Trinitarian Theologies of East and West -- reconciled at long last


#1

[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]

Actually, the title of this thread is a bit too bold and optimistic, but read on . . .

(Fr. Abrose, I am of course especially interested in your opinion and analysis of all of this)

In the several recent discussions in this forum concerning the differences between the theologies of East and West as regards the Holy Trinity, specifically regarding the long-standing dispute over the filioque, I did not see the following article referenced (though I may not have looked closely enough), and I wanted to share it with all of you.

The text that I’ve copied from is here:

The Filioque: Clarification

the original text was provided by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and was was published by the (Catholic) Eparchy of Parma, Ohio, USA in 1990

See also:

Cor Unum Catholic Apologetic Website: Filioque

the same article is included about half-way down the page, following the many selections from the Church Fathers of the East and West

After the first article, there will be posted a “reply” by an Orthodox bishop, Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon.

That original text of that article can be found here:

One Single Source: An Orthodox Response to the Clarification on the Filioque

THE FILIOQUE: CLARIFICATION

At a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, Pope John Paul II called for clarification of the filioque clause of the Creed – ‘proceeds from the Father and the Son.’

The text had originally been supplied by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Webmaster’s comment: This “Clarification” may indeed be one more significant step in clearing up some still too common misconceptions, and may also be a means for both Catholics and Orthodox to deepen our appreciation for the great gift of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s irreplaceable role in giving us a share in the Trinitarian Life and Love of God. The closing section is a moving meditation on the Holy Spirit as the Gift of the Father’s Love in Christ!

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#2

The original text of this article can be found here:

The Filioque: Clarification

(continued from above)

To the Most Blessed Trinity be glory forever!

The Greek and Latin traditions about the procession of the Holy Spirit

In its first report on The Mystery of the Church and of the Eucharist in the Light of the Mystery of the Holy Trinity, unanimously approved in Munich on July 1982, the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church had mentioned the centuries-old difficulty between the two churches concerning the eternal origin of the Holy Spirit. Not being able to treat this subject for itself in this first phase of the dialogue, the Commission stated:

“Without wishing to resolve yet the difficulties which have arisen between the East and the West concerning the relationship between the Son and the Spirit, we can already say together that this Spirit, which proceeds from the Father (Jn 15:26) as the sole source in the Trinity and which has become the Spirit of our sonship (Rom 8:15) since he also the Spirit of the Son (Gal 4:6), is communicated to us particularly in the Eucharist by this Son upon whom he reposes in time and in eternity (Jn 1:32).” (Information Service of the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, no.49, p.108, I,6).

The Catholic Church acknowledges the conciliar, ecumenical, normative, and irrevocable value, as expression of the one common faith of the church and of all Christians, of the Symbol professed in Greek at Constantinople in 381 by the Second Ecumenical Council. No profession of faith peculiar to a particular liturgical tradition can contradict this expression of the faith taught and professed by the undivided Church.

On the basis of Jn 15: 26, this Symbol confesses the Spirit “to ek tou Patros ekporeuomenon” (“who takes his origin from the Father”). The Father alone is the principle without principle (arche anarchos) of the two other persons of the Trinity, the sole source (peghe) of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, therefore, takes his origin from the Father alone (ek monou tou Patros) in a principal, proper, and immediate manner. [1]

The Father’s monarchy

The Greek Fathers and the whole Christian Orient speak, in this regard, of the “Father’s Monarchy,” and the Western tradition, following St Augustine, also confesses that the Holy Spirit takes his origin from the Father principaliter, that is, as principle (De Trinitate XV, 25, 47, PL 42, 1094-1095). In this sense, therefore, the two traditions recognise that the “monarchy of the Father” implies that the Father is the sole Trinitarian Cause (Aitia) or Principle (Principium) of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

This origin of the Holy Spirit from the Father alone as Principle of the whole Trinity is called ekporeusis by Greek tradition, following the Cappadocian Fathers. St Gregory of Nazianzus, the Theologian, in fact, characterizes the Spirit’s relationship of origin from the Father by the proper term ekporeusis, distinguishing it from that of procession (to proienai) which the Spirit has in common with the Son. “The Spirit is truly the Spirit proceeding (proion) from the Father, not by filiation, for it is not by generation, but by ekporeusis” (Discourse 39. 12, Sources Chrétiennes 358, p.175).

Even if St Cyril of Alexandria happens at times to apply the verb ekporeusthai to the Son’s relationship of origin from the Father, he never uses it for the relationship of the Spirit to the Son (Cf. Commentary on St John, X, 2, PG 74, 910D; Ep 55, PG 77, 316D, etc.). Even for St Cyril, the term ekporeusis as distinct from the term “proceed” (proienai), can only characterise a relationship of origin to the principle without principle of the Trinity: the Father.

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#3

The original text of this article can be found here:

The Filioque: Clarification

(continued from above)

That is why the Orthodox Orient has always refused the formula to ek tou Patros kai tou Uiou ekporeuomenon and the Catholic Church has refused the addition kai tou Uiou to the formula ek tou Patros ekporeuomenon in the Greek text of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Symbol, even in its liturgical use by Latins.

Orthodox view: Holy Spirit from the Father through the Son

The Orthodox Orient does not, however, refuse all eternal relationship between the Son and the Holy Spirit in their origin from the Father. St Gregory of Nazianzus, a great witness to our two traditions, makes this clear in response to Macedonius who was asking:

“What then is lacking to the Spirit to be the Son, for if nothing was lacking to him, he would be the Son? We say that nothing is lacking to him, for nothing is lacking to God; but it is the difference in manifestation, if I may say so, or in the relationship between them (tes pros allela scheseos diaphoron) which makes also the difference in what they are called” (Discourse 31, 9, Sources Chrétiennes n.250, pp.290-292).

