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Author Topic: Question on the EO view of the Procession of the Holy Spirit  (Read 2708 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 03, 2011, 01:14:17 AM »

The following is a question for the Eastern Orthodox Christians on this forum. I have heard some EOs say that while it is not acceptable to say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, that it is OK to say that the Holy spirit proceeds from the from the Father through the Son. Here is what I want to know. Is this procession of the Holy Spirit through the Son an eternal procession or only a temporal one? I'm not trying to pick a fight or start a debate on the merits and problems of our respective faiths. I am simply looking for some information.
Thanks,
Chris
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« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 01:16:31 AM »

Oh boy!
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« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2011, 01:31:48 AM »

AFAIK, the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son is eternally begotten from the Father. Whenever God creates or acts within creation it is done by the activity and conjunction of the Word and the Spirit.
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« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2011, 01:55:14 AM »

. Here is what I want to know. Is this procession of the Holy Spirit through the Son an eternal procession or only a temporal one?[/size

Dear Chris,

The Orthodox are attentive to the liturgical prayers of the Orthodox Church.  They form a treasurehouse of theology.

At Great Vespers of Pentecost, at the psalm, "Lord, I Have Cried..." we intersperse 10 verses, including this one which follows after the Glory be...now and ever...:

Come, ye people, and let us worship the Godhead in three Hypostases - the Son in the Father, with the Holy Spirit; for the Father timelessly begat the Son, Who is equally eternal and equally enthroned, and the Holy Spirit was glorified with the Son in the Father: one power, one essence, one Godhead. And worshipping Him, let us all say: O holy God Who hast wrought all things through the Son with the coöperation of the Holy Spirit! O holy Mighty One [=Jesus Christ], by Whom we have come to know the Father, and through Whom the Holy Spirit has come into the world! O holy Immortal One, comforting Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father and dost rest in the Son! O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee!

And a follow-up comment from LBK:

Hear Hear! Yet again, I find myself saying "when in doubt as to what the Orthodox Church teaches, look first to the liturgical tradition!"

I cannot emphasise enough the immense importance of the treasure that is the hymnography of Vespers and Matins in proclaiming and teaching Orthodox doctrine and theology to us. Sadly, all too often, these services are not patronised anywhere nearly as much as they should. The Divine Liturgy is, of course, the pinnacle and fulfilment of the liturgical cycle, but the real theological and doctrinal "meat" which then informs the DL, is in Vespers and Matins.
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 05:48:58 AM »

Papist, I've never read or heard any Eastern Orthodox Christian, clergyman or layman, state that it's ok to say the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father through the Son," because the "Symbol of Faith," the Nicene-Constantinopolin Creed, at its 9th Article states,
"And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of Life, Who proceeds from the Father,"

This statement in the Creed is consistant with Holy Scripture at the Gospel of St. John the Theologian, Chapter 15, Verse 26:  "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of me."



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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 08:13:25 AM »

Come, ye people, and let us worship the Godhead in three Hypostases - the Son in the Father, with the Holy Spirit; for the Father timelessly begat the Son, Who is equally eternal and equally enthroned, and the Holy Spirit was glorified with the Son in the Father: one power, one essence, one Godhead. And worshipping Him, let us all say: O holy God Who hast wrought all things through the Son with the coöperation of the Holy Spirit! O holy Mighty One [=Jesus Christ], by Whom we have come to know the Father, and through Whom the Holy Spirit has come into the world! O holy Immortal One, comforting Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father and dost rest in the Son! O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee!

Wow. Could they come up with a worse translation or is it this bad in the Greek.
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 08:42:21 AM »

Come, ye people, and let us worship the Godhead in three Hypostases - the Son in the Father, with the Holy Spirit; for the Father timelessly begat the Son, Who is equally eternal and equally enthroned, and the Holy Spirit was glorified with the Son in the Father: one power, one essence, one Godhead. And worshipping Him, let us all say: O holy God Who hast wrought all things through the Son with the coöperation of the Holy Spirit! O holy Mighty One [=Jesus Christ], by Whom we have come to know the Father, and through Whom the Holy Spirit has come into the world! O holy Immortal One, comforting Spirit, Who proceedest from the Father and dost rest in the Son! O Holy Trinity, glory to Thee!

Wow. Could they come up with a worse translation or is it this bad in the Greek.

