St. Symeon the New Theologian
St. Symeon (c. 949-1022) is called a theologian because of the importance
of prayer in his life. The scion of a wealthy family in the provinces,
Symeon was, at 11, sent to Constantinople to live with an uncle and to
study. Symeon entered imperial service but resigned to enter the monastery
at Studios under the direction of Symeon Eulabes, also called St. Symeon
of Studios. Sent by his spiritual father to the monastery of St. Mamas,
Symeon became the igumen (abbot) and gained a reputation as a
compassionate leader. His rule was strict, and the monks rebelled against
it and their abbot 996-998. A dispute with the Patriarch of Constantinople
led to Symeon's trial and exile in 1009. When he was exonerated, he chose
to remain at Palonkiton with his disciples; here he established the
monastery of St. Marina.
Symeon believes that each person can receive and perceive the divine light
through the practice of mental prayer; the vision is, nonetheless, a gift
from God. St. John Climacus was an influence on Symeon, and Symeon's
writings were an influence on the hesychastic writers of the XIV Century.
Karen Rae Keck
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