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Hello,

I'm sure this topic has been done to death, please forgive me. Is this what Latins mean by filioque?

[img]https://imgur.com/iQ6Dods[/img]


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Ambrosian,

First of all, welcome to the Byzantine Forum!

Regarding your question, the answer is--no. Your picture (unless I'm missing something) shows the relation between the Son and the Holy Spirit as being identical to that between the Father and the Son. What the Latins mean by Filioque is that the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son "as from a single principle." In other words, since both the Father and the Son possess the Divine Essence equally, thus constituting a single Divinity, they act together "as one" in the procession of the Holy Spirit.

Thus, the picture you show, which seems to represent a serial procession in which the Son comes forth from the Father and then the Spirit comes forth from the Son, cannot be considered accurate.


Peace,
Deacon Richard

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Thank you for your response and welcome, Richard!

What do they mean by 'essence', in this instance?

I have heard that if the filioque is worded in terms of eternal energetic procession than it may be acceptable. Here is an amended image:[img]https://imgur.com/NimqLCP[/img]

Apologies for any misunderstanding, I am trying to understand this better.

I've

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Hello Brother Ambrosian and welcome!

I believe the diagram you linked to is not accurate. I believe the two separate arrows are misleading. As Deacon Richard indicated, the focus of the Latin theology is the procession (or sharing) of the divine Essence with the Holy Spirit. The Latin theology does not naturally refer to matters of origination.

I've seen medieval diagrams of the Father and Son on an equal level, with two separate arrows emanating from each pointing towards the Holy Spirit. As that image implies two equal sources, that particular image was formally condemned by both Lyons and Florence.

I think the best representation of the Latin teaching is ONE arrow pointing from the Father to the Holy Spirit, with the Son situated WITHIN that arrow between Father and Holy Spirit. Again, this is with the caveat that the Latin theology does not intend to address matters of origination - only the sharing of Essence (though it does not nor has ever denied that the Father is the sole Source/Origin of Hypostases, Essence, and Energy of both the Son and the Holy Spirit).

Blessings

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Thank you, Mardukm!

Your username is familiar to me, I think I've read you elsewhere! You seem to be well read on "Ancient church relations" ;) . Could you perhaps comment on the image in my second post? Is it closer to what Latins mean (the arrow is not intended to indicate generation)?

"Again, this is with the caveat that the Latin theology does not intend to address matters of origination - only the sharing of Essence (though it does not nor has ever denied that the Father is the sole Source/Origin of Hypostases, Essence, and Energy of both the Son and the Holy Spirit)."

Ah, ok. That clears things up. My concern with this view is that I've heard that it borders on modalism. Do you think this is a reasonable concern?

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Here is the image in question, second post link is dead.

[img]http://imgur.com/rT4hSrz[/img]

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Originally Posted by mardukm
I think the best representation of the Latin teaching is ONE arrow pointing from the Father to the Holy Spirit, with the Son situated WITHIN that arrow between Father and Holy Spirit.
Marduk,

It is my understanding that the formula "ex Patre per Filium" was an attempt made by medieval Latin theologians to reconcile the Latin teaching with that of the Eastern Fathers, *some* of whom had made statements that seemed to point in this direction. Greek theologians, however, replied that the statements in question were references to what is sometimes called the "economic" or "temporal" processions (or missions), in which the Father sent the Son into the world, and then through the Son sent the Holy Spirit. This is not the same as the eternal processions.

Originally Posted by mardukm
Again, this is with the caveat that the Latin theology does not intend to address matters of origination - only the sharing of Essence (though it does not nor has ever denied that the Father is the sole Source/Origin of Hypostases, Essence, and Energy of both the Son and the Holy Spirit).
Hmm ... I never heard that before--how is the "sharing of Essence" different from origination?

Here's how the Augustinian model was explained to me. The Father, from all eternity, knew and understood Himself as only an infinite mind can understand that which is infinite. Thus, He possessed a *perfect* image of Himself, and yet this image was distinct from Himself--He had only to confer personhood on this image (or Word) for the Son to have a unique identity. He then loved the Son, producing another *perfect* image, and this was the Holy Spirit.

The problem here, however, is that the West looks at this love as the mutual love between the Father and the Son, which is what brings the Son's agency into the procession of the Holy Spirit.

(Then again, I'm no scholar, so I may have gotten this wrong.)