I thought the diaerisis (or however it's spelled) in "co-operation" was a nice touch.
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2011, 10:08:12 AM »

The following is a question for the Eastern Orthodox Christians on this forum. I have heard some EOs say that while it is not acceptable to say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, that it is OK to say that the Holy spirit proceeds from the from the Father through the Son. Here is what I want to know. Is this procession of the Holy Spirit through the Son an eternal procession or only a temporal one? I'm not trying to pick a fight or start a debate on the merits and problems of our respective faiths. I am simply looking for some information.
Thanks,
Chris
Temporal. Anything eternal of it would be just perichoresis and not hypostaic.
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2011, 11:16:32 AM »

Papist, I've never read or heard any Eastern Orthodox Christian, clergyman or layman, state that it's ok to say the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father through the Son,"

"Doctrinal concord should not (in ideal circumstances) be elusive. Indeed, were this simply a matter of theology, my impulse would be to defend the clause, so long as it is understood to mean that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son (the Father being, as scripture clearly reveals, the soul wellspring of the Godhead), because I believe that that is the authentic Eastern teaching as well, and the only teaching that can at once be made congruent with the evidence of scripture and the logic of Orthodox theological tradition."

- Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart
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« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2011, 09:51:39 PM »

The following is a question for the Eastern Orthodox Christians on this forum. I have heard some EOs say that while it is not acceptable to say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, that it is OK to say that the Holy spirit proceeds from the from the Father through the Son. Here is what I want to know. Is this procession of the Holy Spirit through the Son an eternal procession or only a temporal one? I'm not trying to pick a fight or start a debate on the merits and problems of our respective faiths. I am simply looking for some information.
Thanks,
Chris
Temporal. Anything eternal of it would be just perichoresis and not hypostaic.
Thank you for the clear and direct answer.
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« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2011, 11:17:03 PM »

The following is a question for the Eastern Orthodox Christians on this forum. I have heard some EOs say that while it is not acceptable to say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, that it is OK to say that the Holy spirit proceeds from the from the Father through the Son. Here is what I want to know. Is this procession of the Holy Spirit through the Son an eternal procession or only a temporal one? I'm not trying to pick a fight or start a debate on the merits and problems of our respective faiths. I am simply looking for some information.
Thanks,
Chris
Temporal. Anything eternal of it would be just perichoresis and not hypostaic.
Thank you for the clear and direct answer.

Wow...he didn't even bust out another map this time.  laugh
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2011, 03:46:33 AM »

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Both Churches,

Here is my question about this supposed critical controversy and disagreement between the Orthodox and Roman Churches:  If we do not and cannot even understand the nature of the Trinity, as affirmed by Orthodox fathers of the Church as well as Roman, then how can the words we use to indicate "procession" of the Spirit have any meaning at all?

Please excuse me if this seems a stupid question.  I am not an apologist, just a regular guy trying to live a faithful life.  I am no theologian.

As I recall, during one of the great debates between the Orthodox and Roman Bishops regarding the "filioque" the Orthodox apologist is famously reported to have asked his Roman counterpart, " if you can explain the trinity to me then I can explain the procession to you".  From a lay perception it would seem that he was making the point that they were arguing about the unknowable.

If this is true, and it seems to be so, then exactly why are we still arguing some 1000 years later?

If all of the trinity are eternal and equal, would it not be safe to say that the Spirit proceeded from the Spirit as well as from as from the Father or Son?

I have read the words used to describe the nature of the Trinity by theologians and it always seems to be a circuitous route to nowhere.  We do NOT understand the nature of God or of the Trinity, and can NOT.
So why is this one Latin word so important in the history of the "break" between the Churches?

Wasn't it more about 10th century politics and power than Christian dogma?

Once again, I apologize if this seems naive.  It is offered in complete honesty and not to provoke or cause scandal.  I understand the Eastern anger at the creed being altered by the Germans, I really do, but is it really critical Dogma? I agree that the Franks had no power or right to change the creed BUT the change itself really doesn't seem all that important or scandalous to this lay person. We both accept the Trinity and the supremacy of the Father, however it really works.  And we both accept that the Spirit came to the people to inspire them to seek their divinity.  Those seem to be the important points and we agree on them. 

I must confess that the "filipque" means NOTHING to my personal faith.  As I said I don't even know what God is, let alone how the trinity works.  The Spirit came, and through him I found the Church, that's good enough for me.

