Below is presented a translation of the first of John Bekkos’s Epigraphae (Ἐπιγραφαί) or Epigraphs — the title could also be translated variously as “Titles” or “Chapter Headings.” The Epigraphs, which have come down in more manuscripts than any other of John Bekkos’s works, are a patristic dossier on the subject of the procession of the Holy Spirit, presenting a connected argument in favor of the compatibility of the Greek and Latin teachings; the patristic evidence is organized under thirteen “chapter headings.” Of the thirteen chapters, only the first is given here.

The original Greek text of the Epigraphs is probably most readily available in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca vol. 141, cols. 613-724; a better text, or at least a more legible one, is found in Hugo Laemmer’s Scriptorum Graeciae Orthodoxae Bibliotheca Selecta, tomus primus (Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 1866), pp. 445-652; in the following translation, I have put Laemmer’s page numbers in the text in italicized brackets. I should note, finally, that Laemmer publishes, together with the text of Bekkos’s Epigraphs, the text of Gregory Palamas’s Antepigraphae and Bessarion’s reply to this; the two works together form a kind of running theological commentary to this patristic dossier. At some point in the near future, I intend to give a sampling of it on the blog.


Epigraphs, or Chapter Headings

(on statements collected from the saints, concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit)

By John, humble bishop of Constantinople.


Epigraph I. Various patristic texts are collected, demonstrating that the Holy Spirit is also from the Son. Afterwards, other citations are exhibited in this book, demonstrating that the Spirit is from the Father through the Son. And since [446] some of these show the Spirit to be from the Son, while others show him to be through the Son, still more patristic citations are exhibited immediately afterwards for the purpose of showing the equivalence of the terms “through” and “from”; by means of them, the equivalence of these prepositions is demonstrated.

THAT THE SPIRIT IS FROM THE SON.

Gregory of Nyssa, in his Homily on the Lord’s Prayer, which begins, “The law, containing the shadow of future things,” speaks in this way:

“For both the Son came forth from the Father, as the Scripture says, and the Spirit proceeds from God and from the Father. But just as being without cause pertains to the Father alone, and cannot be made to agree with the Son and the Spirit, [447] so also, conversely, being from a cause, which is peculiar to the Son and the Spirit, is not of such a nature as to be contemplated in the Father. Now, as it is common to the Son and the Spirit to exist in a not-ungenerated way, in order that no confusion arise as to the underlying subject, one must again seek out the unconfused difference in their properties, so that both what is common may be preserved, and what is proper to each may not be confused. For the one is called by Holy Scripture ‘the Only-Begotten Son of the Father,’ and the word leaves his property at that; but the Spirit both is said to be from the Father, and is further testified to be from the Son. For, it says, ‘if  any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his’ (Rom 8:9). Therefore the Spirit, who is from God, is also the Spirit of Christ; [448] but the Son, who is from God, neither is nor is said to be ‘of the Spirit,’ nor does this relative order become reversed.”
Gregory of Nyssa, De oratione dominica, sermo 3, Callahan, ed., Gregorii Nysseni De oratione dominica; De beatitudinibus (Leiden 1992), p. 42, lines 15-24.

Basil the Great, in the third book of his antirrhetics Against Eunomius, which begins, “Hardly yet sated with his blasphemies against the Only-begotten Son,” speaks in this way:

“For what necessity is there, if the Spirit exists as third in dignity and in order, that he exist as a third also in nature? Although religious language gives the tradition that he comes after the Son in rank, in that he has being from him, and receives from him and announces to us, and depends entirely upon this cause, nevertheless we have neither been taught by Holy Scripture to use the expression ‘third in nature,’ nor is it possible to infer this [449] from the things previously said. For as, on the one hand, the Son is second to the Father in order, because he is from him, and in dignity, because of the Father’s being his principle and cause, and because through him there is access and approach to the God and Father, but, on the other hand, in terms of nature he is no longer second, because the Godhead in each of them is one: so it is also manifest that, even were the Holy Spirit to come after the Son in order and in dignity, still it would hardly follow that he is of a different nature.”
Basil of Caesarea, Adv. Eunomium, III.1, PG 29B, 653B-656A.

Gregory of Nyssa, in Against Eunomius, book one, which begins, “It was not, it appears, from a desire to help everyone …,” speaks near the end of it in this way:

“If, in conceiving of the Father before the Son on the single score of causation, we inserted any mark of time before the hypostasis of the Only-begotten, [450] the belief which we have in the Son’s eternity might with reason be said to be endangered.”
Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunomium, bk. 1, ch. 1, sec. 686; PG 45, 461D.

