Philokalia [10]

Symeon de Nieuwe Theoloog (949-1022)

Het vierde deel van de Philokalia begint met twee teksten van Symeon de Nieuwe Theoloog. Daarnaast is er nog een derde tekst The Three Methods of Prayer die aan hem wordt toegeschreven. Naast deze drie teksten, heb ik ook de Discourses van Symeon de Nieuwe Theoloog op de plank staan, vertaald door C. J. deCatanzaro en verschenen bij de Paulist Press.

Symeon de Nieuwe TheoloogSt. Symeon was born in Galatia in Paphlagonia (Asia Minor) in 949 AD. His parents, Basal and Theophana, were Byzantine provincial nobles. St. Symeon received only the basics of a primary Greek school education until he was about eleven years old. He finished his secondary education at the age of 14 in the court of the two brother emperors Basil and Constantine Porphyrogenetes. At 14, he met St. Symeon the Studite, who became his spiritual father and who led him into the life of asceticism and prayer. Although he wanted to enter the famous monastery of the Stoudion at the age of 14, his spiritual father had him wait until he turned 27. During this period of preparation, St. Symeon’s elder continued to counsel and guide him, preparing him gradually for the monastic life even in the midst of worldly cares. St. Symeon occupied himself with the management of a patrician’s household and possibly entered the service of his emperor as a diplomat and a senator. While ‘busy in the world’ he also strove to live a monk’s life in the evenings, spending his time in night vigils and reading the spiritual works of Mark the Hermit and Diadochus of Photike. One of his elder’s advice was, “if you desire to have always a soul-saving guidance, pay heed to your conscience and without fail do what it will instil in you”.
His writings grew out of his preaching and from the spiritual direction given to those under his charge. He is a writer sharing his experiences in prayer and the Triune. The monks of Mount Athos eagerly read his works today, in this Century’s spiritual renewal. His works are also being discovered by the Roman monasteries, as they start to comprehend to wealth and beauty of his writings and personal experience.

Tropaar [Toon 3]
Having received the Divine radiance in your soul, Father Symeon,
you showed yourself a most brilliant luminary in the world.
You scattered its dark madness
and convinced all men to seek what they lost,
the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Beseech Him fervently that He may grant us His great mercy.