Regards,
William Unland
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2011, 07:19:50 AM »

Papist, I've never read or heard any Eastern Orthodox Christian, clergyman or layman, state that it's ok to say the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father through the Son,"

"Doctrinal concord should not (in ideal circumstances) be elusive. Indeed, were this simply a matter of theology, my impulse would be to defend the clause, so long as it is understood to mean that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son (the Father being, as scripture clearly reveals, the soul wellspring of the Godhead), because I believe that that is the authentic Eastern teaching as well, and the only teaching that can at once be made congruent with the evidence of scripture and the logic of Orthodox theological tradition."

- Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart

David Bentley Hart has had a mention before and none of the Orthodox here knew of him.  Enquiries were made on the clergy lists and none of the clergy knew of either.  Anybody have information?  An English academic?
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« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2011, 07:24:07 AM »


Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Both Churches,

Here is my question about this supposed critical controversy and disagreement between the Orthodox and Roman Churches:  If we do not and cannot even understand the nature of the Trinity, as affirmed by Orthodox fathers of the Church as well as Roman, then how can the words we use to indicate "procession" of the Spirit have any meaning at all?


Saint Gregory the Theologian who died about 388 AD is an erudite representative of the Church Fathers on the subject of the origins of the three Persons of the Trinity.  

You hear that there is generation? Do not waste your time in seeking after the how. You hear that the Spirit proceeds from the Father? Do not busy yourself about the how" [Orat XX, 2]  "You ask what is the procession of the Holy Spirit? Do tell me first what is the unbegottenness of the Father, then I will explain to you the physiology of the Son's generation and the Spirit's procession and both of us shall be stricken with madness for prying into the mystery of God" [Orat XXXI, 8]

The Fifth Theological Oration.On the Holy Spirit
by St Gregory Nazianzen


In my opinion the Western world has been long stricken with the madness against which Saint Gregory cautions.
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« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2011, 07:29:07 AM »

Papist, I've never read or heard any Eastern Orthodox Christian, clergyman or layman, state that it's ok to say the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father through the Son,"

"Doctrinal concord should not (in ideal circumstances) be elusive. Indeed, were this simply a matter of theology, my impulse would be to defend the clause, so long as it is understood to mean that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son (the Father being, as scripture clearly reveals, the soul wellspring of the Godhead), because I believe that that is the authentic Eastern teaching as well, and the only teaching that can at once be made congruent with the evidence of scripture and the logic of Orthodox theological tradition."

- Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart

David Bentley Hart has had a mention before and none of the Orthodox here knew of him.  Enquiries were made on the clergy lists and none of the clergy knew of either.  Anybody have information?  An English academic?

Can't vouch for the accuracy, but here are a couple of links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bentley_Hart

http://orthodoxwiki.org/David_Bentley_Hart

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« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2011, 06:02:19 PM »

Here is my question about this supposed critical controversy and disagreement between the Orthodox and Roman Churches:  If we do not and cannot even understand the nature of the Trinity, as affirmed by Orthodox fathers of the Church as well as Roman, then how can the words we use to indicate "procession" of the Spirit have any meaning at all?

Please excuse me if this seems a stupid question.  I am not an apologist, just a regular guy trying to live a faithful life.  I am no theologian.

As I recall, during one of the great debates between the Orthodox and Roman Bishops regarding the "filioque" the Orthodox apologist is famously reported to have asked his Roman counterpart, " if you can explain the trinity to me then I can explain the procession to you".  From a lay perception it would seem that he was making the point that they were arguing about the unknowable.

If this is true, and it seems to be so, then exactly why are we still arguing some 1000 years later?

You are basically making the Orthodox case. Christ said the "Spirit proceeds from the Father", so we know that through revelation--anything beyond that is vain speculation.

So then why did Rome insist, to the point of being willing to break communion, on adding to the words of the Son--words the first ecumenical councils included unchanged in the Creed and which the Third Ecumenical Council declared could not be added to or altered? All Orthodoxy called for was fidelity to the words of Christ and the Ecumenical Councils--if people wanted to have their own personal speculations about 'and the Son', 'with the Son', 'through the Son' that's fine, but you cannot insist on them.

(Of course, since the schism, Rome has made it even worse, adopting language at the 'ecumenical' councils of Lyons and Florence that goes well beyond just adding to the filioque into attempts to define the undefinable in ways that are blatantly subordinatinist--but those are subsequent to the original problem which was simply the attempt to make dogmatic insistence of something that simply can't be known outside of revelation).

