THE CREED OF NICAEA (325) We believe in one God the Father All-sovereign, maker of all thi

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

THE CREED OF NICAEA (325) ------------------------- We believe in one God the Father All-sovereign, maker of all things. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only-begotten, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made, things in heaven and things on the earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, and became man, suffered, and rose on the third day, ascended into the heavens, and is coming to judge living and dead. And in the Holy Spirit. And those that say 'There was when he was not,' and, 'Before he was begotten he was not,' and that, 'He came into being from what-is-not,' or those that allege, that the son of God is 'Of another substance or essence' or 'created,' or 'changeable' or 'alterable,' these the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes. (Bettenson, pg. 25) THE NICENE CREED (Constantinople, 381) -------------------------------------- We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended in heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. (BCP, pp. 358-359) --------------------------------------------------------------- THE NICENE CREED The Nicene Creed is the most widely accepted and used brief statements of the Christian Faith. In liturgical churches, it is said every Sunday as part of the Liturgy. It is Common Ground to East Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Calvinists, and many other Christian groups. Many groups that do not have a tradition of using it in their services nevertheless are committed to the doctrines it teaches. (Someone may ask, "What about the Apostles' Creed?" Traditionally, in the West, the Apostles' Creed is used at Baptisms, and the Nicene Creed at the Eucharist (aka the Mass, the Liturgy, the Lord's Supper, or the Holy Communion). The East uses only the Nicene Creed.) I here present the Nicene Creed in two English translations, The first is the traditional one, in use with minor variations since 1549, The second is a modern version, that of (I think) The Interdenominational Committee on Liturgical Texts. Notes and comment by me follow. TRADITIONAL WORDING I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried; and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and he shall come again, with glory, to judge both the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and Giver of Live, who proceedeth from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the Prophets. And I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN. MODERN WORDING We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN. NOTES AND COMMENT When the Apostles' Creed was drawn up, the chief enemy was Gnosticism, which denied that Jesus was truly Man; and the emphases of the Apostles' Creed reflect a concern with repudiating this error. When the Nicene Creed was drawn up, the chief enemy was Arianism, which denied that Jesus was fully God. Arius was a presbyter (=priest = elder) in Alexandria in Egypt, in the early 300's. He taught that the Father, in the beginning, created (or begot) the Son, and that the Son, in conjunction with the Father, then proceeded to create the world. The result of this was to make the Son a created being, and hence not God in any meaningful sense. It was also suspiciously like the theories of those Gnostics and pagans who held that God was too perfect to create something like a material world, and so introduced one or more intermediate beings between God and the world. God created A, who created B, who created C... who created Z, who created the world. Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, sent for Arius and questioned him. Arius stuck to his position, and was finally excommunicated by a council of Egyptian bishops. He went to Nicomedia in Asia, where he wrote letters defending his position to various bishops. Finally, the Emperor Constantine summoned a council of Bishops in Nicea (across the straits from modern Istambul), and there in 325 the Bishops of the Church, by a decided majority, repudiated Arius and produced the first draft of what is now called the Nicene Creed. A chief spokesman for the full deity of Christ was Athanasius, deacon of Alexandria, assistant (and later successor) to the aging Alexander. The Arian position has been revived in our own day by the Watchtower Society (the JW's), who explicitly hail Arius as a great witness to the truth. I here print the Creed (modern wording) a second time, with notes inserted. * We believe in one God, * the Father, the Almighty, * maker of heaven and earth, * of all that is, seen and unseen. * We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, * the only son of God, Here and elswhere (such as John 1:14) where the Greek has MONOGENETOS HUIOS, an English translation may read either "only Son" or "only begotten Son." The Greek is ambiguous. The root GEN is found in words like "genital, genetics, generation," and suggests begetting. However, it is also found in words like "genus" and suggests family or sort or kind. Accordingly, we may take MONOGENETOS to mean either "only begotten" or "one-of-a-kind, only, sole, unique". * eternally begotten of the Father, Here the older translation has "begotten of the Father before all worlds." One might suppose that this means, "before the galaxies were formed," or something of the kind. But in fact the English word "world" used to mean something a little different. It is related to "were" (pronounced "weer"), an old word for "man," as in "werewolf" or "weregild." (Compare with Latin VIR.) Hence a "world" was originally a span of time equal to the normal lifespan of a man. Often in the KJV Bible, one finds "world" translating the Greek AION ("eon"), and a better translation today would be "age." (Thus, for example, in Matthew 24:3, the question is one of "the end of the age," which makes it possible to understand what follows as a description of the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70, and of the end of an era in the spiritual history of mankind. But I digress.) So here we have "begotten of the Father before all times, before all ages." Arius was fond of saying, "The Logos is not eternal. God begat him, and before he was begotten, he did not exist." The Athanasians replied that the begetting of the Logos was not an event in time, but an eternal relationship. * God from God, Light from Light, A favorite analogy of the Athanasians was the following: Light is continously streaming forth from the sun. (In those days, it was generally assumed that light was instantaneous, so that there was no delay at all between the time that a ray of light left the sun and the time it struck the earth.) The rays of light are derived from the sun, and not vice