Dear Deacon Richard
Thank you for your comments.
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).
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.
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.
(Then again, I'm no scholar, so I may have gotten this wrong.)
Love for Truth and unity are better qualifications any day.