Symeon the New Theologian – searchable text

For original page – click here


Hymns, I 1-4; 21-29

Τί τό φρικτόν μυστήριον, ν μοί τελεται;
Λόγος κφράζειν οδαμς σχύει, οδέ γράφειν
χείρ μου ταλαίπωρος ες παινον καί δόξαν
ντος πέρ παινον, το ντος πέρ λόγον. […]

ν τούτ καί γλσσά μου ξαπορε ημάτων
καί τά τελούμενα
νος ρ, οχ ρμηνεύει˙
βλέπει καί βούλεται ε
πεν καί λόγον οχ ερίσκει˙
όρατα γάρ καθορ, νείδεα ες παν,
πλ, πάντ σύνθετα, πειρα τ μεγέθει.
τε ρχήν γάρ καθορ, ο τέλος λως βλέπει;
νακεφαλαιούμενον λον, δοκ, ρται˙
τ οσί πάντως δέ, λλά τ μετουσί.
κ το πυρός νάπτεις γάρ καί πρ λον λαμβάνεις …

What is this awesome mystery that is taking place within me?
I can find no words to express it:
My poor hand is unable to capture it,
In describing the praise and glory that belong
To the One who is above all praise,
And who transcends every word […]

Here my tongue does not find any words.
My intellect sees what has happened,
But it cannot explain it;
It can see, and wishes to explain,
But can find no word that suffices,
For what it sees is invisible and entirely formless,
Simple, completely uncompounded,
Unbounded in its awesome greatness.
What I have seen is the totality recapitulated as One,
Received not in essence but by participation.
It is just as if you lit a flame from a live flame:
It is the entire flame you receive.


McGuckin, J.A. (2005), ‘Symeon the New Theologian’s Hymns of Divine Eros : A Neglected Masterpiece of the Christian Mystical Tradition’, 191-2, in Spiritus. A Journal of Christian Spirituality, 5.2: 182–202.


Hymn 30

Βλέπει γάρ ατόν ν δη,
φωτός τ λάμψει λέγω˙
δείς γάρ λλως αυτόν
ν κε καθεζομένων
πρό το
λαμψαι φς τό θεον
αυτόν πιγινώσκει,
λλ᾿ εσίν ν γνωσί
ν κρατονται ζόφου
καί φθορ
ς καί το θανάτου.
μως βλέπει, νθα λάμπει,
ψυχή κείνη λέγω,
καί νοε
, τι ν σκότει
λη ν τ δεινοτάτ
καί φρουρ
γνωσίας. […]
ντως πς τατα βλέπων
καί στενάξει καί θρηνήσει
καί συνέπεσθαι θελήσει
τό φς κλάμψαντι Χριστ.

He sees himself in hell,
I say, in the shining of light.
For none of those sitting there
can know themselves
before being illuminated
by the divine light,
but are ignorant about the darkness, decay
and death, which restrain them.
But the soul I speak about
sees the light
and understands that the whole of it
was in most terrible darkness
under the strongest confinement
of profound ignorance […]
Truly, the one who sees all that,
would groan and weep,
and would want to follow Christ,
who lit that light.


Baranov, V. (2015), ‘Escaping Plato’s Cave: Some Platonic Metaphors in Symeon the New Theologian’, Scrinium: Journal of Patrology and Critical Hagiography, 11: 181–96.