versa. But it is not the case that first the sun existed and afterwards the Light. It is possible to imagine that the sun has always existed, and always emitted light. The Light, then, is derived from the sun, but the Light and the sun exist simultaneously throughout eternity. They are co-eternal. Just so, the Son exists because the Father exists, but there was never a time before the Father produced the Son. The analogy is further appropriate because we can know the sun only through the rays of light that it emits. To see the sunlight is to see the sun. Just so, Jesus says, "He who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:9) * true God from true God, * begotten, not made, This line was inserted by way of repudiating Arius's teaching that the Son was the first thing that the Father created, and that to say that the Father begets the Son is simply another way of saying that the Father has created the Son. Arius said that if the Father has begotten the Son, then the Son must be inferior to the Father, as a prince is inferior to a king. Athanasius replied that a son is precisely the same sort of being as his father, and that the only son of a king is destined himself to be a king. It is true that an earthly son is younger than his father, and that there is a time when he is not yet what he will be. But God is not in time. Time, like distance, is a relation between physical events, and has meaning only in the context of the physical universe. When we say that the Son is begotten of the Father, we do not refer to an event in the remote past, but to an eternal and timeless relation between the Persons of the Godhead. Thus, while we say of an earthly prince that he may some day hope to become what his father is now, we say of God the Son that He is eternally what God the Father is eternally. * of one being with the Father. This line: "of one essence with the Father, of one substance with the Father, consubstantial with the Father," (in Greek, HOMO-OUSIOS TW PATRI) was the crucial one, the acid test. It was the one formula that the Arians could not interpret as meaning what they believed. Without it, they would have continued to teach that the Son is good, and glorious, and holy, and a Mighty Power, and God's chief agent in creating the world, and the means by which God chiefly reveals Himself to us, and therefore deserving in some sense to be called divine. But they would have continued to deny that the Son was God in the same sense in which the Father is God. And they would have pointed out that, since the Council of Nicea had not issued any declaration that they could not accept, it followed that there was room for their position inside the tent of Christian doctrine, as that tent had been defined at Nicea. Arius and his immediate followers would have denied that they were reducing the Son to the position of a high-ranking angel. But their doctrine left no safeguard against it, and if they had triumphed at Nicea, even in the negative sense of having their position acknowledged as a permissible one within the limits of Christian orthodoxy, the damage to the Christian witness to Christ as God made flesh would have been irreparable. Incidentally, HOMOOUSIOS is generally written without the hyphen. The OU (in Greek as in French) is pronounced as in "soup", "group", and so on, and the word has five syllables HO-mo-OU-si-os, with accents on first and third, as shown. The Greek root HOMO, meaning "same," is found in English words like "homosexual" and "homogenized", and is not to be confused with the Latin word HOMO, meaning "man, human". The language finally adopted in the East was that the Trinity consists of three HYPOSTASES (singular HYPOSTASIS) united in one OUSIA. The formula used in the West, and going back at least to Tertullian (who wrote around 200, and whose writings are the oldest surviving Christian treatises written in Latin), is that the Trinity consists of three PERSONAE (singular PERSONA) united in one SUBSTANTIA. In English, we say "Three Persons in one Substance." Unfortunately, the Greek HYPO-STASIS and the Latin SUB-STANTIA each consists of an element meaning "under, below" (as in "hypodermic", "hypothermia", etc) followed by an element meaning "stand". Thus it was natural for a Greek-speaker, reading a Latin document that referred to One SUBSTANTIA to substitute mentally a reference to One HYPOSTASIS, and to be very uncomfortable, while a Latin-speaker would have the same problem in reverse. Thus the seeds were sown for a breakdown of communication. * Through him all things were made. This is a direct quote from John 1:3. Before the insertion of the HOMO-OUSIOS clause, this line immediately followed "begotten, not made." The two lines go naturally together. The Son is not a created thing. Rather, He is the agent through Whom all created things come to be. Inserting the HOMO-OUSIOS at this point breaks up the flow, and if I had been present at the Council of Nicea, I would have urged the bishops to insert it one line further down instead. In the older translation, in particular, someone reading the Creed is likely to understand it as referring to "The Father by whom all things were made." The newer translation, by revising the English wording, makes this misreading less likely. * For us and for our salvation The older translation has, "for us men." Now, while English has in common current usage the one word "man" to do duty both for gender-inclusive ("human") and for gender-specific ("male"), Latin has "homo, homin-" for gender-inclusive and "vir" for gender-specific, while Greek has "anthropos" for gender-inclusive and "aner, andro-" for gender-specific. (Given the demand for a similar distinction in English, I have been arguing for a gender-inclusive use of "man", and the revival of the older word "were" (as in "werewolf" and "weregild") in the gender-specific sense. But so far I have had but scant success.) Where the older translation of the Creed is used, with its "for us men" at this point, a feminist might consider complaining of sexist language. But the Greek and Latin wording here are both gender-inclusive, and so a feminist, reading the Creed in either of those languages, ought to find nothing that will upset him. * he came down from heaven: * by the power of the Holy Spirit * he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, * and was made man. * For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; * he suffered death and was buried. You will note that the older translation has here simply, "He suffered and was buried" (Latin, "passus et sepultus est"). Apparently by the time of Nicea, it was no longer necessary to emphasize, to spell out unmistakeably, that Christ had really died at Calvary, as it had been spelled out in the Apostles' Creed. And indeed, I have never heard anyone try to argue that the Creed