Peace,
Deacon Richard

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Dear brother Ambrosian,

Thank you for the questions.

Originally Posted by Ambrosian
Thank you, Mardukm!

Could you perhaps comment on the image in my second post? Is it closer to what Latins mean (the arrow is not intended to indicate generation)?
Thanks for the updated link. I would agree with that new image. However, the accompanying tagline is not at all appropriate. This is because Latin theology does not make a distinction between Essence and Energy. If the image is intended to explain the Latin understanding per se, it should be done without the tagline. Would it be correct to assume that the purpose of the image is to help Eastern Christians understand what the Latin teaching is - as a means to inculcate understanding perhaps?

Just so it is plainly understood, the Latin theology is not about the Energy, but about the Essence. HOWEVER, the Latin understanding of Essence includes everything we understand as Energy, as well.

St. Gregory Palamas distinguished between the Eternal procession of Hypostasis, the eternal procession of Essence, and the eternal procession of Energy. He affirmed that the eternal procession of Hypostasis and Essence had the Father as sole origin. On the other hand, he affirmed that the eternal procession of Energy is "from the Son" with respect to the Spirit.

Now, contrary to popular belief among Easterns, the Latin theology on this matter is actually very undeveloped. Ironically, it is more apophatic than the Eastern theology on this matter. The Latin theology does not explicitly make the distinctions that St. Gregory Palamas makes, but prefers to maintain their well-known teaching on the simplicity of God.

EDIT: The Latin theology makes the distinction between Essence and Hypostasis, but not between Essence and Energy. Further, the Latin theology does not bring considerations of hypostasis into their teaching on Filioque. Considerations of hypostasis is peculiar to the Eastern theology on the matter since it depends on the notion of origination.

In order to have any hope of rapprochement on this issue, the Latin theology needs to be taken on its own. "What is the Latin theology on filioque trying to teach?" should be the only question on the mind of an Eastern hoping to find unity with Latins on the matter. The answer is very simple - "The Latin theology on filioque teaches that the Holy Spirit shares the Essence EQUALLY with the Father AND THE SON." Show me a single Eastern who would deny that teaching.

But once an Eastern starts to inject Eastern presuppositions in trying to understand Filioque, it becomes almost a fruitless effort.

Quote
Ah, ok. That clears things up. My concern with this view is that I've heard that it borders on modalism. Do you think this is a reasonable concern?
The modalism impression, imo, comes - though innocently enough - from an imposition of Eastern theological presuppositions on the Latin theology. The Easterns accusing the Latins of modalism because they do not make the Essence/Energy distinction is like the Latins accusing the Easterns of subordinationism (i.e., denying the equality of Essence among the Persons) for denying the teaching of Florence. The accusations stem from a misunderstanding of what the other party is really trying to say/teach.

Please feel free to ask more questions. I will be addressing brother Epiphanius' post soon. Perhaps that (future) response will help clarify matters, as he has brought up some incisive points.

Blessings,
Marduk

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Dear Deacon Richard

Thank you for your comments.

Originally Posted by Epiphanius
It is my understanding that the formula "ex Patre per Filium" was an attempt made by medieval Latin theologians to reconcile the Latin teaching with that of the Eastern Fathers, *some* of whom had made statements that seemed to point in this direction. Greek theologians, however, replied that the statements in question were references to what is sometimes called the "economic" or "temporal" processions (or missions), in which the Father sent the Son into the world, and then through the Son sent the Holy Spirit. This is not the same as the eternal processions.
Yes, I understand your point. The issue with "per filium" was covered sufficiently by Patriarch Photius. He opposed it on the grounds that it was too close to Filioque, that opposition itself based on the mistaken assumption that the Latins understood "proceeding" in the exact same way as the Easterns - that is, as a reference to origin of Hypostasis. Of course, this was not the case. He also proposed that per filium had to do with the eternal energetic manifestation, rather than with hypostatic origination.

The Eastern and Latin Fathers in the past were really talking past one another. The Eastern Fathers were expecting an answer to the question "Who is the arche of the Trinity?" But the Latins did not think in those terms. Rather, the Latins were simply concerned with the sharing of the Essence. The purpose of the Constantinopolitan addition to the Nicene Creed was to defend the divinity of the Holy Spirit. The Eastern method was to teach about the Spirit's hypostatic origin from the Father. The Western method was to teach about the Spirit's sharing of the Essence with the Father AND the Son. Both ways guaranteed the divinity of the Holy Spirit, but they were - after all - DIFFERENT ways of coming to the same Truth (i.e., the divinity of the Holy Spirit).

