It means the first. Though I find the whole idea of precedence in eternity kind of mind boggling.
Doesn't the filioque also prevent heresy, though? I mean what's to stop a Holy Spirit cult branching off from Christianity and saying Christ is unimportant without the filioque? Kind of like the Jehovah's Witnesses saying Christ and the Holy Spirit are unimportant... just a thought.
The Metropolitan of Ephesus himself in his Account of His Actions at the Council states that the reason was ill health. So in the absence of his chief opponent and also of Antony of Heraclea Montenero started his discourse. He regretted, he said, that Eugenicus would not hear the confutation of his arguments: however, he proposed to treat the subject under four heads -- the Scriptures, Latin doctors held in respect by the early Councils, Greek doctors of the greatest repute, reply to the Greek objections.
The Scriptures call the Spirit the Spirit of the Son (Gal. 4. 6; Rom. 8. 9; Acts 16. 7). That usage implies a relation or respect of the Spirit to the Son -- not merely to his manhood, but to the Person -- which is either of origin or of dominance. But in the Blessed Trinity no Person is the servant of or is owned by another, so it must be of a relation of origin.
Again St John records Our Lord's words: '...the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name' (Jn 14, 26) ; 'But when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father ' (Jn 15, 26). No one is sent except as by a master, a counsellor or a source. But of these three only the last can apply in the Blessed Trinity, so that this temporal mission of the Holy Spirit necessarily presupposes his origin from that Person by whom he is sent, as all the Fathers agree.
By the gift of the Spirit we are made conformable to the image of the Son and receive the adoption of sons. But that by which a thing is conformed to another must have being from that to which it is conformed -- somewhat in the same way as in physical generation the seed is determined by the producer to produce what is like the producer. But we are made conformable to the Son by the Spirit and so the Spirit must have received from the Son. This is a favorite argument of the Greek doctors, especially Athanasius and Basil, who are fond of saying that as the Son is the image of the Father, so is the Spirit said to be the image of the Son.
'He shall glorify me, because he shall receive of mine' (Jn 16,14) but if the Spirit receives from the Son, he must proceed from him. He cannot receive what he had not before, so he receives from eternity, that is he proceeds from the Son from eternity. Christ himself gives us the reason: 'All things whatsoever the Father hath, are mine.' (Jn 16, 15) So that whatsoever the Son has, he has received eternally from the Father, that is the divine nature and the productive power by which he produces the Spirit, which in no way militates with the sonship as the nature of the Father and of the Son is one and the same.
So the first source of this procession is the Father, since the Son has that power not from himself but from the Father, and this the doctors, like St Augustine, express by saying that the Spirit proceeds principally from the Father in that the Father is the first principle and source of all divinity, a quality not possessed by the Son, yet as the divine nature in both Father and Son is one and the same and equal in both, the Father is not a fuller and more perfect cause of the Spirit than the Son. These two are one and the same principle of the Spirit -- these are not two principles or causes, even though St Basil says that the Son is second to the Father and the Spirit second to the Son.
In the New Testament the Son is said to operate through the Spirit and the Spirit through the Son. One, therefore, is giving operative power to the other, which in the divinity is nothing else than the divine essence. Now, no one at all ever suggests that the Son receives his essence from the Spirit, so it must be that the Spirit receives from the Son, which means that he proceeds from him. But because the Son receives from the Father that he is the principle of the Spirit, while the Father has that from no other source than himself, that is no reason for saying that the Son is not also the source of the Spirit. If a man moves a stone with a stick, both the stick and the man move the stone. The same reasoning is valid in things divine, but with greater force since everything there is substantial and common. So to accept that the Spirit is from the Father through the Son and to deny that he is from the Father and the Son is to be self-contradictory.
Montenero's second line of proof was the testimony of the ancient Latin Fathers. First Leo the Great, whom both the fourth and the sixth Councils extolled. Writing to Turribius of Spain he spoke of the Spirit as 'other, he who proceeds from both', and in a sermon delivered on Whitsunday: 'Seeing then that the only-begotten Son is from the Father and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Father and Son, not like a creature which also belongs to Father and Son, but as one living with each and powerful and eternally subsisting from that which is Father and Son' (P.L. 54, 402A) This last passage is noteworthy because Leo gives a reason, namely, that the Spirit is not a creature, because he is from the Father and the Son as subsisting, that is from the divine nature common to both.
