(Anglican Orthodox Dialogue, SPCK 1985)

© John S. Romanides


1. Since I was not at the Dublin meeting I am obliged to make the following observations to explain my disagreement with paragraphs 45 and 95 which contain inaccuracies and make no mention of the west Roman Orthodox Filioque.

2. In their 1054 excommunication of the Patriarch of Constantinople/New Rome the Latins [ 2 ] accused the East Romans [ 3 ] of having "deleted" the Filioque from the Nicene Creed. At the Council of Florence (1438-1439) they claimed that the East Romans always had accepted the Filioque in the Creed of Rome, at least since the time of Maximus the Confessor (7th century), till Photius (9th century) began attacking the Filioque in the Creed for non theological reasons. They had evidently lost Frank Smaragdus' minutes of the conversation in 810 between Charlemagne's emissaries and Pope Leo III who protested that he had given the Franks permission to sing the Creed during mass, but not to add to it. Leo defended the Filioque outside the Creed. At the same time he posted the Creed without the Filioque on two silver plaques in defence of the Orthodox Faith. The plaques were still in place when the Germans were taking over the Papacy (983-1014). Why, how and when the Filioque had been added were subsequently forgotten.

3. The Roman Popes fully accepted the dogmatic and legal authority of all Roman Ecumenical Councils, including the eigth of 879 which condemned the Filioque in the Nicene Creed and annuled the Council of 869 by accepting the restoration of Photius as Patriarch of the New Rome. The Franks and Germans rejected this Council because it condemned their addition to the Creed. They of course could not accept Photius since he had been attacking their Filioque. So they continued accepting the Council of 869.

4. The Saxons in Britain attached themselves firmly to the contemporary Roman traditions of both Romes. This tradition was interrupted by the Normans (1066) who supported the Latin Papacy. The Roman papacy had been abolished by the Germans a half century earlier. The 869 Council thus became the Latin papacy's eighth ecumenical and still is. The struggle for the control of the Latin papacy between the Germans and the Italo-Franks (in Italy since the 8th century) coincided with the Norman rise to international power by their simultaneous victories over the Saxons and Celts in Britain (1066) and over the Romans in South Italic Romania (1071) [ 4 ]. Williams the Conqueror firmly attached Britain to the new Latin papacy by replacing the Orthodox Bishops of Britain with Normans and other Latins, as was done by the Normans in south Italic Romania after the example of the Germans in Papal Romania. The Normans supported the Italo-Franks against the Germans for control of the papacy.

5. The council of 879 was suppressed in the West as all leaders united with the two Roman Romes were replaced by their conquerors and their collaborators. The Latins at Florence spoke of 869 as the eighth, and were short on memory on 879. The reformation churches in general let go all of all Roman and Latin ecumenical councils except the fourth and the Creed of the second with the Filioque still added. The council of Florence and its Filioque has survived as authority in the Latin papacy.

6. Neither the Roman papacy, nor the East Romans ever interpreted the council of 879 as a condemnation of the west Roman Filioque outside the Creed, since it did not teach that the Son is "cause" or "co-cause" of the existence of the Holy Spirit. This could not be added to the Creed where "procession" means "cause" of existence of the Holy Spirit. Neither Maximus the Confessor (7th century), nor Anastasius the Librarian (9th century) say that the west Roman Filioque "can be understood in an orthodox way," as claimed by the DAS (45, 95). They both simply explain why it is orthodox. Also neither uses the term "EKFANSIS" in their texts (DAS 45). Maximus uses the Greek term "PROÚENAI" and, being a west Roman and Latin speaking, Anastasius uses "Missio". Both point out that the Roman "procedere" has two meanings, "cause" and "mission". When used as "cause", like in the Creed, the Holy Spirit proceeds only from the Father. When used as "mission", the Holy Spirit, proceeds from the Father and the Son as denoting the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father. All East Roman Fathers say the same, but do not use the term "EKPOREYSIS" to do so. This mission of the Holy Spirit is not servile, but free since he has the sane essence and its natural will, and by nature, from the father through/and the Son. Anastasius the Librarian, who was for a time pope, played an important role in the papacy's preparations for the council of 879 in New Rome. One would have to either conclude that the Roman papacy from the time of Leo III (795-816) had become schezophrenic, both supporting and condemning the Filioque, or else come up with some such analysis as this writer has been proposing.