Btw, I have encountered the "economic"/"temporal" procession claim from not a few modern EO apologists. I confess I have not encountered it from any Eastern sources prior to modern times. St. Photius, the Council of Blacharnae, St. Gregory Palamas, St. Mark of Ephesus, etc. ALL attest to the fact that this energetic procession is ETERNAL. I believe there has been a definite development on EO apologetic on this matter, to the point that the concerns of modern popular EO apologetics (not necessarily official positions) do not exactly match the concerns of the medieval Eastern Fathers regarding the Filioque.

From my extensive readings on the issue, I'm secure in stating that the medieval Eastern Fathers had only one basic concern in their arguments against filioque - preserving the Father as sole origin of HYPOSTASIS (Patriarch Photius explicitly affirmed that the Greeks understood "proceeds from the Father" as a statement about hypostatic origin, and on the (mis)conception that the Latins understood the phrase in the exact same way as the Greeks, he accused the Latins of numerous extrapolated errors). Even the objections against "per Filium" are based on the (mistaken) assumption that Latins were using "ex Patre per Filium" to describe hypostatic origination. Unfortunately, the Latin theology on Filioque does not and never has expressed itself in terms of Hypostasis, but only in terms of Essence, so a sufficient response from the Latins would and could never come. This is plainly evident if one reads the Decree of Florence, where the word Hypostasis is not even used (which also indicates just how Latin-centered the Decrees were).

Originally Posted by Epiphanius
Originally Posted by mardukm
Again, this is with the caveat that the Latin theology does not intend to address matters of origination - only the sharing of Essence (though it does not nor has ever denied that the Father is the sole Source/Origin of Hypostases, Essence, and Energy of both the Son and the Holy Spirit).
Hmm ... I never heard that before--how is the "sharing of Essence" different from origination?
Concisely, the Eastern teaching is not about the sharing of Hypostasis, but the ORIGIN of Hypostasis; the Western teaching is not about the origin of Essence, but the SHARING of Essence. The very real distinction between Hypostasis and Essence should itself be enough to allow one to understand just how different the two approaches were/are. Does that help?

Please ask any more questions so we can clarify matters if it is necessary.

Originally Posted by Epiphanius
Here's how the Augustinian model was explained to me. The Father, from all eternity, knew and understood Himself as only an infinite mind can understand that which is infinite. Thus, He possessed a *perfect* image of Himself, and yet this image was distinct from Himself--He had only to confer personhood on this image (or Word) for the Son to have a unique identity. He then loved the Son, producing another *perfect* image, and this was the Holy Spirit.

The problem here, however, is that the West looks at this love as the mutual love between the Father and the Son, which is what brings the Son's agency into the procession of the Holy Spirit.
If I am understanding you correctly, the concern is that the analogy makes the Son a NECESSARY part of the Procession in such a way as to make it SEEM as if the Father is LACKING in the Processive power somehow - i.e., He can't do it without the Son. Is that correct? If I have surmised the issue correctly, here's my response:

The participation of the Son is not a necessity, but a free, ETERNAL act of the Father. In no sense does the Father act under compulsion of necessity. It is not that the HS cannot share the Essence from the Father without the Son (the Fathers certainly CAN), but rather that the Father, from an act of His Divine and Eternal Will, CHOOSES to share the Essence through the Son. This is the pre-eminent reason for the analogy of love, because love - TRUE love that only the Father gives - is a free act. Note, as well, that the initial act of Love in the analogy is by the Father. Thus, the analogy preserves the arche of the Father in all respects.

Comments? If the issue is something else, please indicate what that is.

Quote
(Then again, I'm no scholar, so I may have gotten this wrong.)
Love for Truth and unity are better qualifications any day.

Humbly,
Marduk

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Dear brother Ambrosian,

One last thing about the tagline in the image. If your purpose is to try to get Easterns to understand the Latin filioque, the term "procession" is a non-starter because "procession" according to Latin theology is different from "procession" according to Eastern theology.

Using the term "procession" would cause an Eastern to automatically assume that origination is what is being conveyed by the diagram. In that case, it would no longer truly represent the Latin Filioque.

