St. Robert Bellarmine
On the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son
The final part of the disputation about the distinction of persons remains, in which must be explained the distinction and procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son.
This controversy must necessarily be treated of, first because of the Armenians, Greeks, Ruthenians, and Moscans and others who still persist in error, and second
because of the new Arians. For Valentinus Gentilis wants the Father alone to be the origin of essence for the Son and Holy Spirit.
And since the Greeks not only do not believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son but also complain that the Latins added to the Creed the words ‘and
from the Son’ without their consent, three things must be dealt with. First the origin of this heresy and schism and the time of the making of the addition. Second
whether the Holy Spirit does proceed from the Son. Third whether the Latins could and should have added those words to the Creed.
See on this whole matter Master Lombard with the Doctors, St. Anselm, St. Thomas, Richard Armachanus, Gennadius, Hugo Etherianus, Bessarion, and the
Council of Florence.
On the Origin of this Heresy
The first author of this heresy seems to have been Theodoret (who however afterwards in the Council of Chalcedon was reconciled to the Church by the work of
Pope St. Leo and restored to his see from which he had been expelled), along with others who favored Nestorius about the year 430 AD. For what was asserted in the
prolegomena to the Fifth Synod by a certain Justinian, bishop of Sicily, that Macedonius taught the Holy Spirit was spirated by the Father alone, is not in any
way probable. For Macedonius agreed with the Arians about the Holy Spirit, as Augustine testifies. But the Arians said the Holy Spirit was a creature of the Son, as
Basil testifies when he says the Arians were accustomed to prove from this that the Son was lesser than the Father because the Father created a certain small God,
which is the Son; and the Son could not create a God, neither great nor small, but produced the Holy Spirit who is in no way God.
Add that the Second Council was convened against Macedonius and yet put in the Creed that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father; but perhaps we have an incorrect text of the relevant letter and instead of ‘Macedonius spirates the Holy Spirit from the Father alone’ one should read ‘For Macedonius separated the Holy Spirit from the Father only’, because he wanted him to be an artifact of the Son alone.
So there are extant refutations of the anathemas of St. Cyril produced by Theodoret, in which Theodoret says the Holy Spirit is neither from the Son nor through the Son but from the Father alone.
Because however the Nestorians had said this by the by and there was another issue that was then being seriously dealt with, it does not seem that this
error then planted its roots deeper. For none are found who treat again of this thing until the year 767. But in this year Ado of Vienne writes that there was a great
Council celebrated at Gentilly, and a dispute was conducted in the presence of King Pipin, father of Charlemagne, between the Romans and the Greeks about the Trinity
and images. And there does not seem that any other dispute about the Trinity could have been dealt with between the Greeks and Latins than about the procession of
the Holy Spirit; for there is and was no other dispute about the Trinity between the Greeks and Latins.
Then after about 100 years at the time of Nicholas I who was Pope in 860, the Greeks began more openly to contend with the Latins on this matter. For at that
time Theophylact flourished who blames the Latins by name because they believe the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son. And John Damascene who lived at that time
says the Greeks translated the dialogues of St. Gregory into Greek and erased the words ‘and from the Son’.
Further, after another 200 years, that is, in 1054 at the time of Leo IX a complete schism began, such that before only seeds seem to have been cast about.
For in this year, during the reign of Constantine X who was called Monomachus, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael by name, desiring to become in fact universal
Patriarch, the name of which dignity had long been usurped to themselves by his predecessors, began to promulgate that the Roman Pontiff and all the Latins were
excommunicated because they had added something to the Creed against the decree of the Council of Ephesus; and now that the Roman Bishop had been expelled from
his see, the primacy of the Church rightly belonged to himself, who was first after the Roman. Nor did the Greeks then do this thing only, but also all the Churches of
the Latins that were then under their sway were ordered closed. The Emperor also set up a reward for those who would write something against the Latins.
That these things are so can be learnt from the letter of Pope Leo IX to the Emperor Constantine and Patriarch Michael, and also from Anselm who wrote on
the Holy Spirit against the Greeks in this century. Also from Sigbert and St. Antoninus. So much about the origin of the schism.
But when the addition of ‘and from the Son’ was made to the creed is not clearly certain. Antoninus says that it was objected to Nicholas I by the Greeks that he had added to the creed, but this is not found in the old histories, and further in the Council of Florence Andrew, the Bishop of Colossae, who protected the part of the Latins, asserts that the Greeks did not object this against Nicholas although they sought all occasions to harm him. Finally it is certain that the addition is much older.
The same Andrew says that at the time of the Sixth Synod, that is, after 600, this addition was made by the Roman Pontiff in a large Council of Latin Fathers because of certain disagreements that had arisen in Gaul and Spain.
And although we cannot certainly know the year or the Pontiff, yet it seems that it was done at this time. For in the eighth Council of Toledo the creed with this addition is recited. But this Council was celebrated about the year 653 and before this time the Creed of Constantinople is not found with such an addition. For in the third Council of Toledo, celebrated in the year 589, the creed is read without any addition.
A sign too of this is the question that was dealt with between the Greeks and Latins in the Council of Gentilly. For because the Latin Church had already begun to use the Creed with the addition, the Greeks moved the question. Another sign of this is that in the seventh General Synod the same Creed is recited with the addition.
Now as to what some say, that the words were added in the Council of Rome by Pope Damasus, at the very same time that the first Council of Constantinople was celebrated, which two Councils make one general Council, I do not see how this can rightly be defended. There is extant indeed in the works of St. Jerome a creed under the name of Damasus in which these words are found, but we are not asking who put it in his own creed that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, but who added it to the Creed of Constantinople. Now that it was not Damasus we prove with these arguments, for if it was so, why is no mention of the fact found either in the acts of the Councils or the histories? How would Theodoret, a clearly learned man, who put into his history the letters of the Council to Damasus and of Damasus to the Council, have been ignorant of this addition? For that he was ignorant of such addition is collected from the fact that he so boldly writes that the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Son.
Why too did Pope Leo III order the Creed of Constantinople to be written on a bronze tablet without the addition (as Peter Lombard reports)? Did Leo perhaps not know the acts of his predecessor? Or did he rather want to define the contrary?
Why did the third Council of Toledo recite the creed without any addition if the addition had obtained its place in the Creed so long before? Why finally did the Greeks not move the question before the year 600? And by what color did they dare to say the Latins had sinned against the canons of the third Council by the addition of those words if the words had been added in the second Council? Let what we said above stand therefore, that the addition was made after the year 600.
It is Shown from the Scriptures that the Holy Spirit Proceeds from the Son
Now therefore that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son must first be demonstrated from the Scriptures. The Lord says John ch.16, “Everything the Father has is mine,” and John ch.17, “All that is yours is mine.” From these words an argument can thus be drawn: whatever the Father has the Son has too, except only the relation of paternity, as Augustine expounds; but the Father has the being of principle of the Holy Spirit, therefore the Son has it too. Hence Augustine says, “The Son is altogether what the Father is, but is not the Father, because he is Son and the other is Father.” Here Augustine, following the words of our Lord, teaches that the Son is altogether the same as the Father excepting only the relation of paternity.
From this it manifestly follows that the Son is also spirator of the Holy Spirit, for this is not to be Father and yet the Father has that he is spirator. Next if the Father and Son did not have all things common, except opposite relation, they would be distinguished by more than relation, and so would be distinguished by substance, for the Father as spirator is not relative to the Son; therefore if as spirator he is distinguished from the Son he is distinguished by spiration, not as it is a relation, but as it is a form subsisting in the Father; therefore the Father and Son would differ in substance, which is the Arian heresy.
Second it is proved from the words of the same chapter, “He will glorify me, because he will take of mine and will announce it to you.” What, I ask, will the Holy Spirit take from the Son but knowledge? For a little before he said, “He will not speak from himself but what he hears he will speak,” and these words are expounded of knowledge by Chrysostom, Cyril, Augustine, Theophylact, and Euthymius. But how can the Holy Spirit take knowledge from the Son except by taking essence from him? For if anything else is said the Holy Spirit will become a creature.
Two solutions are suggested by Theophylact and Euthymius. First they say the Holy Spirit takes from the knowledge of the Son, because he will teach nothing
contrary to what the Son teaches. They then add that the ‘from me’ signifies from my treasure, which is the Father; and if the Son were to speak, the Holy Spirit would
take it from where I, the Son, take it.
But the first solution certainly does not square, for the Son says not only that he will take of mine but also says he will not speak from himself, where he openly
indicates that the knowledge of the Holy Spirit is not in him from himself but from the Father and Son.
The second solution also does not square, for the treasure of knowledge in God is not the person of the Father precisely as person but as divine essence, which
is common to the Father and the Son, for both treasure and knowledge signify an absolute perfection, which without doubt is the essence itself. Wherefore Blessed
Paul says of the Son, Colossians ch.2, “In Christ Jesus are all the treasures of the knowledge and wisdom of God.” The Holy Spirit therefore, when he takes from this
treasure, necessarily takes it from something common to the Father and Son and so he does not take it more from one than the other; hence Didymus and Cyril on this
place confess that from this is deduced that the Holy Spirit is from the Son.
But you will ask why he said he will take ‘from mine’ and not my essence or wisdom? And why does he say in the future tense ‘he will take’ and not rather in the past tense ‘he took’?
I reply that he said ‘from mine’ because when the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son he does not take all that is in the Son, for he does not take filiation but essence, from which and from filiation the Son is constituted according to our way of conceiving. And this the Lord himself indicated when he says, “All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take from mine,” that is, he will take what is common to me and the Father and not what is proper to each.
But as to why he said it in the future tense the reason is that the taking is eternal and contains virtually in itself all times, and to all times is accommodated, and hence Augustine says on this place, “He will be, he was, he is. He will be because he will never cease to be; he was because he never ceased to be; he is because he always is.” Therefore since all times are contained in eternity, and all propositions about eternal things are true, whatever time we express them in, Scripture expresses various times as the thing being treated of requires. But in this place the Holy Spirit is described as legate from the Father and Son to be sent to the Apostles; but legates are wont then to be instructed when they are sent, and so he says, “whatever he will hear, he will take from mine.”