Quote
If all of the trinity are eternal and equal, would it not be safe to say that the Spirit proceeded from the Spirit as well as from as from the Father or Son?

No, we cannot say that. For the same reason that we cannot say that the Son begets Himself or that the Son begets the Father. The members of the Trinity are one in Essence but they are not interchangeable. The One God has revealed Himself to us as Three Persons--One of Whom begets and is proceeded from, One of Whom is Begotten, One of Whom Proceeds. Treating them as interchangeable would lead directly into the (condemned) heresy of Sabellianism.

Quote
Once again, I apologize if this seems naive.  It is offered in complete honesty and not to provoke or cause scandal.  I understand the Eastern anger at the creed being altered by the Germans, I really do, but is it really critical Dogma?

You do realize that the split did not come when the Germans altered the creed? The East was critical of the filioque for centuries, but we are not the ones who broke communion over it. The East is more baffled than angry--if it's not important, then why don't you guys drop it and return to the original, universally-agreed upon Creed? It's only a point of contention because you keep insisting on it.

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« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2011, 07:43:06 PM »

The following is a question for the Eastern Orthodox Christians on this forum. I have heard some EOs say that while it is not acceptable to say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, that it is OK to say that the Holy spirit proceeds from the from the Father through the Son. Here is what I want to know. Is this procession of the Holy Spirit through the Son an eternal procession or only a temporal one? I'm not trying to pick a fight or start a debate on the merits and problems of our respective faiths. I am simply looking for some information.
Thanks,
Chris
Temporal. Anything eternal of it would be just perichoresis and not hypostaic.
Thank you for the clear and direct answer.

Wow...he didn't even bust out another map this time.  laugh


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« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2011, 08:58:10 PM »

whats an Orthodox opinion of that chart? I've always seen that as an evangelical...
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« Reply #18 on: December 04, 2011, 09:00:42 PM »

whats an Orthodox opinion of that chart? I've always seen that as an evangelical...
Well, I'm not sure about the orthodox opinion of this, but I just thought that this thread needed a map of something.
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« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2011, 09:02:37 PM »

whats an Orthodox opinion of that chart? I've always seen that as an evangelical...
Well, I'm not sure about the orthodox opinion of this, but I just thought that this thread needed a map of something.

 laugh
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« Reply #20 on: December 04, 2011, 10:26:26 PM »

This post may read to be aggressive in tone; it is not intended to be so.

Often, I think we tend to speak as if we are theologians, which, most of us are not, or, we simply think too much.

Referring back to my Reply No. 4, no mater what may have been written by holy, spiritual men, the Orthodox have our Creed, the "Symbol of Faith," issued by the Undivided Church, and its 9th Article, which, as to this discussion is clear:  "And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of Life, who proceeds from the Father"(Gospel of St. John 15: 26).

This article of the Creed, which our church pronounces as doctrine, i.e. matters that must be believed, is supported by scripture, "...the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father"

It is not for the faithful to come up with our own brilliance, "Well I think they mean that....;"  Doesn't it make sense that..."  The Creed and the scripture are not written ambiguously; they are clear and specific.

Didn't a pope have the words of the Creed, as originally promulgated, accepted by the church, and later ratified by the 3rd Ecumenical Synod (Council), have the Creed emblazoned in silver so that its language would never be changed?

In response to a question above, as to how the innovation of the procession of the Holy Spirit  "and the Son," was added to the Creed, I thought the council that wrote it in Spain, was fighting Moors, Moslem hoards, and felt these words would emphasize the divinity of Jesus Christ, in response to the Moslem heresy.  Also, while popes refused to allow these words to amend the Creed, I thought it was Charlemagne who coerced the pope to add the filioque, because he was working toward establishing the Holy Roman Empire, in 800, and felt the change to the Creed would distinguish the West and his empire from the Eastern Church, which was in the East Roman, or Byzantine Empire.
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« Reply #21 on: December 04, 2011, 10:34:57 PM »

Papist, I've never read or heard any Eastern Orthodox Christian, clergyman or layman, state that it's ok to say the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father through the Son,"

"Doctrinal concord should not (in ideal circumstances) be elusive. Indeed, were this simply a matter of theology, my impulse would be to defend the clause, so long as it is understood to mean that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son (the Father being, as scripture clearly reveals, the soul wellspring of the Godhead), because I believe that that is the authentic Eastern teaching as well, and the only teaching that can at once be made congruent with the evidence of scripture and the logic of Orthodox theological tradition."

- Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart

David Bentley Hart has had a mention before and none of the Orthodox here knew of him.  Enquiries were made on the clergy lists and none of the clergy knew of either.  Anybody have information?  An English academic?
He has come up a bit on other blogs, Orthodox or former Orthodox, Father.  American Academic.
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« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2011, 10:38:39 PM »

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Both Churches,

Here is my question about this supposed critical controversy and disagreement between the Orthodox and Roman Churches:  If we do not and cannot even understand the nature of the Trinity, as affirmed by Orthodox fathers of the Church as well as Roman, then how can the words we use to indicate "procession" of the Spirit have any meaning at all?

Please excuse me if this seems a stupid question.  I am not an apologist, just a regular guy trying to live a faithful life.  I am no theologian.

As I recall, during one of the great debates between the Orthodox and Roman Bishops regarding the "filioque" the Orthodox apologist is famously reported to have asked his Roman counterpart, " if you can explain the trinity to me then I can explain the procession to you".  From a lay perception it would seem that he was making the point that they were arguing about the unknowable.

If this is true, and it seems to be so, then exactly why are we still arguing some 1000 years later?

If all of the trinity are eternal and equal, would it not be safe to say that the Spirit proceeded from the Spirit as well as from as from the Father or Son?

I have read the words used to describe the nature of the Trinity by theologians and it always seems to be a circuitous route to nowhere.  We do NOT understand the nature of God or of the Trinity, and can NOT.
So why is this one Latin word so important in the history of the "break" between the Churches?
Because it contradicts the Greek word the Evangelist records Christ using on the matter.

Wasn't it more about 10th century politics and power than Christian dogma?
No.
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« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2011, 10:49:04 PM »


Wasn't it more about 10th century politics and power than Christian dogma?
No.


Indeed. I think everyone here, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox can agree that 10th century politics had nothing to do with it. 11th century politics on the other hand....
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« Reply #24 on: December 04, 2011, 10:52:45 PM »

whats an Orthodox opinion of that chart? I've always seen that as an evangelical...
Well, I'm not sure about the orthodox opinion of this, but I just thought that this thread needed a map of something.
I'm not an expert on Triadology by any means, but I can't see any grounds for a small-o orthodox Chrsitan to dispute that.
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« Reply #25 on: December 04, 2011, 11:05:33 PM »

whats an Orthodox opinion of that chart? I've always seen that as an evangelical...
That chart could certainly be improved, to indicate the movements of procession, begottenness, and the Father as the Source (and not some generic "God").
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« Reply #26 on: December 05, 2011, 08:52:09 AM »

whats an Orthodox opinion of that chart? I've always seen that as an evangelical...
That chart could certainly be improved, to indicate the movements of procession, begottenness, and the Father as the Source (and not some generic "God").

Perhaps something along these lines?

                 /---------\
                 |  Father  |
                 \---------/
                   /         \
     begets    /           \  proceeds
                 /             \
                V  sends    V
         /-----\------->/-----------\
         | Son |           | Holy Spirit |
         \-----/<-------\-----------/
                   rests in

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« Reply #27 on: December 05, 2011, 01:13:53 PM »

that is a good chart melodist, but it doesn't really explain very clearly the oneness of the Three imo...
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« Reply #28 on: December 05, 2011, 01:15:15 PM »


Wasn't it more about 10th century politics and power than Christian dogma?
No.


Indeed. I think everyone here, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox can agree that 10th century politics had nothing to do with it. 11th century politics on the other hand....

haha now thats a different beast entirely now isn't it? Wink
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« Reply #29 on: December 05, 2011, 01:16:57 PM »

whats an Orthodox opinion of that chart? I've always seen that as an evangelical...
That chart could certainly be improved, to indicate the movements of procession, begottenness, and the Father as the Source (and not some generic "God").

yes I agree, the idea of a "hierarchy" is all but lost in this. Perhaps hierarchy isn't the right word with respect to the role of the Father, maybe first among equals? Wink
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« Reply #30 on: December 05, 2011, 01:19:16 PM »

that is a good chart melodist, but it doesn't really explain very clearly the oneness of the Three imo...
the one God has always been with his Word and Spirit.