here leaves a loophole for those who want to believe that Jesus merely swooned on the Cross. So apparently the Nicene Fathers were right in supposing that their language would not be misunderstood. However, the framers of the new translation decided to make the meaning unmistakeable and to close this particular loophole. And I for one am not sorry. * On the third day he rose again * in accordance with the Scriptures; The wording here is borrowed from 1 Corinthians 15:4. The older translation has "according to the Scriptures," which in terms of modern language is misleading. Today, when we say, "It will rain tomorrow, according to the weatherman," we mean, "The weatherman says that it will rain, but whether he is right is another question." And this is clearly not what either St. Paul or the Nicene Fathers had in mind. The newer translation is an improvement. I would have suggested, "in fulfilment of the Scriptures," which is clearly what is meant. * he ascended into heaven * and is seated at the right hand of the Father. * He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, * and his kingdom will have no end. * * We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, * who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. The words shown in brackets, "and from the Son," are a Western addition to the Creed as it was originally agreed on by a Council representing the whole Church, East and West. They correspond to the Latin word FILIOQUE (FILI = Son, -O = from, -QUE = and; pronounced with accent on the O), and the controversy about them is accordingly known as the Filioque controversy. If we are looking for a statement that can be taken as common ground by all Christians, East and West alike, it clearly cannot include the FILIOQUE. On the other hand, Western Christians will be unwilling to have it supposed that they are repudiating the statement that the Spirit proceeds jointly from Father and Son. I accordingly suggest that we print the Creed with the FILIOQUE either in brackets or omitted altogether, but with the understanding that, while assenting to the resulting statement does not commit anyone to belief in the Dual Procession of the Spirit, neither does it commit anyone to disbelief in the Dual Procession. I reserve extensive comments on the Dual Procession, the history of the belief, and the reasons for and against believing in it, for a separate essay, called CREED FILIOQUE. * With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. * He has spoken through the Prophets. This line was directed against the view that the Holy Spirit did not exist, or was not active, before Pentecost. * We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. Since many Christians from various backgrounds will want to know, "Precisely what would I be agreeing to if I signed this?" I have commented extensively on the wording in a separate file, called CREED CHURCH. * We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. * We look for the resurrection of the dead, * and the life of the world to come. AMEN. Posted by: James E. Kiefer ----- THE NICENE CREED ON THE CHURCH * We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. [J.S. Bach, a devout Lutheran, wrote a musical setting for the Liturgy known as the B-minor Mass. In his setting for the words printed above, there are two melody lines. One is a traditional Latin plainchant melody, and the other is a traditional Lutheran chorale melody. They are played and sung simultaneously, and they interweave and harmonize perfectly.] The Creed speaks of (1) the Unity of the Church, (2) the Sanctity of the Church, (3) the Catholicity of the Church, and (4) the Apostolicity of the Church. [NOTE: Some versions of the Creed omit the word "holy" in describing the Church. When the traditional translation of the Creed into English was made in the 1500's, the oldest available Greek manuscript of the Creed omitted the word "holy", and therefore the translators mistakenly supposed that it was a later addition. In fact it is part of the original Creed, and almost every recent printing of the Creed includes it.] (1) The Church is One, and the bonds of Unity are Faith and Love. Heresy violates the former, and schism the latter. Heretics violate the unity of the Church by holding to beliefs or practices that are incompatible with the Gospel that the Church has been commissioned to proclaim, so that the Church cannot include them in her fellowship without compromising, diluting, or denying the Gospel message. Schismatics violate the unity of the Church by requiring from others, as a condition of fellowship, assent to doctrines or practices that are not an essential part of the Gospel (though they may be compatible with it). We ought therefore to ask ourselves: "Have I sinned against faith by denying or failing to uphold doctrines essential to the message of the Gospel? Have I sinned against love by requiring as a condition of Christian fellowship agreement with me on matters where Christians may differ and still remain Christians?" (2) The Church is Holy. Some persons understand this to mean that individual church members are virtuous -- that you can tell which group most truly embodies the church by noting which group has the fewest members who are or ought to be in trouble with the police. This understanding implies that holiness is something that we confer upon the Church -- that by working hard to improve our own personal scores on the Virtue chart we boost the team average. But the older idea is that Holiness is something that the Church confers upon us -- that Our Lord Jesus Christ is Holy, and that He has called us to holiness in Him, and that He brings us into fellowship with Him through the community of believers, by the Sacraments, by the preaching of the Gospel message, by the mutual love and fellowship of the community, by experience of praying and being prayed for, of learning and teaching, of forgiving and being forgiven. We ought therefore to ask ourselves: "Am I opening myself to God's grace as He makes it available to me through the Chrisian community? Instead of concentrating on my dissatisfaction with those persons in the Church who appear to be unsatisfactory channels of grace, am I looking for, and taking advantage of, whatever spiritual nourishment is available? Am I, in my turn, being open to being used by God as a channel of grace to others? Am I making it easier for them to grow in Christian faith and love? Am I ready to forgive, and ready fo seek forgiveness of others? (3) The Church is Catholic. The Greek word KATHOLIKOS comes from KATA (a preposition with various meanings depending on the context, often meaning "down" or "negative" as in "catabolic" or "catastrophe" or "cathode," but also often meaning "according to") and HOLOS (meaning "whole" as in "holistic medicine," which claims to