Third it is proved from the same text, where we read, “If I do not go away the paraclete will not come to you; but if go away, I will send him to you.” And ch.15,
“when the paraclete comes, whom I will send to you from the Father.” But all sending is by command, the way servants are sent by lords, or by counsel, the way they are said to be sent who are instructed by the wiser; just as when the sick are sent by a doctor to take medicine, or as by natural production, the way trees are said to send forth roots, flowers, etc.
Now it is certain that the Holy Spirit cannot be sent as a servant, or as ignorant by someone more powerful or wiser; for it is agreed between us and the Greeks that the Holy Spirit is God, therefore his sending will be understood according to production. And this same thing is confirmed by Augustine who says that the Son is sent and that the Son is born, that the Holy Spirit is sent and that the Holy Spirit proceeds.
The Greeks reply that the sending of the Holy Spirit through or by the Son does not signify procession as to internal substance, but external sending to creatures through the bestowal of gifts; and since the Son too gives grace, faith, hope, charity to men, therefore he is said to give or to send the Holy Spirit, namely because he gives gifts that are said to be the Holy Spirit’s.
But at least when the Holy Spirit is said to be given or sent, not only are created gifts given, but he is also truly given and sent along with those gifts, and to assert the contrary is a manifest error. For Romans ch.1 says, “The love of God is spread abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit because he is given to us.” You see the Holy Spirit and his gifts openly distinguished, and both are given. Again I Corinthians ch.6, “Your members are the temple of the Holy Spirit whom you have in you.” And later, “Carry God in your body.” But certainly the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not God neither is a temple owed to them. And I John ch.4, “He who remains in love remains in God and God in him.” Therefore not only does love remain in us, which is not God, but God himself truly remains.
Lastly what is said in John ch.16, “If I do not go the paraclete will not come, but if I go I will send him to you,” and ch.14, “But I will give you the paraclete etc.,” is
only very absurdly expounded of the gifts. For the gifts do not come nor are sent nor can they be conferred with Christ as one paraclete with another.
Add to this the authority of the Fathers, Ambrose, Augustine, Chrysostom, Cyril, who all say that the God himself the Holy Spirit is sent by the Son. Add lastly a most manifest reason, for if the Holy Spirit were said to be sent by the Son for the reason that the Son is author of the gifts, then the Father too could be said to be sent by the Son, nay Father and Son by the Holy Spirit, because each person is author of all the gifts.
Again, if the Holy Spirit’s being sent by the Son were his gifts’ being sent, then also when we read that the Son is sent into the world by the Father, they who do not believe this could reply that the Son is not truly sent but some created gift is, and thus the mystery of the incarnation would be emptied out. Perhaps they will say that the Holy Spirit does indeed come to us but he is said to be sent by the Son because the Son was the cause by his merits that the Holy Spirit would come to us. But in this way it could be said that the Father is sent by the Son, for by his merits he was also the cause that the Father came to us, according to John ch.14, “If anyone loves me and keeps my word, my Father will love him and we will come to him.” By parity of reason, if they say that the Holy Spirit is sent by the Son because the Son consents that he come, in the same way I will say that the Father is sent by the Son and by the Holy Spirit.
Nor is it an obstacle that in Isaiah chs.48 and 61 the Son is said to be sent by the Holy Spirit, from whom however he does not proceed. For the Son is sent by the Holy Spirit as he is man, in which form the Son is truly from the Holy Spirit as from the active cause, as is plain in Luke ch.4, “The Holy Spirit is upon because he has anointed me and sent me to preach the good news to the poor.” The Holy Spirit has sent the Son, then, according to the form that he has upon him and has anointed him.
Since this is so, either one must delete from the Gospel those words of Christ about the Holy Spirit, “I will send him,” or one must certainly concede that the Holy Spirit
proceeds from the Son by internal and eternal production of his hypostasis. But as to why the Son says in the future tense, “I will send”, although however the procession is eternal, can easily be explained; for sending involves a double relation, one to him who sends and the other to him to whom he sends. As to the first relation, sending is eternal and can be verified for all time, but as to the second it is temporal. For the Holy Spirit is sent to men when he begins to be in them in a new way, that is, by knowledge and love, that is, when he begins to be known and loved through the gifts infused by him. Since therefore this sending as to the term to which was future, but as to the term from which always was, it both is and will be; therefore is it said ‘I will send’, for thus it is a true proposition as to the hole idea of sending.
Fourth there is proof from John ch.20, “He breathed on them and said, receive the Holy Spirit.” For by this ceremony, as Augustine expounds and Cyril, Christ
wished to signify that the Holy Spirit proceeds from himself. Theophylact indeed, when writing on John, mocks this argument, but how well let him see himself, for he
can himself give no cause for this ceremony. And besides Augustine and Cyril, who use this argument, are more learned and more holy and more ancient than he is. Nor
do I doubt but that he himself is to be mocked by the Latins if he wants to mock Augustine, and by the Greeks if he wants to mock Cyril.
Fifth there is proof from Romans ch.8, “If anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” And Galatians ch.4, “Since you are sons of God, God has
sent the spirit of his Son into your hearts crying Abba, Father.” For why is the Holy Spirit the Spirit of the Son? Certainly not because he is his servant, or because he is his brother, but because he is spirated by him, in the way that he is also said to be the spirit of the Father, Romans ch.8, “If his Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead,” and Matthew ch.19, “The Spirit of your Father speaks in you.” They will say perhaps that the Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of the Son because he proceeds together with him from the Father, or because he is like him, or for some other reason, but not because he is spirated by the Son.
But if it is so, why cannot Christ for the same reason be called the Son or Word of the Holy Spirit, which however we never read? Nor can it be replied that
the Son has relation to the Father and to the sayer; for the Holy Spirit too has relation to the Spirator. Just as therefore the Holy Spirit, although he not be spirated
by the Son, can be called the Spirit of the Son because he is alike in essence and proceeds from the Father along with him, so too the Son, although he not be
generated by the Holy Spirit, will be able to be called the Son of the Holy Spirit, because he is alike him in essence and proceeds from the Father along with him.
And this argument was made so much of by St. Augustine that he was content with this argument alone to prove that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.
The Same is Proved by the Testimonies of the Councils
I for my part cannot sufficiently wonder with what boldness Jeremias, who calls
himself Ecumenical Patriarch, dared to write recently in his censure of the confession of the Lutherans that it was defined by the Synod of Nicea and all subsequent general Councils that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone.
For thus does he say, “The Nicene Synod and the other Synods agreeing with it, all decreed that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father himself alone.” But if this is not a lie I do not see what could ever be called a lie.
And lest perhaps we suspect there is some recondite canon in which such a decree is contained, the same Jeremias subjoins, “That indeed this is the sacred and incorrupt confession of the Christian faith, the sacred Creed, I say, explains this in the most expressive words thus, namely that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone. This opinion was confirmed by 318 Fathers filled with God, first in the Nicene Synod, then in the Council of Constantinople by 150 Fathers; again the remaining five universal Synods, adding nothing, taking away nothing, but agreeing together clearly with one Holy Spirit, signed to it.”
Let us then consult the Nicene Creed, and let us see whether it teaches in very expressive words that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone. The whole Nicene Creed is cited by Cyril among the Greeks, by Ruffinus among the Latins, but nothing else is read in that Creed about the Holy Spirit than this opinion ‘and [I believe] in the Holy Spirit’. Now Nazianzen testifies that the Nicene Synod did not hand on the perfect doctrine about the Holy Spirit for the reason that the question about the Holy Spirit had not arisen. Let Jeremias see in which Nicene Creed he has read that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father alone.
Further the Council of Constantinople added the words, ‘who proceeds from the Father’; but it does not say in very expressive words, as Jeremias says, ‘who proceeds from the Father alone’, for the word ‘alone’ is an addition of Jeremias, not a word proper to the Council. But as to why the Council did not add ‘and from the Son’ but thought it enough to say, ‘who proceeds from the Father’ the reason is most certain, because at the time there was no doubt that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Son, for the heretics conceded it, as is plain from Basil, but there was doubt about the Father, from whom the heretics said that the Holy Spirit was wholly alien s being a creature of the Son alone. Therefore the Council, to bring a remedy to the disease, added to the Creed what was necessary.
Omitting these things, then, let us bring forward the Councils that testify the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son. First the Council celebrated at Alexandria, from
which Council Cyril writes a letter to Nestorius in which are these words, “The Spirit is called the Spirit of truth, and Christ is truth, and so he proceeds from him likewise
as from the Father.” This letter was read in the Council of Ephesus and was approved both by the Council of Ephesus itself and by the fourth Synod, and by the fifth Synod and by the sixth and seventh Synods.
We have therefore five general Councils celebrated among the Greeks which receive the most open and clear opinion that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son
as from the Father. What then do they now seek? What do they demand? What is it that again in the seventh Council the Creed is read with this addition (and from the
Son), and yet the Council was for the most part of Greeks?
The Greeks indeed in the Council of Florence said that in their own codices it is not so contained, yet the Latins demanded the most ancient example and where
there was no trace of corruption, and they cited besides an old historical witness of this thing, and it is certain that it was never the custom of the Latins to corrupt
books but of the Greeks.
But you will object that, if in this Council the Creed had been received with this phrase (and from the Son), how St. John Damascene, who lived at the time of
this Council, would have so openly denied that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son. I reply that it is probable Damascene died before the seventh Council, for he
flourished most in the time of Leo II, and the Synod was celebrated 48 years after the death of Leo. Hence he himself in his works does not cite the Councils save up to
the sixth. Next even if he did reach the time of the seventh Synod, yet without doubt he wrote about the Holy Spirit before then.
But besides these Greek Councils there are also extant very many Councils celebrated among the Latins. And first there was a Council celebrated at Bari by the
Greeks and the Latins together at the time of Urban II, a little after the schism began, in the year 1090, where Anselm convicted the Greeks with the most evident reasons.
