Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cappadocian Theology Final Paper Précis

This is my rough draft of a précis for my final 12+ page paper for Cappadocian Theology. The version I'll turn in has to be 250 words; I'll post that, as well, after I make this more concise:

As the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity says, Filioque deals not with the εκπόρευσις of the Holy Spirit from the Father as the sole ἀρχὴ-ἄναρχος and πηγή of the Godhead, but reveals the procession (το προείναι) of the Holy Spirit in consubstantial communion from the Father and the Son, i.e., the communication of consubstantial divinity from the Father to the Son and from the Father, through and with the Son, to the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Father and the Son spirate the ὑπόστᾰσις of the Holy Spirit in a single act of spiration as from one principle. What light can the great Cappadocian Fathers shed on the vexed question of Filioque? In fact, careful examination of the writings of the Cappadocian Fathers reveals that they support this perspective on the procession of the Holy Spirit.

In his 214th Epistle, St. Basil the Great teaches that every real divine property is either common to all three persons or proper to one person. Unlike St. Photios the Great, who uses this teaching to oppose Filioque in his Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit, St. Basil did not consider active spiration to be proper to the Father, and, without contradicting himself, taught that the Holy Spirit has His existence from the Father and the Son in his Third Book Against Eunomius. Unassailable arguments prove the genuineness of the passage in which St. Basil teaches this.

Opponents of Filioque, such as Metropolitan Mark Eugenikos of Ephesus in his "Encyclical Letter to All the Orthodox," have held up St. Gregory the Theologian as an opponent to the Filioque, since the great Doctor of the Trinity says, in Oration 34, that the Father alone possesses causality. St. Gregory's statement that the Son has all that the Father has except for causality does not exclude the Son from spirating the Holy Spirit. Ancient manuscripts and a comparison with other writings, such as Oration 41, show that by causality, the saint means "ingenerateness." Although the Theologian says the Father is the sole αἰτία in that sense, he does not, in Oration 29, say that the Father is the sole προβολεύς of the Holy Spirit. In Oration 31, when he discusses the Trinitarian τάξις, he vaguely alludes to the dependence of the Holy Spirit of the Son. In the same oration, his comparisons of the Trinity to the sun, ray, and light and to the eye, fountain, and river imply not just that the Holy Spirit is energetically manifested through the Son, but that He has His being from the Father and the Son. That the Father and the Son both spirate the Holy Spirit is implied by St. Gregory's teaching from the same oration that the Holy Spirit is the mean between the Father and the Son. Indeed, the idea of Filioque becomes necessary to in order to say that the Holy Spirit is not the Son, when we give just consideration to the holy archbishop's axiom, again from the same oration, that the persons are distinguished from each other not just in their energetic manifestation, but in their relations of origin to one another.

Finally, St. Gregory of Nyssa expressly teaches in his Third Sermon on the Lord's Prayer that the Holy Spirit is from the Father and the Son in the order of hypostasis. He also points out in To Ablabius On "Not Three Gods" that the mediation of the Son in the hypostatic procession of the Holy Spirit is necessary in order to distinguish the Holy Spirit from the person of the Son. For the holy bishop, to be the αἰτία is to exist in an ungenerated way, but this does not include the idea of being the sole spirator of the Holy Spirit. In what does the Son’s mediation consist, for St. Gregory? It consists, as his analogy to the flame and torches from his Against the Macedonians on the Holy Spirit, reveals, in the Son cooperating with the Father in spirating the Holy Spirit as from one principle.

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