Orthodox Predestination – St. Symeon

The Orthodox Life

Over the past 2000 years, the Orthodox Church has granted the title of “Theologian” to only three Saints:  St. John the Apostle, St. Gregory of Nazianzen, and
St. Symeon.

St. Symeon the New Theologian was born in Galatia
in the year 949.  He was educated in Constantinople, and became abbot of the monastery of St. Mamas.
He reposed on March 12, 1022.

St. Symeon produced many writings which have been well received within the Orthodox Church. In  his second Ethical Discourse, he discusses a number of topics, including St. Paul’s doctrine of predestination:


On the Saying “Those Whom He Foreknew,
The Same He Also Predestined”

“Predestination” is an excuse for sloth: God calls everyone to repentance

I have heard many people say: “Because the Apostle says; ‘Those whom God foreknew, the same He also predestined; and those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He…

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2 Responses to Orthodox Predestination – St. Symeon

  1. Ed says:

    It seems to me that the two notions: that of God predestining some to salvation and others not and that of God foreknowing who will choose Him and who will not largely amount to a distinction without a difference. For, if God willingly and freely created human beings knowing full well that many of them would reject His grace then He has effectively predestined them to perdition in the very act of creating them. His will to create them was , in essence, the predestinating act. Moreover, God’s will to save is reduced to nothing more than a face saving activity. What other reason could there be for offering someone grace in the full knowledge that it will be rejected other than to be able to say that the offer was made and, therefore, the fault rests with the one who rejects? God’s universal will to save is reduced to the mere offer of salvation to all. All the while we forget that it is the will itself which needs saving. We need only look at the Apostle Paul to see how this works. His conversion occurred while his heart was set on committing one of the gravest of sins.

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  2. Fr Aidan Kimel says:

    I agree with you, Ed. The appeal to divine foreknowledge does not provide the solution that many Orthodox believe that it does (as St Isaac the Syrian recognized!).


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