Anselm himself records this council in his book on the Holy Spirit and the whole matter is more fully narrated by the author of Anselm’s life.
The second is the Lateran Council under Innocent III in the year 1215, where also it is defined that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and there were Greeks at the Council and they consented.
The third is the Council of Lyons under Gregory X in 1273 where the Greeks were present and, with everyone agreeing, the Creed was sung with the addition
‘and from the Son’, thrice in Greek and thrice in Latin. The definition of this Council is extant.
The fourth is the Council of Florence, in the year 1438, where again the same thing was defined after very long disputations, with the Greeks and Latins agreeing.
Add the first, third, fourth, eighth, and ninth Councils of Toledo which were all celebrated before the separation of the Greeks, namely before the year 700. From
these is apparent not only the opinion of the Church but also the stubbornness and fickleness of the Greeks who, having been so often defeated in disputes, always
returned to their vomit.
The Same is Proved from the Latin Fathers
We will proffer now the testimonies of the Latin Fathers who flourished in doctrine and sanctity before the schism and strife of the Greeks, and not to receive these testimonies is too great a rashness, both because there is no reason for the Greeks to be received and not the Latins if they are of the same antiquity, erudition, and sanctity; and also because we see the Council of Ephesus alleged for proof of the Ecclesiastical dogma both Latins and Greeks, namely the Latins Felix, Julius, Cyprian, Ambrose, and the Greeks Basil, Nyssa, Nazianzen, Athanasius, as Vincent of Lerins testifies. Also it is agreed that the fifth, sixth, and seventh Synods equally adduced the testimonies of Greeks and Latins, which also Basil did and Augustine, for both proffer the testimonies of Greeks equally with Latins.
Who are then the new Greeks who think nothing of the holy Latin Fathers, even the most ancient and most approved? Do they not see that in this way they are
accusing the most ancient Church of schism, or teaching rather that the Greeks were never united with the Latins? But at least the acts of the seven general Councils
testify otherwise, where we see a supreme agreement between Latins and Greeks. But these new doctors have departed very far from the doctrine and morals of the
The first then of the Latins is Tertullian who says, “I draw the Holy Spirit from the Father through the Son.” To this place the Greeks reply that they do not
deny the Holy Spirit proceeds through the Son but from the Son. For, as Bessarion teaches, the Greeks admit the ‘through the Son’ but expound it in three ways. First
that ‘through the Son’ is added to note the relation to the Father, second to note the consubstantiality of Father and Son, third because ‘through’ is wont to be taken for
‘with’, and they cite some poet or other.
But the first and second evasions are very frigid. For it would be licit to say in the same way that the Son proceeds from the spirator through the Holy Spirit, for
thus we would signify the relation of the Father as spirator to the Holy Spirit, and the consubstantiality of the Father and Holy Spirit. Next, what need is there that
when the Holy Spirit is said to proceed from the Father the relation of the Father to the Son, or the consubstantiality of the Father and Son, be indicated at the same
The third too is not sufficient. First because the same absurdity would follow, namely that the Son could be said to proceed from the Father through the Holy Spirit. Second, whatever may be true of that poet, in the Scriptures and the Fathers, nay even in the common way of speaking, ‘through’ signifies cause and is even often taken for ‘from’, as Basil teaches. For we read in Genesis ch.4, “I have possessed a man through God,” that is, from God. Again John ch.1, “All things were made through him.” And Colossians ch.1, “All things were created through him.” And Hebrews ch.1, “Through whom he also made the world.”
For if in these places ‘through’ signified ‘with’, the sense would be that the Son was made or created by God together with creatures themselves, which certainly not even the Greeks would admit unless they prefer to be mad with the Arians than be rightly wise with the Catholic Church. It is plain then that for the Spirit to be produced through the Son is according to the Scriptures nothing other than for him to proceed or be produced by or from the Son. But let us proceed to others.
Second is Blessed Cyprian who says, “The Holy Spirit proceeding by the Father is by the Father and the Son moved fourfold, a benign maker embracing his work, etc.” and he is speaking of the Holy Spirit when at the beginning of the world he moves over the waters and forms the four elements.
Third is Blessed Hilary who says, “About the Holy Spirit neither is it necessary to be silent nor is it necessary to speak. But for the sake of those who do not know we cannot be silent. Now to say of him that one must confess he is from Father and Son as authors is not necessary, and indeed I think there is no need to deal with whether he is.”
Fourth is Blessed Ambrose, whom certainly the Greeks should not reject, since they see him alleged as a holy doctor in the third Synod. He says, “All that is the Father’s the Son has, because he says, ‘All that the Father has is mine’, and what he received through unity of nature from him through the same unity the Holy Spirit received, as the Lord himself says of his Spirit saying, ‘Therefore I said that he will take of mine’.”
Fifth Blessed Jerome says, “The Holy Spirit, when he is sent by the Father is sent by the Son; and in different places he is called the Spirit of God the Father and of Christ.” And, “The Spirit comes from the Father and because of community of nature is sent by the Son.”
Sixth Ruffinus says, “The Holy Spirit who proceeds from both and sanctifies all things.”
Seventh St. Augustine says, “Someone may perhaps ask whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.” And later, “Why should we not believe that the Holy Spirit also proceeds from the Son since he is also the Spirit of the Son?”
Eighth Blessed Prosper says, “The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.”
Ninth Blessed Leo, “There is one who generates; another who is generated; another who proceeds from both.” And this is that Leo the Great whom in the fourth Synod 630 Bishops, almost all Oriental, extolled with the greatest praise, and about whom they repeated again and again that as Leo believes so also do we believe.
Tenth Blessed Fulgentius says, “It is proper to the Holy Spirit that he alone proceeds from the Father and the Son.” Eleventh Idacius Clarus says, “If they have said to you, ‘Show whence the Holy Spirit draws his origin’, reply that the certain and manifest origin of the Holy
Spirit is the Father and the Son.”
Twelfth Boethius says, “We should thus believe: the Son is from the Father, the Holy Spirit is from both, etc.”
Thirteenth Pope Hormisdas says, “It is proper to the Holy Spirit to proceed from the Father and Son under one substance of deity.”
Fourteenth Blessed Pope Gregory produced a creed that reads as follows, “I believe in the Holy Spirit, neither generated nor ungenerated, but eternal proceeding from the Father and Son,” and elsewhere, “The Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son.” It is a wonder why the Greeks allow Gregory to be in their calendar and honor him as a saint, since they execrate his opinion as a heresy.
Let fifteenth and last from the Latins be the venerable Bede, for I have decided to cite only those who flourished before the rise of the schism. Bede then speaks as follows, “the Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son.” In his collections from Augustine on Paul’s epistles he brings in a long disputation of Augustine in which is proved that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son. But now let us come to the Greeks.
The Same is Proved from the Greek Fathers
From the Greeks let the first be St. Gregory Thaumaturgus who in a divinely received confession of faith speaks thus, “One Holy Spirit having origin and existence from God, who appeared through the Son, perfect image of perfect Son.” In this passage one should not start a discussion about the word ‘through’ nor about the verb ‘appeared’, for we showed above that the word ‘through’ signifies cause or productive principle; and from the fact that the Son sent the Holy Spirit to creatures there is evidently collected that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son from eternity.
But one should note the ‘image of the Son’, for although the Holy Spirit is not as properly the image of the Son as the Son is the image of the Father, because he does not proceed by force of likeness, yet he could not be called in any way the image of the Son unless he proceeded from him and was like him in essence. For image states the relation of produced to producer, and without this relation no likeness is sufficient. Hence a brother is not said to be the image of a brother even if he is very like him; nor is one egg the image of another although because of likeness one egg may scarcely be distinguished from the other. For likeness is not sufficient but it is required that one proceed from the other, which is not found in eggs and brothers. Since therefore St. Gregory said the Holy Spirit was the image of the Son, without doubt he reckoned that he truly proceeds from the Son.
You will say it is not required that the exemplar be the active cause of the image, but it is enough if it be exemplar, as is plain in statues.
I reply that in artificial things an exemplar is not active cause, but in natural production it is. For it necessarily coincides with the active principle, as is plain in all things. For all things that naturally act produce their effects through likeness of their proper form. Wherefore since the Holy Spirit is not freely but naturally produced, the same thing is active principle and exemplar with respect to it.
The second of the Greeks is Blessed Athanasius who says in his Creed, “The Holy Spirit is not made nor created nor generated by the Father and the Son, but proceeds.”
To this testimony two things can be said. First that this creed is not really from Athanasius, but this is easily refuted, both from Nazianzen where he says in praise of Athanasius that he composed a most perfect confession of faith that the whole West and East venerate, and also from Augustine who by name cites Athanasius Bishop of Alexandria and adduces a complete section of this creed, and he uses whole sentences from it, with the name of Athanasius, as if it were very well known in the Church.
Secondly it could be said that the words ‘and the Son’ were added by the Latins. But this cannot be said, both because these words are found even in the Greek creeds, and because in the fourth Council of Toledo a confession is recited that is almost literally taken from this creed, and there we read ‘from the Father and the Son’, and this Council was celebrated about 633 and so before the schism of the Greeks.
The second place from Athanasius when he says, “For we do not introduce three principles or three Fathers, as the Marcionists, since we do not introduce in comparison three suns, but one sun and its splendor and the light proceeding from both.” You see here very clearly that there are three, the sun, the splendor, and the light proceeding from both. Nor do I think it can be doubted but that Athanasius understood the Father by the sun, the Son by the splendor, the Holy Spirit by the light. What, I ask, could be replied to this?
The third place also from Athanasius, when he says, “But it is impossible for the Holy Spirit to be numbered in the glory of the Trinity if he did not emanate from God through the Son, but was made by way of creature by God, as they think.”
Note that Athanasius did not say ‘from the Father through the Son’, lest the more recent Greeks say the Son is put there to denote relation; but he said ‘from God through the Son’. Nor can these words be referred to sending to creatures, since this emanation is opposed to creation.
