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Responding to Arguments for the Filioque (ab Utroque procession)
http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/filioque.html ^ | TR Valentine

Posted on 10/15/2005 5:23:09 PM PDT by JohnRoss

Responses to Arguments in Support of the Filioque

In this section, we will examine the usual arguments presented by supporters of the Filioque. The first part of the section will be an examination of the "logical" arguments. The second part will look at excerpts taken from Patristic writings that apologists for the Filioque present as proof-texts. Not surprisingly, Augustine and other Western writers are the most frequently cited Patristic sources. But since we have already demonstrated that Augustine is unreliable as an orthodox source of theology of the Holy Trinity, we will not examine his texts in this section. Neither will we examine the texts of those writers who followed in Augustine's footsteps. Rather, we will limit our examination to Eastern writers since apologists for the Filioque think these should be more impressive to Orthodox Christians.

Three warnings about Patristic citations should be noted:

1.

Just as it is quite easy to proof-text the Scriptures, it is also quite easy to do the same with Patristic writings. Frequently, such proof-texts are taken out of context and/or misapplied to the topic. One need not look very far to see how various Protestant denominations use proof-texts to support mutually exclusive beliefs. 2.

Orthodox Christians do not regard any single person as infallible in matters of dogma. It is not difficult to find instances where the Fathers have been in error about a particular thing. (Of course, if the errors are serious or numerous, the writer does not qualify as a "Father".) Orthodox Christians seek to find the consensus of the Fathers. In non-dogmatic matters, this may be very difficult to do as the Fathers may have a wide variety of opinions. But, in cases of dogma, it is generally easy to find that which has been believed "everywhere, always, and by all", i.e. universality, antiquity, and consent. Opinions which are limited to a region (e.g. the West), that have developed after the Apostolic Age, or are not held by the overwhelming majority of Fathers, does not meet the standards for dogma. 3.

These texts are presented in English to English speakers. They are translations. Without examining the passage in its original language and in context, it may be easy to misinterpret these texts. If anyone reading this could supply the original Greek for the following passages, this author would be most grateful.

Before proceeding, it should be noted that one frequently finds in the writings of the Eastern Fathers the formula "the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son". This formula is deemed perfectly orthodox by Orthodox Christians. It testifies to the fact that none of the Divine Persons acts apart from the others; they share the one Divine Will.

A common analogy is that as a man, when vocalising a word exudes breath, so the Father, when speaking (begetting) the Word exudes (spirates) the Holy Spirit (the Greek word for "breath", ρνεύμα also means "spirit"). This analogy demonstrates both the distinction between the Son and the Holy Spirit and their inseparableness. It also demonstrates that the Son and the Holy Spirit are of the Father and not the Father's creations.

When the Fathers testify that the Holy Spirit is the "Spirit of God" as well as the "Spirit of Christ", they mean that the Holy Spirit has His eternal and existential origin in the Father whilst being inseparably one with the Son with whom He (the Holy Spirit) is naturally united and of the same essence. In other words, the Holy Spirit has His "perfect procession" (the phrase is from Saint Cyril of Alexandria) from the Father and is joined to the Son in unity by reason of their shared essence (their consubstantiality). It is the consubstantiality of the Three Divine Persons that is being expressed or, as Saint Maximus the Confessor phrases it: "the unity and unchangeableness of the Divine Essence".

Apologists for the Filioque frequently assert that "proceeds from the Father and the Son" is equivalent to "proceeds from the Father through the Son". Although "and" and "through" may sometimes by synonymous in English (the paperwork must go through the boss usually means that the boss needs to add something such as a signature and thus constitutes an addition, an "and"), in Greek "through" (διά) and "and" (και) are never synonymous. "Through" (διά) never means a contributory effect; it means a "tunnelling" or "channelling", whereas "and" (και) usually means a "copulative" (i.e. a joining together which expresses an addition) and sometimes also a cumulative effect (i.e. an addition which implies an insufficiency on the part of the elements separately). In sum, διά always excludes addition; και always means addition. The words are mutually exclusive.