treat the whole patient and not just the particular ailment complained of), and thus means, literally, "according to the whole." The meaning of the word as applied to the Church has evolved. Probably the first Christians to use the term were simply distinguishing the entire Church worldwide from particular congregations. If you said something about the Church, they would ask, "Do you mean the Church in Corinth, or the Church Catholic?" Around AD 175, Irenaeus of Lyons used it in disputing with the Gnostics. Many Gnostics claimed that their teaching was "the real Gospel." They said that Christ had had two messages. The first message, called "exoteric Christianity," was his message preached to the ordinary man, who was not very "spiritual," and was capable of understanding only a very simple message. The second message, called "esoteric Christianity," was told only to a chosen few who had shown themselves worthy of it, and was concealed from the masses, because they would only misunderstand and pervert it, and would persecute the chosen few who were sufficiently elevated spiritually and intellectually to be able to understand it. For a modern parallel, look for the advertisements of the Rosicrucians (AMORC). They advertise in a large range of magazines, at one time including the National Geographic. Their pitch is that they are a secret society that has existed since ancient times, and that Socrates, Archimedes, Galileo, Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, and other respected men now safely dead were all members. No proof, of course. It is a secret society. They say, "Our message cannot be entrusted to the masses, but only to those who after careful examination are found worthy to learn it. So send us twenty big ones and we will spill our guts." In replying to the Gnostics, Irenaeus argued that Christians have never had a secret doctrine in the Gnostic sense. He argues that Christ had no secrets from The Twelve (John 15:15), that the Twelve accepted Paul as one of themselves (2 Peter 3:15), and that both Paul (Acts 20:26f) and the original Twelve (Matthew 28:20) were under strict commandment to pass on to their converts all that they had been taught. The Gospel, the whole Gospel, is to be declared to all men. All are called to a saving knowledge of God in Christ. In this sense, the Church is Catholic, in contrast both with pre-Christian Israel and with the Gnostics. Irenaeus goes on to say: If Christ did have a special message, you would expect him to entrust it to his apostles, and you would expect the apostles to entrust it to the leaders of the congregations they founded. If we look in cities that are mentioned in the New Testament as places where the Apostles preached, such as Jerusalem, or Antioch, or Corinth, or Ephesus, or Rome, we find that in each of them there is a Christian congregation, headed by a bishop who is part of an unbroken and orderly line of bishops going back to the time when the Church in that city was first established by an apostle. Moreover, we find, if we do a little comparing, that the Church in Ephesus and its bishop teach the same doctrines as the Church in Antioch and its bishop. Thus, we have the Church as a world-wide community, with each local congregation agreeing in doctrine with the other congregations spread throughout the world, and also with its predecessor reaching back in time to the Apostles and through them to Christ Himself. (4) The Church is Apostolic. That is to say, it is the community that Christ founded with the Apostles as nucleus. We read of the first Christian converts added to the Church at Jerusalem that "the continued steadfast in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and the prayers." (Acts 2:42) In order to be a Christian, it is not enough to be in the Apostles' teaching. You must also be in the Apostles' fellowship. The Church is a group, just as the Scouts are a group. Suppose that someone found a Boy Scout Manual, and read it, and said, "I like this!" Suppose that he then sat down and memorized the Scout Oath and the Scout Law, and learned to tie 21 different kinds of knots blindfolded, and how to pitch a tent, and how to swim 25 yards underwater, and how to read a compass, and all the other things that a Scout is required to know and to do. Suppose that he further made a point of being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Would it be accurate to say that he was a Scout? I think the answer is clearly negative. He might be called Scout-like. He would be someone whom the Scouts would gladly welcome aboard. But until he gets in contact with the Scout organization and joins up, he is not a Scout. In like fashion, to be a Christian does not mean simply holding a certain set of beliefs, even if accompanied by appropriate behavior. It means belonging to the Christian community, to the Church. When God sent an angel to the centurion Cornelius (Acts 10), the angel did not instruct him in Christian doctrine and tell him, "Now, if you believe what I have just said, that makes you a Christian." Rather, he told him how to get in touch with the Christian community by sending a messenger to Peter in Joppa. When Saul was on the road to Damascus, Christ spoke to him. But He did not instruct Saul in Christian doctrine. Rather, He told him to go into Damascus and wait for instructions, and then He sent Ananias, a Christian, to receive Saul into the Christian community. And one of the marks of that community is its continuity with the community that Christ founded and upon whom the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. Posted by: James E. Kiefer ----- THE FILIOQUE CLAUSE This essay is an Appendix to the essay called CREED NICENE. It deals with one particular line of the Nicene Creed. The Creed as formulated at Nicea in 325 ended with the words * And we believe in the Holy Spirit. When the Council of Constantinople met in 381, it officially adopted an expanded version, the Creed (without the FILIOQUE) as we have it today. This expanded version is in fact older than 381. It was the Baptismal Creed of the Church of Salamis, on the island of Cyprus, and is quoted by St. Epiphanius of Salamis in 374 in his ANKROTOS (see below). It was apparently a reworking of the Baptismal Creed of the Church of Jerusalem, which in turn was a reworking of the Nicene Creed. The portion of the expanded Creed that here concerns us reads as follows: * We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, * who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. * With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. * He has spoken through the Prophets. I propose to discuss in this Appendix 1) the meaning of the Doctrine of the Dual Procession, and some arguments for and against its truth, 2) the history of belief in the Doctrine, 3) the history of the insertion of the FILIOQUE clause into the Nicene Creed in the West. ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE DUAL PROCESSION OF THE SPIRIT Eastern Christians, in my experience, are accustomed to give the following arguments against the "Filioque". ARGUMENT (1): The Holy Scriptures state that the Spirit proceeds from the Father. Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night before He suffered, said to His apostles (John 15:26 RSV): + But when the Counsellor comes, + whom I shall send to you from the Father, + even the Spirit of truth, + who proceeds from the Father, + he will bear witness to me. To this a Western Christian might reply as follows: The Scriptures also say (John 20:212f RSV): + Jesus said to them again, "Peace be unto you. + As the Father has sent me, even so send I you." + And when he had said this, he breathed on them + and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit." We read in Matthew of one angel at the tomb on Easter Day, and this does not contradict Luke's statement that there were two angels. We read in Mark 10 and Luke 18 of a blind beggar healed by Jesus on the outskirts of Jericho, and this does not contradict the statement in Matthew that there were two blind beggars healed. Similarly, it is clear that the saying of Jesus, that the Spirit proceeds from the Father, does not contradict the statement that the Spirit proceeds also from the Son. ARGUMENT (2): The Creed, without the Filioque, was adopted by agreement of the entire Christian Church. It is an offense against the unity of the Church for some Christians to alter that Creed without consulting with, and obtaining the agreement of, the entire Church. To this a Western Christian might reply as follows: As regards the insertion of the extra word into the Creed, it is to be noted that some Western Christians, and in particular the Bishop of Rome, resisted this insertion until after East and West were already sundered, and it was not practical to consult with the East on changes. There are two questions here: (A) Is it true that the Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son? (B) Is it lawful to insert an affirmation of this into the Creed, without a consultation with the entire Church, East and West alike, perhaps in the form of a Council like those of Nicea and Constantinople in ancient times? Let it be granted that the insertion of the FILIOQUE by the West, without due consultation with the East, was a grievous offense. The question still remains: is the doctrine true. And we here urge our Eastern brethren to consider the doctrine on its own merits, not permitting their judgement as to its truth to be swayed by their indignation at the manner of its proposal. Just as it cannot be said that the statement in John 15:26, by speaking only of the Father, teaches the exclusion of the Son, so it cannot be said that the Council, borrowing without discussion the wording of John 15:26, meant to deny that the Spirit proceeds also from the Son. We have therefore a question on which Councils have not spoken one way or another, and one which Christians, East and West, ought thoughtfully to consider, in preparation for a future Council of the entire Church. ARGUMENT (3): The doctrine of the Filioque is untrue! It undermines the very foundations of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, in that it denies the nature of the Father, Whose nature it is to be the sole source from which all else is derived. Although all Three Persons of the Trinity are co-eternal and co-equal, nevertheless the Son is derived of the Father, and not the Father of the Son. When we call the First Person of the Trinity the Father, we are affirming that He imparts life and existence to others, for this is what it means to be a father. It is NOT what it means to be a Son, and therefore it is wrong to suppose that the being of the Spirit is derived from the Son as well as from the Father. To this a Western Christian might reply as follows: It oversimplifies to say that the Son does not impart existence to others. We read (John 1:3 RSV): + All things were made through him, and without him + was not anything made that was made. This is reaffirmed in the Nicene Creed itself. Although the Creed begins by calling God the Father the Creator of all things, it makes it 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). Suppose, for the sake of argument, that some group of Christians were to insert into the Creed a clause explicitly recognizing that the Spirit is also active in the work of creation. (The Creed as it stands calls the Spirit the Life-Giver, but this is not as explicit as the statements about the Father and the Son to the effect that every created entity owes its being to them both.) We might very well react by telling them that the Creed is the property of the entire Church, and that uniformity in its content is a sign of the unity of the people of God, and that the text of the Creed ought not therefore to be tampered with by some group within the Church. But would it be appropriate to react by denying the doctrine that the creation is the work of all three Persons of the Godhead? ARGUMENTS FOR THE DUAL PROCESSION OF THE SPIRIT A Western Christian arguing for the doctrine that the Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son might use any of the following arguments: ARGUMENT (1): 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. Hence it is that a Western Creed (the QUICUNQUE VULT) affirms of the Divine Persons: The Father is of none, neither made, nor created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, neither made nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. ARGUMENT (2): The first distinctive statement about the Holy Spirit that we find in the Creed is that He is the Lifegiver. 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 diestinctive 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. ARGUMENT (3): In the first chapter of Genesis, we read that God made man in His own image. Clearly this means that humanity, or at least unfallen humanity, is like God in some respect in which the beasts are not. One might suppose that this refers to man's intellect or to his moral agency. However, the one thing that the author has told us about God up to this point is that "God created." What do we observe about the creative process from observing it in human writers, artists, scientists, and others? Here I shall make extensive use of an insight expressed by the English writer Dorothy L Sayers, in her play THE ZEAL OF THY HOUSE and expanded and systematically analyzed in her book THE MIND OF THE MAKER. I begin by quoting a passage from the play. < Children of men, lift up your hearts. < Laud and magnify God, the Holy and Eternal Wisdom, < the everlasting and adorable Trinity. < < Praise Him that He hath made