The fourth place is in the very long letter to Serapion where Athanasius proves against the Macedonians that in no way can it be defended that the Holy Spirit is a creature if the Son is not a creature. And this is the argument of the whole letter.
Now he proves it with this reason, which he puts in various ways in almost the whole letter: the sort of order and union between the Holy Spirit and the Son is the same as that between the Son and the Father; but the Son, because he is from God the Father, is God as the Father is; therefore likewise the Holy Spirit, who is from God the Son, will be God like the Son; or if he is not God then the Son will not e God, nay and not the Father either. “Since therefore the Spirit has the sort of order and nature to the Son as the Son has to the Father, how can it be borne that he who says the Spirit is a creature does not necessarily think the same thing also of the Son? For if the Spirit is a creature of the Son, the consequence is that they say the Word of the Father is also a creature.” Here it is so certain that Athanasius believed the Holy Spirit was produced by the Son that from it as from a very firm and well known principle he proves what was in doubt, namely that the Holy Spirit is God.
They can reply that only the order of the Spirit to the Son and of the Son to the Father consists in this, that as the Father sends the Son to creatures, so the Son sends the Spirit. But this cannot be said unless along with the sending to creatures we understand a true procession as to being. For otherwise the argument of Athanasius would have no validity, in the way that this argument has no validity: God sends the angels, therefore either the angels are not creatures or God is a creature. For this argument has no validity for the reason that the angels are so sent by God to creatures that the sending does not include eternal procession of angels from the substance itself of God. If then the Holy Spirit is sent by the Son to creatures and does not proceed substantially from the Son as from the Father, then he is not sent otherwise than as the angels are sent; and for this reason it cannot
thence be collected that he is God or that the Son is not God, which however Athanasius does collect.
Next if Athanasius is speaking of sending to creatures he would not say, “For if the Holy Spirit is a creature of the Son etc.,” for those words signify production not
sending; but Athanasius is contending that the Holy Spirit is produced by the Son but is not created from nothing. Besides, after one page Athanasius says, “He is also the image of the Son and is called his Spirit.” And later, “But if the Son, because he is from God and Father, is proper to his substance, the Spirit too, because he is said to be from God, must
necessarily be proper to the Son in substance.”
Certainly Athanasius, when he says the Spirit is from God, understands from God the Son, otherwise he would not well conclude that for this reason he is proper
to the Son as the Son is for this reason proper to the Father, because he is from the Father. There are also two other letters where Athanasius says the same things in
The third Greek Father is St. Basil, whom the Greeks put before almost all the others. So he says in bk.2 against Eunomius, “Now this is obscure to all, that no operation of the Son is separated from the Father, nor is there anything in reality which is present to the Son and alien to the Father. For all that is mine, he says, is yours and yours mine. How then does he attribute the cause of the Spirit to the only
Basil at least, when proving that not only is the Son the cause of the Spirit but the Father too, because everything the Son has the Father has, is at the same time
teaching, nay is assuming as established, that the cause of the Spirit (as the Greeks say) is the Son. Nor can this cause be referred to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. For Basil
is writing against Eunomius, who was not disputing about the gifts but about the substance of the Holy Spirit, and he wanted the Son alone to be truly the cause of the
There is a second place from Basil, where he says, “Why is it necessary that if the Spirit is third in dignity and order, he is also third in nature? For the reason of
piety hands on that in dignity he is second from the Son, since from him he has being and depends altogether on that cause; but that he is third in nature we say neither
from the holy Scriptures nor is it possible to collect it from what has been said.”
This place the Greeks said in the Council of Florence had been corrupted, and was not contained in all the Greek codices but only in some. And indeed in the Greek
text edited at Basel in 1551 the words (‘since from him he has being etc.’) are lacking, and in these the whole force of the reason is placed. However the Latins
responded at the Council of Florence that the Greek codex had rather been corrupted by the Greeks, and they showed a very ancient codex written before the
year 600 where everything was found that we have quoted.
But besides we evidently collect from what follows that those words should be in the text, or at least their sense. For thus does Basil continue, “For in the way
the Son is second from the Father in order, since he is from him, and in dignity, since the Father is the origin and cause of his being, though he is in no way second in
nature, since in both there is one deity, so the Holy Spirit, although he is second from the Son in order and dignity, yet it does not follow from this that he is of an alien
nature.” And all this is in the Greek to the letter.
Perpend, I beg, the reasoning of Basil. He says the Spirit is second from the Son in order and dignity but not in nature. And he proves that as the Son is second
from the Father because he has essence from him, so too the Spirit is second from the Son, where unless there is added, or is understood, what is in our codices,
namely that the Spirit has being from the Son as the Son has being from the Father, Basil’s reason would conclude nothing, nor could it in any way prove that the Holy
Spirit is second from the Son as the Son is second from the Father.
The third place is in bk.5 against Eunomius, that the Holy Spirit is true and natural image of God and Christ, for that is the title, and it sufficiently indicates that
the Holy Spirit has being from the Father and Son. For, as we said above, that which is not produced by the exemplar is not a true and natural image. The fourth place is in the same book where we thus read in the title itself, “That as the Son is related to the Father, so too is the Spirit related to the Son.” And he at once continues, “Wherefore the Son is the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit is the Word of the Son.” But how can the Spirit be said to be the Word of the Son if he does not proceed from him? And how is the Spirit related to the Son as the Son to the Father if the Son proceeds from the Father indeed but the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the Son?
The fifth place is in the same book where this question is proposed, “Why is the Spirit not the Son of the Son?” And Basil responds, “He is not for this reason said not to be of the Son that he is not from God through the Son, but lest we should suspect the Trinity is multiplied to infinity.” For if the Spirit were called the Son of the Son, the consequence would seem to be that he himself had another Son, and so on. But certain things here must be observed, and first the title itself of the question is an argument for our truth; for if the Spirit were from the Father alone, certainly there would be no question why he should not be called Son of the Son; just as no one asks why brother is not called son of brother, since the thing is so clear that not even a suspicion could arise from it, so when it is seriously asked why the Spirit is not called Son of the Son, it is a sign that it is a thing confessed by all that the Spirit proceeds from the Son.
Note second that this question gave a lot of trouble both to Basil and to Athanasius in their letters to Serapion, for both seem to suffer great difficulties; and
this itself is a huge argument for our truth. For they could have said in one word that the Spirit is not called Son because he is not from him, and yet they never said this,
but they say that this is an inscrutable mystery and it should be enough for us to know in these matters that it is so and not to ask why and how etc.
Note third that the response of Basil (‘not because he is not from God through the Son’) is again an argument for us. For if the ‘through’ does not signify
cause but ‘with’ were put in its place, as the Greeks wish, Basil would have said nothing. For if the Spirit were from God through the Son, that is, with the Son, no
one could have suspected that he was the Son of the Son, but would have suspected rather that he was the brother of the Son.
Note lastly that the response of Basil has this sense, that the Spirit is from the Son but in another mode of production than generation, and so he is not called Son
The sixth place is in the book on the Holy Spirit where Basil says, “As the Son is related to the Father, so is the Spirit related to the Son.” But what is the relation
between Father and Son save that of producer to produced? For the Father and Son are the same save for the fact that the Son is from the Father, not the Father from
the Son; therefore also between the Son and the Holy Spirit the only distinction is that the Holy Spirit is from the Son and not the Son from the Holy Spirit.
Let the fourth Greek Father be Gregory of Nyssa who will provide us with three testimonies. One is cited by Gennadius, “The Holy Spirit is further shown to be
said from the Father and from the Son etc.” But this place, says Gennadius, has been removed from several codices by the Greeks, and is not truly found in the exemplars
that are now extant.
The second testimony is adduced by Bessarion from bk.1 against Eunomius, and these books do not yet exist in Latin. “The Spirit is conjoined with the Father in
that each is uncreated; he is again distinguished from him by the fact he is not himself Father; but he is conjoined with the Son both in that each is uncreated and
in that each has his substance from the first principle; he is distinguished by his property, which is that he is not produced as only begotten from the Father, and that
he is manifested through the Son himself.” Note here first that the ‘through’ cannot be taken as ‘with’, because, insofar as he proceeds with the Son from the Father, the
Spirit is not distinguished from the Son, but is conjoined with him, but here the question is about the distinction. Note second that the ‘manifested’ cannot be taken
only for the pouring out of temporal gifts, for here the distinction of the persons is being dealt with; but the persons were distinct by their properties before any
external sending of the Holy Spirit.
The third testimony is contained in the book to Ablabius, that one should not say there are three Gods, where, since Gregory had taught that there is one very
simple nature to God, he subjoins that the persons are not thereby confused but are distinguished by this, that one is from another. “Through the fact alone that we
apprehend that one is distinguished from the other, namely by the fact we believe that it is one thing to be cause and another to be from a cause and to be from what is
from a cause, we do not deny the difference that is considered in the cause and the caused. But we again consider another difference, for it is one thing to be from the
first without break and without a medium, and another to be from that which is immediately and without break.”
Note first that from the first words ‘through the fact alone’ is collected evidently that the Son is cause or principle of the Holy Spirit. For Gregory says that
the three persons are only distinguished by this, that one is cause of another. For hence it follows that if the Son is not cause of the Holy Spirit, the Son and Holy Spirit
are not distinct. For the Greeks will not say that the Holy Spirit is cause of the Son, and neither will they say that the Spirit is not distinguished from the Son, lest they
worship a Duality for a Trinity. Therefore they are compelled to confess, if they have faith in Gregory, that the Son is cause of the Holy Spirit.
Note second that in the words ‘one thing to be cause and another to be from a cause and to be from what is from a cause’ three properties of the three persons are
noted. For the Father is cause, the Son is from a cause, and the Holy Spirit is from that which is from a cause, that is, from the Son.