The Orthodox Orient has, however, given a happy expression to this relationship with the formula dia tou Uiou ekporeuomenon (who takes his origin from the Father by or through the Son).

St Basil already said of the Holy Spirit: “Through the Son (dia tou Uiou), who is one, he is joined to the Father, who is one, and by himself completes the blessed Trinity” (Treatise on the Holy Spirit, XVIII, 45, Sources Chrétiennes 17 bis, p.408).

St Maximus the Confessor said: “By nature (phusei) the Holy Spirit in his being (kat’ousian) takes substantially (ousiodos) his origin (ekporeuomenon) from the Father through the Son who is begotten (di Uiou gennethentos)” (Quaestiones ad Thalassium, LXIII, PG 90, 672 C).

We find this again in St John Damascene: “ho Pater aeien, echon ex eautou ton autou logon, kai dia tou logou autou ex eautou to Pneuma autou ekporeuomenon,” in English: “I say that God is always Father since he has always his Word coming from himself, and through his Word, having his Spirit issuing from him” (Dialogus Contra Manichaeos 5, PG 94, 1512 B, ed. B. Kotter, Berlin 1981, p.354; cf. PG 94, 848-849 A).

This aspect of the Trinitarian mystery was confessed at the seventh Ecumenical council, meeting at Nicaea in 787, by the Patriarch of Constantinople St Tarasius, who developed the Symbol as follows: “to Pneuma to agion, to Kyrion kai Zoopoion, to ek tou Patros dia tou Uiou ekporeuomenon” (Mansi, Xll, 1122 D).

This doctrine all bears witness to the fundamental Trinitarian faith as it was professed together by East and West at the time of the Fathers. It is the basis that must serve for the continuation of the current theological dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox.

Catholic teaching on the filioque

The doctrine of the Filioque must be understood and presented by the Catholic Church in such a way that it cannot appear to contradict the Monarchy of the Father nor the fact that he is the sole origin (arche, aitia) of the ekporeusis of the Spirit.

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#4

The original text of this article can be found here:

The Filioque: Clarification

(continued from above)

The Filioque is, in fact, situated in a theological and linguistic context different from that of the affirmation of the sole Monarchy of the Father, the one origin of the Son and of the Spirit. Against Arianism, which was still virulent in the West, its purpose was to stress the fact that the Holy Spirit is of the same divine nature as the Son, without calling in question the one Monarchy of the Father.

We are presenting here the authentic doctrinal meaning of the Filioque on the basis of the Trinitarian faith of the Symbol professed by the second Ecumenical Council at Constantinople. We are giving this authoritative interpretation, while being aware of how inadequate human language is to express the ineffable mystery of the Holy Trinity, one God, a mystery which is beyond our words and our thoughts.

The Catholic Church interprets the Filioque with reference to the conciliar and ecumenical, normative, and irrevocable value of the confession of faith in the eternal origin of the Holy Spirit, as defined in 381 by the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in its Symbol. This Symbol only became known and received by Rome on the occasion of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451. In the meantime, on the basis of the earlier Latin theological tradition, Fathers of the Church of the West like St Hilary, St Ambrose, St Augustine and St Leo the Great, had confessed that the Holy Spirit proceeds (procedit) eternally from the Father and the Son. [2]

Since the Latin Bible (the Vulgate and earlier Latin translations) had translated Jn 15:26 (para tou Patros ekporeutai) by “qui a Patre procedit,” the Latins translated the “ek tou Patros ekporeuomenon” of the Symbol of Nicaea-Constantinople by “ex Patre procedentum” (Mansi VII, 112 B). In this way, a false equivalence was involuntarily created with regard to the eternal origin of the Spirit between the Oriental theology of the ekporeusis and the Latin theology of the processio.

The Greek ekporeusis signifies only the relationship of origin to the Father alone as the principle without principle of the Trinity. The Latin processio, on the contrary, is a more common term, signifying the communication of the consubstantial divinity from the Father to the Son and from the Father, through and with the Son, to the Holy Spirit. [3] In confessing the Holy Spirit “ex Patre procedentem,” the Latins, therefore, could only suppose an implicit Filioque which would later be made explicit in their liturgical version of the Symbol.

In the West, the Filioque was confessed from the fifth century through the Quicumque (or ‘Athanasianum,’ DS 75) Symbol, and then by the Councils of Toledo in Visigothic Spain between 589 and 693 (DS 470, 485, 490, 527, 568), to affirm Trinitarian consubstantiality.

If these Councils did not perhaps insert it in the Symbol of Nicaea-Constantinople, it is certainly to be found there from the end of the eighth century, as evidenced in the proceedings of the Council of Aquileia-Friuli in 796 (Mansi XIII, 836, D, ff.) and that of Aix-la-Chapelle of 809 (Mansi XIV, 17).

In the ninth century, however, faced with Charlemagne, Pope Leo III, in his anxiety to preserve unity with the Orient in the confession of faith, resisted this development of the Symbol which had spread spontaneously in the West, while safeguarding the truth contained in the Filioque. Rome only admitted it in 1014 into the liturgical Latin version of the Creed.

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#5

The original text of this article can be found here:

The Filioque

(continued from above)

In the Patristic period, an analogous theology had developed in Alexandria, stemming from St Athanasius. As in the Latin tradition, it was expressed by the more common term of ‘procession’ (proienai) indicating the communication of the divinity to the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son in their consubstantial communion: “The Spirit proceeds (proeisi) from the Father and the Son; clearly, he is of the divine substance, proceeding (proion) substantially (ousiodos) in it and from it” (St Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus, PG 75, 585 A). [4]

In the seventh century, the Byzantines were shocked by a confession of faith made by the Pope and including the Filioque with reference to the procession of the Holy Spirit; they translated the procession inaccurately by ekporeusis. St Maximus the Confessor then wrote a letter from Rome linking together the two approaches – Cappadocian and Alexandrian – to the eternal origin of the Spirit: the Father is the sole Principle without Principle (in Greek, aitia) of the Son and of the Spirit; the Father and the Son are consubstantial source of the procession (to proienai) of this same Spirit.