And a little further on, having earlier stated that the Father is conceived of before the Son solely with respect to causation, he adds:

“Our account of the Holy Ghost will be the same also; the difference is only in the place assigned in order. For as the Son is bound to the Father, and while deriving being from him, does not fall short of him in existence, so again the Holy Spirit bears himself with respect to the Only-begotten, who is  [451] conceived of as before the Spirit’s hypostasis only in concept, by reason of [his] causality. Extensions in time find no admittance in the pre-eternal life, so that, when we have removed the rationale of causation, the Holy Trinity in no single way exhibits discord with itself.”
Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunomium, bk. 1, ch. 1, sec. 691; PG 45, 464 B-C.

In the acts of the First Council of Nicaea, in which the fathers addressed the philosopher through the bishop Leontius, where the statements begin, “And this too, my dear philosopher, should also be considered regarding this truth,” one finds that “the Spirit proceeds from the Father, and is proper to the Son and gushes forth from him.”
Gelasius of Cyzicus, Historia Concilii Nicaeni, book 2, ch. 22; PG 85, 1296C.

[452] St. Cyril in his address to Nestorius that begins, “When our Savior plainly said, ‘He that loveth father or son more than me is not worthy of me,’” says:

“But even if the Spirit exists in his own hypostasis, and, moreover, is understood in his own manner, according to which he is Spirit and not Son, nevertheless he is not foreign to the Son. For he has been called the Spirit of Truth, and Christ is the Truth, and he is poured forth from him, just as, surely, he is poured out also from the Father.”
Cyril of Alexandria, Epist. ad Nestorium XIII, PG 77, 117C.

And again, in his Exposition of the Prophet Joel, in interpreting the words, “I will pour forth of my Spirit” (Joel 2: 28), he says:

“For, in that [453] the Son is God, and from God according to nature (for he has had his birth from God the Father), the Spirit is both proper to him and in him and from him, just as, to be sure, the same thing is understood to hold true in the case of God the Father himself.”
Cyril of Alexandria, Commentarius in Joelem prophetam 35, PG 71, 377D.

In his Address to the Emperor Theodosius, which begins, “The highest renown among men …,” he says:

“He said that Jesus would baptize with fire, not as though he would send the Spirit upon those being baptized in the way that a servant or attendant would, that is, as someone foreign to himself; but as God, with authority from on high, he sends him as one who is from him and is proper to himself.”
Cyril of Alexandria, De recte fide ad Theodosium 37, PG 76, 1189A.

(In the [454] oldest manuscript the wording is found, “from him and through him.”) And a little afterward in the same address:

“Freeing from sin the one who adheres to him, he anoints him, again, with his own Spirit, infusing him himself, since he is the Word from God the Father, and from his own nature he causes him to fountain upon us.”
Cyril of Alexandria, De incarnatione unigeniti, Aubert, p. 706; PG 75, 1241A.

St. Cyril in his Discourses to Palladius, given in the form of question and answer, says, right at the beginning:

“The Spirit is assuredly in no way changeable; or even if some think him to be so infirm as to change, the disgrace will be traced back to the divine nature itself, if in fact the Spirit is from God the Father and, for that matter, from the Son, being poured forth substantially from both, that is to say, from the Father through the Son.”
Cyril of Alexandria, De Adoratione et Cultu in Spiritu et Veritate, lib. I, PG 68, 148A.

[455] The same father, in the second book of the Thesaurus, in the discourse titled, “That the Holy Spirit is from the substance of the Father and the Son,” says:

“Since then the Holy Spirit, by coming to be in us, shows us to be conformed to God, while, again, he comes forth from the Father and the Son, it is manifest that he is of the divine substance, substantially coming forth in it and from it; just as would be the case also with a breath exiting a human mouth, even if the example is pedestrian and not worthy of our subject matter; for God surpasses all things.”
Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus 34, PG 75, 585A.

Athanasius the Great, in his work On the divine appearing of God the Word, which begins, “Those who desire to understand the divine Scriptures in a false, artificial way …,” says:

“For, as God, he sent him from on high, and, here below, he received him as man. He sent him, therefore, from himself to himself, from his divinity to his humanity.”
Ps.(?)-Athanasius, De incarnatione Dei Verbi, et contra Arianos, 9, PG 26, 997C.

[456] The same father, in his Tome to the Antiochenes, which begins, “To the beloved and most longed-for brothers Eusebius and Lucifer,” he says:

“[It is necessary to] anathematize also those who say that the Holy Spirit is a creature, and divided from the substance of Christ.”
Athanasius of Alexandria, Tomus ad Antiochenos, PG 26, 800A. [The words “It is necessary to” are Bekkos's paraphrase. What Athanasius literally says is, “You should require nothing more from them than that they should ….”]

Chrysostom, in his oration on the Lord Jesus Christ’s becoming man, and on “Angels have been set over every region,” which begins, “The grace of God has truly appeared to us,” says:

“Christ came to us; he gave us the Spirit which is from him, and received our own body.”
Ps.-Chrysostom (= Severian of Gabala), In nativitatem Christi, et quod unicuique climati angeli præsunt §5, PG 59, 697.

