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Observations placeholder

Symeon the New Theologian - As soon as your mind has experienced



Type of Spiritual Experience


Symeon was born into an aristocratic family in Asia Minor (Turkey)  when the region was still part of the Christian Byzantine Empire. At age eleven, he was sent to the capital Constantinople (Istanbul) to live with his uncle who guided him in his early education.  When he was 14, George met a monk at the the monastery of Studios named Symeon the Pious, who became his spiritual director.

So as not to lose the guidance of Symeon the Pious, the young Symeon chose to move to the monastery of St. Mamas in Constantinople. There, Symeon was ordained a priest and eventually became the abbot of the monastery, reviving the monastery's life of prayer and meditation. While abbot of St. Mamas, Symeon wrote extensive treatises (called the Catecheses) as guidelines for the ideal monastic life, emphasizing the power of 'contemplative prayer' and 'meditation'.

The mystical spiritual practices that he advocated led to further conflicts with authorities and Symeon was exiled in 1009 to a small hermitage on the far side of the Bosphorus.

Disciples began to gather around Symeon and soon the small hermitage grew into a full monastery. It was there that Symeon wrote his most personal work, Hymns of Divine Love, a collection of poems describing his mystical experiences, from which this selection and the others on the site come.

Symeon's doctrines and poetry emphasize not only the possibility, but the necessity of personally experiencing the Divine. He also stated that one need not be a monk or renunciate, saying that one "who has wife and children, crowds of servants, much property, and a prominent position in the world" can still directly experience communion with the divine.

He is called Symeon the New Theologian to distinguish him from John the Evangelist (called John the Theologian in Greek) and Gregory of Nyzanius (also called Gregory the Theologian in the Eastern Orthodox tradition).

A description of the experience

As soon as your mind has experienced by Symeon the New Theologian

English version by John Anthony McGuckin
Original Language Greek

As soon as your mind has experienced
what the scripture says:
"How gracious is the Lord,"
it will be so touched with that delight
that it will no longer want to leave the place of the heart.
It will echo the words of the apostle Peter:
"How good it is to be here."

The source of the experience

Hesychastic mysticism

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Controlled breathing
Sexual stimulation