John's next document was a work of Pope Damasus which he persisted in producing though the Greeks averred that they accepted it. It was, he said, Damasus' profession of faith as contained in the original text: 'We believe ... in the existence of the Spirit the Paraclete, who is neither Father nor Son, but proceeds from Father and Son'
And so Montenero continued with passages from Hilary, the contemporary of Athanasius (P.L. 10, 250C-251B; 69A-70A; 471A-472A) ; Jerome, who, he said, was the disciple of the Greek Gregory of Nazianzus; Ambrose, the contemporary of Basil the Great, who founding himself on the Gospel of St John asserts that '"since all things whatsoever the Father hath are mine", what he [i.e. the Son] receives through the unity of nature, that through the same unity of nature the Spirit received from the Son himself'' (P.L. 16, 771B) and declares the Son, like the Father, to be a source of life to the Spirit (ibid. 739AB).
Next came Ambrose's spiritual son Augustine, and from him Montenero read a multitude of texts all asserting plainly, on the basis of Scr.1-tLre, that the Spirit proceeds from Fither and Son. Here John was content to quote the words of his authority without adding any comment or argument. These were clear enough and abundant enough to impress by themselves (e.g. ps. Augustine (=Fulgentius) P.L. 65, 674A; 42, 770-1; 35, 1888-9; 42, 908, 921, 1092).
After Augustine came Pope Hormisdas, who reigned in the days of the Emperor Justin, when John, Patriarch of Constantinople, was trying to bring peace again to the Church after the aberrations of his predecessor Acacius. Both Emperor and Patriarch accepted the profession of faith of Hormisdas to make it the norm of orthodoxy. Yet that profession contained the following:
'Great and incomprehensible is the mystery of the Trinity. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, an undivided Trinity, and yet it is known because it is characteristic of the Father to generate the Son, characteristic of the Son of God to be born of the Father equal to the Father, characteristic of the Spirit to proceed from Father and Son in one substance of deity' (P.L. 63, 514B).
When Maurice was Emperor after the fifth Council, Gregory the Great flourished, who in many writings affirmed the same truth (e.g. P.L. 75, 87B-88A; 66, 204B; 758, 541B, 598B; 76, 533D-534A.). Boethius the philosopher says the same (P.L. 64, 1249C, I254C) and Isidore of Spain, who wrote many works on the Holy Scripture, declares no less (P.L. 82, 268C).
In Spain, too, not long after the time of Isidore, the Arian king Recared was converted with his subjects, in consequence of which many local councils had to be held to establish orthodoxy. The first of them indeed took place in the time of Leo I and with his approval sent the rule of faith drawn up there by the bishops of Tarragona, Cartagena, Lusitania and Baetica (Andalusia) to Balconius, bishop of Galicia. (The council was held in A.D. 400 and the profession of faith was sent by Leo in 447.)
It reads like this:
'We believe in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, maker of things visible and invisible, by whom all things in heaven and on earth were made, that this one God and this one Trinity is of the divine substance: that however the Father is not the Son but has the Son, who is not the Father; the Son is not the Father but is the Son of God from the nature of the Father; that there is the Spirit, the Paraclete, who is neither Father nor Son, but proceeds from Father and the Son.'
That doctrine of the Procession of the Holy Spirit was repeated in many other councils of Toledo after the first -- the third (589), the fourth (633), the sixth (638), the twelfth (681) and the thirteenth (1062). All these took place before the sixth general Council and were held in high esteem. Now if the Church reverences the authority of individual Fathers, how much more that of such synods, convened and confirmed by the authority of the Holy See, wherein doctors of great name played their part.
There then, said Montenero, are some of the authorities I could quote of Saints and teachers who lived before the seventh Council, teachers recognized as such both in West and East. Next I must marshal the array of venerable Greek teachers who declare this truth like flashes of lightning.
But there was no time for him to begin the third part of his discourse because the day was already drawing on towards evening, so the session closed and he finished his exposition on 24 March.
On the following Tuesday, then, in the eighth session, the Dominican Provincial went through a long catena of passages from the eastern Fathers, and because these were more likely to impress the Greeks than his western authorities he let few pass without adding his commentary and drawing his conclusions.
As he ended his quotation and explanation the Greek text was on each occasion read out by Ambrogio Traversari. He began with two texts from St Basil, other than those already quoted in the earlier sessions, where Basil calls the Spirit the image and the word of the Son as the Son is image and word of the Father, (Ps. Basil, P.G. 29, 724C) which, he argued, implies a like relationship of nature and existence of the Spirit to the Son as the Son bears to the Father, and this with no suggestion of ambiguity.