ARGUMENT: Just as the Father externally sent the Son into the world in time, the Son internally proceeds from the Father in the Trinity. Just as the Spirit is externally sent into the world by the Son as well as the Father [John 15:26, Acts 2:33], He internally proceeds from both Father and Son in the Trinity. This is why the Spirit is referred to as the "Spirit of the Son" [Gal. 4:6] and not just the Spirit of the Father.

RESPONSE: The phrase "Spirit of the Son" [Gal 4:6], "Spirit of Christ" [Rom 8:9 and 1 Pet 1:11], and "Spirit of Jesus Christ" [Phil 1:19] do not speak of origin, let alone existential origin as does John 15:26. All beings have "spirits". The Spirit of the Son, He Who is consubstantial with the Father and the Holy Spirit, must be the Holy Spirit lest we separate the Son and the Holy Spirit. This does not, however, mean that the Son is the existential origin of the Holy Spirit. As explained above, if I give a Rawlings baseball glove to my son he may tell others he received the glove from me, but the glove's ultimate origin is Rawlings. Similarly, we can say we receive the Holy Spirit from the Son (because the Son sent Him), but the Holy Spirit's ultimate origin is the Father. Possession is not the same as existential origin.

ARGUMENT: All things that the Father has belong to the Son [Jn 16:15], and thus the Father's ability to "proceed" the Holy Spirit is given to the Son.

RESPONSE: Those who use this argument must admit that this cannot mean all things since the Father cannot give His Fatherhood to the Son (which would be an absurdity!), but because they make a Divine substance the source of the Holy Trinity, they fail to understand the nature of the Fatherhood — that which makes the Father the source (αρχή) of the Son and Holy Spirit.

ARGUMENT: That the Holy Spirit is from the Son can be seen in Jn 20:22: "And having said this He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit.'"

RESPONSE: This argument ignores the difference between the Holy Spirit's Eternal Origin and His temporal coming into the world. The Holy Spirit was not "spirated" for the first time in the Upper Room, but exists eternally. Once this distinction is recognised it becomes clear that this passage speaks of the Holy Spirit's coming into the world (His temporal origin) and does not refer to His eternal, existential origin. This verse does, however, testify to the formula "the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son" because the Holy Spirit comes to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.

ARGUMENT: It oversimplifies to say that the Son does not impart existence to others. John 1:3 states: "All things through Him came to be, and without Him came to be nothing which has come to be." This is reaffirmed in the Nicene Creed itself which makes clear that the creation is the work of both Father and Son. Indeed, Christians both East and West acknowledge that all three persons of the Trinity are involved in the work of creation (see Genesis 1:1-3).

RESPONSE: This argument has been included because, as incredible as it may seem, it is frequently found in arguments presented in support of the Filioque. Roman Catholics arguing for the Filioque (self-described as "traditionalist and/or conservative") have written these passages:

... the procession into the temporal world must be through the Son (and as such from both simultaneously) because all temporal creation is through the Son, or Logos.

All temporal creation is through the Logos, and all procession in the temporal world is through the Logos, "as from one principle". Still, from the Father ultimately who creates all, including the begotten Son.

The point missed in the east is that all creation was through the Logos, and as such the Spirit must come to us through the Logos.

"Father and Son as from one principle" implies the necessity of the Son, upon which all creation depends, for procession to the temporal world. Ultimately, the question is, does or can the Spirit exist or come forth into the temporal world without participation of the Logos? We say no, because the entirety of temporal creation, it is revealed, is through the Word.

This argument is incredible because John 1:3 (as well as the application of that which is the Nicene Creed) teaches that "through the Son" all creation was created. The Holy Spirit is not a creation, He is eternally God. Any person who teaches that the Holy Spirit is included in those things which "came to be" as referred to in John 1:3 cannot be regarded as a Christian. Such an argument is in the same category as the claim from the Jehovah's Witnesses that the Son is created as "a god".

ARGUMENT: If the dual procession be denied, it is not clear how we are to distinguish between the Word and the Spirit, between the Second and Third Persons of the Trinity. We distinguish between the Father and the Son, even though they are co-eternal and co-equal, and omni-perfect, by virtue of the fact that the One begets and the other is begotten — that is, the being of One is derived from the being of the Other. But if we say that the Son is derived from the Father alone, and that the Spirit is derived from the Father alone, how are the Son and the Spirit different? We may indeed say that it is the Second Person, not the First or the Third, that was made flesh for our salvation in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth. But this does not answer the question at hand, for the distinction of the Divine Persons must lie in the nature of the Godhead, not in the relation of God to a universe which He need not have created.

