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St Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022) is regarded as one of the most significant figures in Byzantine mysticism. Though a very controversial figure in his own lifetime, he is now revered both in Orthodox and other Christian traditions. After beginning his monastic life while still comparatively young, he became hegumen of the monastery of St Mamas, and held that position for several years. Many of his writings, including the Discourses and Hymns, have appeared in print, but his four epistles have not been published in their entirety until now.
In these four letters, besides criticising those contending against him, Symeon writes as a pastor, concerned to give practical moral guidance. He focuses on confession, repentence, and the role of the spiritual father. H. J. M. Turner details the biographic and textual context of this scholarly annotated edition. He uses the previously unpublished Greek text established by Joseph Paramelle to provide an authoritative basis for his translation. Clearly and accessibly presented, these letters serve to reinforce our understanding of Symeon's life and work.