CONTRA ERRORES GRAECORUM
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, O.P.
Peter Damian Fehlner, F.I.
re-edited and missing chapters supplied by Joseph Kenny, O.P.
- How the Son is understood to be related to the Father as something caused to its cause.
- How the Son is to be understood as second from the Father and the Holy Spirit third.
- How the Holy Spirit is to be understood as third light.
- How the essence is to understood as begotten in the Son and spirated in the Holy Spirit.
- How Jesus is to be understood as Son of the paternal essence.
- How properties of the Father are to be understood as proper to the Son.
- How the Father is to be understood as needing neither Son nor Holy Spirit for his perfection.
- How the Holy Spirit is to be understood as unbegotten.
- How the Holy Spirit is to be understood as the mean between Father and Son.
- How the Holy Spirit is to be understood as the image of the Son.
- How the Holy Spirit is to be understood in the Father as in his image.
- How the Holy Spirit is to be understood to be the word of the Son.
- How by the name of Christ is to be understood the Holy Spirit.
- How the assertion that the Holy Spirit does not send the Son is to be understood.
- How the assertion that the Holy Spirit truly works through the Son is to be understood.
- How God is to be understood as not dwelling in men before the incarnation of Christ.
- How the divine essence is to be understood as conceived and born.
- How the assertion that the deity was made is to be understood.
- How the Son of God is to be understood to have assumed a human nature in his essence.
- How the assertion that a man was assumed is to be understood.
- How the assertion ‘God made man God’ is to be understood.
- How the likeness of the first parent is to be understood as erased in Christ.
- How the assertion: the creature cannot cooperate with the Creator, is to be understood.
- How the assertion that the creature does not belong to the Creator, is to be understood.
- How our assertion that the angels by nature are not ranked second and third is to be understood.
- How the assertion that even the Seraphim learn from Paul as a teacher is to be understood.
- How the assertion that the breath of life which God breathed into the face of man is not the rational soul, but the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is to be understood.
- How the impossibility of not blaspheming for one who has once blasphemed is to be understood.
- How the assertion that faith cannot be preached is to be understood.
- How the assertion that faith is not ministered to us by angels is to be understood.
- How the assertion that even the New Testament is a death-dealing letter is to be understood.
- How the sole definition of the Nicene Council is to be understood as the unique and true possession of the faithful.
- That the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son.
- That the Son sends the Holy Spirit.
- That the Holy Spirit receives of that which is the Son’s.
- That the Son works through the Holy Spirit.
- That the Holy Spirit is the image of the Son.
- That he is the character of the Son.
- That he is also the seal of the Son.
- That the Holy Spirit is from the Father through the Son.
- That the Holy Spirit is from the Son.
- That he is jointly from Father and Son.
- That he is from both from eternity.
- That the Holy Spirit is a person from persons.
- That he is also from the essence of Father and Son.
- That he also is naturally from the Son.
- That the Son also spirates the Holy Spirit.
- That the Son spirates he has from a personal property.
- That on the same grounds he is spirated by Father and Son.
- That he is spirated from the Son eternally.
- That the Holy Spirit is spirated from the essence of the Son.
- That the Holy Spirit emanates from the Son.
- That the Holy Spirit flows from the Son and this from eternity.
- That the Son also originates the Holy Spirit.
- That the Son is the author of the Holy Spirit.
- That the Son is also principle of the Holy Spirit.
- That the Son is also source of the Holy Spirit.
- The general conclusion: that the Spirit proceeds from the Son.
- That in the divine person to flow and to proceed is the same.
- That to demonstrate the procession of the Holy Spirit the Greek and Latin Doctors use the same arguments.
- That the Holy Spirit is distinguished from the Son in this that he is from him.
- That the distinction of persons should be according to some order of nature.
- That to believe the Holy Spirit is from the Son is necessary for salvation.
- That the Roman Pontiff is the first and greatest among all bishops.
- That the same Pontiff has universal jurisdiction over the entire Church of Christ.
- That the same possesses in the Church a fullness of power.
- That he enjoys the same power conferred on Peter by Christ.
- That to him belongs the right of deciding what pertains to faith.
- That he is the superior of the other patriarchs.
- That to be subject to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation.
- Against the position of those who deny the Sacrament may be confected with unleavened bread.
- That there exists a purgatory wherein souls are cleansed from sins not cleansed in the present life.
The book, most Holy Father, Pope Urban, which your Excellency called to my attention [the Libellus de fide SS. Trinitatis of Nicholas of Durazzo, Bishop of Cotrone] I have studied carefully and have found expressed in it much that is useful to the affirmation of our faith. I believe, however, its fruitfulness for many persons could be considerably diminished because of some perplexing statements contained in texts of the holy Fathers, and so could provide the quarrelsome with the material and occasion for calumny. And so, after eliminating all ambiguity from the authorities found in the aforesaid book so that the purest fruit of the faith might be harvested, I have proposed first to explain what seems perplexing in the abovementioned authorities, and then to show how by means of them the truth of the Catholic faith may be taught and defended.
There are, in my opinion, two reasons why some of the statements of the ancient Greek Fathers strike our contemporaries as dubious. First, because once errors regarding the faith arose, the holy Doctors of the Church became more circumspect in the way they expounded points of faith, so as to exclude these errors. It is clear, for example, that the Doctors who lived before the error of Arius did not speak so expressly about the unity of the divine essence as the Doctors who came afterwards. And the same happened in the case of other errors. This is quite evident not only in regard to Doctors in general, but in respect to one particularly distinguished Doctor, Augustine. For in the books he published after the rise of the Pelagian heresy he spoke more cautiously about the freedom of the human will than he had done in his books published before the rise of said heresy. In these earlier works, while defending the will against the Manichees, he made certain statements which the Pelagians, who rejected divine grace, used in support of their error. It is, therefore, no wonder if after the appearance of various errors, present day teachers of the faith speak more cautiously and more selectively so as to steer clear of any kind of heresy. Hence, if there are found some points in statements of the ancient Fathers not expressed with the caution moderns find appropriate to observe, their statements are not to be ridiculed or rejected; on the other hand neither are they to be overextended, but reverently interpreted.
“Second, because many things which sound well enough in Greek do not perhaps, sound well in Latin. Hence, Latins and Greeks professing the same faith do so using different words. For among the Greeks it is said, correctly, and in a Catholic way, that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three hypostases. But with the Latins it does not sound right to say that there are three substantiae, even though on a purely verbal basis the term hypostasis in Greek means the same as the term substantia in Latin. The fact is, substantia in Latin is more frequently used to signify essence. And both we and the Greeks hold that in God there is but one essence. So where the Greeks speak of three hypostases, we Latins speak of three personae, as Augustine in the seventh book on the Trinity also teaches. And, doubtless, there are many similar instances.
It is, therefore, the task of the good translator, when translating material dealing with the Catholic faith, to preserve the meaning, but to adapt the mode of expression so that it is in harmony with the idiom of the language into which he is translating. For obviously, when anything spoken in a literary fashion in Latin is explained in common parlance, the explanation will be inept if it is simply word for word. All the more so, when anything expressed in one language is translated merely word for word into another, it will be no surprise if perplexity concerning the meaning of the original sometimes occurs.
How the Son is understood to be related to the Father as something caused to its cause.
Doubt may trouble some persons on discovering that in many passages of these authorities the Father is said to be the cause of the Son, and the Father and Son the cause of the Holy Spirit. And this occurs first in the words which Athanasius is reported to have spoken at the Council of Nicaea: “Whatever the Son has from the Father, he has a word from the heart, as brightness from the sun, a stream from its source, or an effect from its cause. He who insults or denies what is caused quite certainly also denies its cause. The begotten Son who is caused says: He who rejects me rejects Him who sent me” (Lk. 10:16). Elsewhere Athanasius says: “The Spirit is not unoriginated, that is, without any principle or cause, but rather he shows himself to be true God, originated, however, not in time, but from the cause of true origin.” And Basil says: “The Holy Spirit, sent by God himself, has a cause.” And Theodoret commenting on the Epistle to the Hebrews says: “The cause of the Son is the Father.”
Among the Latins, however, the Father is not usually called the cause of the Son or of the Holy Spirit, but only their principle or origin, for this there are three reasons.
First, because the Father cannot be understood as a cause of the Son in the manner of a formal or material or final cause, but only after that of an originating cause, to wit an efficient cause. But we find that an efficient cause is always diverse in essence from that of which it is the cause. Therefore, to exclude the notion that the Son has an essence diverse from that of the Father, we are not accustomed to speak of the Father as cause of the Son, but prefer to use words connoting origin jointly with consubstantiality, such as fount, head, and the like.
Second, because for us cause and effect are correlative terms. Hence we do not say the Father causes, lest someone take this to mean that the Son was made. And even with the philosophers God is called prime cause; whatever is caused is included by them in the universe of creatures. And so, if the Son could be said to have a cause, he could be understood as being included within the universe of caused beings or creatures.
Third, because when speaking of God man should not lightly depart from the scriptural mode. Sacred Scripture, however, calls the Father the beginning (or principle) of the Word, as is clear from John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word.” Nowhere does it say that the Father is a cause or that the Son is caused. Therefore, since cause says more than principle, we do not presume to say that the Father is a cause or the Son is caused.
No word, however, connoting origin is more aptly used when speaking of God than this word principle. Because what is in God is incomprehensible and cannot be defined by us, in speaking of God we more fittingly use general terms rather than proper terms: hence his most proper name is said to be “Who Is”, which is as a term most general, as is evident in Exodus 3:14. And as cause is more general than element, so principle is more general than cause. Therefore, in speaking of God we very appropriately use the term principle.
This is not to be interpreted, however, as if the aforementioned saints who used such terms as cause and caused meant to imply that the divine persons did not have the same nature, or that the Son was a creature. They wished to indicate merely the origin of the persons, as we do when we use the term principle. Hence Gregory of Nyssa states: “When we say cause and caused, we do not mean by these terms natures. For we do not employ these terms as substitutes for essence or nature; rather we illustrate how precisely Father and Son differ, namely we show how the Son is not begotten of anyone.” Similarly, Basil says: “Because unbegotten the Holy Spirit, I say, has not a Father; nor is he a creature, because he is not created, but has God as his cause; God of whom he is truly the spirit, and from whom he proceeds.”
How the Son is to be understood as second from the Father and the Holy Spirit third.
In the abovementioned authorities passages are found where the Son is said to be second in order from the Father and the Holy Spirit third in order from the same. For in the discourse to Serapion Athanasius says: “The Holy Spirit is third in order from the Father, but the Son is second.” Similarly, Basil says: “In dignity and order the Spirit is second from the Son.”
These statements may strike a person as false. For, as Augustine says, the only order existing among the divine persons is an order, not of priority whereby one comes before another, but of origin, whereby one is from another. For there is no mode of priority in virtue of which the Father could be said to be prior to the Son. For the Father is not prior in time, since the Son is eternal; nor prior in nature, since the one nature belongs to Father and Son; nor prior in dignity, since Father and Son are equal; nor even prior in understanding, since they are distinguished only by relations, and relative entities are understood simultaneously, since each pertains to the understanding of the other. And so it is clear that properly speaking the Son cannot be said to be second in order from the Father and the Holy Spirit third in order from the Father.
The aforementioned Doctors, therefore, call the Son second and the Holy Spirit third according to their numerical order. This is clear from Basil himself who says: “We have received the Holy Spirit from Father and Son as third numbered and conglorified, the Spirit of the very Son of God, who when instituting the order of salvific baptism said: ‘Going, baptize all men in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’.” And Epiphanius says: “The Spirit of God who is from Father and Son is third named.”
But when Basil asserts that the Spirit is second from the Son in dignity, he appears more seriously mistaken, because he seems to posit degrees of dignity in the Trinity, whereas all three persons are equal in dignity. This statement, however, can be explained as referring, not to natural, but to personal dignity in God, just as we say that “a person is a hypostasis in virtue of a distinct property entailing dignity.” Hilary adopts this manner of speaking when he says that the Father is greater than the Son by reason of authority of origin. But by reason of oneness in substance the Son is not thereby less than the Father.
How the Holy Spirit is to be understood as third light.
Even more calumnious seems the inference to be drawn from a text of the Cypriot bishop St. Epiphanius: “The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth, a light third in order from Father and Son.” Now where there is unity, there is no order of first and third. But Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one light, just as they are one God. Therefore, just as Catholics cannot say that the Holy Spirit is a third God distinct from Father and Son, so they cannot say that he is as third light.
He is said, however, to be the third person because of the plurality of persons. From the fact, then, that he speaks of a third light, it follows that there are three lights. This Ephiphanius expressly states in a subsequent passage: “All other things are called lights by reason of position or composition or appellation, not however being similar to these three lights.”