“For the procession they (the Romans) brought the witness of the Latin Fathers, as well, of course, as that of St Cyril of Alexandria in his sacred study on the Gospel of St John. On this basis they showed that they themselves do not make the Son cause (aitia) of the Spirit. They know, indeed, that the Father is the sole cause of the Son and of the Spirit, of one by generation and of the other by ekporeusis – but they explained that the latter comes (proienai) through the Son, and they showed in this way the unity and the immutability of the essence” (Letter to Marin of Cyprus, PG 91, 136 A-B).

According to St Maximus, echoing Rome, the Filioque does not concern the ekporeusis of the Spirit issued from the Father as source of the Trinity, but manifests his proienai (processio) in the consubstantial communion of the Father and the Son, while excluding any possible subordinationist interpretation of the Father’s Monarchy.

The fact that in Latin and Alexandrian theology the Holy Spirit proceeds (proeisi) from the Father and the Son in their consubstantial communion does not mean that it is the divine essence or substance that proceed in him, but that it is communicated from the Father and the Son who have it in common. This point was confessed as dogma in 1215 by the fourth Lateran Council:

“The substance does not generate, is not begotten, does not proceed; but it is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, the Holy Spirit who proceeds: so that there is distinction in persons and unity in nature. Although other (alius) is the Father, other the Son, other the Holy Spirit, they are not another reality (aliud), but what the Father is the Son is and the Holy Spirit equally; so, according to the orthodox and catholic faith, we believe that they are consubstantial. For the Father, generating eternally the Son, has given to him his substance… It is clear that, in being born the Son has received the substance of the Father without this substance being in any way diminished, and so the Father and the Son have the same substance. So the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from them both, are one same reality” (DS 804-805).

In 1274, the second Council of Lyons confessed that “the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles but as from one single principle (tamquam ex uno principio)” (DS 850).

In the light of the Lateran Council, which preceded the second Council of Lyons, it is clear that it is not the divine essence that can be the “one principle” for the procession of the Holy Spirit. The Catechism of the Catholic Church interprets this formula in no.248 as follows:

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#6

The original text of this article can be found here:

The Filioque: Clarification

(continued from above)

“The eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as the ‘principle without principle,’ is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Spirit proceeds” (Council of Lyons II, DS 850)."

The Catholic Church understands that the Eastern tradition expresses first that it is characteristic of the Father to be the first origin of the Spirit. By confessing the Spirit as he “who takes his origin from the Father” (“ek tou Patros ekporeuomenon” cf. Jn 15:26), it affirms that he comes from the Father through the Son.

The Western tradition expresses first the consubstantial communion between Father and Son, by saying that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (Filioque). “This legitimate complementarity, provided it does not become rigid, does not affect the identity of faith in the reality of the same mystery confessed.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no.248).

Being aware of this, the Catholic Church has refused the addition of kai tou Uiou to the formula ek tou Patros ekporeuomenon of the Symbol of Nicaea-Constantinople in the churches, even of Latin rite, which use it in Greek. The liturgical use of this original text remains always legitimate in the Catholic Church.

If it is correctly situated, the Filioque of the Latin tradition must not lead to subordination of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity. Even if the Catholic doctrine affirms that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son in the communication of their consubstantial communion, it nonetheless recognizes the reality of the original relationship of the Holy Spirit as person with the Father, a relationship that the Greek Fathers express by the term ekporeusis. [5]

Harmony of Catholic and Orthodox teaching

In the same way, if in the Trinitarian order the Holy Spirit is consecutive to the relation between the Father and the Son, since he takes his origin from the Father as Father of the only Son, [6] it is in the Spirit that this relationship between the Father and the Son itself attains its Trinitarian perfection.

Just as the Father is characterized as Father by the Son he generates, so does the Spirit, by taking his origin from the Father, characterize the Father in the manner of the Trinity in relation to the Son and characterizes the Son in the manner of the Trinity in his relation to the Father: in the fullness of the Trinitarian mystery they are Father and Son in the Holy Spirit. [7]

The Father only generates the Son by breathing (proballein in Greek) through him the Holy Spirit and the Son is only begotten by the Father insofar as the spiration (probole in Greek) passes through him. The Father is Father of the One Son only by being for him and through him the origin of the Holy Spirit. [8]

The Spirit does not precede the Son, since the Son characterises as Father the Father from whom the Spirit takes his origin, according to the Trinitarian order. [9] But the spiration of the Spirit from the Father takes place by and through (the two senses of dia in Greek) the generation of the Son, to which it gives its Trinitarian character.

It is in this sense that St John Damascene says: “The Holy Spirit is a substantial power contemplated in his own distinct hypostasis, who proceeds from the Father and reposes in the Word” (De Fide Orthodoxa I, 7, PG 94, 805 B, ed. B. Kotter, Berlin 1973, p.16; Dialogus contra Manichaeos 5, PG 94. 1512 B, ed. B. Kotter, Berlin 1981, p. 354). [10]

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#7

The original text of this article can be found here:

The Filioque: Clarification

(continued from above)

What is this Trinitarian character that the person of the Holy Spirit brings to the very relationship between the Father and the Son? It is the original role of the Spirit in the economy with regard to the mission and work of the Son. The Father is love in is source (2 Cor 13:13; 1 Jn 4:8.16), the Son is “the Son that he loves” (Col 1:14). So a tradition dating back to St Augustine has seen in the Holy Spirit, through whom “God’s love has been poured into our hearts” (Rom 5:5), love as the eternal Gift of the Father to his “beloved Son” (Mk 1:11, 9:7; Lk 20:13; Eph 1:6). [11]

The divine love which has its origin in the Father reposes in “the Son of his love” in order to exist consubstantially through the Son in the person of the Spirit, the Gift of love. This takes into account the fact that, through love, the Holy Spirit orients the whole life of Jesus towards the Father in the fulfillment of his will.

