Lives of Saints - St. Symeon the New Theologian Christianity - Books
I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.                You shall have no other gods before me.                You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:                you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me,                and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.                You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.                Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.                You shall labor six days, and do all your work,                but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your livestock, nor your stranger who is within your gates;                for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day, and made it holy.                Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which Yahweh your God gives you.                You shall not murder.                You shall not commit adultery.                You shall not steal.                You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.                You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.
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St. Symeon the New Theologian
   

One of the most beloved Holy Fathers is St. Symeon the New Theologian, who was the abbot of St. Mamas in Constantinople. He is one of three great Fathers whom the Orthodox Church has granted the title of "Theologian", because he is one of a few, in the history of Christianity, to 'know' God. The other two Theologians are St. John the Evangelist, and St. Gregory of Nazianzus (390 AD).

St. 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".

There are many books, in English, on the wealth of work by St. Symeon. These include "Symeon the New Theologian, the Discourses" translated by C. J. deCatanzaro for Paulist Press; "The First-Created Man, Seven Homilies" translated by Fr. Seraphim Rose for St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood; and "St. Symeon the New Theologian, Life-Spirituality-Doctrine, in the Light of Christ" by Archbishop Basil Krivocheine for SVS Press. 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.

St. Symeon's words still speak to us today, even though he lived a thousand years ago. Of special note is his emphasises to return to the essence or spirit of the early Orthodox Church, and not merely depend on or shelter under the outward forms of Church life. His burning conviction is that the Christian life must be more than just a routine or habit, but rather it should be a personal experience of the living Christ. St. Symeon urges both monks and baptised laity back to a living spiritual experience of the Triune, calling himself the "enthusiastic zealot" who has personal, mystical experiences. His spiritual emphases is, however, misused by many 'charismatic Christians' and others today who claim to have "gifts of the Holy Spirit", which are probably emotional or 'scholastic' rather than spiritual. The following is a quote from St. Symeon on Spirituality,

"Do not say that it is impossible to receive the Spirit of God. Do not say that it is possible to be made whole without Him. Do not say that one can possess Him without knowing it. Do not say that God does not manifest Himself to man. Do not say that men cannot perceive the divine light, or that it is impossible in this age! Never is it found to be impossible, my friends. On the contrary, it is entirely possible when one desires it" (Hymn 27, 125-132).

St. Symeon the New Theologian died in 1022 AD. The saint's feast is celebrated on 25 March.

Source: http://www.orthodoxchristian.info

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