On the other hand, it might be said in explanation that a light implies a certain origin; for light is what is diffused from some source and of itself can also diffuse further light. In this way the word light can be stretched to connote personal properties in virtue of the diffusive property of light, even though light by nature properly pertains to the realm of essence. Noting this the said Father spoke of a third light and three lights in God. But this statement should not be pressed too far. Rather, Father, Son and Holy Spirit should simply be confessed as one light.
How the essence is to understood as begotten in the Son and spirated in the Holy Spirit.
Among the sayings of the aforesaid Fathers is met the assertion that the essence is begotten in the Son and spirated in the Holy Spirit. For Athanasius in his third discourse on the Acts of the Council of Nicaea, speaking in the person of the Son, says: “I distribute to men your Spirit together with the divine essence begotten of you.” And a little further on: “From your essence which you have begotten in me I give the Holy Spirit to them.” The same Father writes in his letter to Serapion: “The Parent himself keeping in himself his essence ineffably begot it whole and entire in his Son.” And again: “As the Father has life in himself, that is, a living spirating nature, so he has given to the Son to have life in himself, that is, he begot in the Son the same nature spirating a living Spirit.” Subsequently he says of the Father and Son “that the deity is one naturally spirating one Holy Spirit.” From these passages it follows that in the Son the divine nature spirates the Holy Spirit.
Cyril in his Thesaurus against the heretics states: “The power, uncreated and begotten in the Son, pertains to the Son according to every modality of the Son’s nature.” And again: “The Father gives life to the Son, that is, he begot his natural life in the Son.” And Basil says: “The Son himself whom the Father gives us is God in essence begotten of God, having in himself the whole essence of the Father as begotten.” Athanasius likewise asserts in his letter to Serapion that the divine essence in the Holy Spirit is spirated. He says: “The Holy Spirit is the true and natural image of the Son in virtue of the essence wholly spirated into him by the same.”
This manner of speaking, however, is highly misleading, and at the [Fourth] Lateran Council the teaching of Joachim, who presumptuously defended it against Master Peter Lombard, was condemned. In the 5 th distinction of his First Book of the Sentences the aforementioned Master Peter shows that the common essence does not beget, is not begotten, and does not proceed; this is because in God there is a common element indistinct and one which is distinguished and not common. Therefore, that which is the ground of distinction in God cannot be attributed to what is common and indistinct, but only to that which is distinguished. There is, however, no other ground of distinction in God but this: that one person begets, another is begotten, and another proceeds. Therefore, to beget or to be begottten or to proceed cannot be attributed to the divine essence, which is common and indistinct in the three persons. What is distinct in God, however, is the person or hypostasis or supposit of the divine nature, i.e., what has the divine nature. Hence, those terms which signify or can stand for a person receive the appropriate predication of generation or procession. Thus, these terms: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, connote specific persons, while this term: person, or hypostasis, connotes them generically. Hence, it is proper to say that the Father begets the Son, and that the Son is begotten of the Father and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and also that a person begets or spirates a person, or is begotten or spirated by a person.
The term God, however, because it signifies the divine essence as existing concretely—for it signifies someone who possesses divinity—can, therefore, because of its manner of signifying, stand for a person and so the following ways of speaking are properly permitted: God begets God; God is begotten or proceeds from God.
But the terms essence and divinity and any other connoting abstractly cannot by reason of their mode of signifying signify or stand for a person. And so, personal properties cannot rightly be predicated of the essence or of the godhead, for instance, the essence begets or is begotten. Some of these terms, however, are more closely linked to the personal, inasmuch as they signify principles of acts proper to persons, e.g., light, wisdom, goodness and the like. Hence, it is less inappropriate to predicate personal properties of such, for example, the Son is light of light or wisdom of wisdom. But the phrase: essence of essence, entails greater difficulty.
Although the mode of signifying is diverse in the case of the terms God and deity, the reality to which they refer is absolutely the same. And therefore, just as by reason of that identical reality one is predicated of the other, as when God is called the deity, or a divine person or the Father the divine essence, so too from time to time the saints have used the terms interchangeably, stating, for example, that the divine essence begets because the Father who is the divine essence begets, or that the essence is from the essence because the Son who is the essence is from the Father who is the same divine essence. Cyril in his Thesaurus says: “ The Father living of himself by his own life and truly existing by his own essence, in begetting the Son as from a true root, gives him naturally his own natural life and essence.” So when it is stated that the Father begets his own nature in the Son, this is to be interpreted as meaning that by generation he gives his own nature to the Son, as in the text of Cyril just quoted.
How Jesus is to be understood as Son of the paternal essence.
From this it is clear how is to be interpreted what in the same work Cyril is led to say: “How, therefore, will Jesus, the Son, be a product of the Father’s essence?” For he is not called the Son of the Father’s essence as if he were begotten by the essence of the Father, but as it were receiving by generation the essence of the Father. And this is how all similar statements are to be interpreted, as, e.g., the Son and the Holy Spirit are said to proceed by essence in so far as by proceeding they receive essence from the Father.
How properties of the Father are to be understood as proper to the Son.
Another statement of Cyril in the same Thesaurus could be considered dubious. “All that is by nature proper to the Father is also proper to the Son.” For this could either refer to the essential attributes, which are proper neither to Father nor to Son, but are common to both; or it could refer to the personal attributes, and thus those which are proper to the Father are not proper to the Son, as for instance innascibility and paternity pertain only to the Father and no wise to the Son.
It is clear, however, from his prior affirmations that he is speaking of essential attributes. For he takes as premise that: “Whatever by nature belongs to the Father belongs also to the Son,” such as life, truth, light and the like. These are said, however, to be proper to the Father not in relation to the Son, and proper to the Son not in relation to the Father, but to both in relation to creatures, to which in contrast with God the aforementioned do not properly belong. Or they may be said to be proper to each person, not as pertaining to him exclusively, but as pertaining to him of himself.
How the Father is to be understood as needing neither Son nor Holy Spirit for his perfection.
A further difficulty stems from a passage of Athanasius in his letter to Serapion, namely, that the Father “existing fully and perfectly as God in himself and of himself, without need of anyone, needs neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit”. That the Father has no need of anything is beyond doubt; in the same way neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit wants for anything. To be in need, in the proper sense of the term, is to lack something pertaining to one’s perfection; and to be in need in this sense cannot be said of the Father, or the Son, or of the Holy Spirit.
Nevertheless, the Father could not be perfect unless he had a Son, because the Father would not exist without the Son nor would God be perfect, unless he had a Word and unless he had the breath of life, as the same Athanasius says in this third discourse on the Acts of the Council of Nicaea. Speaking of the Arians who denied that the Son and Holy Spirit are consubstantial with the Father, he says: “They describe as sterile and unfruitful the nature of the Father who has given to each things its inmost nature capable of propagating in kind. And they make the Father dumb and wordless, although he gave to all rational creatures the faculty of speech. They describe the Father as dead and deprive him of a living nature,” inasmuch as they deny that the Holy Spirit is coessential with the Father. From this it is clear that the Father would not be perfect God if he did not have the Son and the Holy Spirit. The same Athanasius states in his letter to Serapion that “the Father could not create the creature except through his Word and could not communicate himself through creatures who were to be made godlike except through the Word. And similarly neither could the Son do this except in the Holy Spirit.”
It is, therfore, common to Father, Son and Holy Spirit that none of them is in need. So, too, it is common to each of them that none can be perfect God without the other two. But for this reason Athanasius specifically says of the Father that he does not need the Son or the Holy Spirit because he does not have his perfection from another, whereas the Son and Holy Spirit have their perfection from the Father. Thus, the same Athanasius in his letter to Serapion says: “Neither by reason of the Son, nor by reason of the Holy Spirit does the Father exist as God perfect and blessed. Nor has he any source before him from whom he is, nor any after him from he derives anything, that is, which would be from the Son or from the Holy Spirit.”
How the Holy Spirit is to be understood as unbegotten.
Doubtful also seems a text of Gregory Nazianzenus in his sermon on the Epiphany: “The Holy Spirit as he exists in God proceeds such that he is unbegotten and not the Son, a mean between unbegotten and begotten.” Now it does not seem that the Holy Spirit can be said to be unbegotten. For Hilary in his book on the Synods states that if anyone say there are two unbegottens, he asserts there are two gods. Similarly, Athanasius says in his letter to Serapion that “the Holy Spirit is not unbegotten, because the Catholic Church assembled at Nicaea rightly and faithfully attributed to the Father alone the property of being without origin and unbegotten, and commanded this to be believed only of the Father and preached to the whole world under penalty of anathema.”
It should be noted, however, that unbegotten can be taken in two senses. Taken one way it connotes him who is without a principle, and in this sense it applies only to the Father, as is clear from the words of Athanasius. Taken in the other way it signifies him who, though he has a principle, is not begotten; and in this sense, not only Gregory Nazianzenus in the passage quoted above, but also Jerome in his rules for definitions against heretics says the Holy Spirit is unbegotten.
How the Holy Spirit is to be understood as the mean between Father and Son.
There is another doubt in the passage of Gregory cited above (chapter 8) where he says that “the Holy Spirit is a mean between the unbegotten and the begotten,” that is, between Father and Son, whereas he should rather be termed third or third person in the Trinity, as noted previously (chapter 2).
But it is to be observed that he is not said to be a mean by reason of the numeration corresponding to the order of origin. For in this order the Son is a mean between Father and Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit is said to be a mean in the sense of a common link between Father and Son, for he is the common love of Father and Son. A similar interpretation is to be given the statement of Epiphanius in his book on the Trinity that “the Holy Spirit is in the middle of the Father and the Son.”
How the Holy Spirit is to be understood as the image of the Son.
So, too, in many passages of these authorities the Holy Spirit is said to be the image of the Son, as Athanasius says in his third discourse on the Council of Nicaea: “The Holy Spirit is said to be and is the one deifying and vivifying truth of Father and Son, the image of the Son, throughout all holding him fast by essence in himself, by nature representing him, just as the Son is the image of the Father.” And in his letter to Serapion: “The Holy Spirit naturally contains the Son within himself as his true and natural image.” And Basil: “The Holy Spirit is called the finger, breath, unction, breeze, mind of Christ, prccession, production, mission, emanation, effusion, warmth, splendor, image, mark, true God.” And elsewhere: “The Holy Spirit exists as true power emanating from Father and Son and as the natural image of Father and Son, naturally representing both to us.”
Among the Latins, however, the Holy Spirit is not ordinarily called the image of Father or Son. For Augustine in the sixth chapter on the Trinity says that “only the Son is called the Word”, and that “only the Son is the image of the Father as only he is Son.” Richard of St. Victor in his book on the Trinity also gives a reason why the Holy Spirit, though like the Father in nature as is the Son, is not one with him in any relative property as is the Son with the Father in actively spirating the Holy Spirit.
Some, however, assign as reason why the Holy Spirit cannot be called an image the fact that this would make him the image of two persons, namely of the Father and of the Son, since he proceeds from both. But to be the one image of two persons is impossible. And on the authority of Holy Scripture as well, which it is forbidden to contradict in treating of God, the Son is explicitly called the image of the Father. For the Epistle to the Colossians (1:13) says: “He has transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins: he is the image of the invisible God”, and in the Epistle to the Hebrews (1:3) it is stated of the Son: “He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature.”
It should be kept in mind, however, that the saintly Greeks offer two texts of Holy Scripture in proof that the Holy Spirit is the image of the Son. For in the Epistle to the Romans (8:29) asserts: “Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.”; and the image of the Son seems to be none other than the Holy Spirit. Second, the First Epistle to the Corinthians (15: 49) says: “Even as we have borne the image of the earthly, let us bear also the likeness of the heavenly”, that is, of Christ
By this image they understand the Holy Spirit, though in these passages the Holy Spirit is not expressly called an image. It might also be interpreted to mean that men are conformed to the image of the Son, or that they bear the image of Christ, inasmuch as these holy men are by gifts of grace perfected so as to be similar to Christ, as the Apostle says in 2 Cor. 3:18: “But we all, with faces unveiled, reflecting as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into his very image from glory to glory, as through the Spirit of the Lord.” For he does not state here that the image is the Spirit of Christ, but something from the Spirit of Christ existing in us.
But because it would be presumptuous to contradict the explicit texts of such great Doctors. We may say that the Holy Spirit is the image of the Father and of the Son provided image is understood to mean derived from another and bearing his likeness. If, however, image is understood to mean something deriving its being from another and by reason of that origination bearing the likeness of that from which it has being inasmuch as it is from that other, as a begotten Son or a conceived Word, then the term applies only to the Son. For it is distinctive of a son to possess the same nature as his father, whatever the nature involved. Likewise it is distinctive of a word to resemble that which is expressed by the word, whatsoever be the word. But it is not proper to the nature of a spirit or of love that it be the likeness in all things of him to whom it belongs. Such likeness, however, is in fact verified in the Spirit of God because of that unity and simplicity of the divine essence, whence whatever is in God must be God.