The Father sends his Son (Gal 4:4) when Mary conceives him through the operation of the Holy Spirit (cf. Lk 1:35). The Holy Spirit makes Jesus manifest as Son of the Father by resting upon him at baptism (cf. Lk 3:21-22; Jn 1:33). He drives Jesus into the wilderness (cf. Mk 1:12). Jesus returns (“full of the Holy Spirit” (Lk 4:1). Then he begins his ministry “in the power of the Spirit” (Lk 4:14).

He is filled with joy in the Spirit, blessing the Father for his gracious will (cf. Lk 10:21). He chooses his apostles “through the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:2). He casts out demons by the Spirit of God (Mt 12:28). He offers himself to the Father “through the eternal Spirit” (Heb 9:14). On the Cross he “commits his Spirit” into the Father’s hands (Lk 23:46). “In the Spirit” he descended to the dead (cf. 1 Pet 3:19), and by the Spirit he was raised from the dead (cf. Rom 8:11) and “designated Son of God in power” (Rom 1:4). [l2]

This role of the Spirit in the innermost human existence of the Son of God made man derives from an eternal Trinitarian relationship through which the Spirit, in his mystery as Gift of Love, characterizes the relation between the Father, as source of love, and his beloved Son.

The original character of the person of the Spirit as eternal Gift of the Father’s love for his beloved Son shows that the Spirit, while coming from the Son in his mission, is the one who brings human beings into Christ’s filial relationship to his Father, for this relationship finds only in him its Trinitarian character: “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying Abba! Father!” (Gal 4:6).

In the mystery of salvation and in the life of the Church, the Spirit, therefore, does much more than prolong the work of the Son. In fact, whatever Christ has instituted – Revelation, the Church, the sacraments, the apostolic ministry, and its magisterium – calls for constant invocation (epiclesis) of the Holy Spirit and his action (energeia), so that the love that “never ends” (1 Cor 13:8) may be made manifest in the communion of the saints with the life of the Trinity.

Notes

1 These are the terms employed by St Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica, Ia, q.36, a. 3, 1 um and 2um.

2 It is Tertullian who lays the foundations for Trinitarian theology in the Latin tradition, on the basis of the substantial communication of the Father to the Son and through the Son to the Holy Spirit:

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#8

The original text of this article can be found here:

The Filioque: Clarification

(continued from above)

“Christ says of the Spirit ‘He will take from what is mine’ (Jn 16:14), as he does from the Father. In this way, the connection of the Father to the Son and of the Son to the Paraclete makes the three cohere one from the other. They who are one sole reality (unum) not one alone (unus) by reason of the unity of substance and not of numerical singularity” (Adv. Praxean, XXV, 1-2).

This communication of the divine consubstantiality in the Trinitarian order he expresses with the verb procedere (ibid., II, 6).

We find this same theology in St Hilary of Poitiers, who says to the Father: “May I receive your Spirit who takes his being from you through your only Son” (De Trinitate XII, PL 10, 471). He remarks: “If anyone thinks there is a difference between receiving from the Son (Jn 16:15) and proceeding (procedere) from the Father (Jn 15:26), it is certain that it is one and the same thing to receive from the Son and to receive from the Father” (De Trinitate, VIII, 20, PL 10, 251 A).

It is in this sense of communication of divinity through procession that St Ambrose of Milan is the first to formulate the filioque: “The Holy Spirit when he proceeds (procedit) from the Father and the Son, does not separate himself from the Father and does not separate himself from the Son” (De Spiritu Sancto, 1, 11, 120, PL 16, 733 A = 762 D).

St Augustine, however, takes the precaution of safeguarding the Father’s monarchy within the consubstantial communion of the Trinity: “The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father as Principle (principaliter) and, through the latter’s timeless gift to the Son, from the Father and the Son in communion (communiter)” (De Trinitate XV , 25, 47, PL 42, 1095). St Leo, Sermon LXXV, 3, PL 54, 402; Sermon LXXVI, 2, ibid. 404).

3 Tertullian uses the verb procedere in a sense common to the Word and the Spirit insofar as they receive divinity from the Father: “The Word was not uttered out of something empty and vain, and he does not lack substance, he who proceeded (processit) from such a (divine) substance and has made so many (created) substances.” (Adv. Praxean, VII, 6).

St Augustine, following St Ambrose, takes up this more common conception of procession: “All that proceeds is not born, although what is born proceeds” (Contra Maximinum, II, 14, 1, PL 42, 770).

Much later St Thomas Aquinas remarks that “the divine nature is communicated in every processing that is not ad extra” (Summa Theologica Ia, q.27, a.3, 2um). For him, as for all this Latin theology which used the term “procession” for the Son as well as for the Spirit, “generation is a procession which puts the divine person in possession of the divine nature” (ibid., Ia. q.43, a 2, c), for “from all eternity the Son proceeds in order to be God” (ibid.). In the same way, he affirms that “through his procession, the Holy Spirit receives the nature of the Father, as does the Son” (ibid., Ia, q.35, a.2, c). “Of words referring to any kind of origin, the most general is procession. We use it to indicate any origin whatever; we say, for instance, that the line proceeds from the point; that the ray proceeds from the sun, the river from its source, and likewise in all kinds of other cases. Since we admit one or another of these words that evoke origin, we can, therefore, conclude that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son” (ibid., Ia, q.36, a.2, c).

