A Clear Vision of Christ's Resurrection

by St. Symeon the New Theologian

Our venerable and God-bearing father Symeon the New Theologian (949–1022) is one of three saints of the Orthodox church to have been given the title of Theologian (the others are St. John the Apostle and St. Gregory Nazianzen). Born in Galatia and educated at Constantinople, he became abbot of the monastery of St. Mamas. His feast day is celebrated by some on March 12, the date of his repose, while others commemorate his feast on October 12, because March 12 falls within Great Lent.

Most men believe in the resurrection of Christ, but very few have a clear vision of it. …That most sacred formula which is daily on our lips does not say,

“Having believed in Christ’s resurrection,”

but,

“Having beheld Christ’s resurrection, let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus, who alone is without sin.”

How then does the Holy Spirit urge us to say,

“Having beheld Christ’s resurrection,”

which we have not seen as though we had seen it, when Christ has risen once for all a thousand years ago, and even then without anybody’s seeing it? Surely Holy Scripture does not wish us to lie? Far from it! Rather, it urges us to speak the truth, that the resurrection of Christ takes place in each of us who believes, and that not once, but every hour, so to speak, when Christ the Master arises in us, resplendent in array and flashing with the lightnings of incorruption and Deity.

For the light-bringing coming of the Spirit shows forth to us, as in early morning, the Master’s resurrection, or, rather, it grants us to see the Risen One Himself. Therefore we say,

“The Lord is God, and He has given us light” (Ps. 118:27)

and we allude to His second Coming and add these words,

“Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord” (Ps. 118:26).

Those to whom Christ has given light as He has risen, to them He has appeared spiritually, He has been shown to their spiritual eyes. When this happens to us through the Spirit He raises us up from the dead and gives us life. He grants us to see Him, who is immortal and indestructible. More than that, He grants clearly to know Him who raises us up (Eph. 2:6) and glorifies us (Rom. 8:17) with Himself, as all the divine Scripture testifies.

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These, then, are the divine mysteries of Christians. This is the hidden power of our faith, which unbelievers, or those who believe with difficulty, or rather believe in part, do not see nor are able at all to see.

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About Fr. John A. Peck

Director of the Preachers Institute, priest in the Orthodox Church in America, award-winning graphic designer and media consultant, and non-profit administrator.
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