man in His own image, < a maker and craftsman like himself, < a little mirror of His triune Majesty. < < For every Act of Creation is threefold, < An earthly Trinity to match the heavenly. < < First, there is the Creative Idea, < passionless, timeless, < beholding the whole work complete at once, < the end in the beginning; < and this is the image of the Father. < < Second, there is the Creative Energy, < begotten of the Idea and subject to it, < working in time with sweat and passion < from the beginning to the end; < and this is the image of the Word. < < Third, there is the Creative Power, < the meaning of the work, < and its response in the lively soul; < and this is the image of the indwelling Spirit. < < And of these three, each equally is the work, < whereof none can exist without the other; < and this is the image of the Trinity. < < Honor, then, all work of the craftsman, < imagined by men's minds, < built by the labor of men's hands, < working with power upon the souls of men, < image of the everlasting Trinity, < God's witness in world and time. < < And whatsoever ye do, < do all to the glory of God. Let us see how this works out in a particular instance. Consider a writer working, at the moment, on the following passage: > Opening the door, he saw a young girl in a thin white dress, > sillouetted against the dark background of the night. "I'm > lost," she said. "Could you help me, please?" John hesitated. > She looked very (something), standing there on the doorstep. The writer pauses to consider how to fill in the blank. He knows what the idea is that he wants to get across. The question is how best to express it. She looked very -- appealing? small? frail? wispy? fragile? vulnerable? Aha. That is it! "She looked very vulnerable, standing there on the doorstep." Clearly it is through reading, in context, the word "vulnerable" that we, the readers, become aware of, and are able to respond to, the idea that the writer wishes to express. But we can go further and say that it is only through putting his thoughts into words that the writer himself perceives, and is able to respond to, his own meaning. This is not to say that the expression creates the idea. The writer says, "This is, and that is not, the right word," meaning, that he already has something to express, and that he judges words by whether they express that idea. However, until he has found the right word, he cannot tell us, and cannot tell himself, what the idea is that he is seeking to express. 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." (Matthew 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. (Note that, although the illustration of creative work used here was the work of a writer, the same trinity of idea, expression, and understanding reception and response is to be found in every creative act, whether that of a sculptor, a musician, an architect, a cook....) For a more detailed discussion of this point, the reader is referred to the aforesaid writings of D L Sayers, and to THE MEANING OF THE CREATIVE ACT, by Berdaev. QUOTATIONS FROM EARLY EASTERN FATHERS Several early Eastern Christian writers use language that suggests that, if the question had been put to them explicitly, they would have agreed with the statement that the Spirit proceed from the Father and the Son jointly rather than simply from the Father. For example (roughly in chronological order): St. Gregory the Wonderworker wrote a Creed, around 265, from which the following is taken: > 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.) St. Athanasius writes in about 360 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 (Matthew 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!' (Galatians 4:6)." St Epiphanius of Salamis (315?-12 May 403), a scholar much admired by St. Jerome, wrote in 374 in his ANKYROTOS (The Man Well Anchored): > 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. He further writes a year or so later in his PANARION (Breadbox): > 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. St Gregory of Nyssa (died 394), in his EPISTLE TO ABLABIUS, writes: > 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. St. Cyril of Alexandria, a principal champion of the orthodox faith against the Nestorians, in a work called THE TWELVE ERRORS (or THE TWELVE ANATHEMAS) written in 430, said: > 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. [Error 9] Earlier (probably around 424), in his THESAURUS (Treasury of the Holy and Consubstantial Trinity), he said: > Since the Holy Spirit when He is in us effects our being > conformed to God, and He actually proceeds from Father and Son, > it is abundantly clear that He is of the divine essence, in it > in essence and proceeding from it. [Thesis 34] QUOTATIONS FROM EARLY WESTERN FATHERS Now let us consider some early Western writers. The following examples are again in roughly chronological order. St. Hilary of Poitiers, "The Athanasius of the West," in his great work DE TRINITATE (which he wrote in 356-359, while in exile in the East because of his opposition to Arianism, just as the Eastern bishop Athanasius was at the same time and for the same reason exiled to the West by the Arian emperor Constantius): > Concerning the Holy Spirit... who is of the Father and the Son, > His Sources. [2:29] > We are all spiritual men, if the Spirit of God is in us. But > this Spirit of God is the Spirit also of Christ. And since the > Spirit of Christ is in us, the Spirit of Him also who raised > Christ from the dead is in us; and he that raised Christ from > the dead will vivify our mortal bodies too, on account of His > Spirit's dwelling in us. (quote from Romans 8:11) [8:21] > In the fact that before times eternal Your Only-begotten was > born of You, when we put an end to every ambiguity of words and > difficulty of understanding, there remains only this: He was > born. So too, even if I do not grasp it in my understanding, I > hold fast in my consciousness to the fact that Your Holy Spirit > is from You through Him. [12:56] Pope St. Damasus I, in a statement that has been preserved in the Acts of the Council of Rome of 382, writes: > The Holy Spirit is not of the Father only, or the Spirit of the > Son only, but He is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. For > it is written, "In anyone loves the world, the Spirit of the > Father is not in him (1 John 2:15)"; and again it is written: > "If anyone, however, does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is > none of His (Romans 8:9)". When the Father and the Son are > named in this way, the Holy Spirit is understood, of whom the > Son Himself says in the Gospel, that the Holy Spirit "proceed > from the Father (John 15:26)," and that "He shall receive of > mine and shall announce it to you (John 16:14)." The QUICUNQUE VULT is an early Western Creed. Its