7. Not one West Roman Father ever said that the Son is either "cause" or "co-cause" of the Holy Spirit. This appears in Latin polemics and was promulgated as dogma at the council of Florence. This Filoque is a heresy, both as a theologoumenon and as a dogma. The Uniates accept this Filioque as a condition of being united to the Latin Papacy.

8. At this union council of Florence the East Romans insisted that the Latins remove the Filioque from the Creed and accept the teaching of the Fathers. The Latins unexpectedly sprung the Maximus text upon the council to prove that the "Greeks" had always accepted the Filioque in the Creed of Rome, but, since Photius, had changed their position for non doctrinal reasons. The East Romans picked up the text and made it their own. After it was shown and accepted that the text had been mistranslated, the East Romans proposed it as the basis of union. This they had already planned to do, but hesitated since the context of the text had not survived. Now the Latins themselves gave them the opening they were waiting for. But the Latins flatly refused and went on demanding that the East Romans accept the Son as one "cause" with the Father of the Holy Spirit's existence. On how to determine the genuiness of the Latin manuscripts being used as proof texts, Mark of Ephesus suggested that only what is in agreement with Maximus' description of the papal filioque should be accepted as genuine. But he did not agree that Latin aceptance of this text is sufficient for union, since there are other essential differences. Most of the East Romans finally accepted the Son as "one cause" with the Father and signed the union. Some like Mark refused. Neither Mark nor any of the others proposed a theologoumenon as "the" dogma of union, nor a kind of Filoque buried in a book. They had proposed the old west Roman Orthodox Filioque defended by such Popes as Leo III which is an integral part of the Orthodox tradition.

9. Anglicans in this dialogue have agreed that the Filioque should be removed from the Creed of 381 for reasons of contextual integrity. However, full contextual integrity would require a bit more than the reasons stated in the Moscow agreement 1976, repeated at Dublin (DAS 44). The council of 381 re-wrote the creed of Nicaea (325) mainly because its "HOMOOYSIOS" could not be accepted within context by the large and influential group of "HOMOOYSIANS" many of whom were fully Orthodox as supported by such Fathers as Athanasius the Great and Basil the Great. For them "HOMOOYSIOS" meant "consubstantial". That the Father, Son, and Spirit are one essence, one substance, and three persons was the position of the heretical Sabellians. At this time substance and essence were still synonyms. All the Fathers of Nicaea accepted, like the "HOMOOYSIANS", three substances in the trinity, but by using "HOMOOYSIOS" as meaning co-essential, this could mean one substance. Essence and substance were used interchangeably as in the case of Athanasius and in the Creed of Nicaea itself. There the Son is from the essence of the Father and in the anathemas of this same Creed substance and essence are evidently synonymous. When referring to identity and unity in the Holy Trinity all used terms to denote uncreated glory, such as "THEOTIS", "ENERGEIA", "CHARIS", "AGAPI", "DYNAMIS", "THELIMA", "VOYLISIS", "KRATOS", "VASILEIA", etc. The Cappadokians had been proposing that one should speak of three substances and one essence in the Holy Trinity. At the council of Alexandria in 362 Athanasius and his bishops took note of the validity of such a distinction, but Athanasius went on using the terms interchangeably. Didymous the Blind seems to be the first Alexandrian to fully incorporate the Cappadocian distinction in his writings. Then the neo-Arian Eunomians were presenting a serious problem using the Nicaean phrase that the Son is from the essence of the Father as the proof that being thus caused he is a second essence created from non-being. Then three were the groups which refused the equality of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son, either reducing Him to a common energy or a creature. Such problems were resolved by the Cappadocian distinction between three substances and one essence and the use of cause for the Father's substance alone and not for his essence. In this way all ideas of emanation were also put aside. Thus in being the substantial cause of the existence of the Son and of the Holy Spirit the Father simultaneously gives them to have by nature his own essence with its natural glory. Thus the Son and the Holy Spirit are exactly everything that the Father is except Father. The Son is only Son since the only begotten and incarnate, and the Holy Spirit not begotten, but proceeding. The 381 council found these distinctions usefull in making clear the Church's faith and opposing the current heresies as well as misunderstandings of the Nicaean "HOMOOYSIOS". Now the three substances have one essence without this meaning they could thus be one substance. So the Creed was re-written and accepted by all Orthodox and many HOMOOYSIANS.