Epiphanius, too, had been twice quoted earlier, so now Montenero brought forward two other passages. In the one Epiphanius described the Spirit as 'breathed from Father and Son' (P.G. 43, 153B) which, said Montenero, was our way of expressing the act of Procession: the other declared: 'If however Christ is believed to be from the Father, God from God; and the Spirit from Christ, in other words from both, as Christ said: "Who proceeds from the Father" and this "He will receive fiom mine"' (P.G. 42, 493B) Epiphanius, said John, founds his statement on the Scripture and on that basis asserts -- and without any hesitation, so Basil too cannot have doubted -- that the Spirit is God from God and from both.
Didymus, the master of St Jerome, who translated his book on the Holy Spirit into Latin, comes next in order of time. 'The Spirit', he wrote, 'when the Son speaks cannot hear what he does not know, since this is what is uttered by the Son' (P.G. 39, 1064C), where (concluded Montenero) the knowledge he received must be the divine essence, which in God is one and the same. A little later in the same work are these words: 'The Son is nothing else than what is given him by the Father, and the Holy Spirit is no other substance than what is given by the Son' (ibid. 1065D-1066A) -- a clear and unconditional declaration, and as Basil must have seen this work he cannot be thought to have expressed any doubt on this truth.
From Athanasius the Lombard Provincial quoted many passages (P.G.26, 376A, 118AB, 625AB, 640A, 580B), mostly comments on St John's 'He will receive from mine', designed in his arguments to prove that the Spirit receives from the Son as the Son from the Father, which in respect of the divine means an order of origin that, as the Son receives the divine nature from the Father, so the Spirit receives the divine nature from the Son. St Basil, as Montenero notes, in his books against Eunomius follows the same line of argument as Athanasius, establishing first a relation between Son and Father and then a parallel one between Spirit and Son.
So Athanasius wrote: 'For since the Son is one, the living Word, so the perfect, full, sanctifying and illuminating life should be one which is the operation and gift, which too is said to proceed from the Father, since he shines forth and is sent and given by the Word Whom we confess to be from the Father' (P.G. 26, 580A); and elsewhere he compares the Son as the source of the Spirit to a river flowing from its source. In the Dialogue against Arius that took place at Nicaea Athanasius objected: 'If the Spirit is not from the substance of the Father and the Son, why did the Son name him in the tradition of sanctification [i.e. the institution of baptism] where he says: "Going therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" ?' (Ps. Athansasius, P.G. 28, 489B).
Here (proceeded Montenero) he clearly states that the Spirit is of the substance of the Son. Eugenicus explained it thus -- of the substance in so far as it is common to both, thereby making the order between them merely one of words. But that explanation cannot stand, for in the same way we could say that the Father is of the substance of the Holy Spirit, or the Son of the substance of the Spirit, phrases which no theologian can view without horror. The preposition 'from' implies origin and consubstantiality, and to say that the Spirit is from the substance of the Son is tantamount to saying that he is from the Son substantially or that the Son produces him.
Cyril of Alexandria had been used at length by Eugenicus. Montenero quoted him even more, with a little introduction to prove that the Nestorians were heretical not only with regard to the Incarnation but also (pace Eugenicus) as regards the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, for, denying the divinity of Christ, they had to assert that he performed his miracles not in his own power, but by the power of another, in other words that the Spirit did not receive his essence from the Son, otherwise Christ, operating by the Spirit, would have been exercising his own power.
That was the theme of much of Cyril's letter Salvatore nostro which was approved by the Council of Chalcedon (P.G. 77, 105C f) The phrase 'He is not alien to the Son in respect of the one essence' (ibid. 181A) of his letter to John of Antioch is explained by Cyril himself, and not in the way in which the Metropolitan of Ephesus explained it as simply being of the same nature. For he calls him the Spirit of truth, which implies an origin, for Christ is the Truth; and goes on to say 'and flows forth from him as from God and Father' (ibid. 117C). This is clear enough, but just in case some should say that 'to flow forth' is not the same as 'proceed', listen to Cyril: 'He is consubstantial and flows forth indeed, that is proceeds as from a source from God and Father' (ibid.316D) where the Doctor of Chalcedon equates those two words.
That Council approved Cyril's letter and approved also that 'pillar of the faith' Leo, who wrote: 'One Who generated, another Who was generated, another Who proceeded from both' (P.L. 54, 680C, 681A), so that two Councils can be said to hold that the Spirit has his essence from the Son and proceeds from both.