origins are not known with certainty, but many scholars suppose it to have been written in the late 300's, and probably by St. Ambrose of Milan. It is explicit and emphatic on the Dual Procession, saying: > The Father is of none, > neither made, nor created, nor begotten. > The Son is of the Father alone, > neither made nor created, but begotten. > The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son, > neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. St. Augustine taught that the Holy Spirit is the bond of love that exists between the Father and the Son. Writing to Pascentius, he says: > It is our faith to believe and profess that the Father and the > Son and the Holy Ghost are one God; but we do not call Him > Father Who is the Son, nor do we call Him Son Who is the > Father, nor do we designate Him either Father or Son Who is the > Spirit of the Father and of the Son. [Ep. 238, 2:14] In his HOMILIES ON JOHN he writes: > Why then should we not believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds > also from the Son, when He is the Spirit also of the Son? For > if the Holy Spirit did not proceed from Him, when he showed > Himself to His disciples after His resurrection, He would not > have breathed on them, saying, "Receive the Holy Spirit." For > what else did He signify by that breathing on them, except that > the Holy Spirit proceeds also from Him? [99, 7] In his great work DE TRINITATE (On the Trinity), written between 400 and 416, he says: > All the Catholic interpreters of the divine books of the Old > and New Testaments whom I have been able to read, who wrote > before me about the Trinity, which is God, intended to teach in > accordance with the Scriptures that the Father and the Son and > the Holy Spirit are of one and the same substance constituting > a divine unity with an inseparable equality; and therefore > there are not three gods but one God, although the Father begot > the Son, and therefore He that is the Father is not the Son; > and the Son is begotten by the Father, and therefore He that is > the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit is neither the > Father nor the Son, but only the Spirit of the Father and of > the Son, Himself, too, co-equal to the Father and to the Son, > and belonging to the unity of the Trinity. [1, 4:7] > If, therefore, that which is given has for its principle the > one by whom it is given, because it did not receive from > anywhere else that which proceeds from the giver, then it must > be confessed that the Father and the Son are the Principle of > the Holy Spirit, not two Principles, but just as Father and Son > are one God and, relative to a creature, one Creator and one > Lord, so too, relative to the Holy Spirit, they are one > Principle, while relative to a creature, Father and Son and > Holy Spirit are one Principle, even as they are one Creator and > one Lord. [5, 14:15] > [With the Father and the Son] the Holy Spirit, too, exists in > this same unity of substance and equality. For whether he be > the unity of the Father and the Son, or Their holiness, or > Their love, or Their unity because He is Their love, of Their > love because he is Their holiness, it is clear that He is not > one of the Two, since it is by Him that the Two are joined, by > Him that the Begotten is loved by the Begetter, and in turn > loves Him who begot Him. [6, 5:7] > Therefore the Holy Spirit, whatever it is, is something common > to both the Father and the Son. But that communion itself is > consubstantial and co-eternal; and if it may fitly be called > friendship, let it so be called; but it is more aptly called > love. And this is also a substance, since God is a substance, > and "God is Love," as it is written. [6, 5:7] > And yet is is not without reason that in this Trinity only the > Word of God is called Son, only the Gift of God the Holy > Spirit, and only He of whom the Word is begotten and from Whom > principally the Holy Spirit proceeds is called God the Father. > I have added the term "principally" because the Holy Spirit is > found to proceed also from the Son. But this too the Father > gave the Son, not as if the Son did not already exist and have > it, but because whatever the Father gives the Son, He gives by > begetting. He so begot Him, then, that the Gift might proceed > jointly from Him, and so that the Holy Spirit would be the > Spirit of both. [15, 17:29] > For if whatever the Son has, He has from the Father, certainly > He has it from the Father that the Holy Spirit proceeds from > Him.... The Son, however, is born of the Father; and the Holy > Spirit proceeds principally from the Father, and since the > Father gives [to the Son all that He has] without any interval > of time, the Holy Spirit proceeds jointly from both Father and > Son. [15, 26:47] > From Him from Whom the Son has it that He is God (for He is God > of God),-- from Him he certainly has it that the Holy Spirit > also proceeds from Him; and therefore the Holy Spirit has it > from the Father Himself that He proceeds also from the Son just > as He proceeds for the Father. [15, 27:48] St. Fulgence of Ruspe, in his DE FIDE (The Rule of Faith), written around 524, says: > Hold most firmly and never doubt in the least that the only God > the Son, who is one person of the Trinity, is the Son of the > only God the Father; but the Holy Spirit, Himself also one > Person of the Trinity, is Spirit not of Father only, but of > Father and Son together. [53] Pope St. Leo I (died 461), said: > The Son is the Only-begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit > is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, not as any > creature, which also is of the Father and of the Son, but as > living and having power with both, and eternally subsisting of > that which is the Father and the Son. > [Sermons 75:3] A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CONTROVERSY Our Lord, in His farewell address to His disciples, says (John 15:26 RSV): + But when the Counsellor comes, + whom I shall send to you from the Father, + even the Spirit of truth, + who proceeds from the Father, + he will bear witness to me. The framers of the Creed simply copied the words, "who proceeds from the Father" into the Creed with no particular discussion. The Church was not at that time being troubled by any controversy over the procession. However, as we have seen in the previous section, many of the early Fathers, both eastern and western, both before and after the official formulation of the Creed in 381, wrote of the Spirit as proceeding from the Son as well as from the Father. They include staunch defenders of the Creed, and they include St. Epiphanius, who was using the Creed before its adoption by the Council of Constantinople in 381. They never seemed bothered by the fact that the Creed (and Our Lord as