RESPONSE: This argument was taken, verbatim, from a supporter of the Filioque. It is, of course, the problem explained in Objection #2 above, that human "wisdom" (philosophy) is given precedence over Divine Revelation. Rather than restating all the problems with this argument, let us simply recall the statement of Saint John of Damascus:

We have learned that there is a difference between begetting and procession, but the nature of the difference we in no wise understand.

— Saint John of Damascus

ARGUMENT: The first distinctive statement about the Holy Spirit that we find in the Creed is that He is the Life-giver. Now, what does it mean to give life? What is the difference between a dead cat and a live one? A dead body may have all the parts that a live one has, but in a live body the parts are interacting, each part carrying out its distinctive function for the good of the whole body. The life of an organism, the spirit of an organism, is the "glue" that unites the parts into an integrated whole. So, in the Church, it is the Spirit that gives to each member a function to be carried out for the enhanced life of the whole Body of Christ, and gives the gifts necessary for carrying out that function. Not all members receive the same gifts; but, as the Apostle Paul points out to the Corinthians, the one gift available to every member is also the one gift most to be desired, and that is the gift of love, by which the whole body is joined together, all the members being united in love with Christ and with one another. Thus, if anyone asks what is the special activity of the Holy Spirit, we must answer that it is to unite in love. And if it is of the nature of the Spirit to unite things, then we may be sure that He has been carrying out this activity for all eternity. Before there was a Church, before there was physical life of any kind, the Spirit was the bond of love and unity between the Father and the Son. From all eternity, independently of any created being, God is the Lover, the Loved, and the Love itself. And the bond of unity and love that exists between the Father and the Son proceeds from the Father and the Son.

RESPONSE: This argument was also taken from a supporter of the Filioque. The error of subordinating the Holy Spirit to a bond of love between the Father and the Son has already been addressed. There is a second error in the above argument: equating the Holy Spirit to a member of the Church. The Holy Spirit is God, not a member of the Church. There is also a third, more subtle error in this argument: the idea that life is dependent upon role/purpose. First, the Holy Spirit, being God, is not dependent upon anything for His existence. Second, the gift of life we humans have from the Giver of Life (the Holy Spirit along with the Father and the Son) is a free gift. We live the roles of our life because we first exist. It is not necessary for us to engage in some role in order for us to exist.

ARGUMENT: A creator (e.g. a writer, sculptor, musician, architect, etc.) first conceives of an idea before he is able to give it expression (e.g. a word, statue, composition, building, etc.). The expression does not create the idea; the idea creates the expression. Thus it is that "No one knows the Son, except the Father, and no one knows the Father, except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." [Matt 11:27] Thus theologians say that the Father is aware of Himself only by contemplating His image in the Son. And, just as in any creative act on the part of a human creator, the appreciative and understanding response proceeds not simply from the creative idea but from the creative idea revealed in the creative expression of that idea, so on the level of the Divine Creator, the Holy Spirit proceeds not solely from the Father but from the Father and the Son.

RESPONSE: The first part of this argument is fine. Clearly, idea precedes expression. But one needs to be careful about applying human concepts about human beings to the Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity. As soon as one expresses a limitation of any of the Divine Persons (e.g. "the Father is aware of Himself only ...") alarms should go off in the mind of any right-thinking Christian. This idea seems more dependent upon human "wisdom" (philosophy) than upon Divine Revelation. It seems to deny the Father's self-awareness. But if even human creatures possess self-awareness, then to deny this to the Father is a gross blasphemy. Furthermore, it is unclear how the creative process of human beings can apply to the Son or the Holy Spirit Who are not creatures.

QUOTATIONS

Tertullian, Against Praxeas, 4:1

I believe that the Spirit proceeds not otherwise than from the Father through the Son.

This is the typical Eastern formula "through the Son" discussed above.