Nor is the fact that the Holy Spirit does not share with the Father some personal property a reason for refusing to speak of him as an image. For the likeness and equality of the divine persons does not rest on what is proper to each, but on essential attributes. Nor should inequality or unlikeness be attributed to God on the basis of different personal properties, as Augustine says in his book against Maximus. For when the Son is said to be begotten of the Father, “inequality of substance is not indicated, but order of nature.” In like manner, also, no difficulty arises from the fact that the Holy Spirit is from two persons; for he is from two in so far as they are one, since Father and Son are the one principle of the Holy Spirit.
How the Holy Spirit is to be understood in the Father as in his image.
A still greater difficulty arises from what Athanasius says in his letter to Serapion: “The Son is in his Father as in his own image.” The Father, in fact, is not the image of the Son, but it is the Son who is the image of the Father.
But it is to be observed that here image is used improperly in the sense of exemplar; for thus it is sometimes used less than correctly.
How the Holy Spirit is to be understood to be the word of the Son.
What Basil says in the third discourse on the Holy Spirit against Eunomius appears to be false: “As the Son is related to the Father, so the Holy Spirit is related to the Son. And this is why the Son is the Word of the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the Word of the Son: upholding the universe, says the Apostle (Heb. 1:3), by the word of his power.” For as Augustine says in the book on the Trinity, only the Son is the Word. This is why John also names the Son Word. For at the beginning of his Gospel he says: “In the beginning was the Word” (Jn 1:1). He states also in his first Epistle (5:7): “There are three who give testimony in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit.” Nor does it make any difference whether one translates: Eloquence, in place of Word. For that which one utters is his word. Hence, as the Son alone is the Word in the Godhead, so he alone is the Eloquence.
But it should be noted that sometimes by word of God is meant a discourse divinely inspired and uttered. This is how Basil understands the term when he says that the Holy Spirit is effectively the word or eloquence of the Son, in so far as the saints inspired by the Holy Spirit have spoken of the Son in accord with what is said in the Gospel of John about the Holy Spirit (16:13): “Whatever he hears, he will speak.” That this is Basil’s mind is clear from what he adds later: “From him the eloquence of the Son for God.” For the very word of faith uttered by the saints is obviously called the sword of the Spirit.
How by the name of Christ is to be understood the Holy Spirit.
Doubtful seems the passage of Cyril in his Thesaurus where he says that sometimes by the title Christ is understood the Holy Spirit. He states: “The Apostle by the name of Christ calls the Holy Spirit Christ; for he says: Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead, etc. (Rom. 8:10), and a little further on:”The Holy Spirit working in the name of Christ and representing Christ in himself is said to receive the name of Christ and to be called Christ by the Apostle.”
To attribute, however, the name of one person to another seems incompatible with the distinction between persons. For, as the Father is never called the Son, and vice versa, so the Son is never called the Holy Spirit, and vice versa. Hence, the term Christ may never be predicated of the Holy Spirit; nor can it stand for the Holy Spirit.
But it should be observed that this Father does not say the Spirit is called Christ or receives the name of Christ, as if Christ is predicated of the Holy Spirit or vice versa, for this would smack of impious Sabellianism; but the Holy Spirit is understood included in the term Christ by reason of concomitance, just as wherever the Father is present, there is the Son. Hence, the same Father interjects: “Did the preacher of truth”, namely the Apostle, “deny the distinction of persons, as Sabellius did? No. Rather he was at pains to point out to the Church that the Holy Spirit has the same nature as the Son.”
How the assertion that the Holy Spirit does not send the Son is to be understood.
Likewise perplexing is a test of Athanasius in his third discourse on the Council of Nicaea. Speaking of the Arians he says: “The Spirit does not, as these people far removed from the grace of the Gospel and deprived of God the Spirit assert, gratify the Son and send him. They base their opinion on two texts; And now the Lord and his Spirit have sent me; and: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” Now, this seems to contradict what Augustine says in his book on the Trinity that the Son was sent by the Holy Spirit, proving this by the very authorities just quoted. Moreover, he proves that Christ was sent not only by the Holy Spirit, but also by himself, because he was sent by the whole Trinity.
But it is to be observed that in the mission of a divine person two things may be considered: first, the authority of the person sending with respect to the person sent; and second, the effect in the creature for the sake of which the divine person is said to be sent. For, since the divine persons are everywhere by essence, presence and power, a divine person is said to be sent inasmuch as in some new way through some new effect he begins to be present in a creature. Thus, the Son is said to be sent into the world inasmuch as he begins to be in the world in a new way through the visible flesh which he assumed, as the Apostle says in Galatians (4:4): “God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” He is also said to be sent someone spiritually and invisibly inasmuch as he begins to dwell in him through the gift of wisdom. It is of this that the Book of Wisdom speaks: “Send her, that is wisdom, forth from the throne of thy glory that she may be with me and toil with me” (9:10). Similarly, the Holy Spirit is also said to be sent to someone inasmuch as he begins to dwell in him through the gift of charity, according to Romans (5:5): “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
If, therefore, in the mission of a divine person the authority of the person sending be considered with respect to the person sent, only that person from whom another proceeds can send the other. Thus, the Father sends the Son, and the Son sends the Holy Spirit, not however the Holy Spirit the Son; and it is in this sense that Athanasius speaks. But, if in the mission of a divine person the effect for the sake of which the person is said to be sent is considered, then it may be said that the person is sent by the whole Trinity, since the effect is common to the whole Trinity. (For the whole Trinity produced the flesh of Christ and produces wisdom and charity in the saints). In this way Augustine understands the matter.
It must be borne in mind, however, that although according to Augustine a divine person may sometimes be said to be sent by a person from whom he does not proceed, it cannot be said of a person who does not proceed from another that he is sent. Now, since the Father is from no one, he cannot be sent, although he dwells in man by the new gift of grace and may be said to come to him, according to John (14:23): “My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him.” Hence, for a person to be sent it is necessary that he proceed eternally from another person; but it is not necessary that he proceed eternally from that person by whom he is sent. It is enough that the effect according to which he is sent should proceed from that person. I say this in accord with the manner in which Augustine speaks of mission.
But according to the Greeks a person is not sent except by that person from whom he proceeds eternally; hence the Son is not sent by the Holy Spirit except perhaps in so far as he is man. For this reason Basil explains the aforementioned authorities in the sense that by Spirit is meant the Father in so far as Spirit connotes the divine essence as in the Gospel of John (4:24): “God is spirit”; and so Hilary explains this in his book on the Trinity.
How the assertion that the Holy Spirit truly works through the Son is to be understood.
Another doubt stems from a passage of Basil in his book against Eunomius: “The Holy Spirit truly works through the Son.” This indeed seems to be false; for a divine person is said to work through the person who proceeds from him, as the Father is said to work through the Son, and not vice versa.
Rather the Holy Spirit should be said to work through the Son according to his human nature, not according to his divine.
How God is to be understood as not dwelling in men before the incarnation of Christ.
Doubtprovoking also is a statement of Athanasius to Serapion: “According to the forechoice of the divine counsel it was impossible that the Church of the Lord should directly receive an invisible form, incorporeal and unclothed, but the Lord made himself of one substance with the Church by assuming her form to himself.” This would seem to imply that before the incarnation of Christ God did not dwell in man by grace. Certain heretics presumptuously asserted this while commenting on the Gospel of John (7:39): “As yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not net glorified.”
Both texts are to be interpreted in the same way. For just as it is said that the Holy Spirit was not given previously because he was not yet given with the same fullness as when he was received by the Apostles after the resurrection of Christ, so the Church was not able to receive the gift of grace with the same fullness as, in accord with the divine ordinance, she received it through the incarnation of Christ, since grace and truth as John says (1:17) came through Jesus Christ. Therefore, in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea Athanasius says: “It is indeed impossible that they should be consummated and perfected unless I assume a perfect man.” This is to be understood in the sense above.
There, however, the qualification “in accord with the divine forechoice” was added, because, although it was possible for God by his absolute power to confer the perfection of grace on the human race in a way other than the incarnation of Christ, it was not possible, given the divine ordinance, for the human race to acquire this fullness of grace in any other way.
How the divine essence is to be understood as conceived and born.
Likewise doubtprovoking are these words of Athanasius in his letter to Serapion: “The uncreated divine essence was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary.” Now, the Master says in his third book of the Sentences, dist. VIII, that what is not begotten of the Father is not properly said to be born of the Mother, lest some reality, of which the term filiation is not predicated in the divine order, should enjoy such predication in the human. Hence, since the divine essence is not born of the Father, so neither can it be said to be born of the Mother.
But it is to be noted that just as the divine essence is said improperly to beget or to be begotten via an eternal generation in so far as the essence stands for person and so is understood to beget, because the Father who is the essence begets, so in the same way the divine essence is said to be born of the Virgin, because the Son of God, who is the divine essence, was born of the Virgin.
How the assertion that the deity was made is to be understood.
Doubt also arises from another passage of Athanasius in the same letter: “The Godhead made man has conformed the Church to himself through his Spirit.” Now, the Master in the fifth distinction of the third book of the Sentences states that the divine nature should not be said to have become flesh, as is said: The Word became flesh. For the statement: The Word became flesh, is made, because the Word was made man. Therefore it should not be said that the divine essence or divinity was made man.
But it is to be observed that the divinity is not said to have been made man because the divine nature was changed into human nature, but was made man in the sense that the divine nature is said to have assumed a human nature in the one person, namely, of the Word. As also the Damascene says that: “the nature of the divinity in one of its persons became incarnate,” that is, united to flesh.
It should be recognized, however, that it is on a different basis that the Word is said to be man and the divinity is said to be man. For when it is said: The Word is man, the predication involved is that via information, because the person of the Word subsists in a human nature. But, when it is said: the divinity is man, the predication is not via information, because the human nature does not inform the divine. Rather the predication is via identity, as when it is said: the divine essence is the Father, or: the divine essence is the Son; for man stands for the person of the Word when it is said: the divinity is man. And the same is true when it is said: the divinity is made man, because the person of the Son has begun to be incarnate, a fact implied by the term man, even though the person of the Son did not begin to be. For the deity was always Son, but not always man.
How the Son of God is to be understood to have assumed a human nature in his essence.
Another doubt occurs when Athanasius says of the Son of God in his third discourse on the Council of Nicaea: “In his ousia, that is, essence, he assumed from us our human nature.” Since assumption terminates at union, and the union was not effected in the nature but in the person, it therefore seems that the human nature was not assumed in the essence of the Son.
Rather, this manner of speaking must be described as imprecise, and should be interpreted thus: He assumed our nature in his essence in such wise, namely, that it is united in his essence in the unity of the person.
How the assertion that a man was assumed is to be understood.
Likewise perplexing in the same discourse by Athanasius is the assertion that man is assumed. Speaking in the person of the Son he says: “Having assumed man in full I have given the Holy Spirit fully and perfectly to men.” And in his letter to Serapion he states: “The unity of the Church is from the Father through the Son in the Holy Spirit through the deifying and deified man, assumed by the same Son.”
It should be noted, however, that since no one assumes himself, the one assuming must be distinct from what is assumed, the recipient from what is received. If, therefore, man is said to be assumed by the Son of God, what is connoted by the term man must be diverse from what is connoted in the term Son of God. By the term man, however, can be connoted either a complete human person, or less: a human supposit not enjoying human personhood. If, therefore, the statement should be made that a man is assumed, where man connotes a human person, it will follow that a divine person has assumed a human person, and thus there will be two persons in Christ, which is the Nestorian heresy. Augustine, therefore, says in his book De fide ad Petrum that “God the Word did not take to himself the person of a man, but the nature.”
Some, wishing to avoid this error, have said that when a man is said to be assumed by the Word, by the term man is understood a supposit of human nature, namely, this man, but not a human person, because it does not exist separately of itself, but is united to someone of greater dignity, namely, the Son of God. And because this human supposit, which is designated as assumed when the phrase: assumed man, is used, is distinct from the supposit which is the Son of God, they affirm that these are two supposits in Christ, but not two persons.
But on this view, it follows that this proposition: the Son of God is a an, would not be true. For it is impossible that of two things different from one another as two supposits one could truly be predicated of the other. And, therefore, it is commonly held that there is but one supposit connoted by the term man and the term Son of God. From this it follows that the statement: man is assumed, is false or imprecise. It should be interpreted to mean: The Son of God assumed man, that is, human nature.