quoted above) said "proceeds from the Father." Apparently they did not see this as meaning or implying, "proceeds from the Father and from no one else." Then, in the late 500's, the Church in Spain was troubled with a group of heretics who denied the full deity of the Son. They were, however, willing to grant that the Holy Spirit was God. Their orthodox opponents replied that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and that He from Whom God proceeds must himself be God. As a result of this dispute, the Synod of Toledo in 589 officially voted to insert the FILIOQUE into the Creed. From Spain the custom passed to Gaul and the rest of the Western Church. During the reign of Charlemagne, the matter was much debated at his court at Aachen (Aix-le-Chapelle), and in the palace chapel it was customary to sing the Creed with the FILIOQUE. Some Latin monks from Jerusalem visited the court of Charlemagne, and then returned to Jerusalem with the new version of the Creed. Naturally, the Easterners objected vigorously. In a council held in Aachen in 809, the Frankish bishops upheld the FILIOQUE. Pope Leo III (795-816) intervened, and forbade any interpolations or alterations in the Nicene Creed. He ordered the Creed, without the FILIOQUE, to be engraved in Latin and Greek on two silver plates on the wall of St. Peter's in Rome. By doing so, he avoided a direct confrontation with the East. However, the FILIOQUE continued to gain ground in the West. Two issues were involved: (1) Does the Holy Ghost in fact proceed from the Son as well as from the Father? (2) Once a Creed has been adopted by the authority of the Church assembled in a world-wide council of bishops, is it lawful to amend the text of that Creed by any lesser authority than a similar council? Leo saw that it is possible to answer "Yes" to the first question and "No" to the second question without contradiction. However, he seemed to be almost the only one who saw this. Theologians in the West spent most of their time defending an affirmative answer to the first question, and their counterparts in the East were defending a negative answer to the second question. Thus they functioned like two trains running in opposite direction on separate tracks. Thus the situation stood for several centuries. During those centuries there were several developments. Up to about the year 600, many Westerners knew both Latin and Greek. But then the knowledge of Greek suddenly died out in the West, and thereafter theologians in one half of the Empire seldom read what had been written in the other half. A shift of trade patterns reduced travel and communication between the two regions, and politically they became two separate empires. The area then known as Dalmatia and now known as Yugoslavia was in dispute both between the Emperors of East and West and between the Patriarch of Rome (aka the Pope) and the Patriarch of Constantinople. (The split is still visible, in that the Croats today are loyal to Rome, and the Serbs to Constantinople. They speak the same language, but the Croats write it in the Roman alphabet and the Serbs in the Cyrillic or Russian alphabet. Alphabets seem to play a special role in ethnic identity. After World War I, there was a massive population exchange between Greece and Western Turkey. Many Greeks whose families had been living in Turkey for generations were repatriated to Greece. They then had to learn a new language, for they spoken Turkish all their lives, and knew no Greek. However, unlike their Turkish former neighbors, they wrote Turkish in the Greek alphabet. The same is true in reverse of the repatriated Turks.) Since, as one historian cynically remarks, it would have been unseemly for the two Patriarchs to explain that they wanted Dalmatia for the sake of the revenues to be expected therefrom, each fell back on the argument that his rival held unsound views on the Procession of the Spirit, and that a concern for the spritual welfare of the people of Dalmatia compelled him to insist on including them in his own jurisdiction. Slowly, fatefully, the bond of unity between Eastern and Western Christians continued to unravel. In the 860's, Boris I, king of the emergent state of Bulgaria, at that time pagan, was concerned whether to ally himself with the military power of the Greeks or the Franks, and whether to convert with his subjects to Byzantine or Roman Christianity. He sent emissaries to the Patriarch, was dissatisfied with the answers he got (among other things, Boris wanted a Patriarch of his own in his capital city), wrote to the Pope, was not fully satisfied there either, and after some wavering decided in favor of Byzantium. Boris was not concerned with the FILIOQUE controversy (his questions concerned such matters as whether a layman might lead public prayers for rain; the Patriarch said no, and the Pope was happy to tell him that the Patriarch was being much too rigid), but the competition for Bulgaria, and ultimately for all the Slavic peoples, did much to embitter relations between East and West. [The following paragraphs are a quotation from Charles Williams's THE DESCENT OF THE DOVE: A HISTORY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE CHURCH.] But if there was a verbal interpolation in the West, there was an interpolation of a different kind in Byzantium. The Sacred Emperor, having committed incest, had been refused communion by the Patriarch. For this and other offenses the Patriarch was deposed, and a learned layman Photius compulsorily ordained and imposed in the See. He announced his election to the Pope [Nicholas I], to whom the original Patriarch Ignatius also appealed. The Pope sent legates who at a Council (he said) "betrayed him" and agreed to the deposition. The angry arguments went on. [Pope Nicholas approved the insertion of the FILIOQUE into the Creed.] Photius in 867 denounced the West in eight articles, but [Nicholas died in that year,] the Sacred Emperor was murdered in that year and Photius himself was deposed. ... An uneasy peace settled down for two centuries; then suddenly Michael Cerularius, Patriarch of Constantinople, provoked the storm. He accused the West of heresy; he closed the churches of the Latin rite. The Popes asserted the orthodoxy of the West and the primacy of Rome; they maintained open in Italy the churches of the Byzantine rite. The Patriarch removed the name of the Pope from the prayers. The Papal legates, entering the Church of the Holy Wisdom in Byzantium, just before the celebration of the Divine Luturgy, ascended through the crowd to the altar, and laid on it the solemn excommunication of the Patriarch and all his followers from the co-inherence of their Christendom. The frontier of a thousand years was drawn on 16th July, 1054. Posted by: James E. Kiefer


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank