St. Symeon the New Theologian was abbot of the monastery of St Mamas in Constantinople at the turn of the eleventh century. He was also perhaps the most remarkable and certainly the most forceful advocate of the mystical experience of God in the history of the Byzantine Church. Though they were on occasion suppressed by ecclesiastical authorities wary of his fierce enthusiasm, as well as his claims to charismatic authority, St. Symeon's writings survived in the Orthodox Church and continued to play a vital role in the several renewals of spiritual life and prayer which has sustained the Church in its often difficult history over the past millennium.
This is the second of a three-volume series translating The Ethical Discourses into English for the first time. Where Volume I presented St. Symeon's treatments of the Church, the sacraments, and the "Day of the Lord," in this collection the reader finds him addressing the traditional language of Eastern Christian asceticism in the light of his message. Apatheia, or "dispassion," the ancient term for freedom from sinful passion, is insisted on by Symeon as denoting the real possibility of a transfigured life.
Elsewhere, he takes up the role of the tools of asceticism, i.e., fasting, vigils, poverty, etc., in order to underline their function as instruments enabling conformity to the Cross of Christ. Other discourses dwell on the character and signs of the saint, on faith and love, and on ascetic retreat. Throughout, St. Symeon anticipates the great fourteenth-century movement of Byzantine hesychasm, as well as the monastic renaissance of eighteenth-century Athos and nineteenth-century Russia.
About the Popular Patristics Series The Popular Patristics series published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press provides readable and accurate translations of a broad range of early Christian literature to a wide audience--from students of Christian history to lay Christians reading for spiritual benefit.
Recognized Patristic scholars provide short but comprehensive and clear introductory essays according to their specializations for each volume.
Texts include classics of Christian literature, thematic volumes, homily collections, letters, spiritual guidance, and poetical works from a wide variety geographical contexts and historical backgrounds. The purpose of the series is to mine the riches of the early church and to make these invaluable writings available to all.
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