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#9

The original text of this article can be found here:

The Filioque: Clarification

(continued from above)

4 St Cyril bears witness here to a Trinitarian doctrine common to the whole school of Alexandria since St Athanasius, who had written “Just as the Son says: ‘All that the Father has is mine’ (Jn 16:15), so shall we find that, through the Son, it is all also in the Spirit” (Letters to Serapion, III, 1, 33, PG 26, 625 B). St Epiphanius of Saramis (Ancoratus, VIII, PG 43, 29 C) and Didymus the Blind (Treatise on the Holy Spirit, CLIII, PG 34, 1064 A) link the Father and the Son by the same preposition ek in the communication to the Holy Spirit of the consubstantial divinity.

5 “The two relationships of the Son to the Father and of the Holy Spirit to the Father oblige us to place two relationships in the Father, one referring to the Son and the other to the Holy Spirit” (St Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Ia, q.32, a.2, c).

6 Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no.248.

7 St Gregory of Nazianzus says that “the Spirit is a middle term (meson) between the Unbegotten and the Begotten” (Discourse 31, 8, Sources Chrétiennes, no.250, p.290). Cf also, in a Thomistic perspective, G Leblond, “Point of view on the procession of the Holy Spirit,” in Revue Thomiste, LXXXVI, t.78, 1978, pp.293-302.

8 St Cyril of Alexandria says that “the Holy Spirit flows from the Father into the Son (en to Uiou),” (Thesaurus, XXXIV, PG 75, 577A).

9 St Gregory of Nyssa writes: “The Holy Spirit is said to be of the Father and it is attested that he is of the Son. St Paul says: ‘Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him’ (Rom 8:9). So the Spirit who is of God (the Father) is also the Spirit of Christ. However, the Son who is of God (the Father) is not said to be of the Spirit: the consecutive order of the relationship cannot be reversed” (Fragment In orationem dominicam, quoted by St John Damascene, PG 46. 1109 BC).

And St Maximus affirms in the same way the Trinitarian order when he writes: “Just as the Thought (the Father) is principle of the Word, so is he also of the Spirit through the Word. And, just as one cannot say that the Word is of the voice (of the Breath), so one cannot say that the Word is of the Spirit” (Quaestiones et dubia, PG 90, 813 B).

10 St Thomas Aquinas, who knew the De Fide orthodoxa, sees no opposition between the Filioque and this expression of St John Damascene: “To say that the Holy Spirit reposes or dwells in the Son does not exclude his proceeding from the Son; for we say also that the Son dwells in the Father, although he proceeds from the Father” (Summa Theologica, Ia, q.36, a.2, 4um).

11 St Thomas Aquinas, following St Augustine, writes: “If we say of the Holy Spirit that he dwells in the Son, it is in the way that the love of one who loves reposes in the loved one” (Summa Theologica Ia, q.36, a.2, 4um).

This doctrine of the Holy Spirit as love has been harmoniously assumed by St Gregory Palamas into the Greek theology of the ekporeusis from the Father alone:

“The Spirit of the most high Word is like an ineffable love of the Father for this Word ineffably generated. A love which this same Word and beloved Son of the Father entertains (chretai) towards the Father: but insofar as he has the Spirit coming with him (sunproelthonta) from the Father and reposing connaturally in him” (Capita physica XXXVI, PG 150, 1144, D-1145 A).

12 Cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Dominum et Vivificantem nn.18-24, AAS LXXVIII, 1986, 826-831. Cf. also Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 438, 689 690, 695, 727.

END


#10

The original text of this article can be found here:

One Single Source: An Orthodox Response to the Clarification on the Filioque

One Single Source: An Orthodox Response to the Clarification on the Filioque

(East and West can easily continue dialogue also as regards the Filioque question providing there is full acceptance of the doctrine of tradition on the monarchia of the Father. The monarchia of the Father means that the Father is the sole cause/origin both of the Son and of the Spirit)

This is a very valuable statement on the thorny issue of the Filioque, which clarifies many aspects of the position of the Roman Catholic theology on this matter. I am sure that this statement will play a very important role in the official theological dialogue between the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Church when it comes to the point of discussing this issue. My reaction as an Orthodox theologian to this document can be summarized in the following observations:

  1. It is with deep satisfaction that I read in the document the emphatic assertion that no confession of faith belonging to a particular liturgical tradition can contradict the expression of faith of the Second Ecumenical Council (Constantinople 381) which has been taught and professed by the undivided Church. This is a very good basis for discussion.

  2. It is extremely important, in my judgment, to clarify the point concerning the “source” (* Greek word that didn’t copy properly: see the original ]) or “principle” or “cause” ( Greek word that didn’t copy properly: see the original ]*) in the Holy Trinity. This is crucial perhaps decisive. The document of the Vatican sees no difference between the monarchia of the Father, i.e. the idea that the Father is the sole “principle” in God’s Trinitarian being, an idea strongly promoted by the Greek Fathers, and St. Augustine’s expression that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father “principaliter”. However, before we can come to the conclusion that the two traditions, Eastern and Western, understand this matter in the same way, we must raise the following questions:

a) Does the expression “principaliter” necessarily preclude making the Son a kind of secondary cause in the ontological emergence of the Spirit? The Filioque seems to suggest two sources of the Spirit’s personal existence, one of which (the Father) may be called the first and original cause (principaliter), while the other one (the Son) may be regarded as a secondary (not principaliter) cause, but still a “cause” albeit not “principaliter”.