Note third in the words ‘But we again consider another difference’ is not proposed another difference specifically diverse from the earlier, for then Gregory
would be in conflict with himself when he said that by this alone the persons are distinguished, that one is cause of another; but he calls another difference that same
difference as proposed in another way. Now it is this: that the Son is immediately from the Father alone, but the Spirit is mediately from the Father alone and
immediately from the Son, which however must be understood in a sane way. For the Spirit is from the Father mediately and immediately; mediately insofar as he is
from the Son who is from the Father, and immediately insofar as the Father produces the Spirit not only through the Son but also through himself. So the
difference consists in this, that the Son is in no way mediately from the Father but only immediately; but the Spirit is in some way mediately from the Father.
The fifth Greek Father is St. Gregory Nazianzen who asks what is lacking to the Holy Spirit that he is not Son. He replies, “Nothing, we say, for neither is anything
lacking to God, but the difference of their manifestation, so to say, and of their mutual relation has also created diverse names for them etc.” In this place Gregory
gives this cause why the Spirit is not called Son, because they have diverse, nay, opposed and mutual relations; but certainly there cannot be mutual relations
between the Son and Holy Spirit save because one spirates and the other is spirated, for neither is the Son, qua Son, relative to the Holy Spirit, but the Son qua spirator is
related to the Holy Spirit.
Nor can it be replied that the Son and Holy Spirit are distinguished through diverse relations with respect to the Father but not with respect to each other; for
Gregory has clearly said that the Spirit is not the Son, that is, is distinct from the Son, because of the relation they have to each other, that is, because of mutual relation.
Besides a little later he writes that in the same way nothing is lacking to the Son why he is not Father, and yet he is not Father, namely because they have
opposed relations. And a little later he sets down the example of Adam, Eve, and Seth, of whom Adam is from no man, Eve from a man alone, Seth from both. “What,”
he says, “was Adam? A work of God. What was Eve? A part of the work. What was Seth? A seed from both.” Since therefore Gregory has compared the three divine
persons with these three human beings, who does not see from the opinion of Gregory that the Son is from the Father and the Spirit from the Father and the Son?
The sixth Greek Father is Cyril of Jerusalem, who says, “There is one only and the same Holy Spirit who comes and subsists, who is everywhere with the Father
and Son, not because he is formed from the mouth and lips by the speaking of the Father and Son, or is breathed out or diffused into the air, but a very substantial
speaking and working, etc.” Here Cyril would not say that the Spirit is not formed in corporeal mode by the mouth of the Father and Son unless he thought he was in
some way spirated by the Father and Son. For it was enough to say that he is not formed by the mouth of the Father. Cyril means therefore that the Holy Spirit is the
Spirit of the Father and Son and proceeds from both, but in a spiritual and ineffable way.
The seventh Greek is John Chrysostom, who says, “He is the Spirit proceeding from the Father and Son who divides his own gifts to each as he will.” And again,
“We say the Holy Spirit is coequal with the Father and Son and proceeds from the Father and Son.” And again, “Behold that not the Father alone but the Son too sends
the Spirit.” And lest the Greeks say that Chrysostom is speaking of the temporal sending of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the same Chrysostom says when he explains
elsewhere why the Spirit is said to be sent by the Son, “Further he shows the difference of the persons when he sets down two etc.” So if sending is expressed to
signify the distinction of the persons, then truly the person himself is sent, not the gifts only, and since the distinction of the persons is eternal, this sending necessarily
includes eternal emanation.
Lastly Gennadius in his apology for the Latins adduces another place from Chrysostom, “Christ came to us, gave to us the Spirit coming down from him, and
took up our body.”
The eighth Greek Father is Epiphanius on the heresy of the Arians, “But neither is the Holy Spirit equal with other spirits, since there is one Spirit of God, the
Spirit proceeding from the Father and receiving from the Son; but these want him to be a creature from a creature etc.” In this place the ‘receiving from the Son’ can
signify nothing other than proceeding from the Son through eternal emanation. For Epiphanius opposes the ‘to receive from the Son’ to creation. For he teaches that the
Spirit is not created by the Son, as the heretics said, but received subsistence from the Son in another way than through creation. Hence a little later he again says, “And
since the Son is not foreign to the Father but is generated from him, the Holy Spirit too is not foreign. But the Son indeed is begotten only begotten without beginning,
without time, but the Holy Spirit is neither begotten nor created, but proceeding from the Father and receiving from the Son.” And later, “All things are created by
God, but only the Son is begotten of God, and only the Holy Spirit proceeded from God and received from the Son; but all the rest are created and did not proceed from
the Father nor receive from the Son.” And later, “By which he shows that the Holy Spirit is fount from fount, from Father and the only begotten.”
Again in Anchor., “The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of the Son, not according to any composition as body and soul
are in us, but he is a third name in the middle of the Father and the Son from the Father and the Son.” And, “But if Christ is believed to be from the Father, God from
God, and the Spirit from Christ or from both.” And, “The Son is life from life, but the Holy Spirit from both.” And, “He calls him Son who is from himself, but the Holy
Spirit from both.” And, “Hear, O good man, that the Father is Father of true Son, total light, and Son of true Father, light from light, not as an artifact or only in the name of
a creature, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, a third light from Father and Son.” And later, “The Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son is alone the light of
The ninth Greek Father is Dydimus of Alexandria, how says, “He will not speak of himself, that is, not without my and the Father’s choice, because he is
inseparable from mine and the Father’s will, because he is not from himself but from the Father and from me. For the fact that he subsists and speaks is his from the
Father and from me.” And later, “The Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of wisdom, cannot hear from the Son speaking what he does not know, since
he is that which is brought forward by the Son, that is, proceeding from truth, comforter emanating from comforter.” And later, “Neither is there any substance to
the Holy Spirit besides what is given him by the Son.”
The tenth Greek Father is Cyril of Alexandria, who says, “But since he is consubstantial with the Son and proceeds through him, having all his virtue,
therefore he says, ‘Because he will take of mine’.” And later, “For since he naturally proceeds through the Son, as proper to him, along with all things that he absolutely
has he is said to receive that they are of himself.”
Note that the Spirit proceeds through the Son with all things that he absolutely has. For what else does that signify than that divine essence and all the
absolute perfections are communicated to the Holy Spirit through procession from the Son. And later he says, “Coming forth from the substance of God the Father, he is
poured out on the saints through the consubstantial Word, from whom he is according to emission for being and subsisting.” Could St. Cyril have said more
clearly that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son? For we understand by procession from the Son that the Holy Spirit has being and subsisting from the Son, which Cyril
affirms in expressive words. Again he says, “He proceeds from the Father through the Son.” Again he says, “And therefore he calls the Holy Spirit likewise Lord, as
existing naturally from the Son and in the Son.” And later, “Thus we understand that the Son of God is naturally from and in the Father himself. But we believe the Holy
Spirit is naturally and substantially from the Son just as he proceeds from the Father.” Again he says, “The Spirit is proper to him, and in him, and from him, as he
is surely understood to be from God himself and the Father.”
The eleventh Greek Father is Simeon Metaphrastes, of whom honorable mention is made in the Council of Florence. He says, “My Christ ascends into heaven
and returns to his paternal seat, and he sends the Holy Spirit who proceeds from him.”
The twelfth is Anastasius, of whom mention is made with honor in the sixth Synod. He speaks thus, “The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of the mouth of God; for
the mouth is the Son of the Father.” Here he sufficiently clearly indicates that the Holy Spirit thus proceeds from the Son, who is called the mouth of God, just as the
spirit of our mouth is breathed from our mouth. And Anastasius says later, “So as to teach that there is one essence both of him who receives and of him from whom he
receives, of him from whom he proceeds.” Here by ‘him who receives’ the essence he understands the Spirit, and by ‘him from whom he receives’ he understands the Son,
by ‘him from whom he proceeds’ he understands the Father.
But if the Spirit receives essence from the Son, what else do we require? For there should be no question about the word ‘proceeds’, since there is agreement
about the thing. Hence he subjoins in the same place, “For neither does he proceed from what is of a foreign essence, or receive anything from what is consubstantial
with him.” And later he says, “Again the Spirit himself, and from him he proceeds and by him he is sent, not from the Father alone but also the Son.” And later, “When
the Lord indeed declares that the Holy Spirit comes from him and when he breathes him on the disciples, he said, ‘receive the Holy Spirit’.”
The thirteenth is Tharasius in a letter to the patriarchs of the East read at the seventh Synod, who says “We believe in the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the
Father through the Son.”
The fourteenth is Maximus, a most learned man and a saint, who says, “The Holy Spirit, as he is according to the essence of God and the Father, so also is he
according to the essence of the Son, as proceeding essentially from the Father through the ineffably born Son.” Bessarion cites this place.
The fifteenth is John Damascence, who says, “The Son is the image of the Father, and the Holy Spirit of the Son.” But an image at least has essence from the
exemplar. And later, “God the Holy Spirit is between the unbegotten and the begotten, and is conjoined to the Father through the Son.” We have then fifteen Latin
witnesses and fifteen Greek ones, who before the rise of our disagreement taught that the Holy Spirit is produced or spirated by the Father and the Son, so that now
the obstinacy of the Greeks should seem clearly intolerable.
The Same is Confirmed by Reason
See the many reasons in St. Thomas’ works. The principle reason of St. Thomas is as follows: if the Holy Spirit did not proceed from the Son, he would not be distinct
from him; but this is against the faith, because then there would be a duality and not a Trinity. Therefore the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.
The proposition of this argument is thus proved: All distinction in God is born from relations of origin; but if the Spirit did not proceed from the Son there
would not be between them a relation of origin; therefore if the Spirit did not proceed from the Son he would not be distinct form the Son.
The proposition of this argument is proved again thus: for in God there is nothing but essence and relation, or but absolute and relative; but the essence and
everything absolute is common; therefore only relation distinguishes. Hence in the eleventh Council of Toledo it is said that number is discerned only in the relations;
therefore every distinction takes its rise from relations; for where there is no distinction, neither can there be number. Further, if all absolutes were not common
to the three persons, the three persons would not be one thing as the Lateran Council teaches. Again we could not defend the simplicity of God nor could we show
that no perfection is in one person that is not in another; so one should not doubt but that relation alone distinguishes the Trinity.