The same father, in his Oration on the Two Covenants, which begins, “From the beginning, the Law and the Prophets have shown forth one and the same God,” says:

“Because the Godbearing body of the Lord became a temple of divine power, [457] you too should become a temple according to his likeness: you should receive the Spirit that is sent by him. Therefore, just as, when you discovered Christ, you discovered God, so, in receiving Christ’s Spirit, you received God.”
[Not found.]

In his first Precautionary Sermon, which begins, “Since we are approaching the One who is Good, we must guard against the one who works against good, the devil,” he says:

“And thus, may the Spirit, who is from Christ, guard us unto the day of the expected redemption.”
Ps.-Chrysostom, Sermo prophylacticus I (CPG 4912). Cf. note on Bekkos, De unione §28, L 296.

Gregory the Great, bishop of Neocaesarea, the Wonderworker, in the discourse which begins, “Most alien and most inimical to the apostolic confession are those who say that the Son is from things non-existent,” says:

“The Father is the Lord’s causative principle, eternally begetting him, and the Lord is the prototype of the Spirit.”
Ps.-Gregory Thaumaturgus (= Apollinarius of Laodicea), Ἡ κατὰ μέρος πίστις (Detailed Confession of the Faith), §26, in H. Lietzmann, Apollinaris von Laodicea und seine Schule (Tübingen, 1904), p. 176; PG 10, 1116B.

(Basil the Great, [458] in Against Eunomius, book four, says that the Father is the “begetter and prototype of the Son.”)
[Not found.]

St. Cyril in one of the chapters of book two of his Thesaurus:

“The Spirit is entirely proper to the substance of the Son, and does not exist from outside this.”
Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus 34, PG 75, 609 A-B.

In another chapter, again:

“Therefore, when Christ lays down the law, he lays it down that his Spirit naturally exists in him and from him.”
Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus 34, PG 75, 600D.

And again, in another:

“It is necessary therefore to confess that he exists from the substance of God the Son’s, possessing all of his power and operation.”
Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus 33, PG 75, 573C.

And again, in another:

“For as he exists from the substance of the one who supplies him to the saints, that is, from Christ’s substance ….”
Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus 33, PG 75, 569C.

And again, in another:

“Thus, Paul knows no difference of nature between the Son and the Holy Spirit, but because the Spirit exists from him and in him by nature, he calls him by the name of lordship.”
Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus 34, PG 75, 576B.

And again, in another:

“It is necessary to confess [459] the Spirit to exist from the substance of the Son.”
Perhaps: Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus 33, PG 75, 573 C. Not an exact match. (Cf. De unione 28, L 296.)

And again, in another:

“Therefore the Spirit is from the substance of the Son.”
Cyril of Alexandria, Thesaurus 34, PG 75, 588A.

In his Commentary on the Gospel of John, on the statement, “and the Word was God,” Cyril says:

“Not less than [the Father], therefore, is he who possesses the same operation as the perfect Father, and who has the Spirit of him who begat him, living and hypostatic, just as the Father does, as a good of his own proper nature.”
[Cyril of Alexandria, Comm. in Joan., vol. 1, p. 38.]

The same father, in his Commentary on the Gospel of John, on the statement, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Comforter” (Jn 14:16), says:

“For the Son, existing substantially as a partaker of the natural good things of God the Father, possesses the Spirit after that very manner according to which the Father also is understood to possess him, [460] neither accidentally nor from without: for it would be silly, or rather crazy, to think otherwise. But just as each of us also contains in himself his own proper spirit or breath, and sheds it forth outwards from his innermost vital parts: for this very reason Christ also breathed the Spirit upon the disciples, showing that, just as the breath comes forth from the human mouth in a bodily way, so also there is shed forth from the divine substance, in a God-befitting way, that which is from it.”
[Cyril of Alexandria, Comm. in Joan., vol. 2, p. 468.]

The same father, in his Dialogues with Hermias, book six, says:

“Moreover, how does the Son abide in us through the Spirit? Why does what is superior by nature produce through himself participation in what is inferior? And if, by receiving the Spirit, we are made participants of the divine nature, why does the Son take second place to the Spirit? Or why [461] is his Spirit his superior, and not rather just like him and from him, possessing all his energy, and producing participation in him?”
Cyril of Alexandria, De SS. Trinitate dialogus vi, Aubert, ed., p. 598C-D = SC 246 (de Durand, ed.), p. 44 = PG 75, 1020 D.

Metaphrastes, on the martyrdom of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, says, right at the start of the sermon:

“The things of faith of old were in types and riddles, and the radiance of truth was covered up by a shadowing cloud. But when the great mystery of our salvation was taken in hand, and he who had fashioned the hearts of each one of us had, by the compassion of his own kindness towards us, become sinlessly as we are, he became subject also to all those things that pertain to human weakness, and finally was condemned to the death of a cross, so that I might enjoy my original nobility. And, not to speak of all things individually — for, in between, there are many mysteries of his economy — the things of his bodily sojourning receive an end, [462] the things of the Spirit have their beginning, and my Christ is carried up to heaven, and returns to the paternal throne, and for the guidance of the unbelieving nations he sends down upon his disciples the Spirit who proceeds from him [or: his proceeding Spirit].”
Symeon Metaphrastes, Vita et conversatio sancti Dionysii Areopagitæ, PG 115, 1032B. [My thanks to Mr. Will Huysman for supplying this reference.]

