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Procession of the Holy Ghost

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that doctrine regarding the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity which teaches that as the Son proceeds (or is born) from the Father, so the Holy Ghost proceeds (or emanates) from the Father and from the Son, but as from one principle. The subject has been fully discussed in its historical relations in the art. FILIOQUE CONTROVESY (See FILIOQUE CONTROVESY) , and as a theological question in the art. HOLY GHOST (See HOLY GHOST).

But since the writing of those articles the subject has been revived and taken a new historical form-the formation of a new religious body from the ranks of the Romish Church, now known as the Old Catholics (q.v.). At their second annual conference or synod held in Bonn, Germany, in 1875, preparations were made for a "Union Conference" of the Old Catholic, Oriental, and Anglican churches, and such a conference accordingly convened at Bonn on Aug. 12 of that year and lasted five days. (Those interested in the character and nationality of its distinguished attendants will do well to consult the Methodist Quar. Oct. 1875, p. 673-675.) In the last session of that conference a common formula was adopted respecting the doctrine of the Procession, which Westerns and Orientals alike agreed to; and though it did not finally settle the question, and the controversy is still alive as we write, it is yet a very hopeful sign of an early union of different branches of the Church of Christ which have so little at variance and so much in common. The discussions regarding the subject were long and animated, and for some time the Orientals held out against the adoption of 3, but by their final adoption of it an enormous step towards completer understanding has been made. The following are the resolutions:


"1. We agree together in receiving the cecumenical symbols and the doctrinal decisions of the ancient undivided Church.

"2. We agree together in acknowledging that the addition of the Filioque to the Creed did not take place in an ecclesiastically regular manner.

"3. We acknowledge on all sides the representation of the doctrine of the Holy Ghost, as it is set forth by the Fathers of the undivided Church.

"4. We reject every proposition and every method of expression in which in any way the acknowledgment of two principles or ἀρχαί or αὶτίαι in the Trinity may be contained.


"We accept the teaching of St. John of Damascus respecting the Holy Ghost, as the same is expressed in the following paragraphs, in the sense of the teaching of the ancient undivided Church:

"1. The Holy Ghost goes forth out of the Father (ἐκ τοῦ πατρός ) as the Beginning (ἀρχή ), the Cause (αὶτία ), the Source (πηγή ) of the Godhead (De recta Sententia, n.1; Contra Manich. n. 4).

"2. The Holy Ghost goes not forth out of the Son (ἐκ τοῦ υἱοῦ ), because there is in the Godhead but one Beginning (ἀρχή ), one Cause (αὶτία ), through which all that is in the Godhead is produced (De Fide o rthod. i, 8: ἐκ τοῦ νἱοῦ δὲ τὸ πνεῦμα οὐ λέγομεν, πνεῦμα δὲ υἱοῦ ὀνομάζομεν ).

"3. The Holy Ghost goes forth out of the Father through the Son (De Fide orthod. i, 12: τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα τὸ ἃγιον ἐκφαντορικὴ τοῦ κρυφίου τῆς θεότητος δύναμις τοῦ πατρός, ἐκ πατρὸς μὲν δἰ υίοῦ ἐκπορευομένη. Ibid.: υἱοῦ δὲ πνεῦμα, οὐχ ὡς ἐξ αὐτοῦ, ἀλλ᾿ ὡς δἰ αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκπορευόμενον . C. Manich. n. 5: διὰ τοῦ λόγου αὐτοῦ ἐξ αὐτοῦ τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτοῦ ἐκπορευόμενον. De Hymno Trisag. 1. 28: πνεῦμα τὸ ἃγιον ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς διὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ λόγου προϊόν . Hom. in Sabb. s. n. 4: τοῦτ᾿ ἡμῖν ἔστι τὸ λατρευόμενον ...πνεῦμα ἃγιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ πατρός ὡς ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἐκπορευόμενον, ὅπερ καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ λέγεται, ὡς δἰ αὐτοῦ φανερούμενον καὶ τῆ κτίσει μεταδιδόμενον, ἀλλ᾿ οὐκ ἐξ αὐτοῦ ἔχον τὴν ὕπαρξιν ).

"4. The Holy Ghost is the Image of the Son, who is the Image of the Father (De Fide orthod. i, 13: εἰκών τοῦ πατρὸς υἱός . καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ τὸ πνεῦμα ), going forth out of the Father and resting in the Son as the force beaming forth from Him (τοῦ πατρὸς προερχομένην καὶ ἐν τῷ λόγε ἀναπανομένην καὶ αὐτοῦ οὔσαν ἐκφαντικὴν δόναμιν. Ibid. i, 12: πατίρ ...διὰ λόγου προβολεὺς ἐκφαντορικοῦ πνεύματος ).

"5. The Holy Ghost is the personal Production out of the Father, belonging to the Son, but not out of the Son, because he is the Spirit of the Mouth of the Godhead, which speaks forth the Word (De Hymno Trisag. n. 2S: τὸ πνεῦμα ἐνυπόστατον ἐκπόρευμα καὶ πρόβλημα ἐκ πατρὸς μέν, υἱοῦ δέ, καὶ μὴ ἐξ υἱοῦ, ὡς πνεῦμα στόματος θεοῦ, λόγον ἐξαγγελτικόν ).

"6. The Holy Ghost forms the mediation between the Father and the Son, and is bound together to the Father through the Son (De Fide orthod. i, 13: μέσον τοῦ ἀγεννήτου καὶ γεννητοῦ καὶ δἰ υἱοῦ τῷ πατρὶ συναπτόμενον ).

"N. B. It is to be noted here that the German preposition aus (out of) equals ἐκ or ex. as denoting out of a cause or origin: whereas the word von (from) is equivalent to ἀπό or ab; while drwch (through) denotes Stin or per, through the instrumentaelity of."

Since that conference the Filioque question has been much agitated in England, and it has been asserted, by High-Churchmen especially, that the exclusion of the Filioque from the Creed was granted by Dr. Dollinger and canon Liddon at Bonn. What the conference did may be stated as follows: It declared, as bishop Pearson had already admitted, that the Filioque was inserted in an cecumenical creed by an inadequate authority, and therefore irregularly. It formulated certain propositions which might serve to show that when the Latins accept and the Easterns reject the Filioque they do not differ, as has been too generally supposed; since the Latins reject any assertion of two principles or causes in the Godhead, and the Easterns admit a μεσιτεία of the Son, in the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father. Whatever may have been the hopes and fears of individual members of the conference, no proposition was brought forward respecting the exclusion of the Filioque from the Creed of the Western Church. See Schaff, Creeds (Index in vol. 3); Forbes, Nicene Creed; Neale, Eastern Church (Introd.), 1095-1168; Stanley, Eastern Church; Mag, Hist. des Dogmes (Index in vol. 2); Martensen, Dogmqatics (see Index); Meth. Quar. Jan. and April, 1876; New-Englander, July, 1870. See also Pusey's Letter to Liddon On the Clause "And the Son" (Lond. 1876, 8vo).

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Procession of the Holy Ghost'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​p/procession-of-the-holy-ghost.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
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