Filioque and the Eastern Schism


#1

I have two good Orthodox friends. Both of them criticize the Roman Catholic Church for illegally adding the words “and the Son” to the Nicene Creed. They say that in the Council of Nicaea it was declared that nothing should be altered as to that decision. My Orthodox friends accuse the Roman pope for adding the filioque clause without the assent of the Eastern bishops. What I want to know is, Why wasn’t the filioque clause in the original text of the Nicene Creed? And also, did the Council of Niceae prohibit any changes to the Creed, as my friends suggest?

I’m not so much interested in all the Church Fathers who supported the idea of flioque. What concerns me is the charge that the Roman Catholic Church violated the authority of the ecumenical council to change the Creed.


#2

[quote=Madaglan]I have two good Orthodox friends. Both of them criticize the Roman Catholic Church for illegally adding the words “and the Son” to the Nicene Creed. They say that in the Council of Nicaea it was declared that nothing should be altered as to that decision. My Orthodox friends accuse the Roman pope for adding the filioque clause without the assent of the Eastern bishops. What I want to know is, Why wasn’t the filioque clause in the original text of the Nicene Creed? And also, did the Council of Niceae prohibit any changes to the Creed, as my friends suggest?

I’m not so much interested in all the Church Fathers who supported the idea of flioque. What concerns me is the charge that the Roman Catholic Church violated the authority of the ecumenical council to change the Creed.
[/quote]

Well if they are goin by the council of Nicaea they are in schism also because the Creed was altered after that. Nothing about the Holy Spirit was in the creed at the council of Nicaea. The added all the stuff about the HS in the council of Constantinople. The Catholic Church put the Filioque in to the creed to combat the arian heresy in the 500s in the council of Toledo. It is completely orthodox teaching, as St. Maximos agreed.


#3

Just a short answer to that accusation of the Orthodox Church: The Catholic Church did not change the “essence” of the Creed, it’s still the same. Take note as well that the Creed proceeds from the Apostle’s Creed, only that it was expounded by the Council to refute Arianism.

The Nicene Creed did not include the “communion of saints” which was in the original Apostle’s Creed, but that doesn’t downgrade the latter. The addition of the “Filoque” is not in itself heresy, because truly the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father thru the Son. That’s the essence of the addition of “Filoque.” Remember that the procession of the holy Spirit originates from the Father, and is sent by the Father thru the Son. Further, this adding of the Filoque in the Creed was to counter the heresy that denied the Godhead of the Holy Spirit. But either you include it in the recitation of the Nicene Creed or not, it does not diminish the essence or meaning of the Creed.

Pio


#4

The Filioque should be a non-issue.

It doesn’t fit well with the Greek understanding of the Holy Trinity but is pretty easy to understand from the Latin POV.

Orthodox not in-Commmunion with Rome cannot accept it because they cannot accept the Latin perspective on many theological constructs, OK for them.

The Catholic Communion has a very broad attitude in regard to the Eastern-Western perspectives, the Creed is fine with-or-without the Filioque. The Eastern Catholic churches no longer teach the Filioque and many Eastern Catholic parishes (like mine) have already dropped it from recitation. But Eastern Catholics understand that from a Latin perspective (we don’t share that perspective but we respect it) it can make sense, and so we have no disagreement. You may say it if you wish and we will not object, we may leave it out and you will not object!

The problem is (and remains) that the early Ecumenical Councils crafted the Creed. Later local Councils in the West added the Filioque in increments from place to place, the East feels that it was improper to modify the Creed in that way and they have a point. That would be like Texas and Arizona modifying the US Constitution and teaching it that way to their children, regardless of what anyone else thought. People everywhere else might say: “hey, what gives? You can’t amend the Constitution without all our approval!” And Texas might just say “eat my shorts, we can do whatever we want!”.

So it doesn’t really matter if the theology is correct or not, from the Eastern perspective the Creed in that form cannot be the Universal rule of Faith it was intended to be. Perhaps it should be renamed, or clearly taught as a particular rule of Faith for the Western church alone. In any case, until the Orthodox are convinced that Latin theology is as valid as Greek theology, the Filioque will sound heretical to them.


#5

[quote=jimmy]It is completely orthodox teaching, as St. Maximos agreed.
[/quote]

On a forum such as this we have no way of an in-depth
discussion on the Filioque, and no way in the slightest of solving a problem which has vexed our Churches for more than a thousand years. I don’t deny that St Maximos accepted the “Filioque” but it was not precisely the “Filioque” as now understood in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Orthodox can accommodate the teaching of Saint Augustine
of Hippo on the “Filioque” but (and this is important) as
Augustine understood it himself and not as later centuries have re-interpreted him.

Anyway, may I just offer a few sources which I’ve found helpful when having this discussion in the past. This is more helpful than my trying to rehash what these people have already said so capably.

One Single Source
by His Grace John Zizioulas, Metropolitan of Pergamon
agrino.org/cyberdesert/zizioulas.htm
-oOo-

THE FILIOQUE
John S. Romanides
romanity.org/htm/rom.03.en.franks_romans_feudalism_and_doctrine.03.htm
-oOo-

The Filioque in the Dublin Agreed Statement 1984
(Anglican Orthodox Dialogue)
romanity.org/htm/rom.17.en.the_filioque_in_the_dublin_agreed_statement_1984.01.htm
-oOo-

The Father as the Source of the Whole Trinity
The Procession of the Holy Spirit in Greek and Latin Traditions
by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
geocities.com/athens/atrium/8410/filioque.html
-oOo-


#6

[quote=jimmy]The Catholic Church put the Filioque in to the creed to combat the arian heresy in the 500s in the council of Toledo.
[/quote]

Correction: It was the Church of Spain which put the Filioque into the Creed, not the Catholic Church.

The Popes were so horrified by this mutilation to the Creed that in 790 Pope St. Leo III had the original Creed (without filioque), engraved on plates of gold and silver, in Greek and Latin, and affixed to the left and to the right of St. Peter’s tomb.

The East was also very hard hit by Arianism but did not find it necessary to alter the Creed.


#7

Fr. Ambrose,

Do you know of any good works which deal with the filioque problem? If possible, works from both sides of the argument. Thanks!


#8

[quote=Madaglan]Fr. Ambrose,

Do you know of any good works which deal with the filioque problem? If possible, works from both sides of the argument. Thanks!
[/quote]

Hi Madaglan, Yes, look at the links in post #5.

The last one is a well balanced Catholic source from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christians Unity


#9

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Correction: It was the Church of Spain which put the Filioque into the Creed, not the Catholic Church.

The Popes were so horrified by this mutilation to the Creed that in 790 Pope St. Leo III had the original Creed (without filioque), engraved on plates of gold and silver, in Greek and Latin, and affixed to the left and to the right of St. Peter’s tomb.

The East was also very hard hit by Arianism but did not find it necessary to alter the Creed.
[/quote]

Leo III was not against the doctrine of the filioque, he just did not want to put it in the creed.


#10

Father did you get my PM?

Did you know of the quote I was speaking of?


#11

Was the “filioque” the reason for the schism, or an excuse, being that Constantinope was so much more important than Rome at the time? :confused:


#12

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