SYMEON the
NEW THEOLOGIAN
  (949-1022)
 

 Symeon, mod. icon

ST. SYMEON is called the “new” theologian to both distinguish him from the apostle John, “The Theologian”, and, perhaps to stress his continuity with the Johannine tradition.  A members of a wealthy family in the provinces, Symeon was sent at age of 11 to Constantinople to study and live with an uncle. At 14, while under the spiritual direction of Symeon “The Pious” or “The Studite” he had an experience of indwelling, divine light.  He entered imperial service but resigned to enter the monastery at Studios.  His relationship with his spiritual father became a source of concern to the monks and superior of Studios, so he was offered the choice of finding another spiritual director or transferring to the monastery of St. Mammas.  Symeon left Studios, and revitalized monastic life at St. Mammas where he became abbot.

A dispute with the Patriarch of Constantinople, ostensibly over the unauthorized veneration of Symeon the Studite as a saint but actuyally over the younger Symeon’s spiritual doctrine led to Symeon's trial and exile in 1009. When exonerated, he remained in the place of his exileat Palonkiton with his disciples; and established there the monastery of St. Marina.

Symeon believed that every person can receive and perceive the gift of tears and the indwelling of divine light through the practice of asceticism and prayer. He also believed the experience of indwelling light is necessary in order to sacramentally remit sins.  


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