It should be noted that whenever Tertullian is cited, one must examine from which of the three periods of his life the citation is taken: his Orthodox period, his semi-Montanist (a heresy) period, or his Montanist period. His Against Praxeas is from Tertullian's Montanist period. Since Tertullian died a heretic, he is not deemed a Father of the Church.

Origen, Commentaries on John, 2:6

We believe, however, that there are three persons: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; and we believe none to be unbegotten except the Father. We admit, as more pious and true, that all things were produced through the Word, and that the Holy Spirit is the most excellent and the first in order of all that was produced by the Father through Christ.

Like Tertullian, Origen was judged by the Church to be a heretic and is not deemed a Father of the Church. The above is clearly heretical, reducing the Holy Spirit to being the first of creation, i.e. a creature. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit is uncreated God.

Saint Maximus the Confessor, Questions to Thalassium, 63

By nature the Holy Spirit in his being takes substantially his origin from the Father through the Son who is begotten.

This is the typical Eastern formula, "through the Son".

Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, Confession of Faith

One God, the Father of the living Word, of subsistent Wisdom and Power, and of the Eternal Image. Perfect Begetter of the Perfect, Father of the only begotten Son. One Lord, Only of Only, God of God, Image and Likeness of the Godhead, Efficient Word, Wisdom comprehending the constitution of the universe, and Power shaping all creation. Genuine Son of Genuine Father, Invisible of Invisible, and Incorruptible of Incorruptible, and Immortal of Immortal, and Eternal of Eternal. And one Holy Spirit, having substance of God, and who is manifested [to men, that is,]* through the Son; Image of the Son, Perfect of the Perfect; Life, the Cause of living; Holy Fountain; Sanctity, the Dispenser of Sanctification; in whom is manifested God the Father, who is above all and in all, and God the Son, who is through all. Perfect Trinity, in glory and eternity and sovereignty neither divided nor estranged. *(The bracketed phrase above is thought to be a later editorial addition.)

"... manifested through the Son" means that it is through the Son that the Holy Spirit is presented to men. This has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit's eternal origin. It refers to His temporal origin as is described in John 20:22.

Didymus The Blind, The Holy Spirit, 37

As we have understood discussions . . . about the incorporeal natures, so too it is now to be recognized that the Holy Spirit receives from the Son that which he was of his own nature . . . So too the Son is said to receive from the Father the very things by which he subsists. For neither has the Son anything else except those things given him by the Father, nor has the Holy Spirit any other substance than that given him by the Son.

Didymus the Blind followed Origen in much of his teachings regarding creation. Like Origen, his writings were condemned as heretical. For this reason, he is not a Father and is not regarded as a reliable source for doctrine. This passage appears to be Neoplatonic inasmuch as it appears to echo Augustine's identification of causality as the defining attribute of Divinity. The above presents the Father as the cause of the Son and the Son as the cause of the Holy Spirit, i.e. a plurality of spheres of being, arranged in hierarchical descending order, each sphere of being derived from its superior. If this is an accurate understanding of the above, the passage should be rejected as heretical.

Saint Athanasius, To Serapion of Thmius

Insofar as we understand the special relationship of the Son to the Father, we also understand that the Spirit has this same relationship to the Son. And since the Son says, "everything that the Father has is mine" [John 16:15], we will discover all these things also in the Spirit. through the Son. And just as the Son was announced by the Father, who said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" [Matt 3:17], so also is the Spirit of the Son; for, as the Apostle says, "He has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"" [Gal 4:6]

We have previously addressed the passage of John 16:15. "Announcing" obviously is not the equivalent of existential origin. We have also previously addressed the passage of Gal 4:6 and similar passages that speak of the 'Spirit of the Son'.

Saint Epiphanius of Salamis, The Well-Anchored Man, 8, 75

For the Only-Begotten Himself calls Him 'the Spirit of the Father', and says of Him that 'He proceeds from the Father', and 'will receive of mine', so that He is reckoned as not being foreign to the Father nor to the Son, but is of their same substance, of the same Godhead; He is Spirit divine,... of God, and He is God. For he is Spirit of God, Spirit of the Father and Spirit of the Son, not by some kind of synthesis, like soul and body in us, but in the midst of Father and Son, of the Father and of the Son, a third by appellation. ... The Father always existed and the Son always existed, and the Spirit breathes from the Father and the Son; and neither is the Son created nor is the Spirit created.