How the assertion ‘God made man God’ is to be understood.
Another doubt arises from what Athanasius says in the same letter: “The Son of God, assuming man in his own hypostasis in order that he might lead man back to himself, made him God, deifying him.” And in his third discourse on the Council of Nicaea: “It is impossible for them to be consummated unless I assume a perfect man and deify him and make him God with me.” By this it is implied that the proposition: man has become God, is true.
It is to be noted that the propositions: God was made man, and man was made God, are equally true according to the opinion which claims there are two supposits in Christ, for when it is said: God was made man, from that point of view, is that a supposit of divine nature was united to the supposit of human nature: and conversely, when it is said that man was made God, the sense is that a supposit of human nature was united to the Son of God.
But if it is maintained that in Christ there is but one supposit, then the statement: God was made man, is true in the proper sense, because he who was God from eternity began to be man in time. Properly speaking, however, this proposition is not true: man was made God, because the eternal supposit connoted by the term man was always God. Hence, the passages of Athanasius are to be explained thus: man was made God, that is, it came to be that man is God.
How the likeness of the first parent is to be understood as erased in Christ.
Dubious also is what Athanasius in the aforesaid letter says speaking in the person of Christ after the resurrection: “Having erased in myself the likeness of the first parent, destroying it in the victory of the cross, I being now immortal make you the adopted sons of the Father.”
Now, it is to be observed that a person may possess a likeness to the first parent in three ways. First, in terms of likeness in nature, as in Genesis (5: 3): When Adam had lived a hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness. Second, in terms of sin, as in 1 Cor. 15: Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall bear also the image of the man in heaven. Third, in terms of punishment, as in Zechariah (13:5): I am a tiller of the soil, for Adam has been my model from my youth. Christ assumed the first likeness to Adam in assuming our nature and he has never laid it aside; the second likeness he never had; and the third he did assume, but laid it aside at the resurrection, and it is of this third likeness that Athanasius speaks.
How the assertion: the creature cannot cooperate with the Creator, is to be understood.
Perplexing also is what Athanasius says in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea: “Or let them tell us how the creature cooperates with the Creator.” Thereby it is implied that the creature cannot cooperate with the Creator. This seems false, since the saints are said by the Apostle to be God’s helpers and fellow-workers.” (1 Cor. 3:9)
It must be borne in mind, however, that something is said to cooperate with another in two ways. First, because it works toward the same effect, but by a different power, as a servant cooperates with his lord, or an instrument with the artisan by whom it is moved. Second, something is said to cooperate with another in so far as it effects conjointly with another the same operation, as when two men carry a single burden or drag a boat.
A creature, therefore, can cooperate in the first way with the Creator in respect to effects which come to pass through the creature, but not in respect to those effects which are immediately from God such as creation and sanctification. A creature, however, does not cooperate in the second way with the Creator; only the three persons of the Trinity cooperate in this way, since theirs is a single operation: not, however, as if each possessed a part of the power by which the operation is performed as is the case with many men dragging a boat, for thus the power of each would be imperfect; but in the sense that the entire power sufficient for the effect is in each of the three Persons.
How the assertion that the creature does not belong to the Creator, is to be understood.
Dubious, too, is what Basil says in his book against Arius: “The creature does not belong to the Creator.” This contradicts what is said in John (1:11): He came unto his own.
But Gregory resolves this doubt in one of his homilies when he says that the creature belongs to the Creator in relation to his power, but is foreign to him in relation to his nature, that is, exists of a nature different from God’s.
How our assertion that the angels by nature are not ranked second and third is to be understood.
Another doubt stems from what Basil says in his book against Eunomius: “We say that among the angels there is rank, one being prince and another subject, but we do not rank them as second or third by nature.” This seems to imply that all the angels were created equal by God, as Origen held. We say, however, that as they differ in gifts of grace, so they differ in natural endowments.
Basil’s assertion about the angels not being ranked second and third by nature, is not, therefore, to be interpreted as meaning that one is not naturally more perfect than another, but that all share one nature generically, although not specifically.
How the assertion that even the Seraphim learn from Paul as a teacher is to be understood.
Perplexing also is what Cyril says in his Thesaurus that “from Paul as teacher not only is human reason instructed but the hidden mysteries of the Father’s heart are disclosed to the Seraphim alone.” This seems to mean that even to the highest angels knowledge comes from men. And the basis for this appears to be Ephesians (3:8): To me, the least of all the saints is granted this grace, to proclaim to the pagans the unfathomable riches of Christ, so that through the Church the manifold wisdom of God may be known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places.
But Denis teaches the contrary in chapter four of the Angelic Hierarchy, where he shows that the knowledge of things divine is received by the angels before men; and in chapter seven of the same book he says that the Seraphim are taught immediately by God. And Augustine says in his literal commentary on Genesis that “the mystery of the Kingdom of heaven was not hidden from the angels, the mystery revealed in due season for our salvation.”
And so it is to be noted that since future events are foreknown only to God and not to angels, although as Augustine says the angels knew the mystery of our redemption from the beginning, they did not therefore know at all some circumstances of this redemption so long as such were still in the future. But once these were accomplished, they came to know them as they do other things actually occurring. Hence, the divine mysteries are not to be understood as being revealed to the highest Seraphim by Paul in the act of teaching, as if they had learned from Paul, but rather on the preaching of Paul and the other apostles there were accomplished those things which the angels came to know because present reality, but which had remained unknown to them so long as they were still in the future. And this is what the words of Jerome mean when he says that “the angels had no full understanding of the mystery until the passion of Christ was accomplished and the preaching of the Apostles extended to the Gentiles.”
How the assertion that the breath of life which God breathed into the face of man is not the rational soul, but the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is to be understood.
Another doubt arises from Cyril’s statement that “when in Genesis 1 God is said to have breathed the breath of life into the face of man in order that man might become a living being, we do not call this breath of life the soul. For were it the soul, the soul would be uncangeable and would not sin because it would be of the divine essence; rather Moses said the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was superimposed on the human soul.
This is contrary to the explanation of Augustine who claims that by that breath is meant the human soul, and who shows how from this it does not follow that it is of the divine substance: for it is a figurative way of speaking, meaning not that the Holy Spirit breathed as a body, but only that he made the spirit, that is the soul, out of nothing. And what is more, it appears to contradict statements of the Apostle who says in 1 Cor. 15 (45): The first Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual”. Here the life of the soul is expressly declared to be different from the life which is through the Holy Spirit. Hence that inbreathing by which man became a living being cannot be understood as the grace of the Holy Spirit.
Hence, Cyril’s explanation cannot be described as literal, but only allegorical.
How the impossibility of not blaspheming for one who has once blasphemed is to be understood.
Still another doubt arises from the statement of Athansius in the letter to Serapion that it was impossible “for Arians who had not only once but often blasphemed not to blaspheme.” This appears to contradict the freedom of the will.
But here impossible must be taken as the equivalent of difficult, the difficulty stemming from habit as Jeremiah (13:23) says: Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.
How the assertion that faith cannot be preached is to be understood.
Dubious also is what Chrysostom says in his sermon on faith that faith “cannot be preached.”
But this is to be interpreted thus: it cannot be fully explained through preaching.
How the assertion that faith is not ministered to us by angels is to be understood.
A further difficulty centers on Athanasius’ assertion that “faith is given us neither by angels nor by signs and wonders,” whereas in Hebrews 2:4 it is said that faith was proclaimed, God bearing witness by signs and wonders.
But our faith is to be understood as deriving its authority not from angels nor from any miracles worked, but from the revelation of the Father through the Son and the Holy Spirit; although angels also revealed some matters pertaining to our faith to certain persons, such as Zachary and Mary and Joseph, and many miracles were also worked to strengthen the faith.
How the assertion that even the New Testament is a death-dealing letter is to be understood.
A further difficulty arises from a text of Athanasius in the letter to Serapion: “This is a deathdealing letter: From the beginning and before all ages I was created, etc. (Eccl. 24: 14), and he adds many illustrations from the Old and New Testaments. The letter, however, of the New Testament does not seem to be deathdealing; for thus it would not differ from the letter of the Old Testament, about which 2 Cor. 3:6 says that the letter kills.
But a correct formulation should say that neither the letter of the New Testament nor that of the Old kills, except occasionally. Occasion of death some take in a twofold sense. In one sense, in so far as the sacred text is an occasion of error, something common both to the letter of the Old as well as the New Testament; hence St. Peter says in his second letter (3:16) that in the letters of St. Paul there are some things hard to understand, which the ignorant an unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do not understand the scriptures.
In another way, in so far as the precepts contained in Holy Scripture become the occasion for evil living, concupiscence being intensified by its prohibition when helping grace is not given; and in this way the letter of the Old Testament is said to be deathdealing, but not the letter of the New.
How the sole definition of the Nicene Council is to be understood as the unique and true possession of the faithful.
Doubt also arises from the same letter where Athanasius says that “only the definition of the Fathers of the Council of Nicaea, discerned in the spirit and not in the letter, is the unique and true possession of the orthodox.” Someone might interpret this as implying that the definition of the said Council enjoys greater authority than the letter of the Old Testament, which is absolutely false.
The text, however, must be read in the sense that through the said Council the true meaning of Sacred Scripture is perceived, a meaning which only Catholics possess, although the letter of Sacred Scripture is common to Catholics and heretics and Jews.
After these explanations, then, we proceed now to show how on the basis of the authorities contained in the aforementioned book the true faith is taught and defended against error. It is to be kept in mind that the Son of God appeared precisely in order to destroy the works of the devil, as stated in 1 John 3:8). Hence, he has exerted and continues to exert his every energy in the opposite direction to destroy the work of Christ. He attempted to do this initially via tryants who inflicted bodily death on the ministers of Christ: subsequently, however, via heretics through whom he worked the spiritual death of many. Hence, on careful examination the errors of heretics appear tending mainly to diminish the dignity of Christ.
Indeed, Arius diminished the dignity of Christ by destroying that He was the Son of God consubstantial with the Father and by asserting Him to be a creature. Macedonius, by asserting that the Holy Spirit is a creature, took from the Son the honor of spirating a divine person. Mani diminished the dignity of Christ when he claimed that visible things were created by an evil God, thereby denying that all things were created through the Son. So, too, Nestorius destroyed what belonged to Christ, for in making one Person in Christ the son of man and another the Son of God he denied the unity of Christ. So, too, Eutyches, who by asserting that in the incarnation of Christ one nature was formed out of two, namely, the divine and the human, in fact deprived Him of both natures; for what is a composite of two things cannot truly be said to be either. Pelagius also dissolved Christ, for by saying that we do not need grace to attain salvation, he rendered Christ’s coming pointless; for, as stated in John 1:17: Grace and truth come through Jesus Christ. Jovinian lessened the dignity of Christ when he said that married persons were the equal of virgins, since we profess that Christ was born of a Virgin. Vigilantius lessened the dignity of Christ, when in attacking poverty embraced for the love of Christ he spoke against the perfection which Christ observed and taught. Therefore, it is justly remarked in 1 John 4:3: Every spirit that dissolves Jesus is not of God, but is the Antichrist.
So, also, at the present time some are described as dissolving Christ by diminishing His dignity so far as this lies in their power. In saying that the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Son, they lessen His dignity, since He together with the Father is the Spirator of the Holy Spirit. In denying, moreover, that there is one head of the Church, namely, the holy Roman Church, they clearly dissolve the unity of the Mystical Body; for there cannot be one body if there is not one head, nor one congregation if there is not one ruler. Hence, John 10:16 says: There will be one fold and one shepherd.
In denying that the sacrament of the altar can be consecrated of unleavened bread, they are manifestly in opposition to Christ, who, as the evangelists relate, instituted this sacrament on the first day of the unleavened read, when it was against the law for there to be leavened bread in the houses of the Jews. Their view also seems to diminish the purity of the sacramental body of Christ, to which the Apostle exhorts the faithful in 1 Cor. 5:8, saying: Let us, therefore, celebrated the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. In denying purgatory they also lessen the power of this sacrament which is offered in the Church both for the living and for the dead; for if purgatory does not exist, it avails the dead nothing; it cannot profit them if they are in hell, where there is no redemption; nor can it do them any good if they are in heaven, where they are in no need of our prayers.
How these errors may be refuted using the authorities already cited, I will briefly demonstrate, dealing first with the procession of the Holy Spirit.
That the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son.
The starting point of any demonstration that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son must be what those in error also cannot deny, namely, that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son, since this is expressly proved on the authority of Holy Scripture.
