p. 284.

[16] Idem, p. 285.

[17] Idem, p. 286.

[18] Idem, p. 289.

[19] Rev. Prof. D.Th. Dumitru Stăniloae, The Personal Relation with Christ in the Light of Divine Infinity, after Saint Symeon the New Theologian [Legătura personală cu Hristos în lumina infinităţii dumnezeieşti, după Sfântul Simeon Noul Teolog], in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology Studies [Studii de teologie dogmatică ortodoxă], op. cit, p. 310.

[20] Idem, p. 312.

[21] Ibidem.

[22] Idem, p. 315.

[23] Ibidem.

[24] Ibidem.

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