Epiphanius of Salamis is regarded as an Orthodox saint primarily for his work as a pastor of his flock. He is not a "Father" of the Church. Most of the above passage addresses the consubstantiality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The only phrase that may bear on the Filioque is 'the Spirit breathes from the Father and the Son'. It would be helpful to study the original language. However, since εκορευσις is conventionally translated as 'proceeds' whereas this passage employs 'breathes', it seems unlikely that εκορευσις is used. That the Holy Spirit is 'breathed' forth from the Son (see John 20:22) refers to the Holy Spirit's temporal mission into the world, not His eternal origin.

Saint Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion (Breadbox), 62:4

The Spirit is always with the Father and the Son, ... proceeding from the Father and receiving of the Son, not foreign to the Father and the Son, but of the same substance, of the same Godhead, of the Father and the Son, He is with the Father and the Son, Holy Spirit ever subsisting, Spirit divine, Spirit of glory, Spirit of Christ, Spirit of the Father. ... He is third in appellation, equal in divinity, not different as compared to Father and Son, connecting Bond of the Trinity, Ratifying Seal of the Creed.

Like the previous passage from the same saint, the thrust of this passage is the consubstantiality of the Holy Trinity. Saint Epiphanius does not assert that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son — only the Father is presented as the source of the Holy Spirit's procession, i.e. the eternal and existential source of the Holy Spirit. Rather, Saint Epiphanius states that the Holy Spirit "receives" from the Son. Though this passage does not explain what it is that the Holy Spirit receives from the Son, Orthodox teaching is that the Holy Spirit is eternally manifested by the Son. Since it would be proper, therefore, to state that the Holy Spirit receives His eternal manifestation from the Son, there is nothing in this passage to which Orthodox Christians would object.

Saint Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, 18:45

Through the Son, who is one, he [the Holy Spirit] is joined to the Father, one is one, and by Himself completes the Blessed Trinity.

This is the typical Eastern formula, 'through the Son'. It ought to be noted that the purpose of Saint Basil the Great's On the Holy Spirit was to demonstrate against the Pneumatomachoi (literally 'Spirit fighters') that the Holy Spirit was a Divine Person within the Holy Trinity. The Pneumatomachoi were anathematised at the Second Ecumenical Synod in 381.

Saint Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, 18:47

The goodness of [the divine] nature, the holiness of [that] nature, and the royal dignity reach from the Father through the only-begotten [Son] to the Holy Spirit. Since we confess the persons in this manner, there is no infringing upon the holy dogma of the monarchy.

Again, this is the typical Eastern formula, 'through the Son'.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Against Eunomius, 1

The Father conveys the notion of unoriginate, unbegotten, and Father always; the only-begotten Son is understood along with the Father, coming from Him but inseparably joined to Him. Through the Son and with the Father, immediately and before any vague and unfounded concept interposes between them, the Holy Spirit is also perceived conjointly.

Again, this is the typical Eastern formula, 'through the Son'.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa, Letter to Ablabius

While we confess the invariableness of the [Divine] Nature we do not deny the distinction of cause and of caused, by which alone we perceive that one Person is distinguished from another, in our belief that it is one thing to be the cause and another to be from the cause; and in that which is from the cause, we recognize yet another distinction. It is one thing to be directly from the First Cause, and another to be through Him who is directly from the First, so the distinction of being Only-begotten abides undoubtedly in the Son, nor is it doubted that the Spirit is from the Father; for the middle position of the Son is protective of His distinction as Only-begotten, but does not exclude the Spirit from His natural relation to the Father.

Again, this is the typical Eastern formula, 'through the Son', albeit much more wordy.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Treasury of the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity, thesis 34

Since the Holy Spirit when He is in us effects our being conformed to God, and He actually proceeds from the Father and Son, it is abundantly clear that He is of the Divine Essence, in it in essence and proceeding from it.

At first appearance this passage seems to support the Filioque. However, Saint Cyril also taught that the Holy Spirit had His 'perfect procession' from the Father. The writings of Saint Cyril were thoroughly discussed during the Filioque controversy that erupted during the patriarchate of Gregory II of Cyrus (1283-1289). The Synod of Blachernae (1285) concluded that Saint Cyril was addressing the consubstantiality of the Holy Trinity rather than the eternal and existential origin of the Holy Spirit.

Interestingly, this same Saint Cyril of Alexandria's interpretation of John 21 is often used against Roman Catholic claims that Saint Peter was made leader over the Apostles. The usual response by Roman Catholics is that the 'solitary phrase of Saint Cyril is of no weight against the overwhelming patristic authority' which stands against him. Of course, the same could be said if indeed this solitary phrase of Saint Cyril supports the Filioque. It would be necessary to examine the original language to be certain.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Letters, 3:4:33

Just as the Son says 'All that the Father has is mine' [John 16:15], so shall we find that through the Son it is all also in the Spirit.

Again, this is the typical Eastern formula, 'through the Son'.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria, The Twelve Anathemas, Error 9

We must not say that the one Lord Jesus Christ has been glorified by the Spirit, in such a way as to suggest that through the Spirit He made use of a power foreign to Himself, and from the Spirit received the ability to work against unclean spirits, and to perform divine signs among men; but must rather say that the Spirit, through whom He did indeed work His divine signs, is his own.

This passage addresses the consubstantiality of the Three Divine Persons.

Saint John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 8

Likewise we believe also in one Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life . . . God existing and addressed along with Father and Son; uncreated, full, creative, all-ruling, all-effecting, all-powerful, of infinite power, Lord of all creation and not under any lord; deifying, not deified; filling, not filled; shared in, not sharing in; sanctifying, not sanctified; the intercessor, receiving the supplications of all; in all things like to the Father and Son; proceeding from the Father and communicated through the Son.

Again, this is the typical Eastern formula, 'through the Son'.

Saint John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 12

And the Holy Spirit is the power of the Father revealing the hidden mysteries of His Divinity, proceeding from the Father through the Son in a manner known to Himself, but different from that of generation.

Again, this is the typical Eastern formula, 'through the Son'.

Saint John of Damascus, Dialogue Against the Manicheans, 5

I say that God is always Father since he has always his Word [the Son] coming from Himself and, through his Word, the Spirit issuing from Him.

Again, this is the typical Eastern formula, 'through the Son'.

Thus, once the the "preponderance" of Patristic support fot the Filioque is examined, the claims of supporters of the Filioque are shown to be non-existent. Granted, many Latin writers endorsed the Filioque, but they were caught in the wake of Augustine's disproportionate influence on the West.

To conclude this section and the essay, let us look at this explanation by Saint Gregory Palamas (from his Confession). It is one of the most succinct and precise expressions of the Holy Spirit's relation to the Father and Son in all of Patristic writings.

On the one hand, the Holy Spirit is, together with the Father and the Son, without beginning, since He is eternal; yet, on the other, He is not without beginning, since He also — by way of procession, not by way of generation — has the Father as foundation, source, and cause. He also [like the Son] came forth from the Father before all ages, without change, impassibly, not by generation, but by procession; He is inseparable from the Father and the Son, since He proceeds from the Father, and reposes in the Son; He possesses union without losing His identity, and division without involving separation. He, also, is God from God; He is not different since He is God, yet He is different since He is the Comforter; as Spirit, He possesses hypostatic existence, proceeds from the Father, and is sent — that is, manifested — through the Son; He also is the cause of all created things, since it is in the Spirit that they are perfected. He is identical and equal with the Father and the Son, with the exception of unbegottenness and generation. He was sent — that is, made known — from the Son to His own disciples. By what other means — the Spirit which is inseparable from the Son — could He have been sent? By what other means could He — Who is everywhere — come to me? Wherefore, He is sent not only from the Son, but from the Father and through the Son, and is manifested through Himself.


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To: JohnRoss
Florence was agreed upon under duress

No, it wasn't. I recommend Fr. J. Gill's The Council of Florence.

later was repudiated as a false council by the Eastern Churches.

Ephesus was repudiated as a false Council by the Nestorians and Chalcedon as a false Council by the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox. Does that make them non-ecumenical?

