The Patristic Background of Symeon’s Ecclesiology

Hilarion Alfeyev

in St. Symeon the New Theologian and Orthodox Tradition

Published in print June 2000 | ISBN: 9780198270096
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683893 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

The Patristic Background of Symeon’s Ecclesiology

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Ecclesiology has become a fashion among theologians of recent times and very often the main task of modern investigations into patristic ecclesiology is to address contemporary issues with the help of the Fathers. In the patristic tradition, in fact, ecclesiology was never expounded as a comprehensive teaching on what the Orthodox Church is. Some ecclesiological questions, however, have been discussed in connection with temporary problems that arose within the Church from time to time. In the time of Symeon the New Theologian, there were also several ecclesiological problems at issue, which arose during the iconoclastic period and were focused around the question of the role of the hierarchy in the Church's life. Symeon devoted some of his writings, particularly his ‘Epistles’, to a discussion of these topics. Symeon indisputably regards the Church, both the earthly and heavenly, as the only place for salvation. This chapter examines Symeon's understanding of the Church, his attitude to the hierarchical principle in it, and his teaching on the sacraments.

Keywords: Symeon the New Theologian; Orthodox Church; salvation; hierarchy; sacraments; patristic ecclesiology; Epistles

Chapter.  7808 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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