10. Ecumenical Councils were convened by the Emperors as Church senates to inform the government what the Church's faith and practise are. The Emperor signed their decisions into law. The council of 381 included only East Roman Bishops invited by the Emperor. It was, nevertheless, elevated to ecumenical status both legally and ecclesiastically. The decisions of 381 were accompanied by an imperial edict listing the Bishops with whol all others are to be in agreement. The three Great Cappadokian Fathers had carried the Council. Basil the Great's Friend, Gregory the Theologian, now archibishop of New Rome/Constantinople, presided over the council during part of its work. Basil's brother, Gregory of Nyssa, was a main force behind the composition of the Creed, as is evident from his being listed in the imperial edict mentioned.

11. Augustine and every Bishop in the empire, including those in Britain, accepted "one essence, three substances" along with the Creed of 381. Otherwise they may have lost their jobs. Neither Theodosius (379-395) nor his successors were to be taken lightly. This is the historical context of this council. Being a law abiding Roman, Augustine did the best he could, or the best he could get away with, to correct his already published "de Trinitate", which was creating problems. Bishop Aurelius of Carthage commanded him to deliver the work. Augustine found it expedient to explain that he wanted to re-write it, but his manuscript was stolen and published by friends, who also opposed his further desire to re-write it. So he contented himself to correct it the best he could. Thus we find such Cappadocian gems as: "…most of ourselves who treat things in the Greek language are accustomed to say, "MIAN OYSIAN TREIS YPOSTASEIS", or in Latin, "UNAM ESSENTIAM, TRES SUBSTANTIAS" (V, 8.10)." "…in order to meet the needs of argument … that so we may answer in one term when asked what three, and say three substances of three persons … in order that there be neither a confusion of persons, nor … any inequality. And if this cannot be grasped by the understanding, let it be held by faith … (VII, 6.12)." The Son "is born of his (Father's) substance (XV, 19.37)" and is therefore, "substance of substance (XV, 20.38)" these are to be compared with his prior rejection of the Holy Spirit as a substance and his insistence that he is the "THEOTIS", love nad grace which unites Father and Son and that the individuality of the Holy Spirit had not yet been determined. In any case Augustine seems to have understood that to accept the Creed of 381 meant accepting 1) The reasons for re-writing the Creed of Nicaea, 2) The theology and terminology of the Fathers who wrote the Creed during the council sessions, and 3) The Fathers listed in the edict as guides to its understanding. This is the contextual integrity of this Creed and why Augustine switched from "one substance, three persons" to "three substance/persons, one essence". Thus the so-called "byzantinization" of the West Romans in Medieval Italy had already been accomplished in antiquity by a Spaniard Roman who fought the picts in Britain at his Father's side and was now Emperor in New Rome/Constantinople.

12. All the doctrinal and terminological parts of the west Roman Filioque are both complete and Orthodox: 1) Three persons/substances, with their substantial/personal properties, whereby the Father is cause without cause, the Son is caused by the Father via generation and the Holy Spirit is caused by the Father via procession, 2) The one essence with its natural glory from the Father to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. It is here that the west Roman term "procedere" has its second meaning of essential mission ("PROÚENAI"/missio), whereby the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and/through the Son, in no way to be confused with personal/substantial/hypostatic "procedere". It is Augustine's filioque alone which can be considered a theologoumenon, but an orthodox one, because of the confused manner in which he managed to adjust his already published works to conditions described in paragraphs 9-11. Augustine identified both generation and procession with the receipt of essence from the Father (De Trinitate XV, 26.47), which simply means he did not fully understand the imperial instructions he was trying to comply with. Given his own meaning of these terms he is perfectly correct.