Your own Church accepts Florence as Ecumenical.

41 posted on 10/18/2005 4:49:45 PM PDT by gbcdoj (Let us ask the Lord with tears, that according to his will so he would shew his mercy to us Jud 8:17)
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To: JohnRoss; Hermann the Cherusker
Saying what you just said [the Creed of Pope Paul VI] depersonalizes the Holy Spirit and reduces him to being a non-person. Plus, it establishes a semi-Sabellianism with the Holy Spirit.

So, according to you, the Roman Church believes that the Holy Spirit is a "non-person" and establishes "semi-Sabellianism" in our Symbols of Faith (NB: the filioque is also contained in the 1998 Profession of Faith required of all Latin-rite bishops and many others under Can. 833 of the Code of Canon Law)! Why in the world do you remain in communion with us heretics?

"From the Father through the Son" means that the Son is principle of the Spirit together with the Father, as St. Thomas says: "Therefore, because the Son receives from the Father that the Holy Ghost proceeds from Him, it can be said that the Father spirates the Holy Ghost through the Son, or that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father through the Son, which has the same meaning ... if we consider the persons themselves spirating, then, as the Holy Ghost proceeds both from the Father and from the Son, the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father immediately, as from Him, and mediately, as from the Son; and thus He is said to proceed from the Father through the Son." (I q. 36 a. 3)

This was discussed and agreed upon at the Ecumenical Council of Florence, which decreed in Laetentur coeli: "we declare that what the holy Doctors and Fathers say, namely, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, tends to this meaning, that by this it is signified that the Son also is the cause, according to the Greeks, and according to the Latins, the principle of the subsistence of the Holy Spirit, as is the Father also."

The Melkite Church believes there were only Seven Ecumenical Councils

Bishop Elya disagrees with you. Why should I take your word about the Melkites over that of a Bishop of your Church?

If tagging a council with the term ecumenical makes it so, how do you deal with the fact ... [that] the council of 879 declared itself ecumenical.

The Council of 879 was not a valid Council - Pope John VIII rejected it and apparently St. Photius was again excommunicated. The acts as they've come down seem to be partially forged (e.g., a fake letter from John VIII rejecting the filioque as heretical) - check the article on this Council in the New Catholic Encyclopedia and this article by Philip Blosser on the Council of 879-880.

42 posted on 10/18/2005 5:10:38 PM PDT by gbcdoj (Let us ask the Lord with tears, that according to his will so he would shew his mercy to us Jud 8:17)
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To: gbcdoj; Kolokotronis

One thing is quite certain, the Orthodox will continue to reject the filioque until the end of days.


43 posted on 10/18/2005 7:34:38 PM PDT by FormerLib (Kosova: "land stolen from Serbs and given to terrorist killers in a futile attempt to appease them.")
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To: FormerLib

"One thing is quite certain, the Orthodox will continue to reject the filioque until the end of days."

That's right. So the trick for Rome is to find a way out of the filioque, which its theologians went a long way to accomplish in DC 2 years ago, or forget any reunion with us and, incidently, probably lose some of their Eastern Rite Churches (they've pretty much lost any semblance of control over the Melkites already and the Ukrainians will be next). Hard as it sounds, when comes to issues like this, only an ecumenical council can resolve them and there will be no such council until some pope agrees to preside at one in the manner of the pre-Schism popes, and even then the lower clergy and laity will have to receive and accept any decision...or leave.


44 posted on 10/18/2005 7:51:08 PM PDT by Kolokotronis (Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!)
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To: gbcdoj

Rome wrote the Code of Canon Law, and many Eastern Catholic hierarchs aren't the bit pleased with it.

First of all, no pre-1054 Eastern Christian recognized that the pope had the right to intervene in the internal affairs of the Eastern churches unilaterally. Pope Nicholas' uncanonical, unilateral, intervention in the case of St. Photios is a prime example because there was no appeal, and Fr. Dvornik has proven this was the case.

The patriarchs and their Holy Synods should have the right to elect and appoint their own bishops without papal approval based upon custom. No pre-schism pope appointed any Eastern patriarchs or bishops.