The end!
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« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2011, 01:29:46 PM »

that is a good chart melodist, but it doesn't really explain very clearly the oneness of the Three imo...
the one God has always been with his Word and Spirit.

The end!
...uh...the Word is the one God. As is the Spirit.
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« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2011, 01:36:56 PM »

that is a good chart melodist, but it doesn't really explain very clearly the oneness of the Three imo...
the one God has always been with his Word and Spirit.

The end!
...uh...the Word is the one God. As is the Spirit.

Better tell the Fathers of Nicea.  angel
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« Reply #33 on: December 05, 2011, 02:00:31 PM »


Wasn't it more about 10th century politics and power than Christian dogma?
No.


Indeed. I think everyone here, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox can agree that 10th century politics had nothing to do with it. 11th century politics on the other hand....

haha now thats a different beast entirely now isn't it? Wink

You wouldn't believe. In the 10th century the Byzantine Empire was at its peak and Europe was too worried about those Viking incursions. In the 11th century the Byzantine Empire was beginning its decline and the Vikings had become the Normans- the Normans being responsible for most of the shenanigans and hijinks that would plague Europe for the next millennium. For starters, thanks to them, perfectly acceptable Old English words suddenly became our modern "swear words", the early workable Feudalism model became a despotic hell-hole, and Southern Italy became Roman Catholic.
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« Reply #34 on: December 05, 2011, 08:40:31 PM »

My mistake.  I always forget that the 10 hundreds are the eleventh century and so forth. That said I think that history is a bit more convoluted than the simple "the vikings did it" scenario presented. There was certainly well documented disagreement between the Byzantine Empire and Rome regarding primacy which had little or nothing to do with Christianity in central and Western Europe.

Back to the incident matter, I have always understood that the use of "filioque" was to instill in the illiterate laymen the idea of the trinity.  Since they likely only knew a few prayers, one of which was the creed it became important to fight the heresies involving the divinity of the Son, Spirit, etc., and the inclusion of all three in the statement regarding the procession of the Spirit was the tool used.  I doubt that the reason was to destroy tradition or change fundamental dogma.  I don't see it as "damaging" is what I am trying to get at. 

Again perhaps I just don't understand all of the theological complexity of the issue, but since the whole trinity is unknown to me it just doesn't seem worth fighting for a 1000 years about.

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« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2011, 12:42:28 AM »

Again perhaps I just don't understand all of the theological complexity of the issue, but since the whole trinity is unknown to me it just doesn't seem worth fighting for a 1000 years about.

Like most Orthodox who have spent much time studying it, I follow St. Photios in seeing some significant doctrinal problems with the filioque. But even if we forget all that and assume it's unimportant, that the begs question of why the West has spent the last 1000 years making it an issue?

Summary of the History of the filioque:
West: We're going to change the Creed.
East: The Third Ecumenical Council said we shouldn't do that.
West: No, we've changed the Creed.
East: That's a bad idea. You shouldn't do that.
West: Well. We've changed the Creed.
East: ....
West: Now, you need to change the Creed.
East: We're not going to do that.
West: You better change the Creed.
East: We're not going to do that.
a 1000 years pass
West: Look, the change really doesn't matter.
East: Okay. So drop it.
West: ...


Obviously that a simplification. In particular, in the first couple of lines 'West' actually means 'the Far West' while 'East' means 'The Pope+the East'.
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« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2011, 12:47:34 AM »

the whole trinity is unknown to me

You: "No one has seen God at any time"

Us: "The only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."
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« Reply #37 on: December 06, 2011, 12:51:55 AM »

My mistake.  I always forget that the 10 hundreds are the eleventh century and so forth. That said I think that history is a bit more convoluted than the simple "the vikings did it" scenario presented. There was certainly well documented disagreement between the Byzantine Empire and Rome regarding primacy which had little or nothing to do with Christianity in central and Western Europe.

Back to the incident matter, I have always understood that the use of "filioque" was to instill in the illiterate laymen the idea of the trinity.  Since they likely only knew a few prayers, one of which was the creed it became important to fight the heresies involving the divinity of the Son, Spirit, etc., and the inclusion of all three in the statement regarding the procession of the Spirit was the tool used.  I doubt that the reason was to destroy tradition or change fundamental dogma.  I don't see it as "damaging" is what I am trying to get at. 

