In the third portion of the Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit is said to “proceed” from the Father and the Son (the phrase, “and the Son”, or filioque, in Latin, was not a part of the original Nicene Creed but was added by Pope Leo III without assembling another Council to ratify his decision. Inclusion of the filioque phrase in the Creed was one reason for the Great Schism which wrenched Eastern and Western churches apart. The Episcopal Church has voted in its Convention to drop “and the Son” when the next Book of Common Prayer is published.). Jesus is eternally begotten (“be the father of” ) by the Father, while the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds (“out of”) from the Father. God the Father is the ultimate source of the Son and the Spirit, though the three coexist eternally. However, the Western Church has additionally understood “procession” to mean that the Divine Spirit’s Essence proceeds from the Father through the Son to the Holy Spirit and avoiding the Son was heresy. The Eastern Church believed that to have the Spirit come from both the Father and the Son heretically made the Spirit a subordinate member of the Trinity.
~Written by Dr. Gil Haas
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