Again, not any relation suffices for making a distinction; for relations that are not opposite do not distinguish, as is plain, because in one Father there are two
relations, paternity and active spiration, and yet these relations do not distinguish two persons; therefore relations must be opposite in order to distinguish.
Again not any opposites distinguish, but they must be real; for the relation of identity states opposition but does not distinguish, because it does not state a real
opposition; again relations that are opposite and real are founded either on quantity, as equality, or on quality, as likeness, or on action, as paternity and
filiation; but in God there are no real relations founded on quantity or quality; therefore only relations founded on action remain, which are called relations of
origin, and these can distinguish persons.
The proof of the assumption is that in God there is indeed equality and likeness, but because the foundation of these is the essence alone, which is one in
number, therefore these are relations of reason and not real relations. For there cannot be real relations where there are not proximate foundations really distinct.
And if equality and likeness in God were real relations, as Scotus wishes, yet there cannot thence be taken a distinction of persons. For Scotus thinks that, for relations
to be real, there are not required distinct foundations but that a distinction of relations suffices, and since Father and Son are real extremes, therefore he thinks
that equality and likeness are real relations.
Therefore, according to this opinion, the persons are not distinct because they are equal or like in a real relation of equality and likeness, but on the contrary,
they are for this reason equal or like by a real relation because they are distinct persons. So only relations of origin distinguish, and hence it follows, as has already
been proved, that either the Holy Spirit takes his origin from the Son and is referred to him by a relation of origin, which is to proceed from him, or he certainly is not
distinct from him, which not even the Greeks have ever taught.
But against this reason there is a very troublesome objection, for it does not seem true that only opposite relations are really distinct in God. For paternity and
active spiration are really distinct and yet are not opposed. Likewise filiation and active spiration.
Some reply that paternity is distinct from passive spiration because it is identified with active spiration, which is opposed to passive.
But on the contrary. For then active spiration could not be in the Son since it is identified with paternity which is opposed to filiation; and likewise the essence
could not be in the Son or the Holy Spirit, because it is identified with paternity which is really distinct from filiation and passive spiration.
Others reply that paternity and passive spiration are distinct because they are in distinct supposits. But neither is this sufficient; for active spiration too is in different supposits, namely in Father and Son, and yet it is one and the same in both. And is not the essence itself in three supposits really distinct, and yet it is one and the same in all?
And further the supposits themselves, namely Father and Holy Spirit, are not properly opposed, and so not every distinction arises from opposition.
Others reply that paternity and passive spiration are opposed virtually, because the foundation of paternity is in the production of knowledge, and passive
spiration is in the production of love, which productions are opposed, since they include relations of origin; for love is born of knowledge. But on the contrary. For love does not arise from knowledge as by efficient cause, for the intellect proposes only the object to the will, but no real distinction is necessarily posited between object and act, as is plain in God, where the essence is the object of knowledge and love and is not distinguished from knowledge and love.
I reply therefore that paternity is not opposed to passive spiration and yet is distinguished from it by the reason of some opposite relation. For one must observe
that, when two relations are opposed, not only are the relations distinguished but also, because of them, the relative supposits are also distinguished. And so not only
are active and passive spiration distinguished, but also spirator and spirated are distinguished, and consequently, because these relatives are subsistent persons, the
properties constitutive of these persons are distinguished, otherwise one would be the other.
Since therefore paternity is constitutive of the spirating person, it is necessarily distinguished from passive spiration, which is constitutive of the
spirated person, otherwise the Holy Spirit would proceed from himself. For he proceeds from the Father and would himself be the Father if paternity and passive
spiration were not distinguished.
I say the same about filiation, which is distinguished from passive spiration because filiation constitutes the person of the Son and so of the spirator if the Holy
Spirit proceeds from the Son; but passive spiration constitutes the person of the spirated. Now spirator and spirated are opposites. Therefore some things are
distinguished in God that are not opposed relatively, but the reason for the distinction is always some relative opposition, which, if it were taken away, no
distinction would remain.
You will say that if the Spirit did not proceed from the Father but only from the Son, there would be no relative opposition between the Father and the Spirit
and yet he would be distinguished from him; for otherwise the Spirit would be the Father, and would thus produce his author, namely the Son.
I reply that in no way can active spiration be taken from the Father unless it is also taken from the Son, for, if the Son spirates the Holy Spirit, by that fact too the
Father spirates at least mediately, and so he is mediately opposed to the Holy Spirit; but if active spiration were taken from the Son it would not necessarily be taken
from the Father, but then the Son would not be distinguished from the Holy Spirit. But if we imagine it taken from both, the procession itself of the Holy Spirit would be
taken away too, and so the Holy Spirit himself would be taken away.
There is another objection against our same reason, that to be generated and to be spirated are two modes of production that are plainly incompossible, and on
them are founded incompossible relations even if they are in no way opposed, as is plain, because nothing can be produced twice and be produced in two ways; and the
same is evidenced by examples, for no one can generate a son by nature and produce the same by art and make it that son and statue are the same, even if these
are not in any way opposed.
Add also the authority of St. Anselm, who says, “Since it is still not clear whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son, another cause of their distinction
must be assigned, and this is that the Son is produced by being born and the Spirit by proceeding.”
I reply that things that in creatures are many and divided are one and simple in God, provided opposition not prevent it. Hence if the Holy Spirit did not actively
proceed from the Son, then without doubt to be generated and to be spirated would not be two modes but really one, which however could be distinguished by reason.
For as intellect and will and understanding and willing are the same in God, word and love could also be the same if one of them did not really proceed from the other,
and as it is not repugnant for one person to be sayer and lover, or Father and spirator, so it is not repugnant for one person to be word and love, Son and Holy
Add that there is also not lacking an example in creatures; for to generate and to teach are formally very diverse, and likewise the relations of father and son differ
very much from the relations of teacher and disciple, and yet one and the same can be father and teacher with respect to the same, who will be his son and his disciple.
But when we do not see this, as in the example of son and statue, it happens because of the multiplication and distinction of the matter, not because of the
incompossbility of the relations.
The reason therefore of St. Thomas is very solid and deduced from the foundations of the faith; and besides it is the common teaching of the Fathers, which
assuredly Scotus did not advert to. For Nazianzen only acknowledges distinction because of relations of origin. Nyssa only says that the persons are distinguished in
God by being cause and caused, which is the same as the preceding opinion. Augustine only says that the persons are distinguished by this, that one is related to
the other. Boethius says “relation multiplies the Trinity.” Anselm says all things are one where opposition of relations does not stand in the way. Richard says the
distinction of persons is born of the number of producers, because one person produces and is not produced; another produces and is produced; a third is
produced and does not produce.
From these it is easy to reply to the place cited from Anselm. For Anselm is expounding the things in which we agree with the Greeks, one of which is that the
Son is distinguished from the Holy Spirit because one receives being from being born and the other from proceeding. But then he shows that these two modes
cannot be distinct unless the Holy Spirit is from the Son, because all things are one where the opposition of relation does not stand in the way.
It remains then for us briefly to propound and confute the arguments of the Greeks.
The Arguments of the Greeks are Solved
The first argument they take from the words of John ch.15, “When the paraclete comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from
the Father.” For since the Lord so expressively said that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and does not add ‘and from the Son’, it seems rashness to assert that
the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.
I reply with Augustine that only the Father is named, not so as to exclude the Son, but because the Father is the principal author of the Holy Spirit, for the Son has
from the Father that he spirates.
But there is proof that the Son is not excluded even if he is not named. First from other similar places. For Matthew ch.16 says, “Flesh and blood have not
revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven;” and yet that revelation was made by all the persons. And of the Holy Spirit John ch.15, “He will teach you all
things,” and yet the Father and the Son too teach us all things.
Second when it is said, “who proceeds from the Father”, it cannot be understood that he proceeds from the Father as he is Father formally, because then
the Spirit would be the Son, therefore from the Father as he has essence in common with the Son; therefore he also proceeds from the Son.
Third, as Anselm acutely reasons, if it were said, ‘No one produces the Holy Spirit save the Father alone’, the Son would still not be excluded; as is clear from a
like sentence, for Matthew ch.11 says, “No one knows the Son but the Father,” and yet the Son himself and the Holy Spirit, who are of the same nature, are not excluded
from knowledge of the Son. And in the same place is added, “Neither does anyone know the Father save the Son and him to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Yet
neither are the Father and the Spirit excluded from knowledge of the Father, even if the Son reveals nothing to them. Therefore in the same way, if it were said, ‘no one
produces the Holy Spirit save the Father’, the Son would not be excluded from that production. How much less, then, is he excluded by the sentence, ‘the Holy Spirit
proceeds from the Father’? For here there is no exclusion, no negation.
The second argument the Greeks take from the fact that in the Council of Ephesus the Creed of the Nestorians was read and the book of Theodoret against the
anathemas of Cyril, and in both was read expressly that the Spirit does not proceed from the Son, and yet the Fathers of the Council were silent, so they seem to have
I reply first by turning back the argument, for in the same Council of Ephesus and later in the fourth and fifth Synods the letter of Cyril was read with the
anathemas against Nestorius, in which is twice contained that the Spirit has his being from the Son, and yet the Fathers did not contradict, so they approved.
Second, Theodoret not only says that the Spirit does not proceed from the Son but also that he does not proceed through the Son, which however the Greeks
now assert, therefore if the Council approved by its silence that the Spirit does not proceed from the Son, which seems to be against us, they also approved that he does
not proceed through the Son, which is against them.
I say finally that the Council of Ephesus, although it then did not wish to dispute this question expressly, because it had convened for other business, yet it
sufficiently clearly indicated its opinion, since it approved with complete agreement the whole doctrine of Cyril, and damned the contrary doctrine of the Nestorians and
Theodoret; and the same was done by the fourth and fifth Synod; nay also by the sixth and seventh, and briefly by all the following Synods.