Theodore the presbyter of Raïthu, teaching concerning the right doctrines of our true faith, says:

“When we took the property of his body as an example, by the proportion and comparison of his members we represented the mutual conjunction of the divine hypostases. For by this conjunction the Holy Spirit is also called ‘the Spirit of his (that is, God’s) mouth,’ the ‘mouth’ being the Only-begotten. And the Spirit, again, proceeds and is sent from him, not only from the Father, but also from the Son.”
[Not found.]

And a little after this:

“And in fact [463] the Lord showed that he exists from him, when, breathing upon his disciples, he said: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
[Not found.]

St. Athanasius in his Confession of Faith says:

“The Holy Spirit is from the Father and from the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.”
Ps.-Athanasius, Symbolum «Quicumque vult», PG 28, 1584A.

St. Epiphanius in his work titled Ancoratus says:

“The Spirit is incomprehensible, not foreign to the Father and the Son, nor a coalescence of Father and Son.”
Epiphanius, Ancoratus 6, PG 43, 28A.

A little after this:

“The Holy Spirit is not a Co-Brother, nor a Father-Brother, but from the same substance of the Father and the Son. For, again, the Only-begotten says: ‘The Spirit of the Father, who also proceeds from the Father, will also receive from what is mine’ (John 15: 26, 16: 14) — so that he should not be thought foreign to the Father, nor to the Son.”
First sentence: Epiphanius, Ancoratus 7, PG 43, 29A; second sentence: Ancoratus 8, PG 43, 29B.

And a little afterwards:

“He is from the Father and the Son, being third in denomination.”
Epiphanius, Ancoratus 8, PG 43, 29C.

And a great deal after this:

“Both of these make their dwelling in the just man, [464] Christ and his Spirit. And if Christ is believed to be from the Father, God from God, and the Spirit to be from Christ, or indeed from both, as Christ says, ‘Who proceedeth from the Father,’ and, ‘He shall receive of mine’…” (John 15: 26, 16: 14).
First sentence: Epiphanius, Ancoratus 66; rest of citation, Ancoratus 67. Whole citation found at PG 43, 137A-B. Also at Ancoratus 7, PG 43, 28A.

And a little after this:

“But someone will say, ‘Therefore we are saying that there are two Sons. And how then is he the Only-begotten?’ Well then. ‘Who art thou that repliest against God?’ (Rom 9: 20). For if he calls the one who is from him the Son, and the one who is from both the Holy Spirit, which things we understand by faith alone, from the saints — full of light, givers of light, they have their operation full of light….”
Epiphanius, Ancoratus 71, PG 43, 148B.

And a little after this:

“The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is a third light from the Father and the Son.”
Epiphanius, Ancoratus 71, PG 43, 148B.

And a little after:

“For just as ‘No one knows the Father except the Son, nor the Son except the Father,’ so I dare to say that no one knows the Spirit except the Father and the Son, that is, the one from whom he proceeds and the one from whom he receives, and that no one knows [465] the Son and the Father except the Holy Spirit, he who truly glorifies, who teaches all things, who is from the Father and the Son.”
Epiphanius, Ancoratus 73, PG 43, 153A.

And a bit further on:

“Therefore the Father always existed, and the Son always existed, and the Spirit breathes from the Father and the Son.”
A conflation of Epiphanius, Ancoratus 75, PG 43, 157A, with Ancoratus 73, PG 43, 153B. See note on De unione, §28, L 300.

THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT PROCEEDS THROUGH THE SON.

Athanasius the Great, in the oration that has been given the title “Refutation of the hypocrisy of the followers of Meletius and Eusebius,” which begins, “Man was made according to the likeness of God,” says:

“It would be impossible for the Spirit to be glorified with the glory of the Trinity if he were not, in a processing way, from the Father through the Son, but rather came to be from God in a created way, as they claim.”
[Not found.]

The same father, in the disputation he has published between an Orthodox and a follower of Macedonius, says:

“If then the Spirit, who is shed forth from the Father himself through the Son, has been shown to be of the same nature and Godhead as the Son and the Father, [466] it will have been proven that he is to be both venerated and worshipped.”
[Not found.]

Gregory the Wonderworker, in the discourse which begins, “Most alien and most inimical to the apostolic confession are those who say that the Son is from things non-existent,” says:

“The Father is unbegotten, the Son in begotten from the Father, the Spirit is eternally sent out from the substance of the Father through the Son.”
Ps.-Gregory Thaumaturgus (= Apollinarius of Laodicea), Ἡ κατὰ μέρος πίστις (Detailed Confession of the Faith), §33, in H. Lietzmann, Apollinaris von Laodicea und seine Schule (Tübingen, 1904), p. 180; PG 10, 1117C.

Basil the Great, in one of his chapters titled “Why the Spirit is not also a Son of the Son,” says:

“This does not mean that the Spirit is not from the Father through the Son, but it is so that the Trinity should not be considered an endless multiplicity, Sons from Sons, as might be supposed to hold true in human things.”
Ps.-Basil of Caesarea (= ?Didymus the Blind), Adv. Eunomium V, PG 29B, 732C.

And a little after this:

“For this reason the Apostle clearly preached that the Holy Spirit is from God, when he said, ‘We have received the Spirit which is from God’ (1 Cor 2: 12), and [467] he has made clear his having been manifested through the Son, when he calls him ‘the Spirit of the Son’ (just as he is Spirit ‘of God’), and names him ‘the mind of Christ’ (1 Cor 2: 16), according as he is God’s Spirit, as though that of a man.”
Ps.-Basil of Caesarea (= ?Didymus the Blind), Adv. Eunomium V, PG 29B, 733 A-B.

And a little after this:

“And one, again, is the Spirit, who is truly holy, who also is named ‘the Spirit of his mouth.’”
Ps.-Basil of Caesarea (= ?Didymus the Blind), Adv. Eunomium V, PG 29B, 733B.

The same father, in the chapter titled, “If someone says the Spirit is not from God, neither then is the Son,” says:

“How then are the indivisible things to be divided, the Word from God, and the Spirit from God through the Son?”
Ps.-Basil of Caesarea (= ?Didymus the Blind), Adv. Eunomium V, PG 29B, 737B.

Gregory of Nyssa, in the first of his antirrhetics Against Eunomius, which begins, “It was not, it appears, from a desire to help everyone …,” says:

“The Spirit is joined to the Father by his uncreatedness; he is disjoined from him again by not being ‘Father.’ United to the Son by [468] the bond of uncreatedness and of deriving his existence from the God of all, he is parted again from him by the characteristic of not being the Only-begotten of the Father, and of having been manifested by means of the Son himself. Again, as the creation was effected by the Only-begotten, in order to secure that the Spirit should not be considered to have something in common with this creation because of his having been manifested by means of the Son, he is distinguished from it by his unchangeableness, and independence of all external goodness.”
Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunomium I (GNO I, 108 f., sect. 280); PG 45, 336 C-D; tr. NPNF ii.5, p. 61.

And quite a ways after this, in the same book:

“From the Ungenerate sun we perceive another sun, the Son, blazing forth as an offspring and simultaneously with our conception of the first, and in every way like him, in beauty, in power, in lustre, in size, in brilliance, in all things at once that we observe in the sun. Then again, we see another such Light after the same fashion, sundered [469] by no interval of time from that offspring Light, and while shining forth by means of it yet tracing the cause of its hypostasis to the Primal Light; itself, nevertheless, a Light shining in like manner as the one first conceived of, and itself a source of light and doing all that light does.”
Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunomium I (GNO, I, 180, sect. 533); PG 45, 416 B-C; tr. NPNF ii.5, pp. 84 f.; translation slightly modified.

Gregory the Theologian, in the poem in which he sets to heroic verse his Precepts to Virgins, says:

“Be merciful, be merciful to us, Most-Pure Trinity, who come together into unity
Out of One, who give today a share of light to those
With eyes made bright, much brighter, though, hereafter, to whom you have revealed
One God, from Begetter through the Son to the mighty Spirit,
A perfect Godhead coming to rest in those who are perfect.”

Gregory of Nazianzus, carm. 1.2.2, Praecepta ad virgines, lines 685-689; PG 37, 632A.

[470] The paraphrase goes like this: “Be propitious to us, O pure Trinity, which come together in one out of one, and which see today with bright eyes, but, in the end, yet brighter for those upon whom you have shined, one God, from the Father through the Son to the great Spirit, perfect divinity standing in those who are perfect.”

Damascene in the thirteenth of his theological chapters, which begins, “The divine is incomprehensible,” says concerning the Father:

“He is, then, Mind, the abyss of the Word, the begetter of the Word, and, through the Word, the producer of the revealing Spirit.”
John of Damascus, De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. I, PG 94, 848D.

In the same chapter, he says:

“The Holy Spirit is the revealing power of the Godhead of the Father, proceeding from the Father through the Son.”
John of Damascus, De Fide Orthodoxa, lib. I, PG 94, 849A.

St. Cyril, in his Dialogues with Hermias, book two, says:

“You will title ‘Holy Spirit’ the one who is [471] naturally shed forth from God the Father through the Son, and who, by the type of a breath that goes out of a mouth, indicates to us his own proper existence. And when, in this way, you preserve the property of the three hypostases clear and unconfused in their own proper existences, you will worship the one, consubstantial nature, sovereign over all things.”
Cyril of Alexandria, De SS. Trinitate dialogus ii, Aubert, ed., p. 423 = de Durand, ed., Dialogues sur la Trinité (SC 231), pp. 238-240 = PG 75, 721D – 724A.

The great Gregory the Theologian in his antirrhetic oration On the Holy Spirit, says, as though in opposition:

“What then is it, he says, that is lacking to the Spirit to prevent him from being a Son? For if there were not something lacking, he would be a Son.”

And he replies:

“We say there is nothing lacking: for God has no lack. But the difference of manifestation, so to speak, or of relation with each other, has produced also the difference of their names.”
Gregory of Nazianzus, or. 31.9, PG 36, 141C.

[472] Gregory of Nyssa, in his work To Ablabius, which begins, “It is just that you who are at the height of fitness should carry on the struggle with all your might,” says:

“While we confess the invariable character of the nature, we do not deny the difference in respect of cause, and that which is caused, by which alone we apprehend that one Person is distinguished from another; — by our belief, that is, that one is the Cause, and another is of the Cause; and again in that which is of the Cause we recognize another distinction. For one is directly from the first Cause, and another through that which is directly from the first Cause; so that the attribute of being Only-begotten abides without doubt in the Son, and the mediation of the Son, while it guards his attribute of being Only-begotten, does not shut out the Spirit from his relation by way of nature to the Father.”
Gregory of Nyssa, Ad Ablabium: Quod non sint tres Dii; GNO III/1, 55f.; PG 45, 133B-C; tr. NPNF ii.5, p. 336.

[473] The same father in his discourse On the Holy Spirit against the followers of Macedonius says:

“Where in each case activity in working good shows no diminution or variation whatever, how unreasonable it is to suppose the numerical order to be a sign of any diminution, or any variation with respect to nature. It is as if a man were to see a divided flame burning on three torches (and we will suppose that the cause of the third light is the first flame, kindling the end torch by transmission through the middle one), and were to maintain that the heat in the first exceeded that of the others; that that next it showed a variation from it in the direction of the less; and that the third could not be called fire at all, though it burnt and shone just like fire, and did everything that fire does.”
Gregory of Nyssa, Adv. Macedonianos de Spiritu sancto, 6; PG 45, 1308 A-B; GNO vol. 3/1. p. 93. Translation at NPNF ii.5, p. 317, with important revision.

St. Maximus, in the passage in which he expounds what in fact is meant by the golden lampstand and the candle [474] and lights thereon in the prophet Zechariah (Zech. ch. 4), says:

“For just as the Holy Spirit exists as the Father’s by nature, according to substance, so also, according to substance, is he the Son’s, in that, in an ineffable way, he proceeds from the Father substantially through the Son who is begotten.”
Maximus the Confessor, Quaestio LXIII ad Thalassium, PG 90, 672C.

The divine Tarasius in his letter to the bishops and priests of Antioch, Alexandria, and the Holy City, which begins, “The Lord God regulates and prolongs men’s lives through many great acts of providence,” after many other matters says:

“And in the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father through the Son, and who is acknowledged to be himself God.”
[Mansi XII, 1121D.]

Athanasius the Great, in his Letter to Serapion on the Holy Spirit, which begins, “Perhaps you will marvel [475] why, when I have been enjoined …,” says:

“For the Spirit is not outside the Word, but, being in the Word, he is in God through him.”
Athanasius, Epistola iii ad Serapionem, PG 26, 633A.

And a little after this:

“But, given that the Spirit is in the Word, it is clear that the Spirit is also in God through the Word.”
Athanasius, Epistola iii ad Serapionem, PG 26, 633B-C.

Gregory of Nyssa in the first of his antirrhetics Against Eunomius, which begins, “It was not, it appears, from a desire to help everyone,” says:

“The Father, on the one hand, is conceived to be without beginning, unbegotten, and eternal. With the Father is conceived simultaneously the Only-begotten Son, who is from him uninterruptedly, as one adjacent. And, again, through him and with him, before any possible interposition of some empty, non-subsistent idea, the Holy Spirit, too, is immediately understood in a connected way; not coming short of the Son in [476] respect of existence, so that, e.g., the Only-begotten might ever be thought without the Spirit; but, on the one hand, being from the God of all, and having as the cause of his being that from which also the Only-begotten Light is; and, on the other hand, shining out through the true Light; neither by any interval nor by a difference of nature is he divided from the Father or the Only-begotten.”
Gregory of Nyssa, Contra Eunomium, lib. I, ch. 1, sec. 378; PG 45, 369A.

THE FOLLOWING PATRISTIC TESTIMONIES HAVE BEEN COLLECTED TO SUPPORT THE EQUAL FORCE OF THE PREPOSITIONS “THROUGH” AND “FROM.”

Basil the Great, in the compendious fifth chapter of his book concerning the All-Holy Spirit to the blessed Amphilochius, a chapter which bears a title somewhat like this and which begins, “So much about these matters; but what we proposed beforehand we shall now go on to show …,” says:

“Whenever one of the terms ‘through’ and ‘from’ takes the meaning of the other, [477] we find them frequently transferred from the one subject to the other. As, for instance, Adam says, ‘I have gotten a man through God,’ meaning to say the same as from God; and in another passage, ‘all those things which Moses commanded Israel through the precept of the Lord.’ And again, ‘Is not the interpretation through God?’ Instead of saying from God, he said through God.”
Basil of Caesarea, De Spiritu Sancto, 5.12; PG 32, 85 A-B.

St. Cyril in his Dialogues with Hermias, book five, says:

“These people strive on behalf of their own doctrines, and attempt to persuade others that the Father is lifegiving in a superior way than the Son, and that the Son, even though he is life by nature, is inferior to him; but they will not be able to do this.”
Cyril of Alexandria, De SS. Trinitate dialogus v, Aubert, ed., p. 561D = de Durand, ed.,  Dialogues sur la Trinité (SC 237), p. 310 = PG 75, 957B.

And a little after this:

“Then they think that they are honoring the Father when they grieve the Son by reckoning him less, him who has shone from the Father by nature, even though he clearly says, ‘he who believes in me, believes [478] not in me, but in him who sent me,’ and ‘he who sees me, sees him who sent me.’ For in what manner might we perceive him who is Life and Son by nature? How else than by believing in him who said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’? And although he also speaks of himself as ‘the Life,’ singly and with the definite article, it is not as though he would exclude God the Father from being Life, if in fact we will grant that both of them are of a single nature, and that the thing comes to us equally through both of them, and not as though it were from two, but as from the one God who gives life to all things.”
Cyril of Alexandria, De SS. Trinitate dialogus v, Aubert, ed., p. 561E – 562A = de Durand, ed.,  Dialogues sur la Trinité (SC 237), pp. 310-312 = PG 75, 957 B-C.

The same father, Dialogues with Hermias, book six:

“For whatever may be done by the Father, that very thing is by all means the activity of the Son; and whatever may be said to be brought to a conclusion through the Son, that very thing is by all means the accomplishment of the Father; for all things are equally through both.”
Cyril of Alexandria, De SS. Trinitate dialogus vi, Aubert, ed., p. 606E = de Durand, ed.,  Dialogues sur la Trinité (SC 246), p. 68 = PG 75, 1033D.

St. Cyril in one of his letters to Nestorius, which begins, “Certain people, as I understand, [479] are speaking nonsense about my opinion of your Reverence,” says:

“But perhaps, Nestorius, you will say this: ‘Tell me, did the Virgin become the mother of the Godhead?’ And to this we say that, as we acknowledge, he who is the Father’s living and hypostatic Word has been born from God the Father’s very substance; but in the last times of [this] age, since he became flesh, that is, was united to flesh possessing the rational soul, he is said also to have been born in a fleshly manner through a woman.”
[The incipit belongs to Cyril’s Second Letter to Nestorius, but the cited passage is not found there. Text of Cyril’s Second Letter to Nestorius in Lionel R. Wickham, ed., Cyril of Alexandria: Select Letters (Oxford 1983), pp. 2-11.]

And a little after this:

“Since, after he took on flesh, he has borne the name also of ‘Son of man,’ it is necessary to confess that he has been born, according to the flesh, through a woman.”
[Not found.]

And again, shortly after this:

“The Word of God the Father is from the holy Virgin.”
[Not found.]

And again, a little after this:

“He has been born from a woman, after our manner.”
[Not found.]

And three or four clauses after this he says:

“The Word from God the Father, [480] who exists in the form of him who begat him, dwelt in a man born through a virgin.”
[Not found.]

And a little later:

“But perhaps someone may say, what is the difference between Christ and Moses, if both of them were born through a woman?”
[Not found.]

But a short ways after this he says:

“He was, then, the Word, in his own body that was from a woman, and, at the proper time, he gave this body over to death.”
[Not found.]

The same St. Cyril, from his address to the most religious emperor Theodosius, which begins, “The highest renown among men,” says:

“The Word from God the Father was manifested in the flesh; for he was born through the holy Virgin Theotokos, having taken on the form of a servant.”
Cyril of Alexandria, De Incarnatione Unigeniti dialogus, Pusey ed., p. 20 (= Aubert, p. 680). Actually, a combining of three passages, found in fairly close proximity: PG 75, 1193C 7; 1196A 10-11; 1196B 9-10.

And a little later:

“That which some people think, that the Word sprung from God [481] rejected the birth through the holy Virgin, is an opinion characteristic only of those who denigrate the divine economy.”
Cyril of Alexandria, De Incarnatione Unigeniti dialogus, PG 75, 1197 C-D.

And much later in the same work:

“Do we not say that Emmanuel was brought forth from a woman? Or how has he returned to the place from which he says he was (cf. John 6:62), even though that body which is united to him was formed through the holy Virgin?”
Cyril of Alexandria, De Incarnatione Unigeniti dialogus, PG 75, 1244 B-C.