13. The Anglican statements in DAS 46 cannot be understood within the context of the Creed of 381 until they are cast into the framework of what is common and individual in the Holy Trinity. To say that the Father and Son are one "fons deitatis" and "principium" is either to say not enough or far too much. Also to say that "one principle" "has not meant to imply that the Spirit proceeds from some undifferenciated divine essence (OYSIA) as opposed to the persons (YPOSTASEIS)" (DAS 46C ), is not clear within the context of the Greek terms being used. Essence and hypostaseis are distinguishable only by manner of existence, or dependence for existence. Otherwise the persons co-inhere and are essentially identical and equal and have each one all essential energies and powers in common. Augustine is correct in saying that the Father and the Son are one "principle," of the Holy Spirit, since he means essential principle. His fellow fathers would complete this by saying, "and so the three are "one principle"." The Cappadocian ingredient missing is substantial "principium" which belongs only to the Father. If one were a law abiding Roman one would then agree with Gregory of Nyssawho has written so much on the subject. In any case, having the cause of his existence from the Father the Holy Spirit simultaneously has his essence and its natural glory from the Father and./through the Son. If the Cappadocian filing system is not acceptable, then one should propose both another and another Creed.

14. Not one of those glorified has ever experienced anything common in the Father and Son which is not common also to the Holy Spirit. Nor are there any experiences of the Divine Essence, nor of emanations therein.

15. In plain and simple english the last sentence of paragraph 45 says that the followers of Bolotov hold that "the" Filioque may be held in the west as a theologoumenon, without specifying which of the three filioques. It seems to be assumed that this is valid for all of them. But this is not what Bolotov says. He defines a theologoumenon as a private opinion of a great ecumenical doctor of the undivided Church. This cannot, therefore, be extended to the Franks who added the Filioque to the Creed and thereafter, because of national pride, were forced, together with the other Latins, to develop such theological justifications that led to their heretical Filioque. These Latins are neither Fathers nor ecumenical doctors of the undivided Church. Even de-dogmatized and theologoumenized their Filioque is a heresy, because a rejection of the Cappadocian formulation incorporated into the Creed of 381 and so accepted by Augustine and all Roman Churches, east and west. They violated the experience of glorification of which commonality and individuality in the Holy Trinity is an experiential and not a speculative expression. Also the west Roman Orthodox Filioque is such an expression and not the private opinion of either Maximus the Confessor or Anastasius the Librarian. They both report it as the official position of the Roman papacy and of all Orthodox Churches in the west.

16. For centuries the east Romans identified Augustine's Filioque with that of the Roman papacy as described by Maximus. Latin proof texts to the contrary were attributed to tampering with the manuscripts. This was a standard argument from the 9th century till the council of Florence (1438-1439). This was re-enforced by the tampered with Greek manuscripts the Latins produced at this council. Patriarch Gennadius Scholarius (1453-1456), who had been at Florence and was fluent in Latin, came to the conclusion that Augustine was responsible for the Florentine debacle because he had not been in agreement with the pre-Latin Roman papacy after all. Thus Augustine's Filioque came to be considered heretical until now.

17. The Latin Filioque was developed, as it seems, in good faith, on the premise that its supposed inclusion in the Creed of Rome had been accepted as valid for several centuries, and then made an issue of for non doctrinal reasons. These positions were supported by even Cappadocian texts, which primarily and supposedly proved that the Filioque was not an addition, but a natural development of what was intrinsically already contained and so generally accepted, if not explicitly, at least by silence over the centuries. In view of this we should be obliged to do no more than to say in common that such premises and the theological and historical support of them was an unfortunate misunderstanding and therefore neither a valid position, nor a heresy, in the ordinary sense, but rather a mistake.






[ 1 ] Documentation is available in writter's studies listed in captioned publication, pp. 69, 72 and 73.

[ 2 ] Latins: collective name for the peoples who conquered the west and central European Roman provinces, used Latin as their administrative and Church language, and ruled the vanquished as a nobility via their war-lords and bishops.

[ 3 ] East Romans: Romans in Eastern part of the Empire, not permanently conquered by these Latins, but by Arabsin the Middle East and North Africa (7th century) and by Turks in Asia Minor and the Balkans (11th-15th century). They were called only "Greeks" by these Latins supposedly for heresy, but in reality to erase them from the memory of the Romans under their rule. Today's "historians" who stem intellectually from this Latin tradition call these Romans "Byzantines", a people which never existed. Furthermore, in East Roman usage the name "Greek/Hellene" usually means "pagan".

[ 4 ] Romania: Roman Empire; Papal States, in both Roman and Latin usage; real name of so-called "Byzantine" Empire.





© HydroGraphiX. "Romanity".