The third argument they take from the Fathers, and first they adduce Dionysius the Areopagite, who says, “The Father is the sole fount of the
I reply that this is true because the Father does not have divinity from elsewhere. Hence others compare the Father to the fount who gives and does not
receive, the Son to a river that receives and gives, the Holy Spirit to a lake that receives and does not give water to another. But although for this reason the Father
alone is said to be the fount, because he does not receive from elsewhere, yet for another reason the Son too is called a fount by Epiphanius, but fount from fount, as
God from God, because he receives the same essence as the Father has.
Second they bring forward Basil who says, “The Son has with the Father no communion according to a proper notion.” Therefore he does not join with the
Father in spiration, which is some notion. Besides he says in the same place that the proper notion of the Holy Spirit is that he is known through the Son and with the
Son, has subsistence from the Father.
I reply to the first that Basil is not speaking of any notion, but of the notion that is a property, as is plain from his words. He means to say, therefore, that the
Son by reason of filiation, which is his only proper notion, does not join with the Father or Holy Spirit.
To the second I say that the place is for us if it is well understood; for when he says that the Holy Spirit is known through the Son and with the Son, he does not
mean to say that the Holy Spirit is known from the preaching and teaching of the Son, but that he is known through the Son and with the Son as a relative through its
correlative. For a little before he had said that the Holy Spirit depends on the Son and that one cannot be thought without the other, which is proper to relatives.
Besides he discourses in that place about the intimate and eternal distinction of the persons; but an eternal distinction should not be taken from our temporal
knowledge, otherwise before our knowledge there would not have been distinct persons. But if the Son and Holy Spirit are relatives, it is necessary that they are
relatives for the reason either that the Son is the Son of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is Father, which no one says; or that the Holy Spirit is spirated by the Son and
the Son is spirator of the Holy Spirit, which the Catholic Church says. Nor is it an obstacle that Basil says the Holy Spirit subsists from the Father, for he attributes
that to the Father as to principal author, just as the Lord himself said, “[the Holy Spirit] who proceeds from the Father.”
Third they bring forward Nazianzen who in an oration to Bishops who had come from Egypt says, “Everything the Father has the Son also has, except
causality.” For from this it seems to follow that the Son is not cause of the Holy Spirit but only the Father is.
I reply that Nazianzen is speaking of causality with respect to the Son himself, which is a property of the Father, as if he had said, ‘All things the Father has
the Son has save for being Father’. But what of the fact that in the same place Nazianzen openly insinuates that the Spirit is from the Son? For as he compared the
Son with the Father as product with producer, so later he compares the Spirit with the Son, “Everything the Son has the Spirit has, except filiation etc.,” that is, except
the property of that person, from whom he himself is produced.
Fourth they adduce Damascene who says, “We say the Spirit is through the Son, we do not say he is from the Son.” Blessed Thomas rejects Damascene as one
who followed Theodoret, but that does not seem true, for Theodoret expressively denied the Spirit was from the Son or through the Son, but Damascene denies he is
from the Son but not that he is through the Son.
I reply then with Bessarion and Gennadius that Damascene did not deny the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son as far as the thing is concerned, since he said that
the Spirit is the image of the Son and is through the Son, but he thought it safer to say through the Son than from the Son as to mode of speaking because of the heresy
of Macedonius and Eunomius, who said that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Son as from primary, nay, even sole cause. In this way we say, after the heresy of
Nestorius, that Mary is not Christ bearer but God bearer, not because she is not Christ bearer but lest it be thought she is only Christ bearer and not God bearer. So
just as because of the heresy of Macedonius the Spirit was rightly said to be from the Father through the Son, so because of the error of the Greeks he is now said to be
from the Father and from the Son.
Fifth they adduce, as Master Lombard testifies, Pope Leo III who for the guarding of the faith ordered the Creed of Constantinople without the addition ‘from
the Son’ to be written on a bronze tablet and put on the altar after the body of St. Paul. But this Pontiff lived about 800, at which time the addition had already been
made; therefore the Pontiff took it away.
I reply that the Pontiff did this with devoted effort, to preserve the memory of the Creed of Constantinople as it was, and so that all would understand that the
creed was not condemned nor is contrary to ours. For the Church has several creeds, the Apostles’, the Nicene, the Athanasian, the Constantinopolitan without any
addition and the same with addition, which are all one and the same although one may be clearer and more explicit than another. Further the Church receives and
honors all the Creeds, and just as when the Nicene creed was made the Apostles’ Creed was not abrogated, and just as the Nicene Creed was not abrogated when the
Creed of Constantinople was made, so too when our Creed was made the Creed of Constantinople should not be abrogated. Therefore with very prudent counsel did
the Supreme Pontiff order the Creed of Constantinople to be preserved with honor in the Church, lest the Greeks should think that it had been reprobated by us.
Sixth they adduce Theophylact who says, “Assuredly the Latins badly expound this, and understanding it less rightly say that the Spirit also proceeds from
I reply that Theophylact lived at the time of the schism, and therefore his authority is not received, otherwise we too could have brought forward many
others, as Bernard, Rupert, Richard, Thomas, Bonaventure, and other more recent saints. Finally they bring forward reasons. The first is from Theophylact in the cited
place. The Holy Spirit is one and therefore has one principle, not two, and proceeds by one spiration not two.
I reply that this reason, which yet is chief among the Greeks, has no validity. For although the Father and Son are two spirators yet they spirate with a single
spiration, and they are one principle of the Holy Spirit. For nothing is multiplied in God save opposite relation; but the spiration by which the Father spirates is not
opposed to the spiration by which the Son spirates; and certainly if the argument were conclusive it would also make the Son not to be creator of the world, for the
world is one, so it has one principle and is produced by one action, so if two persons cannot be one principle nor create by one action, then the Son did not create the
world but only the Father; just as therefore the Father and Son, nay the Holy Spirit too, are one principle of the world and create with one action, because they have
one essence, so too Father and Son are one principle of the Holy Spirit and spirate with one spiration, because they have one spirative power.
The second reason is that the Father is sufficient principle of the Holy Spirit, so he does not require the help of the Son.
I reply that the Father is also sufficient principle of creation and yet notwithstanding all the persons create, because they have the same power and
essence. For the Son does not spirate because the Father needs help, but because Father and Son have the same spirative power.
Add that the Holy Spirit proceeds necessarily from the two, because otherwise he would not be a third person but would coincide with the third, as was
shown. So the world is necessarily produced by the three with the necessity of the producer not of the product, but the Holy Spirit is produced necessarily by the two
with the necessity of the producers and of the product.
The third reason is that if the Spirit proceeds from the Son then the Father is more like the Son than the Holy Spirit is, for the Son spirates with the Father but the
Spirit does not generate with the Father.
I reply that if the Spirit proceeds only from the Father, the Son will be more like the Spirit than like the Father; for the Son proceeds with the Spirit and does not
produce with the Father. But neither of these arguments is conclusive, for likeness is considered on the part of the essence not on the part of relations.
It is Shown that the Addition of ‘and from the Son’ was Rightly Made
It remains to show that the Latins could have and should have explained the Creed by adding the words ‘and from the Son’, and first I will show that they should have
explained the Creed, and then that the Latins could have done it without the Greeks. That, therefore, they should have explained the Creed is proved by the fact
that it is necessary for salvation not to believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father; therefore once the heresy arose that the Spirit does proceed only
from the Father a remedy should have been provided by explanation that should take away occasions for error.
The proof of the antecedent is that Athanasius in his Creed, when he had put ‘from the Father and the Son’ says, “This is the Catholic Faith which unless one keeps
whole and inviolate one will perish for eternity.” And in his letter to Serapion he says, “As to what the Apostle commands, to avoid a heretic after one or two
corrections, even if you seem them flying through the air with Elijah, and with Peter and Moses treading the sea with feet dry, unless they profess that the Holy Spirit is
God existing essentially from God the Son, and the Son too is naturally generated God existing essentially from God the Father as we profess, you are not to receive
them.” See the like from Cyril and Epiphanius in St. Thomas’ work against the Greeks.
Further it is proved from the Council of Florence where this is contained, “We define that this truth is to be believed and taken up by all Christians, that the Holy
Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son.”
Next by reason. For to believe the Spirit is not from the Son is, as we have demonstrated, an error against the Scriptures, therefore it must necessarily be
avoided. One should also note in this place that it was not always necessary not to believe that the Holy Spirit is not from the Son. For before the question arose and
was defined, it was enough to believe that the Spirit proceeds from the Father, in which was also included that he proceeded from the Son; nor was there need to ask
whether he proceeded from the Son or not, for we are not held to know everything, but we are nevertheless held never positively to hold errors.
Therefore after the question was moved and many began to err, it was necessary to apply a remedy, and this too the Council of Florence defined in these
words, “We define the explanation of these words (‘and from the Son’) for the sake of declaring the truth, and when necessity is then present it is licit and rational for it
to be added to the Creed.”
Let us come then to the second part, and let us demonstrate that this explanation could have been done by the Latins without the consent of the Greeks.
First, the Roman Pope is pastor and teacher of the whole Church, as the Greeks confessed in the Council of Florence, and it is plain from John last chapter,
“Feed my sheep;” therefore he can even without a Council define matters of the faith when he teaches ex cathedra; otherwise the whole Church could err which is held to
follow him, and to define things of faith pertains to him who cannot err.
Second, even if the Pope were not pastor of the whole Church, nor could define controversies of the faith without a Council, yet not for that reason is a
Council of Greeks and Latins required, but it is enough that there be a Council of some Bishops convoked by the Roman Pontiff himself. For he is (at a minimum)
Bishop of the first see and without him Councils do not have strength and with him they have it, as Gelasius teaches at length in his volume about the bond of anathema.
For the firmness of Councils does not arise from the multitude and diversity of Bishops but from its connection with the see of Peter, to whom it was said, “I have
prayed for you that your faith fail not,” Luke ch.22. This is also witnessed to by examples. For the Council of Rimini had 600 Bishops, party Greek and partly Latin, and
yet because the Roman Bishop dissented, it has always been held to be erroneous by both Greeks and Latins. On the other hand, the second Council of 150 Greek Bishops,
where no Latin was present, has always been held in honor because it was confirmed by the Pontiff Damasus, and by it the Council of Rimini was condemned.