Here's an illustration that might help. If the term "Procession" is defined as "flowing from." the Latin theology is all about the "flowing," whereas the Eastern theology is all about the "from."

I hope that helps.

Blessings,
Marduk

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If the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed (Symbol of The Faith)) states simply that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father (echoing Christ own words in John 15:26), then when and by whom specifically did a controversy arise that sought to go beyond the definition given through an Ecumenical Council (Constantinople), with this controversy resulting in a myriad of endless back-and-forths and even violence? Isn't an Ecumenical Council considered inspired and authoritative re: the doctrine and dogma flowing from it?
A discussion between those who take a 'scholastic', intellectual approach (Latins, for example) to things theological, and those (in the East) who take an apophatic and 'mystical' approach, it seems to me, is tantamount to trying to arrange for Barlaam and St. Gregory Palamas to agree, after St. Gregory clearly demonstrated the truth of his position and experience regarding the Uncreated Light. I think this analogy holds some merit, does it not? It has been many centuries now, and many centuries as well (16?) since the non-chalecedonians (monophysites) "differed" and/or rejected the Chalcedonian Council's conclusions. Such things are not, IMHO, decided casually centuries later by speculative theological musings or attempts at reconciling 'dialogues' in the face of defining, Holy Spirit inspired Councils... are they?
It is of note (again, I am not a theologian...my prayer life doesn't qualify me to be such)... that the Christ said He would send the Spirit of Truth "FROM the Father', and further elucidated that the Selfsame Spirit of Truth proceeds FROM the Father. Accepting Christ words, mindful of an apophatic understanding of God's very essence, would seem to be enough... again, further established in the Spirit-inspired formulation deriving from the Constantinopolitan Council of 381.. at least it seems this way to me.
I understand that it is good and noble to reach for that healing of divisions... but attempting to employ wordcraft and nuance to satisfy both sides, IMHO, seems to do violence to that which has been spoken ALREADY by the Divine revelation in Christ Jesus and further and solemnly proclaimed by an Ecumenical Council. I long for the healing of schisms, and feel that the proper soil for that healing to be nourished by is not accomodation, but mutual acclamation of Truth... previously spoken, defined and sealed. It seems to me, that this is the True ground for healing of division, and not the attempts to retroactively guess what those who differed had in mind, knowing full well that that is virtually impossible and throws one into the convenience of endless interpretation... a kind of wringing and twisting of the Conciliar documents, hoping for a few drops of ink with which to provide useless musings parading as dialogue. This get quite old. Centuries upon centuries, in fact.

Pray for me a sinner, and a simpleton.

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Markdum has valuable insights which are useful to us contemporaries, but I would side with Ivanov325. I know Fr. John Romanides was rather uneven (polar opposites O.W. Holmes and GKC would agree that complete consistency is spurious :-)), but if Rome held out for a long time against adopting the filioque, then this sort of undermines Markdum's arguments. I know, development of doctrine is one of the crown jewels of contemporary Roman Catholic thought, thanks to the esteemed Bl. J.H. Newman, but is every change a development. And I know Ivanov325's arguments ring close to a kind of fundamentalism, but what are we to go on ultimately...legitimate sources of belief and doctrine or scholarly interpretations. Just because something is made more intelligible does not make it more true, although it is very good to know the underlying assumption of a statement, i.e. "coming to terms". Some things that are more mysterious require more disciplined attention from us.

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I certainly agree that some noteworthy information has been shared in this thread. I also confess that I am seeking to put away (pray for me) any and all 'fundamentalist' leanings or ways of looking at things. That said, and at 63 yrs. of age, one does tend to find 'cutting to the chase' a more pressing strategy :>) I look at an ecclesiastical landscape that would wilt anyone these days. I am remembering the Apostle's admonition to "not let your hearts be removed from the simplicity that is in Christ". I do think it is important for us sheep to hear a clarion voice... a voice definitive and certain from our shepherds. I think also of the Vincentian precept as well... and often. Again the Apostle writes that "if the trumpet shall give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?"

I am so grateful for each brother and sister who comes to this forum to learn and to help!

Sinful Ivanov.

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I am surprised that no one here pointed out, unless I missed it, that each time the Nicene Creed was recited during the ordination of the new UGC bishop Danilo last week the "filioque" was omitted. That's a very good sign.

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My understanding is the filioque was dropped in that eparchy quite some time ago.

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