Galatians, 4:6: Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father. And Romans 4 (rather 8:9): Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Acts 16: 7: When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. And 1 Cor. 2:16: We have the mind of Christ. And from what the Apostle says previously it is clear that this must be understood of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is also called the Spirit of truth, as in John 15:26: When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth. He is also called the Spirit of life, as in Romans 8:2: The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Hence, when the Son says of himself: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14: 6), the Greek doctors conclude that this is the Spirit of Christ. They argue similarly from the words of the Psalm (32:6): By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their host by the breath of his mouth. For the Son is also called mouth of the Father as well as Word.
But lest anyone claim that the Spirit who proceeds from the Father is other than the Spirit of the Son, the Scriptures show that the same Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son. For in John 15:11 he is simultaneously called Spirit of truth and Spirit who proceeds from the Father. And Romans 8:9 after stating: If the Spirit of God who dwells in you, immediately adds: If anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, to indicate that the Spirit of Father and Son is one and the same. Hence Basil, after citing these words of the Apostle, refutes Eunomius thus: “Behold he, namely, the Apostle, saw in Father and Son the one Spirit both of Father and of Son.” And Theodoret, explaining the same passage in his commentary on the letter to the Romans, says: “The Holy Spirit is common to Father and Son.”
The question, then, to be pondered is how the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son or the Spirit of Christ. One might say that he is the Spirit of Christ in so far as he dwelt fully in the man Christ, ad in Luke 4:1: Jesus full of the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan, or in John 1:16: Of whose fullness we have all received. This solution, however, cannot be defended when taken as the only reason why the Spirit is called the Spirit of Christ.
For it is shown by the Greek doctors that the Holy Spirit is the natural Spirit of the Son. Athanasius says in his third discourse on the Council of Nicaea: “As our nature lives divinely in Christ and He reigns in it, so in his natural Spirit we are and live and reign.” The same Doctor adds in his letter to Serapion: “You have received the Spirit of adoption, that is, the natural Spirit from the nature of the natural Son.” And Cyril comments on John: “The Son indeed exists in his own Begettor, having for himself the one begetting him; and so the Spirit of the Father truly and naturally appears to be and is the Spirit also of the Son.” But the Spirit is not naturally of Christ according to his humanity, sicne he does not belong to man by nature, but is poured forth gratuitously by God on human nature; hence, the Spirit cannot be called Spirit of the Son because he filled Christ par excellence according to his humanity.
Similarly Athanasius states in a sermon on the Incarnation of the Word that: “The Christ, qua God the Son, sent the Spirit from on high, and as man he received the Spirit on earth. From him, therefore, unto him he (the Spirit) dwells in the humanity of the same (Christ) from his divinity.” Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of Christ because he filled his humanity, but more so because he proceeds from his divinity.
One might, however, object that the Holy Spirit is of the Son according to his divinity in so far as given and sent by the Son of God, but not as existing from the Son personally and eternally. But neither can this stand on analysis. For Cyril, commenting on John, says: “The Holy Spirit is properly the Spirit of God the Father, but is no less the Spirit of God the Son, not however as two distinct Spirits.” He also says in his exhortation to the Emperor Theodosius: “As the Holy Spirit belongs to the Father from whom he proceeds, so also in truth he belongs to his Son.” If, therefore, he is of the Father, not only because he is given and sent by him in time, but also because he exists from him eternally, by the same token he is the Spirit of the Son as eternally existing of him. Cyril, commenting on John, likewise says: “The Holy Spirit exists as the truest fruit of the essence of the Son himself.” He is, therefore, of the Son, as it were having his essence from the Son.
Hence, it is clear that since they confess the Holy Spirit to be the Spirit of Christ, they must further recognize that he is from the Son eternally.
That the Son sends the Holy Spirit.
It is likewise evident on the authority of Holy Scripture that the Son sends the Holy Spirit. For in John 15:26 it is stated: When the Paraclete comes whom I shall send you, and in John 16:7: If I do not go away, he Paraclete will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you. On the authority of Scripture (John 14:16) it is also certain that the Father gives the Holy Spirit: I will ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete. But that the Son gives the same Holy Spirit is clear from John 20: 22), for it is there stated that after the resurrection the Lord breathed upon the disciples and said to them: Receive the Holy Spirit. Athanasius confesses the same in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea: “How will they be consummated unless I, your Word, am consummated”, that is, assume a perfect man, “and perfect mankind within myself and grant them the Holy Spirit, my equal and in all things my cooperator?” And the same point in the letter to Serapion: “I believe, o holy fellow priest, that you have received this Holy Spirit from the Son.”
The same Athanasius, moreover, in the same letter says: “This is the order of divine nature from the Father in the Son that he who is from no one should be sent by no one, and he who is from another should come not in his own name, but in the name of him from whom he exists. So the Holy Spirit who is not from himself, should not come of himself, but in the name of him from whom he is and from he derives his hypostatic status as God, wherefore of him the Son says (John 14:26): The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name.” From the fact that the Holy Spirit is sent by the Son, it clearly follows that he exists eternally of the Son and derives from him his status as God.
Nicetas, commenting on John, likewise says: “The Father does not send the Holy Spirit in virtue of a property other than the one by which the Son sends him; nor does the Son send the Holy Spirit in virtue of some property by which the Father does not send him.” Whence it is clear that the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit in virtue of the same property and on the same basis. If, therefore, the Father sends the Holy Spirit as one who exists eternally of him, similarly the Son will send the Holy Spirit as one who eternally exists of him.
So, too, Athanasius in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea, speaking in the person of the Son, says: “As you begot me perfect God and caused me to assume a perfect man, so of yourself and of my essence give them the perfect Holy Spirit.” And in his letter to Serapion, “As in the Son of God the nature which he took from us remains united to him, so also he remains in us through his own Spirit coessential with him, whom in virtue of his essence he spirates from his essence and gives to us.” And in his sermon on the Incarnation of the Word he says” “The Holy Spirit is given to the disciples from the fullness of the godhead.” Likewise Nicetas commenting on John says: “As the Father, the Son gives the Spirit of himself.”
From all this it is concluded that the Spirit is said to be given or sent by the Son, not only in so far as the gift of grace through which the Holy Spirit dwells in us is from the Son, but in so far as the Holy Spirit is from the Son. For it is impossible that the gift of grace, being something created, should be of the essence of the Son. But the Holy Spirit is coessential with the Son. Wherefore he can be given or sent from the essence of the Son.
Moreover, nothing but what belongs to him can be given by anyone. The Holy Spirit, therefore, is given by him whose he is, as 1 John 4:3 states: By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his own Spirit. If, therefore, the Son sends or gives the Holy Spirit, the Spirit must be his. From the fact that it is his Spirit, it follows that the Spirit is from him eternally, as has been shown. From this, that the Son sends or gives the Holy Spirit, it follows that the Spirit likewise exists of him eternally.
That the Holy Spirit receives of that which is the Son’s.
Further, on the authority of Holy Scripture it is proven that the Holy Spirit receives of that which is the Son’s. For in John 16:4, it is said: He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.
Some one may object that, although the Holy Spirit receives what is the Son’s, he does not receive it from the Son; for he receives the essence of the Father from the Father, an essence identical with that of the Son, and this would explain why the Son says: He shall receive of mine. And the Lord;s words which follow (John 16:15) seem to suggest this, for he adds, almost in explanation of himself: All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine.
But from this explanation of the Lord, it is necessarily concluded that the Holy Spirit receives from the Son. If all that belongs to the Father belongs to the Son, then the authority by reason of which the Father is the principle from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds must also belong to the Son. As, therefore, the Holy Spirit receives from the Father what is the Father’s, so he receives from the Son what is the Son’s.
This is why Athanasius says in his letter to Serapion: “In teaching his Apostles and his Bride the Church Christ affirmed thast from his very own being the Holy Spirit exists of himself essentially as God, saying thus: He shall receive of mine, that is, he has from my essence his divinity, so he has from me existence and speech.” And again in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea: “Whatever the Holy Spirit has, he has from the Word of God.” And in his letter to Serapion he says” “The Holy Spirit is coessential with the Son from he has whatever he has.” And, again, in the same letter: “The Son says: He, namely, the Holy Spirit, will glorify me, thast is, as he has in himself my godhead from me, he will prove me to be the glorious and just God, just as I glorify my Father, thast is, as I have in myself his godhead from him.” And Basil writing against Eunomius says: “An attribute passes from the Father to the Son, such that the Son qua God is God from the Father, Lord from the Lord, Almighty from the Almighty, Wisdom from the Wise, Word from the highest Speaker, Power from Power; the true Son has the attributes of the Father in himself. In the same way the Holy Spirit is Lord and God, the Almighty, Wisdom, Power, naturally taking the attributes he possesses from the Lord God, Father and Son, from whom he is and by whom he is given.”
It is clear, however, that from the fact that the Son has the godhead and whatever else he has from the Father, he is eternally from the Father. Hence, the Holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and Son as receiving from them the godhead and whatever he has.
That the Son works through the Holy Spirit.
It is also established on the authority of Sacred Scripture that the son works in the Holy Spirit or through the Holy Spirit. The Apostles in Romans 15: 18 says: For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has wrought through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit. And in 1 Cor. 2:10 it is said: God has revealed them through his Spirit. For he is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Hence the Father and the Son work in revealing through the Holy Spirit.
This is why Athanasius says in the letter to Serapion: “The Son of God, by enlightening us in going before us and by justifying us in strengthening our faith and by unlocking the Scriptures in filling us with the gifts of wisdom, bestows his gifts while he forgives sin and endows us with his charisms, not in the spirit of another not his own, but in his own Holy Spirit.” And Cyril also says in his discourse on the dogmas of God: “The Son has by essence in himself the Holy Spirit as his own and as naturally sent from him; in him he has worked divine miracles as by his own true and proper power.”
From the fact that the Son works through the Holy Spirit it is necessarily concluded that the Holy Spirit is from the Son. Someone may be said to work through another in two ways. One way, in so far as that by which one works is a principle unto itself and cause of the operation, either as the efficient and moving cause, as the bailiff is said to work through the king; or as the formal cause, as man is said to work through his art. The other way, in so far as that by which one works is a cause in relation to the work and not to the agent, as the king is said to work through his baliff and the artist through his instrument. In this case the one working must contrariwise be called the principle of the operation in relation to that by which the operation is accomplished, as the king in relation to that by which the operation is accomplished, as the king in relation to the bailiff or the artist in relation to the instrument he uses.
When, therefore, it is said that the Son works through the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit cannot be understood to be the principle of operation in relation to the Son, since the Son does not receive from the Holy Spirit. The only alternative, then, is that the Son is the principle of operation in relation to the Holy Spirit. And this cannot be except on this basis that he give him his operative power. But he does not give this to him as though he had it not previously, for this would imply that the Holy Spirit lacked it and so would be less than the Son. Hence, the only alternative is that he give it to him from eternity. Nor is the operative power of the Holy Spirit anything else than his essence, since the Holy Spirit, like the Father, is simple. Hence, the only alternative is that the Son give the divine essence to the Holy Spirit from eternity.
And Athanasius says this expressly in his letter to Serapion: “As the Father naturally works through the Son and in the Son originating from him and not contrariwise, so the Son naturally works in the Holy Spirit originating from him as in his own power, and not contrariwise.”
That the Holy Spirit is the image of the Son.
On the authority of Sacred Scripture it is established, according to the interpretation of the Greek doctors as noted above, that the Holy Spirit is the image of the Son. They interpret what is said in Romans 8:29: Those whom he foreknew he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son”, and in 1 Cor. 15: 49: Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, so we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven, as meaning that the image of the Son is the Holy Spirit. This is why Athanasius in his letter to Serapion, speaking in the person of the Son, says: “Receive my very own image, the Holy Spirit of knowledge.” And Gregory of Caesarea says: “The Holy Spirit is the perfect image of the Son.” It is well known, however, that an image derives from that of which it is the image. From the fact, therefore, that the Holy Spirit is the image of the Son, it follows that the Holy Spirit is from the Son.
One might indeed object that he is the image of the Son in so far as he is likened to the Son on the basis of some effect which he brings about jointly with the Son, or because he is from the Father just as the Son is. But on the basis of texts of the saints which state that the Holy Spirit is the natural image of the Son this is excluded. For he could not be called the natural image of the Son, except in so far as he is likened to the Son in nature, receiving his nature from the Son. For the form of the image must always be derived from the form of that of which it is the image.
This is why Athanasius in the aforementioned letter says” “As God made himself consubstantial with the Church by assuming her form in himself, so he sealed her divinely and superabundantly with his own image, namely, the Holy Spirit by nature existing of his essence.” And in his Thesaurus Cyril says: “He who receives the natural image of the Son, that is, the Holy Spirit, through the Son truly possesses the same Son and the Father of the Son. How, therefore, could the Holy Spirit be numbered among creatures since he is the natural and incommunicable image of the Son of God?” And Basil writing against Eunomius says: “The natural image of the Son is his breath, the Spirit.”