Again perhaps I just don't understand all of the theological complexity of the issue, but since the whole trinity is unknown to me it just doesn't seem worth fighting for a 1000 years about.
Good. So the Vatican can drop it, erase it from its "deposit of faith," and we will not have to fight about it.
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« Reply #38 on: December 06, 2011, 02:21:58 AM »

the whole trinity is unknown to me

You: "No one has seen God at any time"

Us: "The only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."


To be honest I must admit to having missed that part in the gospels where Jesus describes the nature of the Father and the divine except in general principals.  I think what I was trying to say is that I have no clue as to how the Father is constituted, or what the nature of the trinity is.  I know I am not using the proper theological phrases here as my training and education lay elsewhere I'm afraid.

To simplify, I don't know what God "looks like", I don't know "how" he exists outside of the world that I know, and the trinity is a total mystery, which I accept without "explanation".

As far as the explanation by "WITEGA" of the back and forth of the fight over the filioque, I do not necessarily disagree with the presentation.  I don't know enough of the history to judge otherwise.  If the Roman Magisterium where to remove the filioque from the creed it would not alter my belief system in the least.  As I said I do not believe that those who started adding the phrase on a local area basis in Spain and later France had any nefarious intent.  I believe as I said that it was to enforce the concept of the divine trinity to a ignorant newly converted populous, and as such was not contrary to any doctrine, other than the agreement and stipulation of the early councils NOT to change the creed.  My first post makes my feelings clear that I believe that it should NOT have been done for that very reason.  i will not argue that the gospel should have been addended as it was in the creed, but the creed was never presented as a word for word "re-mix' of the Gospels.  It was and is a statement of belief which was put together by the early fathers, and in theory at least could have been altered by them.

I also do not disagree that Charles the Frank forced the Pope to accept it, i think it clear that he did.  Why I am n ot so sure of.  To seperate West from East, that could very well be, but I don't believe there is any historical record of his having said that.   Just as I suggested politics, not theology.

In short the whole thing seems overblown to me at this point.  Neither side can budge now because we are both locked in our own self righteousness.  I don't think removing that word from the creed would change the Roman Church, or its underlying belief system one iota.  God knows my Church has bigger and more pressing problems at hand.

If that was the only thing stopping reconciliation between us, which unfortunately is not the case, and God forbid I was Pope I would call a council to dump it. As your own apologist to the west, C. Ware now believes, we really belive the same thing, we just use different words to express it.  The Greek and the Latin have different meanings, but really it is nits we are a picking. Of course that is my simple minded opinion and nothing more.

Regards,
William Unland
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« Reply #39 on: December 06, 2011, 03:38:08 AM »

The following is a question for the Eastern Orthodox Christians on this forum. I have heard some EOs say that while it is not acceptable to say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, that it is OK to say that the Holy spirit proceeds from the from the Father through the Son. Here is what I want to know. Is this procession of the Holy Spirit through the Son an eternal procession or only a temporal one? I'm not trying to pick a fight or start a debate on the merits and problems of our respective faiths. I am simply looking for some information.
Thanks,
Chris
You can read about this question the Tomos of Blachernae Council of 1285:

http://www.oocities.org/trvalentine/orthodox/tomos1285.html

Eternal procession through the Son in the meaning which you imply (that the Holy Spirit has its existence through the Son) was anathematized.
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« Reply #40 on: December 06, 2011, 06:57:08 PM »

In short the whole thing seems overblown to me at this point.  Neither side can budge now because we are both locked in our own self righteousness.
That's definitely not a fair assessment for either side. Both believe that they are maintaining the true faith as delivered by Jesus Christ and expounded by the Holy Fathers. It really has nothing at all to do with "self-righteousness." It has to do with fidelity to the apostolic tradition of the catholic church.
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« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2011, 07:29:25 PM »

the whole trinity is unknown to me

You: "No one has seen God at any time"

Us: "The only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him."


To be honest I must admit to having missed that part in the gospels where Jesus describes the nature of the Father and the divine except in general principals...

...the trinity is a total mystery, which I accept without "explanation".