(continued below)


#11

The original text of this article can be found here:

One Single Source: An Orthodox Response to the Clarification on the Filioque

(continued from above)

The discussions both at the time of St. Photius and at Lyons and Florence-Ferrara seem to have paid special attention to this delicate point. It is not accidental that the Greek theologians ever since the time of Photius insisted on the expression: * Greek phrase that didn’t copy properly: see the original ]* i.e. the Father is the sole cause of the Son as well as of the Spirit. This concern does not seem to be fully covered by the Augustinian expression principaliter. The second Council of Lyons is unclear on this matter when it says that the Father as Father of His Son is “together with Him the single principle from which the Spirit proceeds”.

b) In the light of this observation it would be important to evaluate the use of the idea of cause * Greek word that didn’t copy properly: see the original ]* in Trinitarian theology. It was not without reason that the Cappadocian Fathers introduced this term next to the words * Greek word that didn’t copy properly: see the original ]* and * Greek word that didn’t copy properly: see the original ]* (source and principle) which were common since St. Athanasius at least both in the West and in the East.

The term “cause”, when applied to the Father, indicates a free, willing and personal agent, whereas the language of “source” or “principle” can convey a more “natural” and thus impersonal imagery (the homoousios was interpreted in this impersonal way by several people in the fourth century). This point acquires crucial significance in the case of the Filioque issue.

In the Byzantine period the Orthodox side accused the Latin speaking Christians, who supported the Filioque, of introducing two Gods, precisely because they believed that the Filioque implied two causes–not simply two sources or principles–in the Holy Trinity. The Greek Patristic tradition, at least since the Cappadocian Fathers, identified the one God with the person of the Father, whereas, St. Augustine seems to identify Him with the one divine substance (the deitas or divinitas).

It is of course true that, as the Vatican document points out, the Fourth Lateran Council excludes any interpretation that would make divine substance the source or cause, of the Son’s generation and the, Spirit’s procession. And yet the Cappadocian idea of “cause” seems to be almost absent in the Latin theological tradition.

As Saint Maximus the Confessor insisted, however, in defence of the Roman use of the Filioque, the decisive thing in this defence lies precisely in the point that in using the Filioque the Romans do not imply a “cause” other than the Father. The notion of “cause” seems to be of special significance and importance in the Greek Patristic argument concerning the Filioque. If Roman Catholic theology would be ready to admit that the Son in no way constitutes a “cause” (aition) in the procession of the Spirit, this would bring the two traditions much closer to each other with regard to the Filioque.

c) Closely related to the question of the single cause is the problem of the exact meaning of the Son’s involvement in the procession of the Spirit. Saint Gregory of Nyssa explicitly admits a “mediating” role of the Son in the procession of the Spirit from the Father. Is this role to be expressed with the help of the preposition * Greek word that didn’t copy properly: see the original ]* (through) the Son * Greek phrase that didn’t copy properly: see the original ]*, as Saint Maximus and other Patristic sources seem to suggest? The Vatican statement notes that this is “the basis that must serve for the continuation of the current theological dialogue between Catholic and Orthodox”. I would agree with this, adding that the discussion should take place in the light of the “single cause” principle to which I have just referred.

(continued below)


#12

The original text of this article can be found here:

One Single Source: An Orthodox Response to the Clarification on the Filioque

(continued from above)

  1. Another important point in the Vatican document is the emphasis it lays on the distinction between (ekporeusis) and processio. It is historically true that in the Greek tradition a clear distinction was always made between (ekporeuesthai) and (proeinai), the first of these two terms denoting exclusively the Spirit’s derivation from the Father alone, whereas (proienai) was used to denote the Holy Spirit’s dependence on the Son owing to the common substance or (ousia) which the Spirit in deriving from the Father alone as Person or (hypostasis) receives from the Son, too, as (ousiwdws) that is, with regard to the one (ousia) common to all three persons (Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus the Confessor et al). On the basis of this distinction one might argue that there is a kind of Filioque on the level of (ousia), but not of (hypostasis).

However, as the document points out, the distinction between (ekporeuesthai) and (proeinai) was not made in Latin theology, which used the same term, procedere, to denote both realities. Is this enough to explain the insistence of the Latin tradition on the Filioque? Saint Maximus the Confessor seems to think so. For him the Filioque was not heretical because its intention was to denote not the (ekporeuesthai) but the (proeinai) of the Spirit.

This remains a valid point, although the subsequent history seems to have ignored it. The Vatican statement underlines this by referring to the fact that in the Roman Catholic Church today the Filioque is omitted whenever the Creed is used in its Greek original which contains the word (ekporeuesthai).

Is this enough? Or should we still insist that the Filioque be removed also from the Latin text of the Creed? It would seem difficult to imagine a situation whereby Greek and Latin Christians would recite the Creed together without using a common text. At the level of theologians, however, the clarifications made by the Vatican statement with regard to this matter are extremely helpful and can be very useful for the theological dialogue between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.

  1. The last part of the document, which describes the Spirit as the Gift of love from the Father to the Son and tries to expand on the Augustinian nexus amoris, presents considerable difficulties to me.

On the one hand the document refers to the irreversible Trinitarian order according to which the Spirit can be called “the Spirit of the Son” while the Son can never be called “the Son of the Spirit” (Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus etc.). On the other hand, however, the same document describes the Spirit as the eternal gift of love from the Father to the Son on the basis of Biblical texts all of which clearly refer to the divine economy, and not to the immanent Trinity.