That he is the character of the Son.
On the same grounds the aforesaid doctors say that the Holy Spirit is the character of the Son. For Athanasius in the letter just cited says that “the Son in pouring forth the Holy Spirit stamps him as his character and very own image on the Church to reform the Church and divinely conform her to himself.” And Basil in his book against Arius and Sabellius says: “As the Son gained us for the Father, he himself being from the Father, so the Spirit gains us for the Son through faith, imprinting on us in baptism the character of the Son, from whom he is and of whom he is proclaimed the true spirit and character.”
That he is also the seal of the Son.
Similarly they say that the Spirit is the seal of the Son. For Athanasius in the aforementioned letter says: “The Holy Spirit is the anointing and seal, impressing the image contained in himself, in which Spirit, as truly as in his own seal, that is, by the image of his nature, God the Word seals, and marks the Church his spouse, impressing on her his very own image.” And further on: “Christ in his own image anoints, and super-anoints the Church and through him, as through his seal containing his own essence, he impresses himself on the Church his spouse.” Chrysostom commenting on Romans says: “If the Spirit is the character and seal of Christ, he who does not have the seal and character of Christ is not Christ’s.”
It is well known, however, that the character and seal are derived from him whose they are. Hence, from the texts of these Doctors it is expressly shown that the Holy Spirit derives from the Son.
The texts of these Doctors, moreover, are also confirmed by the authority of Holy Scripture. For in 2Cor. 1:22 it is said: God who has anointed us has also put his seal upon us and given his Spirit in our hearts as his guarantee. This is to be understood, naturally, of the Father and Son, since both give us the Holy Spirit, as has been shown. And in Eph. 1: 13-14: In whom, that is, in Christ, you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance.
That the Holy Spirit is from the Father through the Son.
It is also taught by the aforesaid Doctors that the Holy Spirit is from the Father through the Son. For in his Thesaurus Cyril says: “God the Father by his own right hand, that is, by his power and wisdom, brought all things into being in his one true and life-giving and divinizing Spirit coessential with himself, whom in essence he spirated from himself through the same Son by nature coeternal with him.” And Basil says: “The Son is not the Son of the Spirit because the Spirit is from God the Father through the Son.” And writing against Eunomius the same Saint says: “If from your own word, O you who resist the truth, from your very own intelligence your produce a spirit by beating the air with a word not of the same kind, do you doubt the Holy Spirit proceeds in an intellectual manner from the Father through the only-begotten Son?” And further on: “The Son calls himself the Word of the Father and unhesitatingly declares to us that the Spirit is of the Father through himself, the Word.”
Thus, it is shown conclusively that the Spirit is from the Son. For it was remarked above that when anyone is said to work through something, that something must be a principle of operation for the agent, or at the least must be a principle of operation for that in which the operation terminates. But the Son cannot be a principle of spiration for the Father. Hence, if the Father spirates the Holy Spirit through the Son, it necessarily follows that the Son is a principle of the Holy Spirit.
The same is proven from the statement of Gregory of Nyssa: “We hold the Holy Spirit is from the Father through the mediation of the Son.” For so the Holy Spirit is said to be from the Father through the Son, in as much as the Father is the principle of the Son, and the Son is the principle of the Holy Spirit.
That the Holy Spirit is from the Son.
But this is the point where authorities from the Greek Fathers are to be adduced stating that the Holy Spirit is from the Son. For in his letter to Serapion Athanasius says: “Christ said (John 16: 13) of his Spirit: He will not speak of himself, but will speak whatever he shall hear, that is, not as though an unoriginated Spirit, a property of the Father alone, but above all in the proper sense he is from the Son himself from whom he receives the divine essence and from whom he also hears whatever he speaks.” Against Arius and Sabellius Basil says: “How does the Holy Spirit adopt in the Son, if he is a stranger to Father and Son? How does he, an outsider, dwell in those Christ redeems, if he is not from Christ?”
That he is jointly from Father and Son.
Lest anyone object that the Holy Spirit proceeds one way from the Father, but another from the Son, both these Doctors assert that he proceeds jointly from both. So Epiphanius says in his book on the Trinity, “God from God the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit.”
That he is from both from eternity
If anyone says that the Holy spirit is said to be from the Father and the Son in the sense of being temporally sent by them and not existing from them from eternity, this is shown to be false from what follows. For the same Epiphanius says in his book on the skin dresses of Adam and Eve: “As Christ says, the Spirit of Truth which proceeds from the Father shall also receive from what is mine. So the Spirit always exists from both of the two.” He also says in a sermon on the Incarnation of the Word: “The Father, after all, always existed; the Son always existed, and the Holy Spirit always existed from the Father and the Son.” He is therefore eternally from both.
That the Holy Spirit is a person from persons.
So, too, from texts of the same Doctors it is established that the Holy Spirit is a person from the persons of Father and Son. For Athanasius says in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea: “Holy Mother Church here assembled damns the inventions of his heresy”, namely of the Arians, “and confesses the Holy Spirit to be uncreated, true God, a hypostasis from the hypostases of Father and Son, and coessential with them.” And Epiphanius in his Ancoratus says: “The Holy Spirit in himself is a rue hypostasis, not other or different essentially from the Father and the Son, but truly existing of the same essence, a hypostasis in himself from the hypostases, however, of Father and Son.”
Hence, he is from Father and Son, not only in relation to the gift of grace in which he is given or sent, but by reason of his very person. He is, therefore, from Father and Son from eternity.
That he is also from the essence of Father and Son.
So, too, from texts of the aforementioned it is proven that he is from the essence of Father and Son. For in the discourse on the Council of Nicaea Athanasius says: “Remission of all sins and of every blasphemy is accomplished in the Holy Spirit, who, as was said, being from the essence of the Father and the Son shares their power, with them creating and disposing all things.” Again, in his letter to Serapion he says: “Christ of his own and the Father’s common essence spirated the eternally existing Holy Spirit.” And further on: “Christ in his own Holy Spirit, existing as noted above of his own essence, forgives us all.” And in the same letter: “The Holy Spirit existing of the Son by one and the same divinity of Father and Son is one.”
That he also is naturally from the Son.
So, too, it is established that he is naturally from the Son. For Cyril says: “Who is life? Christ himself who said (John 14:6): I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, as it were, his Spirit truly and naturally existing in him and of him lays down the law of the spirit.”
From this is is proven that the Holy Spirit is from the Son, not merely as given or sent in time, but as proceeding from him eternally, as receiving from him eternally, as receiving from him his essence and nature.
This can also be proven from the very turn of phrase of the aforesaid Doctors for not only do they say that the Holy Spirit is of the Son, which could refer merely to a temporal mission, but also that he exists by the Son, which can refer only to the eternal procession; for each thing exists in so far as it is in itself. For Cyril, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, says: “The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and exists from the godhead of Father and Son.” And against Eunomius Basil says: “The Holy Spirit has being from the Son and from him receives what he announces to us.”
That the Son also spirates the Holy Spirit.
Further, it is expressly established from texts of the aforementioned that the Son spirates the Holy Spirit. For Athanasius in his letter to Serapion says: “The Son, begotten of the Father, from his immense essence spirates, not outside himself, but within himself, God the Holy Spirit.” Cyril, too, in his exhortation to the Emperor Theodosius, says: “The Savior produces and spirates from himself the Spirit, just as the Father does.”
That the Son spirates he has from a personal property.
Lest anyone object that the Son does not spirate the Holy Spirit in the proper sense of the term, the Son is called by these Doctors the spirator of the Holy Spirit, having precisely from a personal property that he should spirate the Holy Spirit. For Athanasius says in his letter to Serapion” “The heretics blaspheme and deny the Son, the Spirator of the true Spirit, the Paraclete.” And again in the same letter: “He who blasphemes against the Spirit spirated also blasphemes his Spirator, that is, the Son, and through the Son he blasphemes his Father.” Against Eunomius Basil also says: “Without any doubt we believe the Son to be the Spirator and giver of the Holy Spirit.”
That on the same grounds he is spirated by Father and Son.
To show, however, that the Holy Spirit is spirated on the same grounds jointly by the Father and Son, Athanasius says in the just cited letter to Serapion that the Son co-spirates with the Father: “God the Father through God the Word, not indeed as through an organ- God forbid- but through a co-spirator, co-essential with his own truly living essence, he spirates the living and divinizing Breath, fully God and blessed Holy Spirit.”
That he is spirated from the Son eternally.
Lest someone object that this spiration pertains to the temporal procession, the aforesaid Doctors state that the Holy Spirit is spirated eternally by the Son. For Athanasius says in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea,speaking in the person of the Son: “That the world may believe that the Spirit, the Paraclete, is in essence and from eternity spirated by me.” And in his Thesaurus Cyril says: “We believe and confess that the Holy Spirit, from eternity and in essence spirated by Christ, exists as God.”
That the Holy Spirit is spirated from the essence of the Son.
Also confirmatory of this is the fact that in the same texts it is stated that the Holy Spirit is spirated from the essence of the Son. For Athanasius says in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea: “We adore the Breath of life from the essence of the Son, the Spirit, the coeternally spirated God.” And again in the same work: “From his essence God spirated the Holy Spirit.” And in his letter to Serapion: “The heretics are disinherited by the Son because they do not accept the Holy Spirit as in essence God spirated from his essence.” And in the same letter explaining as it were what “from his essence” means, that is, “from himself as essence”, he says as follows: “The Son born of the Father, truly possessing in himself the Father’s nature, retained not the property of paternity, but that of natural communicability, so that of himself from himself as his own essence he should spirate not a son by generation, but the Spirit, equal and coeternal with him as God in all things.” And the same point it repeatedly made in his texts.
From this it is clear that when it is asserted that the Holy Spirit is spirated by the Son, this cannot be said in reference only to his temporal procession, but to his eternal as well whereby the Holy Spirit receives the divine essence from the Son.
That the Holy Spirit emanates from the Son
Texts from the same Fathers refer to the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son by the word “emanation”. For Athanasius says in the same letter to Serapion: “The living Spirit emanating from the living Word, like an unfailing power coming from strength, is poured out on the Church.” And Theodoretus says on the letter to the Ephesians: “The Holy Spirit from above emanates from Christ, and is given without jealousy to all who receive him.”
That the Holy Spirit flows from the Son and this from eternity.
The same Doctors, moreover, also employ the term ‘outflowing’ to demonstrate the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son. For Athanasius in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea, speaking in the person of Christ, says: “I send Apostles into the world, not in the power of man, but in the power of the Holy Spirit flowing out of my own essence.” And in the same discourse: “If it is not to be believed and preached of the Holy Spirit that he is the truth of the Father and Son, coessential with both, flowing out of their essence, how in the divine creed of saving baptism does God the Son, our Savior, count him with the Father and Himself as cooperating to effect our salvation?” And in his letter to Serapion he says: “The Holy Spirit caused it to be believed and proclaimed by the Fathers at Nicaea that the Son is coessential with him, as it were God flowing out of his essence.” And Cyril in the Thesaurus says: “When the Holy Spirit is poured out on us, he reveals us configured to God; for he flows out of the Father and the Son.”
From this it is also established that the Holy Spirit is eternally from the Son, precisely in having the divine essence from him.
That the Son also originates the Holy Spirit.
From these authorities it is also proven that the Son originates the Holy Spirit. For Athanasius in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea says: “The Son himself, naturally and eternally of himself qua God, in spirating originates the Holy Spirit.” And in his letter to Serapion he says that “the Son works in the Holy Spirit originated by him naturally, as in his own power.” It hardly seems proper to restrict this to the temporal procession; for someone is originated of him from whom he has his being; for to originate means to give someone origin.
That the Son is the author of the Holy Spirit.
It is also established from the aforesaid Doctors that the Son is author of the Holy Spirit. For Athanasius in his letter to Serapion says: “The Apostle attributes what the Spirit works and effects in him to the Son, his author, as the Son attributes to God the Father, his author, the works he performs.” Authority of one person in relation to another among the divine persons only exists insofar as one is from another eternally. Hence, the Holy Spirit is from the Son eternally.
That the Son is also principle of the Holy Spirit.
It is also proven from the aforesaid authorities that the Son is the principle of the Holy Spirit. For Gregory Nazianzen says in his discourse on the Council of Constantinople: “We believe the holy Trinity” namely, the Father without a principle, the Son, however, a principle from a principle, the Father, but the Holy Spirit with the Son as principle, to be one God throughout all and over all.” But the Father is principle of the Son in this that the Son is from him eternally. Hence, the Holy Spirit is from the Son eternally.