In his book addressed to Hermias Cyril declares that the Son is in everything equal to the Father except in generation, and so therefore in spiration, which is not generation. He goes on to say: 'You shall call him the Holy Spirit Who naturally flows forth from the Father through the Son' (P.G. 75, 721D). But Procession through the Son implies Procession from the Son, for these two phrases though different as regards the formula of words yet mean the same thing. Theologians, however, are chary of using 'through' for fear of seeming to give grounds for the Arian explanation of the Son's being only a kind of conduit of the Spirit. Again his word 'naturally' -- indicates a flowing forth according to a likeness of nature, that is a receiving of a nature. So it follows that when Cyril used the words 'flow forth' he meant an eternal Procession by which the Spirit receives his nature from Father and Son.
Several more passages were quoted by Montenero out of the many that he said he could have produced had there been time, where Cyril speaks of the Son as 'producing from his plenitude his own, immovably residing, Spirit (P.G. 75, 844A); of the Spirit as teaching that he is 'not alien in substance from the Son, but in him and from him there comes a certain natural operation able to fill everything that he wishes' (ibid. 581C); 'We must confess him to be from the substance of the Son and possessing all the power and operation of God himself just as steam rises from water' (ibid. 573A); he calls him the 'Spirit of life', which even more than 'the Spirit of truth' indicates a relationship of origin (ibid. 600D); he declares that 'He comes forth from Father and Son' (ibid. 585A); that we must 'confess that he is from the substance of the Son. For as existing naturally from him and from him being sent to creatures he effects a renovation, he who is the completion of the Blessed Trinity' (ibid. 608AB).
With these quotations Montenero finished his exposition of his third part and then went on to criticize the arguments of Eugenicus. Mark had quoted Gregory of Nazianzus to show that the Spirit is from the Father only. Gregory certainly said that he proceeded from the Father, but that does not exclude the Son, just as Christ said; 'No one knows the Father but the Son' (Mt 11, 27), though obviously the Spirit knows him too. It is Eugenicus who always adds to 'proceeds from the Father' the word 'alone', a thing no doctor of the Church whether Greek or Latin did or dared to do, for they knew that every, thing is common to the three Persons except solely when relationship prevents it.
The only thing in the strictest sense proper to the Father is the generative power; just as the only thing in the strictest sense proper to the Son is to be generated. The spirative power of producing the Spirit is proper only in a wider sense and then to both, though the resultant Procession is in the strictest sense proper to the Spirit. The Son, however, has that spirative power (which does not militate with his property of sonship) from the Father, so that the Father is the first source and principle. This explanation solves not only Eugenicus' difficulty from Gregory but also invalidates the conclusions he drew from the words of Denis the Areopagite and of Athanasius, who call the Father the 'sole source of divinity'.
On the other hand, his argument from the words of Basil, who says: 'I understand the special relationship of the Holy Spirit to the Father when it is said: "He proceeds from the Father", and the special relationship of the Spirit to the Son when I hear: "Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (cf. P.G. 31, 609AB), needs no answer: it clearly indicates origin and proves my thesis, not Mark's.
There remain only the question of Charisius and the correspondence of Cyril with Theodoretus. Mark's statements on the former I have already refuted by explaining the scope of Cyril's letter Salvatore nostro. Cyril himself rejects the conclusions Mark would draw from the second, for Eugenicus implied that Cyril had made a retractation of what he had upheld at Ephesus, whereas that Saint had warned his friends 'even if a signed letter should be produced that we have done penance for what we did at Ephesus, let this be examined -- for we are by God's grace in our right minds and not out of our minds' (P.G. 77, 201A) -- that is, should he do such a thing, he would be mad: Theodoretus on the other hand was condemned by the fifth Council.
The Metropolitan of Ephesus has produced no other arguments, so I have nothing more to answer. The sacred Scriptures, then, the testimony of Greek Fathers and Latins alike, show that the Spirit is from Father and Son and that these are one principle, and that it cannot be denied that they are one principle unless a distinction is made after the fashion of the Arians between the natures of Father and Son. Their witness proves it clear as daylight. So I have performed my office. If anyone of you remains in doubt, I offer myself and these Fathers here as ready to defend the truth we profess.
I think this summs it all up. If the Father gave everything to the Son, then the Son would be the beginning of the Father and the Spirit...indeed absurdity.
The problem is pride. Admitting error would send the Latin Church into an unimaginable crisis of credibility. So, a linguistic formula is being sought that would claim Filioque to be inerrant, yet unnecessary, but not wrong. Unfortunately, that is never going to be enough. I simply don't see the Latin side ever admitting the heresy they embrased one thousand years ago, and a heresy they practiced in some parts of the Patriarchate of the West for 1,500 years.
Filioque is not what we believed "everywhere, always, and by all," and is not Scriptural, but a man-made tradition (Protestants should take note of that!).
Bump for later