Athanasius the Great in his first Discourse against the Arians, which begins, “Of all other heresies which have departed from the truth it is acknowledged that they have but devised a madness,” says:

“When then the man comes to that age at which nature supplies the power, immediately, with nature unrestrained, he becomes father of the son through himself.”
Athanasius of Alexandria, Oratio i contra Arianos 26, PG 68A. Note that the text in Migne has τοῦ ἐξ ἑαυτοῦ υἱοῦ rather than Bekkos’ τοῦ δι᾽ αὐτοῦ υἱοῦ.

St. Cyril on the words of John’s Gospel, “All things were made by him,” says:

“But if they deem [482] that the word, through Whom, said of the Son, can bring down His Essence from Equality and Natural likeness to the Father, so as to be minister rather than Creator, let those insane consider and come forward and make answer, what we are to conceive of the Father Himself also, and Whom we are to suppose Him too to be, seeing that He clearly receives the words through Whom in the Divine Scripture: for God, says he, is faithful, through Whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son, and Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God: and again Paul writeth to some, Wherefore thou art no more a servant but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. All these then have reference to the Person of God the Father, and no one I suppose will rush to that extreme of madness (except perchance he hold with the above mentioned), as to say that the name and fact of service, is reasonably predicated of the very glory [483] of the Father, because the word through Whom is applied to Him too. For the Divine Scripture is sometimes indifferent in regard to its words, in no wise wronging the subject thereby, but applying to the things signified in a less proper sense both the words themselves and those whereby it deems that they are well explained.”
Cyril of Alexandria, In s. Joannem, lib. I, cap. V, Pusey, ed., vol. 1, p. 72, lines 9-30; PG 73, 85 A-C.

The same father in his first book To Palladius says:

“The Spirit is assuredly in no way changeable; or, if some people think him to be so infirm as to change, the disgrace will then be traced to the divine nature itself, if in fact the Spirit is from God the Father and, for that matter, from the Son, being poured forth substantially from both, that is to say, from the Father through the Son.”
Cyril of Alexandria, De Adoratione et Cultu in Spiritu et Veritate, lib. I, PG 68, 148A.

Damascene, in his hymnody, says in one place:

“You gave birth to God, O pure Mother, who took flesh from you, all-hymned one, in a God-befitting manner.”
[Not found.]

In another place:

“Through you, O Virgin Mother, light has dawned, illuminating the whole inhabited world.”
[Not found.]

And again:

“From you he clothed himself in my mortal clay.”
[Not found.]

5 Responses to “Bekkos: Epigraph I”


  1. Dear Dr. Gilbert,
    Greetings in the Lord! Keep up the excellent work and translations; may the Lord bless you for your dedication and significant scholarly contribution to the cause of Christian unity.

    Bekkos’s quote from St. Symeon Metaphrastes (11/28) is indeed in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca; you can find the Greek in Volume 115, Column 1032B in St. Symeon’s entry for St. Dionysios the Areopagite for the day of October 9.

    God bless you and yours,
    Will R. Huysman

  2. bekkos Says:

    Dear Mr. Huysman,

    By gosh, you’re right. Thanks ever so much for the reference! I will add it to the document, with an acknowledgment.

    I apologize for neglecting this blog for some time; the article for Communio required more revising than was anticipated, and, in truth, I have my doubts whether I want to wander back into the very complex labyrinth of the question on divine simplicity just now. Wishing you and all readers of this blog a joyous feast of the Transfiguration!

    Peter

  3. Marlo Says:

    Dear Dr. Gilbert,

    Why dont you place a donation page on your website, I’m sure many people will help for you to be able to complete this scholarly work. You can also place ads that will help you financially

    thanks
    marlo

  4. bekkos Says:

    Dear Marlo,

    Thanks for the very sensible advice. I do not put ads on the blog because I find them ugly and distracting, and because they increase the time it takes to open the page (I still use dial-up). I do not ask people for donations, partly out of irrational pride, but partly out of a sense that, if I did solicit contributions, it would change the completely amateur nature of this blog and would oblige me to write what I thought my contributors wanted to hear. There are enough constraints already affecting what I am and am not willing to say on theological and political matters; I do not want monetary obligation to add to them.

    Peter

  5. Galo Says:

    Dear Bekkos:

    My name is Galo, I’m 16-years-old, and I live in Perú. I study the Byzantine Empire since I was 10, and especially the period from the Death of Alexios Komnenos (1118) to the fall of Constantinople (1453). Your work is really magnificent, worthy of praise, congratulations!!! I would like to ask you where did you buy the “Georges et Demetrios Tornikes: Lettres et discours” by Jean Darrouzes, and also the Regestes where Bekkos sayings appear by V. Laurent. I would appreciate your answer to my e-mail please.

    All best wishes,

    Galo.


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