That the Son is also source of the Holy Spirit.
It is established from the same authorities that the Son is source of the Holy Spirit. For Athanasius in his discourse on the Council of Nicaea says: “Just as the Spirit is in the Son as a stream in its source, and just as the Son is in the Father as splendor in the sun of glory by nature, so by the grace of the Holy Spirit the elect are in the Father and the Son.” And in his letter to Serapion he says: As a fountain and as light the Son is indeed with the Father; of this fountain and light the Holy Spirit is the true stream and the splendor of eternal glory.” And in the same letter he says: “For the Holy Spirit does not work in God, the Christ and Word, namely, in his natural source.” And further on: “The begotten Son and source of the Holy Spirit, between whom he holds the middle place.” And Athanasius in his sermon on the Incarnation of the Word says: “David sings in the psalm (35:10), saying: For with you is the font of life; because jointly with the Father the Son indeed is the source of the Holy Spirit.”
From this it is also proven that the Son is the principle of the Holy Spirit as one existing of him eternally.
The general conclusion: that the Spirit proceeds from the Son.
After so many testimonies, however, certain adversaries (meaning the Greek theologians opposing the Latins from the time of Photius) of the truth refuse to confess the true faith, saying that although the Holy Spirit has been shown to exist, to be spirated, to emanate, and to flow out of the Son, nonetheless that he proceeds from the Son is not to be admitted. For this is not contained in any of the cited authorities; nor in any authority of Holy Scripture, which states that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, without however joining the Son in this to the Father, when in John 15:26 it is said: When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father. Accordingly, it must be shown how on the basis of the foregoing it necessarily follows that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.
Now, of all the words relating to origin, the term procession is found to be more generic and less specific of a mode of origin. For according to accepted usage we designate as proceeding whatever is from another in any way whatsoever, whether this be naturally from another as Peter is said to proceed from his father, or emissively as breath proceeds from someone breathing, or flowingly as a stream proceeds from a source, or artificially as a house proceeds from a builder, or locally as the bridegroom proceeds from the bridal chamber.
Not everything, however, in any way from another can be described as being spirated, or begotten, or flowing, or emitted. Hence, the term procession is also particularly suitable to express the origin of the divine persons, for, as observed previously, the divine is better designated by generic rather than specific terms. So, from any of the points which have been discussed, namely, that the Holy Spirit exists of the Son, flows from him, or is spirated or emanates, it is necessarily concluded that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.”
That in the divine person to flow and to proceed is the same.
Again Cyril says in his explanation of the Nicene Creed: “The Spirit is coessential with the Father and the Son and flows forth, that is, proceeds from God and Father as from a source.” From this it is established that in the divine persons to flow forth and to proceed are synonymous. The Holy Spirit flows forth from the Son as was demonstrated above; therefore he proceeds from the Son.
This, moreover, is further confirmed by this statement he makes in his letter sent to Nestorious, namely, that “Christ is the truth and the Holy Spirit flows forth from him as he does from God and Father.” If, therefore, to flow forth from the Father is the same as to proceed from him, from this that he flows from the Son he is shown to proceed from him.
Gregory Nazianzen also says in his sermon on the Epiphany: “Whence the Holy Spirit is, thence he proceeds.” But, as has been proven, he is from the Son. Therefore, he proceeds from the Son. Cyril, too, says in his commentary on Joel: “The Holy Spirit belongs to Christ himself and is in him and from him, just as he is understood to be from God and Father.” And Maximus the monk says in his sermon on the candlestick and the seven lights: “Just as the Holy Spirit naturally exists by God the Father according to his essence, so also he truly exists by the Son according to his nature and essence, as it were proceeding as God from the Father through the Son.”
Likewise Athanasius in his letter to Serapion says: “As the Son is by nature related to the Father, so the Holy Spirit is related to the Son.” And in the same letter, speaking in the person of the Son, he says: “The Spirit has the same nature and relationship toward me, the Son, so as to be God of God, as I have toward the Father so as to be God of God.” Basil, too, against Eunomius says: “As the Son is related to the Father, so in the same way the Holy Spirit is related to the Son.” But the Son is related to the Father as proceeding from him. For in John 8: 42 he says: I have proceeded and came from God. Therefore, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.
But Epiphanius even uses the word procession in his book on the Trinity” “In the same way as no one knows the Father except the Son and no one knows the Son except the Father (Matt. 11:27), so I dare to say that no one knows the Holy Spirit except the Father and the Son from whom he receives and from whom he proceeds.” And Athanasius on the Creed says: “The Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son, not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.”
That to demonstrate the procession of the Holy Spirit the Greek and Latin Doctors use the same arguments.
That the Greek Doctors use the same arguments to demonstrate the procession of the Holy Spirit as do the Latin Doctors should also be pondered. In his book on the procession of the Holy Spirit Anselm argues for the procession of the Holy Spirit on these grounds that Father and Son are of one essence. From this it follows that Father and Son do not differ from each other except that the former is the Father and the latter the Son. To have the Holy Spirit proceeding from himself pertains neither to the notion of paternity nor to that of filiation; for the Father is not called Father because the Holy Spirit proceeds from him. Nor is it contrary to the notion of filiation that the Son should have the Spirit proceeding from him. Hence, the only remaining conclusion is that to have the Holy Spirit proceeding from oneself is common to Father and Son.
And similarly Nicetas commenting on John argues thus: “From the fact that the Son has in his essence everything belonging to the Father, he also has the Spirit.” And Cyril says in his Thesaurus: “The Apostle says that the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of the Father are truly one and not many, because all things belonging to the Father truly and in the proper sense pass naturally to the true Son.”
From this, however, it is clear that when in the Gospel the Holy Spirit is said to proceed from the Father, he is to be understood to proceed as well as from the Son, even though in the Gospel this is not added. For those things which are predicated of the Father must be understood of the Son as well, even when predicated exclusively; as stated in John 17:3: That they may know you, the only God. And in 1 Tim. 6:15: Whom, that is, Christ, God will cause to appear in his own time- God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal. For these things are understood as true of the Son as well, because Father and Son are one in essence, as is asserted in John 10: 30: I and the Father are one.
Since, therefore, to have the Spirit proceeding from oneself is common to Father and Son, exactly as anything predicated of them essentially, as is clear from what has been said, then when it is said in the Gospel (cf. John 15: 26) that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, he must be understood to proceed also from the Son; just as when in the same Creed the Father is said to be the Almighty, the Creator of things visible and invisible, the Son must be understood equally so.
That the Holy Spirit is distinguished from the Son in this that he is from him.
It is also shown from the texts of the aforesaid Fathers that the Holy Spirit is distinguished from the Son, because he is from him. Gregory of Nyssa teaching dogmatically about the godhead says: “We confess the divine nature to be immutable; but we do not deny the difference between cause and thing caused”, that is, as explained above, the distinction between the principle and that which is from the principle. Afterwards he adds: “We also recognize another difference, namely, between one who is the Relative from the First”, that is, the Son from the Father, and “the other who is from the Relative and from the First”, that is, the Spirit who is from the Father and the Son.
It is clear, therefore, that in virtue of the first difference the Holy Spirit and Son are distinguished from the Father; in virtue of the second the Holy Spirit is distinguished from the Son, namely, because the Son proceeds from the Father not through the Spirit, but the Spirit proceeds from the Son. Similarly, Richard of St. Victor in book five on the Trinity also shows the difference between the two processions from this that the Son proceeds from only one person, whereas the Holy Spirit proceeds from two. According to the views of both the only possible conclusion is that the Son and Holy Spirit would not be distinguished from one another unless one were from the other.
That the distinction of persons should be according to some order of nature.
Similarly, the distinction of persons should rest on an order which is natural, as Augustine says. Hence, Athanasius in his letter to Serapion likens the order of distinct persons to a chain: “Indeed, just as he who pulls the head link of a chain pulls also its middle link, and against the Father, the opposite extremity, so he who blasphemes also against the Spirit, the third person, blasphemes also against the Son, the middle link, and against the Father, the opposite link, the head of the chain of the triune, distinct, unconfused divine order. Contrariwise, he who believes and receives the Spirit as God, receives God and the Son whose he is and from whom he is, just as one who holds one end of a chain pulling it toward himself, holds the middle and through the middle grasps the other end.”
For this reason he also says in the same letter: “The Spirit Paraclete, the term of the blessed and transcendent divine order, infallibly constitutes the proper termination of this order in himself by his own hypostasis, just as the Father himself without principle contains the head and frontal origin of this order. The Son, however, occupies the intermediate position of this order between its extremes, namely the Father and the Holy Spirit.” And shortly after: “The Father from himself, as origin of the triune divine order, through the medium of his begotten Son established by a natural property the term of this very order in the third person, the spirated Spirit.”
Cyril also says in the Thesaurus: “The Holy Spirit is by nature from the Son and is sent by him to the creature, to work the renewal of the Church and to be the term of the Holy Trinity.” And he concludes: “If this is so, then God from God the Son is the Holy Spirit.” For if the Holy Spirit were not from the Son, the Holy Spirit would no more be the term of the Trinity than the Son, nor would the order of the Trinity be likened to a chain but rather to a triangle.
Richard of St. Victor also touches on this argument in book five on the Trinity, where he shows that among the divine persons there can be only one person from another person from whom another person does not proceed, nor can there be two persons from only one person. Either of these alternatives would be in contradiction to the aforesaid order among the divine persons, but both would be posited if the Holy Spirit did not proceed from the Son.
Cyril in his Thesaurus explains this order among the divine persons via another analogy employed on the authority of Holy Scripture, which in the Gospel calls the Holy Spirit the finger of God: If I by the finger of God drive out demons (Luke 11:20), and the parallel passage in another Gospel: If I in the Spirit of God, etc. (Matt. 12: 28). The Son, however, is called the arm of God: Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the Lord (Is. 51: 9). Cyril says: “As the arm and hand exist naturally from the body and prolong it, and as the finger extends naturally from the hand, so from God the Father, as his arm and hand, the Son naturally arises by generation God from God, and from the Son as from the natural hand of the Father God the Holy Spirit called finger is produced, flowing forth naturally.”
To conclude, therefore, the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son for reasons affirmed equally by the Latin and Greek Doctors.
That to believe the Holy Spirit is from the Son is necessary for salvation.
It frequently happens that when disputants disagree, the points on which they disagree are not necessary to salvation. Lest anyone think that believing the Holy Spirit to be from the Son is not necessary to the faith by which we are saved, it should be shown from texts of the Greek Doctors that such is necessary for faith and salvation.
For Athanasius says in his letter to Serapion: “In accord with the command of the Apostle (Tit. 3:10): After a first and second correction avoid a heretic, even those you might see flying through the air with Elijah or walking dryshod on the water like Peter and Moses; unless they profess just as we profess that the Holy Spirit is God naturally existing from God the Son, as the son also is naturally God begotten eternally and existing of God and Father, you are not to receive them.” And again: “Have no communion with those who blaspheme and deny that the Holy Spirit is God from the nature of God the Son.”
Likewise Cyril in his Thesaurus says: “It is necessary for our salvation to confess that the Holy Spirit exists of the essence of the Son, as existing of him by nature.” So, too, Epiphanius in his book on the Trinity: “You cut yourself off from the grace of God when you do not admit the Son to be from the Father or say that the Holy Spirit is not from the Father and the Son.”
It is, therefore, clear that in no way are they to be tolerated who deny the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.
That the Roman Pontiff is the first and greatest among all bishops.
The error of those who say that the Vicar of Christ, the Pontiff of the Roman Church, does not have a primacy over the universal Church is similar to the error of those who say that the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Son. For Christ himself, the Son of God, consecrates and marks her as his own with the Holy Spirit, as it were with his own character and seal, as the authorities already cited make abundantly clear. And in like manner the Vicar of Christ by his primacy and foresight as a faithful servant keeps the Church Universal subject to Christ. It must, then, be shown from texts of the aforesaid Greek Doctors that the Vicar of Christ holds the fullness of power over the whole Church of Christ.
Now, that the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ, is the first and greatest of all the bishops, is expressly stated in the canon of the Council which reads: “According to the Scriptures and definition of the canon we venerate the most holy bishop of old Rome as the first and greatest of all the bishops.”
This, moreover, accords well with Sacred Scripture, which both in the Gospels and in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. Matt. 16:18; John 21:17; Acts 1: 15-16, 2:14, 15:17) assigns first place among the Apostles to Peter. Hence, Chyrsostom commenting on the text of Matthew !8: 1: The discoples came to Jesus and asked, who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, says: “For they had created in their minds a human stumbling block, which they could no longer keep to themselves; nor did they control their hearts’s pride, because they saw that Peter was preferred to them and was given a more honorable place.”