(continued below)


#13

The original text of this article can be found here:

One Single Source: An Orthodox Response to the Clarification on the Filioque

(continued from above)

We seem to encounter here the usual difficulty between Western and Eastern theological tradition, namely the problem of the distinction between the eternal and the economic level of God’s being. The implications of this difficulty are far-reaching and cannot be analyzed here. Suffice it to say that the Filioque at the level of the economy presents no difficulty whatsoever to the Orthodox, but the projection of this into the immanent Trinity creates great difficulties.

The reference to the well known passage from Saint Gregory Palamas describing the Spirit as "some kind of love (eros - * Greek word that didn’t copy properly: see the original ])" of the Father towards the Son or to that from St. John of Damascus who speaks of the Spirit as “resting” ( Greek word that didn’t copy properly: see the original ]* - anapauomenon) in the Son, should not be justified on the ground of the economy.

Neither of these two theologians bases the above references to the Spirit’s relation to the Son on the relation of these two Persons in the Economy, as St. Augustine seems to do and as the Vatican document also does. The Filioque in no way can be projected from the Economy into the immanent Trinity, and the same is true also of any form of Spirituque that might be detected–this is in fact possible–from the relation of Christ to the Spirit in the history of salvation.

This makes it difficult to subscribe to the statements of the document such as this: “This role of the Spirit in the innermost human existence of the Son of God made man derives from an eternal Trinitarian relationship through which the Spirit, in his mystery as Gift of love, characterizes the relation between the Father as source of love, and his beloved Son”.

  1. When it refers to the work of the Spirit in relation to that of Christ at the level of the Economy the Vatican statement is in my opinion extremely helpful. The idea that the Spirit brings us into the filial relationship of the Father and the Son making us sons of the Father by grace through the “spirit of sonship”, and that the constant invocation of the Spirit is necessary for the realization of the work of Christ in us, shows that the East and the West can reach a common ground in many areas of Pneumatology in spite of any obscurities and difficulties that may still remain with regard to the Filioque issue.

In conclusion, the Vatican document on the procession of the Holy Spirit constitutes an encouraging attempt to clarify the basic aspects of the Filioque problem and show that a rapprochement between West and East on this matter is eventually possible. An examination of this problem in depth within the framework of a constructive theological dialogue can be greatly helped by this document.

END


#14

[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]

The reason I posted the entire texts of these articles was not to stretch or break the forum rules. Rather, I hope that it will invite direct commentary and analysis of some of the fascinating statements in those articles, sentence by sentence and paragraph by paragraph, using the “quote tag” feature.

For example, one statement I found quite interesting in the Metropolitan’s article was the following:

We seem to encounter here the usual difficulty between Western and Eastern theological tradition, namely the problem of the distinction between the eternal and the economic level of God’s being. The implications of this difficulty are far-reaching and cannot be analyzed here. Suffice it to say that the Filioque at the level of the economy presents no difficulty whatsoever to the Orthodox, but the projection of this into the immanent Trinity creates great difficulties.

Although I may be mistaken, it seems to me that this is closely if not directly related to the dispute between East and West wherein Eastern theology which distinguishes between God in His essence and in His energies, while the West holds that God is as simple as He is infinite, and that no such distinctions can be made admitted within the Divine Nature.

I would not have expected that to “pop up” in this context, but I find it very interesting that it does.

What do you Orthodox and Eastern Catholic readers make of this?

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

IC XC NIKA


#15

Might there be a relation here to the question of whether one starts from God as Trinity or from God as Unity ?


#16

Could it be that the East, or rather Photius was looking for a means of picking a fight with the West so that there would be a separation, as it has already been suggested?

The reason that I ask this is that the Metropolitan did not object to how we understand God and the Filioque, yet we are left with this ridiculous division that should have been sorted out by now.

Maggie


#17

One of the Orthodox responses is to ask how the recent Clarification clarifies the definition of the Roman Catholic Church taught at the Council of Florence. It does not clarify it but it overturns it.

If the Roman Catholic Church were to renounce the definition of Florence then the dialogue could proceed, but while this definition is ticking away like a timebomb there is concern by the Orthodox that Rome may again turn to it as an infallible statement.

The important discrepancy between the contemporary Clarification from Rome and the Council of Florence is that the Clarification denies that the Son is the principle of the Spirit’s origin but Florence teaches that he is (principaliter.) Since Florence is an Ecumenical Council of the Church of Rome and was ratified by the Pope it is infallible and trumps the Clarification hands down. Florence needs overturning either by another Council or by the Pontiff personally.

The above is why it is yet too early to make the claim that the filioque dispute has been reconciled. Rome has created a bit of a muddle for itself with the Clarification.

In the name of the holy Trinity, Father, Son and holy Spirit, we define, with the approval of this holy universal [ecumenical] council of Florence, that the following truth of faith shall be believed and accepted by all Christians and thus shall all profess it: that the holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son, and has his essence and his subsistent being from the Father together with the Son, and proceeds from both eternally as from one principle and a single spiration. We declare that when holy doctors and fathers say that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, this bears the sense that thereby also the Son should be signified, according to the Greeks indeed as cause, and according to the Latins as principle of the subsistence of the holy Spirit, just like the Father.

Pope Eugenius at the Council of Florence.


“Remove not the ancient landmarks which your fathers have set” -Proverbs 22.28


#18

[quote=MaggieOH]Could it be that the East, or rather Photius was looking for a means of picking a fight with the West so that there would be a separation, as it has already been suggested?

[/quote]

Dear Maggie,

This is demonstrably not so.

  1. One of the reasons given in the 1054 AD Papal Bull of Excommunication delivered by Cardinal Humbert is that the East has **omitted ** the filioque from the Creed. Apart from the fact that this demonstrates the West’s abysmal ignorance as to the history of the filioque, it certainly demonstrates that the West wanted to impose the filioque on the East and was willing to excommunicate the East for refusing to use it. The impetus for separation was coming from the Western Church.