The papal claims to direct jurisdiction in the East were never recognized in the East.


45 posted on 10/20/2005 8:45:33 PM PDT by JohnRoss (We need a real conservative in 2008)
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To: gbcdoj

So, according to you, the Roman Church believes that the Holy Spirit is a "non-person" and establishes "semi-Sabellianism" in our Symbols of Faith (NB: the filioque is also contained in the 1998 Profession of Faith required of all Latin-rite bishops and many others under Can. 833 of the Code of Canon Law)! Why in the world do you remain in communion with us heretics?

"From the Father through the Son" means that the Son is principle of the Spirit together with the Father, as St. Thomas says: "Therefore, because the Son receives from the Father that the Holy Ghost proceeds from Him, it can be said that the Father spirates the Holy Ghost through the Son, or that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father through the Son, which has the same meaning ... if we consider the persons themselves spirating, then, as the Holy Ghost proceeds both from the Father and from the Son, the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father immediately, as from Him, and mediately, as from the Son; and thus He is said to proceed from the Father through the Son." (I q. 36 a. 3)

This was discussed and agreed upon at the Ecumenical Council of Florence, which decreed in Laetentur coeli: "we declare that what the holy Doctors and Fathers say, namely, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, tends to this meaning, that by this it is signified that the Son also is the cause, according to the Greeks, and according to the Latins, the principle of the subsistence of the Holy Spirit, as is the Father also."

The Melkite Church believes there were only Seven Ecumenical Councils

Bishop Elya disagrees with you. Why should I take your word about the Melkites over that of a Bishop of your Church?

Bishop Elya was but one member of the Melkite Holy Synod. He was one of two bishops of the 24 member of the Holy Synod who agreed to Abp. Zoghby's initiative to reunite with Orthodoxy. If you read We Are All Schismatic, Zoghby says as much.


If tagging a council with the term ecumenical makes it so, how do you deal with the fact ... [that] the council of 879 declared itself ecumenical.

The Council of 879 was not a valid Council - Pope John VIII rejected it and apparently St. Photius was again excommunicated. The acts as they've come down seem to be partially forged (e.g., a fake letter from John VIII rejecting the filioque as heretical) - check the article on this Council in the New Catholic Encyclopedia and this article by Philip Blosser on the Council of 879-880

You probably have never read Fr. Francis Dvornik's "The Photian Schism" because he completely debunks this myth. The Council of 869 was annulled by John VIII.


46 posted on 10/20/2005 8:50:19 PM PDT by JohnRoss (We need a real conservative in 2008)
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To: JohnRoss
No pre-schism pope appointed any Eastern patriarchs or bishops. The papal claims to direct jurisdiction in the East were never recognized in the East.

False. For instance, see Pope St. Boniface I's letter "Manet beatum" of 422 AD to the Bishops of Macedonia. This decision appointing a new bishop for Corinth (with the claim being based on universal jurisdiction through Mt. 16:18-19) was recognized and submitted to. Likewise, Pope St. Agapetus I (535-6) deposed Anthimus, the Patriarch of Constantinople, against the will of the Emperor. This decision was recognized as correct by a later synod in Constantinople under Patriarch Mennas.

47 posted on 10/21/2005 5:21:13 AM PDT by gbcdoj (Let us ask the Lord with tears, that according to his will so he would shew his mercy to us Jud 8:17)
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To: JohnRoss
You probably have never read Fr. Francis Dvornik's "The Photian Schism" because he completely debunks this myth

One author's work is not definitive. The link I gave you discusses Fr. Dvornik's work. St. Photios' story is not as clear-cut as you want to make it out to be. (I have not yet obtained Fr. Dvornik's book on this although I do intend to do it at some point).

Of course, Fr. Dvornik also says that the East did accept Roman primacy as based on Mt. 16:18. Funny that you don't mention that. Or is his work only okay when it agrees with how you want things to be?

You didn't reply before: why are you in communion with semi-Sabellian heretics like me and Pope Benedict XVI who "depersonalize" the Holy Spirit?

48 posted on 10/21/2005 1:01:27 PM PDT by gbcdoj (Let us ask the Lord with tears, that according to his will so he would shew his mercy to us Jud 8:17)
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