That the same Pontiff has universal jurisdiction over the entire Church of Christ.
It is also shown that the Vicar of Christ has universal jurisdiction over the entire Church of Christ. For it is recorded of the Council of Chalcedon how the whole synod acclaimed Pope Leo: “Long live Leo, the most holy, apostolic, and ecumenical, that is, universal patriarch.”
And Chrysostom commenting on Matthew says: “The power which is of the Father and of the Son himself the Son conferred worldwide on Peter and gave a mortal man authority over all things in heaven, giving him the keys in order that he might extend the Church throughout the world.” And in homily 85 on John: “He allocated James a determined territory, but he appointed Peter master and teacher of the whole world.” Again, commenting on the Acts of the Apostles: “Not like Moses over one people, but throughout the whole world Peter received from the Son power over all those who are His sons.”
This is also taught on the authority of Holy Scripture. For Christ entrusted hi sheep to the care of Peter without restriction, when he said in the last chapter of John (21:15): Feed my sheep; and in John 10:16: That there might be one fold and one shepherd.
That the same possesses in the Church a fullness of power.
It is also established from the texts of the aforesaid Doctors that the Roman Pontiff possesses a fullness of power in the Church. For Cyril, the Patriarch of Alexandria, says in his Thesaurus: “As Christ coming forth from Israel as leader and sceptre of the Church of the Gentiles was granted by the Father the fullest power over every principality and power and whatever is that all might bend the knee to him, so he entrusted most fully the fullest power to Peter and his successors.” And again: “To no one else but Peter and to him alone Christ gave what is his fully.” And further on: “The feet of Christ are his humanity, that is, the man himself, to whom the whole Trinity gave the fullest power, whom one of the Three assumed in the unity of his person and lifted up on high to the Father above every principality and power, so that all the angels of God might adore him (Heb. 1:6); which whole and entire he has left in sacrament and power to Peter and to his Church.”
And Chrysostom says to the Bulgarian delegation speaking in the person of Christ: “Three times I ask you whether you love me, because you denied me three times out of fear and trepidation. Now restored, however, lest the brethren believe you to have lost the grace and authority of the keys, I now confirm in you that which is fully mine, because you love me in their presence.”
This is also taught on the authority of Scripture. For in Matthew 16: 19 the Lord said to Peter without restriction: Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound in heaven.
That he enjoys the same power conferred on Peter by Christ.
It is also shown that Peter is the Vicar of Christ and the Roman Pontiff is Peter’s successor enjoying the same power conferred on Peter by Christ. For the canon of the Council of Chalcedon says: “If any bishop is sentenced as guilty of infamy, he is free to appeal the sentence to the blessed bishop of old Rome, whom we have as Peter the rock of refuge, and to him alone, in the place of God, with unlimited power, is granted the authority to hear the appeal of a bishop accused of infamy in virtue of the keys given him by the Lord.” And further on: “And whatever has been decreed by him is to be held as from the vicar of the apostolic throne.”
Likewise, Cyril, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, says, speaking in the person of Christ” “You for a while, but I without end will be fully and perfectly in sacrament and authority with all those whom I shall put in your place, just as I am with you.” And Cyril of Alexandria in his Thesaurus says that the Apostles “in the Gospels and Epistles have affirmed in all their teaching that Peter and his Church are in the place of the Lord, granting him participation in every chapter and assembly, in every election and proclamation of doctrine.” And further on: “To him, that is, to Peter, all by divine ordinance bow the head and the rulers of the world obey him as the Lord himself.” And Chrysostom, speaking in the person of Christ, says: “Feed my sheep (John 21:17), that is, in my place be in charge of your brethren.”
That to him belongs the right of deciding what pertains to faith.
It is also demonstrated that to the aforesaid Pontiff belongs the right of deciding what pertains to faith. For Cyril in his Thesaurus says: “Let us remain as members in our head on the apostolic throne of the Roman Pontiffs, from whom it is our duty to seek what we must believe and what we must hold.” And Maximus in the letter addressed to the Orientals says: “All the ends of the earth which have sincerely received the Lord and Catholics everywhere professing the true faith look to the Church of the Romans as to the sun, and receive from it the light of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith.” Rightly so, for Peter is recorded as the first to have, while the Lord was enlightening him, confessed the faith perfectly when he said to him (Matt. 16:16): You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And hence the Lord also said to him (Lk. 22:32): I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith may not fail.”
That he is the superior of the other patriarchs.
It is also clear that he is the superior of the other patriarchs from this statement of Cyril: “It is his”, namely, of the Roman Pontiffs of the apostolic throne, “exclusive right to reprove, correct, enact, resolve, dispose and bind in the name of Him who established it.” And Chrysostom commenting on the Acts of the Apostles says that “Peter is the most holy summit of the blessed apostolic choir, the good shepherd.”
And this also is manifest on the authority of the Lord, in Luke 22:32 saying: “You, once converted, confirm your brethren.”
That to be subject to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation.
It is also shown that to be subject to the Roman Pontiff is necessary for salvation. For Cyril says in his Thesaurus: “Therefore, brethren, if ee imitate Christ so as to hear his voice remaining in the Church of Peter and so as not be puffed up by the wind of pride, lest perhaps because of our quarrelling the wily serpent drive us from paradise as once he did Eve.” And Maximus in the letter addressed to the Orientals says: “The Church united and established upon the rock of Peter’s confession we call according to the decree of the Savior the universal Church, wherein we must remain for the salvation of our souls and wherein loyal to his faith and confession we must obey him.”
Against the position of those who deny the Sacrament may be confected with unleavened bread.
But just as the aforesaid misguided persons sin against the unity of the mystical Body by denying the plenary power of the Roman Pontiff, so they sin against the purity of the sacrament of the Body of Christ, saying that the Body of Christ cannot be consecrated from unleavened bread. This, too, is disproved from texts of the Greek Doctors.
For Chrysostom commenting on the Gospel pericope, On the first day of the unleavened bread, says: “The first day he says is Thursday, on which observers of the Law began to celebrate the Passover, that is, to eat unleavened brewad, absolutely free of yeast. The Lord, therefore, sends his disciples on Thursday, which the Evangelist calls the first day of the unleavened bread, on which in the evening the Savior ate the Passover; in this deed, as in all he did from the beginning of his circumcision to the final day of his passover, he clearly showed that he was not opposed to divine laws.” But it is obvious that he would have acted against the law if he had used leavened bread. Hence it is clear that in the institution of this sacrament Christ consecrated his body from unleavened bread.
It should be remarked, however, that some claim Christ anticipated the day of unleavened bread because his passion was at hand, and so used leavened bread. This they attempt to show on two grounds. First, because in John 13: 1, it is said that before the feast of the Passover Jesus celebrated with his disciples the supper in which he consecrated his body, as the Apostle teaches in 1 Cor. 11: 21. Whence it seems that Christ celebrated the Passover before the day of the unleavened bread, and so in the consecration of his body he used leavened bread. Further, they would confirm this by noting that according to John 18: 28, on the Friday on which Christ was crucified the Jews did not enter the praetorium of Pilate in order that they might not defile, but eat the Passover. But the Passsover is called the unleavened bread. They therefore conclude that the supper was celebrated before the unleavened bread.
To this, however, Chrysostom replies, commenting on that very text of John: That they might not be defiled, etc.: “What does this mean, but that they ate the Passover on another day and broke the law in order that they might fulfill the most wicked desire of their soul in the death of Christ; Christ, however, did not transgress Holy Thursday in paschal week, but on that day he ate the Passover.”
But since this is not certain, it might be better to say that, as the Lord commands in Exodus 12:18-19, the feast of the unleavened bread was observed throughout seven days, of which the first day, that is, the fifteenth day of the month, was holier and more solemn than the others. But because among the Jews solemn feasts began to be celebrated on the preceding evening, the unleavened bread began to be eaten on the fourteenth day in the evening and was eaten during the seven following days. That is why it is said in the same chapter: In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening, you shall eat the unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month in the evening; for seven days leaven shall not be found in your houses. And on the same fourteenth day in the evening the paschal lamb was sacrificed.
Hence, the first day of the unleavened bread is called by the three Evangelists, Matthew 26: 17; Mark 14:12; and Luke 22:7, the fourteenth day of the month, because toward evening the unleavened bread was eaten and then the Passover, that is, the paschal lamb was sacrificed. And, according to John 13: 1, this was before the feast of the Passover, that is, before the fifteenth day of the month, because this was the most solemn day on which the Jews wished to eat the Passover, that is, the unleavened paschal bread as well as the paschal lamb. Thus, there being no disagreement among the Evangelists, it is plain that Christ consecrated his body from unleavened bread at the supper.
Clearly, also, this is more fitting for the purity of the mystical Body, that is, the Church, typified in this sacrament. Hence, Gregory Nazianzen says in his sermon on the feast of the Passover of the Lord: “Let us celebrate a feast to the Lord with jubilation, not in the leaven of malice and wickedness, but in the unleavened bread of sincerity and purity (1 Cor. 5:8).”
We do not, however, mean by this that the sacrament may not be confected using leavened bread. For Pope Gregory says in his Register: “The Roman Church offers unleavened bread because the Word of the Father took flesh without any carnal conmingling; but other Churches offer leavened bread because the Word of the Father is clothed with flesh and is true God and true man. So, also, yeast is mixed with flour and this becomes the true body of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
That there exists a purgatory wherein souls are cleansed from sins not cleansed in the present life.
The power of this sacrament, however, is lessened by those who deny here exists a purgatory after death; for on the souls in purgatory special healing is conferred by this sacrament. For Gregory of Nyssa in his sermon on the dead says: “If anyone her in his frail life has been less than able to cleanse himself of sin, after departing hence, through the blazing fire of purgatory the penalty is the more quickly paid, the more and more the ever-faithful Bride offers to her Spouse in memory of his passion gifts and holocausts on behalf of the children she has brought forth for that Spouse by word and sacrament; just as we preach in fidelity to this dogmatic truth, so we believe.”
Likewise Theodoret, Bishop of Cyr, commenting on that passage of 1 Cor. 3: 11: If any man’s work burn, etc., says thus: “The Apostle states that one is saved thus as through a blazing fire cleansing whatever accumulated through carelessness in life’s activity, or at least from the dust of the feet of earthly living. In this fire one remains so long as any earthly and bodily affections are being purged. For such a person holy Mother Church pays and devoutly offers peace offerings, and so through this such a one emerging clean and pure assists immaculate before the most pure eyes of the Lord of hosts.”
Most holy Father, these are the points which at your command I have excerpted from the texts of the Greek Doctors, both to be clarified and to be cited in confirmation of the true faith. Scattered, however, among the aforementioned authorities are a number of inappropriate interpretations, as when the translator renders “logos” almost always as “sermo mentalis” (mental discourse), whereas, in conformity with the Latin usage, it should have been more appropriately rendered:verbum” (word).And “hypostasis” he translates as “essential person”, and following this interpretation he is forced at times to use unfortunate phrases as when he says: “Deus Trinipostatos” (God-tri-postatic), that is, tri-personal by essence. Now it is absolutely wrong to say God is triune by essence. It would have been enough to render “hypostasis” as “person”; for we so use the term person in the profession of faith where the Greeks use the term hypostasis, as Augustine says, even though the manner of signifying of each term is not identical.
He also introduces certain praises of the holy Fathers which raise them above the level of mere men; he calls some of them “fathers of the faith”, something exclusive to Christ alone, from whom according to the Apostle in Hebrews 2:3 faith takes its origin. Others, however, may be called teachers or expositors of the faith, but not its fathers.
He also cites at the beginning of this book certain texts of Holy Scripture which of themselves do not expressly prove the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son, such as: the Spirit of the Lord was hovering over the waters (Gen. 1:2); or: I am the God of Abraham, etc. (Exodus 3:6).
He also uses certain turns of phrase which he finds in texts of the holy Fathers, which, as noted above, are in the statements of the Fathers to be interpreted reverently rather than be cited by others; for instance that there is in God a first, second, third; a cause and a caused.
In his own explanations as well he uses words improperly and inappropriately, as when he says that the Son has a kind of twin property, subalternated so to speak in terms of predication. He is first to the Father as subject to predicate and then to the Holy Spirit as predicate to subject, which is absolutely mistaken.
He likewise says that, in Greek, image means the same as second entity, an absolutely inept phrase. He also says that the word image does not imply origin, which contradicts what Augustine says in the book on the 83 questions.
There are perhaps other points in the aforesaid book which either could be considered doubtful and would need clarification, or which could be useful in affirming the faith. But almost all of them can be reduced, I believe, to the points set forth above.