We see therefore that the strength of Councils is from the see of Peter.
Third even if the Pope were not the head of the whole Church, nor Bishop of the first see, but a Patriarch no greater than the rest, the Greeks could still not
complain because of the addition. For the question is either about the faith or about the rite, that is, either the Greeks refuse this addition because it is false and against
the faith, or because, though it is true, yet it does not please them that it is in the Creed. If it is a question of rite then certainly, just as there are many other diverse
rites between the Greeks and Latins and not for that reason should a schism be made, so too this rite can be tolerated without schism. Besides, one Bishop can
institute a rite in his Church without the consent of others; how much more the whole nation of the Latins together?
But if it is question of the faith, provincial or national Councils cannot indeed so define something that it should at once be accepted by all; yet they can define and
others should not complain but examine if the thing has been well defined; but if not, to call a greater Council. For we see that this was very often done in the Church.
The heresy of Paul of Samosata was condemned by the Council of Antioch composed of a few Bishops, nor did many more others in the whole world complain,
but held it as valid, as is plain from Eusebius. The heresy of Macedonius was condemned by the Council of Constantinople where there were no Latins present;
nor did the Latins complain but approved; the heresy of Pelagius was condemned by provincial Councils, at Milevis and Carthage, nor did anyone make a schism for the
reason that he had not been called to them. The heresy of Nestorius was condemned by the Council of Ephesus before the Latins were present whom Pope Celestine was
sending, and yet the Latins did not complain but wanted to know what had been done and when they knew it they approved it. And there are infinite examples of this
The Greeks therefore cannot complain that a question was defined without them; especially since after the definition they were called to general Councils, not
once or twice but rather often, and again the question was proposed and discussed in their presence.
If you ask why, although the Greeks did not necessarily need to be called at the beginning, yet when they could be called why were they not called at the
I reply first that it is not certain they were not called, as is said in the Council of Florence, for as we do not know in which Council the addition was made, so we do
not know whether the Greeks were there or not. But if they were not called, there was a reason. First because it was not necessary, since the question was easy. For as
Augustine replies to the Pelagians when they asked for a general Council, not every heresy is such that all the provinces should be put to trouble because of it. And
certainly such is the controversy about the Holy Spirit. Although general Councils were held, they were held to satisfy the Greeks, not because the difficulty of the
thing required it. Second because the necessity was urgent and required speed because of contentions that had arise in Gaul and Spain. Nor could Bishops be so
quickly called together from remote regions. Third, because it was useless. For at that time there were almost no learned men in Greece. These three reasons are
given by Bonaventure
The Objections of the Greeks are Solved
But it is necessary to dissolve their arguments. The first is of this sort: the third general Synod prohibited all change to the Creed, for these words are contained at
the end of the Council: “The holy Synod has decreed that it is licit for no one to bring forward another faith, or to write or expound one other than has been defined by
the holy Fathers gathered at the city of Nicea in the Holy Spirit. But those who have dared to compose another faith, or to hand or give it over to those who want to be
converted to the knowledge of the truth, whether from the Gentiles or the Jews or even from any heresy, they, if they were Bishops or clerics, are Bishops alien to the
Episcopate and clerics alien to the clergy, but if they were laymen, they are anathematized.”
Catholics reply that by this decree explanation or change of the Creed is not prohibited as to words, but what is prohibited is corruption by addition or
subtraction that gives a contrary sense; and this is proved in many ways.
First the words of Paul in Galatians ch.1 are also understood in this way, when he anathematizes those who teach other than he has taught; for he himself
taught many other things afterwards, and John afterwards wrote a whole Gospel where there are many things that are not found in Paul; so Paul does not prohibit
doctrine to be added, but something being added contrary to what was before.
Second, if the Council of Ephesus were speaking of any change to the Creed, the Creed of Constantinople, where is found ‘[the Holy Spirit] proceeding from the
Father’ would already have been abrogated; for the Creed of Constantinople added to the Nicene creed also the words ‘proceeding from the Father’, and yet the Greeks
have always used this Creed and not the Nicene.
Third, in the Council of Chalcedon, where many of the Bishops seem to have been present who were at the Council of Ephesus, the Bishops, when the faith had to
be written down, cried that there should be added to the Creed, ‘holy Mary is Godbearer’, and a new Creed was written in which many things were changed, added,
taken away from the words of the Creeds of Nicea and Constantinople, and at the end is added the prohibition, “The holy Synod has decreed etc.,”as it is in the Council
of Ephesus. From this the explanation of the decree is evidently clear, unless we say that the fourth Council is in conflict with the third, and that all the Bishops of the
fourth Council are excommunicated, which no one has hitherto said.
Add too that the Greeks were formerly not ignorant that the Latins were of this opinion. For Homisdas in his letter to the Emperor Justin expressively writes
that “the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.” Again they were not ignorant that the addition had been made, and yet for about 300 years they were
silent, nor did they start a schism, as is plain, because the addition was made about the year 600 and after that there were, by the common consent of the Greeks and
Latins, three general Councils celebrated, the sixth, seventh, and eighth, and finally after that it came into their mind to object to us the Ephesus decree; why did they
not object it before save because they knew it did nothing against us?
The Greeks reply that the Council of Ephesus prohibited every change to the Creed, both in thing and in words.
As to what we object about the Creed of Constantinople, that it added to the Nicene, they reply that the Council of Ephesus took the Creed of Nicea and of
Constantinople to be one and the same, and prohibited change in the Nicene Creed, as was explained by the Synod of Constantinople.
As to what we object about the Council of Chalcedon they reply that the Council of Chalcedon produced indeed another confession of faith but did not
compose another Creed which should be used in the Church and given to those who were to be catechized. And it was of such a Creed that the Council of Ephesus was
speaking. For the occasion of this decree was that many were writing creeds and giving them to the uneducated and were sometimes mixing in errors.
But Catholics object on the contrary that if the Creed of Nicea and of Constantinople are taken to be the same, because they agree in the thing, the same
can be said of other Creeds which agree in the thing.
Besides from the fact that the Council of Chalcedon did not compose a Creed that was to be used in the Church and yet it added the clause that no one should
write another Creed and give it to those who were being catechized, Catholics collect that this prohibition should not be understood of change in the Creed as to
words but as to things. This is a common and solid solution, but perhaps the mouths of the Greeks could be silenced in another way.
For even if the Council of Ephesus spoke about the words of the Creed and did not wish anything to be in any way added or taken away, this prohibition would
extend only to individual Bishops or clerics or laymen and not to a Council of Bishops. For the words of the canon make mention of these persons, namely
Bishops, clerics, and laymen. But it is clear that Councils do not consist of clerics and laymen but only of Bishops, and the occasion for writing this canon confirms the
same. For the canon was written because at that time many had begun to write their own Creeds, and not only Bishops or clerics but also laymen.
Next how credible is it that the Synod of Ephesus wanted to prescribe a rule to the Supreme Pontiff or to a general Synod? Did those Bishops not know that it
could not give a law to its superior or equal? Since therefore the phrase ‘and from the Son’ was not added to the creed by any particular Bishop or cleric or layman, but
by the Supreme Pastor of the whole Church, and three general Councils approved it, it cannot then be doubted that it was done rightly.
But again some object that even if it was licit for the Latins to explain the Creed by the addition, yet it does not seem they should have added the explanation
to the Creed. For if everything that is defined as regard the Creed were to be added to the Creed, many other things would have to be added, as that the Virgin is God
bearer, that the body of Christ is truly in the Eucharist although he has ascended to heaven, etc.
I reply that not everything should be put in the Creed; yet this phrase was rightly added for two reasons. First because after the rise of a heresy the Creed
without this phrase was giving occasion for error. Second because the phrase could easily be added without addition of a new article or a notable change to the Creed;
and these reasons do not hold in the case of other additions. Yet we do not deny that some other phrase could be added for greater explanation, if it seemed expedient to
the Supreme Pontiff or to a Council of the world.
The Disputation is Concluded with a Divine Testimony
At the end of the whole disputation it has been pleasing now to note a divine judgment or testimony. For God has shown in many ways after the rise of the schism
who is in error, the Greeks or the Latins. For up to the time of the schism Greece flourished with learned and holy men, so that all the general Councils were
celebrated among the Greeks; but after the schism for almost 800 years they have had no Council, no holy man famous for miracles, very few learned men. But the
Latins at this time have had twelve general Councils and innumerable particular ones. Again in each age there have been men very famous for miracles, new orders
of religious, many learned men.
Besides at this time the faith of the Latins has been propagated by the accession of the Indians of the East and of the new world in the West; the faith of the
Greeks gets smaller by the day. The Greeks have been convicted in Councils, they have been converted to our faith four or five times, and perhaps even more often,
and they have always returned to their vomit.
The Latins have always in disputations remained superior in the same faith and doctrine; lastly among the Latins very powerful kingdoms and empires still
flourish, but the empire of the Greeks has been overthrown by the Turks, the enemies of Christ; and it has been almost destroyed, and all of them live in very
wretched servitude, and are compelled to carry the very heavy yoke of captivity.
And so that they may understand that the cause of their fall is their stubbornness in error about the procession of the Holy Spirit, Constantinople was
taken, the Emperor killed, and the empire wholly extinguished by the Turks on the very feast of the Holy Spirit. For as Gerard Mercator proves in his Chronology, in the
year 1452 on the 26th day of May Muhammed ordered his army to the final attack and on the following day he took Constantinople. But in that year the feast of
Pentecost was on the 28th of May, as is plain from the bronze number and the dominical letter by which movable feasts are examined. For the bronze number is 8
and the dominical letter is A. Therefore many compare the Greek Church to the kingdom of Samaria, which separated itself from the true temple and was at length
carried off into perpetual captivity.