I was quoting John's gospel when I said "explained him". So perhaps you should check again.  Wink

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To simplify, I don't know what God "looks like"

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« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2011, 07:32:01 PM »

As I said I do not believe that those who started adding the phrase on a local area basis in Spain and later France had any nefarious intent.  
Nobody has ascribed such intent to them.
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« Reply #43 on: December 07, 2011, 04:50:40 AM »

William,

It's getting kind of difficult to know how to respond to you. I get the impression that you genuinely believe you are making an irenic point. Yet what you are actually coming across as, is as someone who wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Multiple points
I) You want to use the 'incomprehensibility of God' as a reason to avoid debate about whether the filioque is true or not. Yet both our Churches agree that while God is incomprehensible in His essence, certain doctrines about Him have been revealed to us, and those doctrines matter.

"I believe...in the Son, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages."

There is much in that that is incomprehensible to the human mind. But just because we can't fully comprehend it, that does not mean we are free to change it. You cannot say "well, the begottenness of the Son is incomprehensible so I'm free to say 'the Son is Unbegotten' or the 'The Father is begotten of the Son' or 'The Son is begotten of the Father and the Mother before all ages'"--not and continue to consider yourself a Christian (much less a good Roman Catholic).

In the same way, Orthodox believe that "the Spirit proceeds from the Father" is a doctrine revealed to us by the Son. As such, even while admitting that we cannot fully comprehend what that means, it *matters* (otherwise Christ would not have bothered to mention it or the Evangelist to record it) and we are not free to change it at will.

Now, my own impression is that (at least in general), your Fathers did not believe they could change it will. I think they added the filioque because they honestly believed that it (however they interpreted it) was at least as true as the original words of our Lord. And while I disagree with them, I can at least respect that. But when you come in and say that a clearly doctrinal statement doesn't/shouldn't matter that doesn't come across as irenic. Rather it comes across as dismissive and disrespectful of all those Fathers (in East and West) who struggled and suffered and in some cases died for fidelity to the Apostolic doctrine.

II) (and this is the heart of my 'have your cake and eat it too' comment)
There are really only 3 options regarding the filioque
1) It's false. And therefore Rome was and is in the wrong to have adopted it and then to have gone into schism (in part) over it.
2) It's true. In which case Rome's behavior in the 11th century was in some senses defensible, and the East has gotten into the wrong with its subsequent condemnations of the filioque, and was definitely in the wrong post-Florence.
3) We can't know whether it's true or false.

You are positing 3. But you are doing so while ignoring the consequences. Because "the Spirit proceeds from the Father" and "the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son" were never equally balanced choices. "The Spirit proceeds from the Father" are the words of our Lord Himself and then were affirmed by every Ecumenical Council that our Churches agree on. One cannot question it's truth without courting the blasphemy of implying Christ didn't know what He was talking about. If the filoque is simply 'possibly true' or 'we can't say if it's true or it's false', then that means that in the dispute over the filioque, the East held to the Truth, while Rome was willing to abandon the unity of the Church for something less than the Truth.

Or in other words, unless one actually embraces the filioque as being as true as any other part of the fundamental doctrine of the Church, then intellectual honesty should demand recognition that Rome fell into error and schism in the 11th century. And if one recognizes that one is in a schismatic organization, the proper response is not to defend it, but to go find the true Church.


(And as a sidenote--I agree with NicholasMyra. No one has impugned the motives of the adopters of the filioque. But it is entirely possible to have good intentions and still be wrong or make mistakes).
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« Reply #44 on: December 07, 2011, 08:00:43 AM »

Thank you for taking the time to write a thoughtful reply.

I am afraid that I am not being understood to some extent as I am NOT a regular debater or apologist and am fumbling about to try to express myself.  I am not a heretic.  Nor am I trying to diminish from the teachings of my Church.  It seems that I should probably just keep my thoughts to myself.  They are of little value  to an educated discussion in any case as I am not prepared to quote references or early Church Fathers.  I was trained in biochemistry and law, not theology.

All I will saying passing  is that I have read some opinions from Orthodox apologists that feel that the differences in the two Church's teaching regarding the filioque have more to do with language use as opposed to any actual difference in belief.  That was the whole point of my posts.  I just don't understand the huge perceived gap between our Churches. I assure you I was not trying to speak against either, just being a bit over dramatically dismissive of the differences which I see as minimal.  But enough of that before I dig the hole any deeper.

The problem with these discussion boards is that theological language has specific meaning which I do not comprehend.  I am usually out of my league and inevitably get in trouble.  Perhaps I should disappear again and tend to my own salvation and not enter into discussion where I contribute little of any value.

Thank you for your patience.  I hope God blesses all here in their own spiritual journey. I will not burden the discussion further.

Regards,
W.Unland
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