  2. The Emperor Charlemagne’s ambition to get rid of the Eastern Roman Empire, and for this the filioque was a good pretext.

From Spain, the Filioque spread to the Germanic tribe of the Franks (in present-day France). It was embraced by Charlemagne who went so far as to accuse the East of having deliberately omitted it from the ancient Symbol.

Pope Leo III (795-816) intervened, and forbade any interpolations or alterations in the Second Ecumenical Synod’s Symbol of Faith. He ordered the Symbol — without Filioque — to be engraved in Latin and Greek on two silver plates and mounted on a wall of St. Peter’s in Rome.

The Franks ignored the pope and continued to use the Filioque.

**Many historians think Charlemagne used the Filioque in an attempt to justify his claim to be emperor in opposition to the Roman Empire (located in New Rome, also known as Constantinople). **

The dispute between East and West grew and became the focus of the Synod of Constantinople which met A.D. 879-880. This synod (recognised as the Eighth Ecumenical Synod by Orthodox Christians) reaffirmed the Symbol of A.D. 381 and declared any and all additions to the creed invalid. This synod’s teaching was affirmed by the patriarchs of Old Rome (John VIII), New Rome [Constantinople] (Photius), Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria and by Emperor Basil I.

geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/filioque.html


“Remove not the ancient landmarks which your fathers have set” -Proverbs 22.28


#19

Fr. Ambrose:

The questions aren’t about whether Cardinal Humbert should never have been sent, let alone had the authority to write a Papal Bull, or whether the Emperor Charlemagne, a LAYMAN, was talking about things he had NO authority to speak about.

We’ve answered those on another thread, esp. the deal with Charlemagne, who lived some 1,300 years ago and was just one man…

[quote=Fr Ambrose]Dear Maggie,

This is demonstrably not so.

  1. One of the reasons given in the 1054 AD Papal Bull of Excommunication delivered by Cardinal Humbert is that the East has **omitted ** the filioque from the Creed. Apart from the fact that this demonstrates the West’s abysmal ignorance as to the history of the filioque, it certainly demonstrates that the West wanted to impose the filioque on the East and was willing to excommunicate the East for refusing to use it. The impetus for separation was coming from the Western Church.

  2. The Emperor Charlemagne’s ambition to get rid of the Eastern Roman Empire, and for this the filioque was a good pretext.

From Spain, the Filioque spread to the Germanic tribe of the Franks (in present-day France). It was embraced by Charlemagne who went so far as to accuse the East of having deliberately omitted it from the ancient Symbol.

Pope Leo III (795-816) intervened, and forbade any interpolations or alterations in the Second Ecumenical Synod’s Symbol of Faith. He ordered the Symbol „ without Filioque „ to be engraved in Latin and Greek on two silver plates and mounted on a wall of St. Peter’s in Rome.

The Franks ignored the pope and continued to use the Filioque.

Many historians think Charlemagne used the Filioque in an attempt to justify his claim to be emperor in opposition to the Roman Empire (located in New Rome, also known as Constantinople).

The dispute between East and West grew and became the focus of the Synod of Constantinople which met A.D. 879-880. This synod (recognised as the Eighth Ecumenical Synod by Orthodox Christians) reaffirmed the Symbol of A.D. 381 and declared any and all additions to the creed invalid. This synod’s teaching was affirmed by the patriarchs of Old Rome (John VIII), New Rome [Constantinople] (Photius), Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria and by Emperor Basil I.

geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/filioque.html


“Remove not the ancient landmarks which your fathers have set” -Proverbs 22.28
[/quote]

…The Questions, Fr., are these: 1) “Does the article posted by Whosebob represent a modus viviendi or a starting point for moving towards resolving the issues surrounding the Filioque?” 2) “Does this represent another step in the process of bringing Christians together?”

IMO, for the purposes of the Christian unity that unbelievers need to see before they will begin to listen to our testimony, his is the question that must be answered. And we can’t answer to the affirmative as long as we’re nursing and bringing up these old grudges.

So, Fr. is the “Clarification” regarding the Filioque seemingly agreed to by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Pope John Paul II abd explained By Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon something you can live with?

IMO, This is a LOT more important than what an influential LAYMAN was saying in the 7th & 8th Centuries.

Blessings to you and your congregation.

In Christ, Michael


#20

[quote=Traditional Ang]…The Questions, Fr., are these: 1) “Does the article posted by Whosebob represent a modus viviendi or a starting point for moving towards resolving the issues surrounding the Filioque?” 2) “Does this represent another step in the process of bringing Christians together?”
[/quote]

If it cannot be reconciled with the infallible teaching of Florence then it is, as I have indicated, an example of confusion in the Roman Church and will not facilitate the dialogue - not until Rome revokes Florence.

And we can’t answer to the affirmative as long as we’re nursing and bringing up these old grudges

We cannot call measured conciliar statements addressed to the whole Church as “old grudges.” The statements need addressing. It is nothing at all to do with grudges but with the truth preserved by the Church in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nor do I believe that the Church of Rome is holding the filioque as any sort of grudge against Orthodoxy but that it has locked itself into a position which will require much humility to break free from.

So, Fr. is the “Clarification” regarding the Filioque seemingly agreed to by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople and Pope John Paul II abd explained By Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon something you can live with?

I do not know if Patriarch Bartholomew has agreed to to the Clarification from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Can anyone send information as to whether the Patriarch has indicated his agreement?

Can I live with it? No, because it is in contradiction to the teaching of Florence which is considered infallible by the Church of Rome and which preempts the Clarification. So it is muddying the waters.

We must continue the dialogue and wait and see how Rome will deal with Florence.


“Remove not the ancient landmarks which your fathers
have set” -Proverbs 22.28


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