'With the possible exception of St. Photius, St. Symeon (d.1022) is the most important figure in the Orthodox theological tradition between St. John of Damascus and St. Gregory Palamas. He promoted the practice of hesychasm among his monks, inaugurating a spiritual school which was ultimately to be victoriously defended by Palamas. Symeon's writings encompass theology and spirituality -- in this he is prototypically Orthodox in method -- and this confluence is reflected in the writings presented in this book. The Chapters
are instructions to his monks on the spiritual life, while The Discourses
are a defense of Trinitarian Orthodoxy. Symeon is one inebriated with the Spirit, his writings characterized by an incomparable beauty and ecstatic resonance: ''Everything to do with God is light, and this light is common to all the persons divided between them indivisibly... The light is the bridal chamber... and all the bliss of paradise. It is the land of the gentle, the crowns of life, and the very garments of the saints. The light is Jesus Christ, the Savior and King of the universe. The bread of His sinless flesh is light. The chalice of His precious blood is light. His resurrection is light. His face is light... Light is the Comforter, the pearl, the seed of mustard, the true vine, the leaven, hope, and faith -- all are light.''
An Eighth Day View:
Symeon the New Theologian transformed the Evagrian tradition of hesychia, with its insistence on absolute solitude remote from the affairs of men, and practised it in a monastery in the very heart of Constantinople. A champion of Orthodoxy, and of monks, he composed works which became perhaps the most important source of the hesychast movement on Mount Athos two centuries after his death. Always the spiritual master rather than the systematic theologian, Symeon wrote as he had taught--from his own immediate experience.