Sententia synodalis

January 29, 2010

Below is presented a translation of a formal declaration made by a synod held in Constantinople on Friday, May 3rd, 1280 under the presidency of Patriarch John Bekkos. The synod dealt with the case of the referendarius Michael Eskammatismenos, who had erased the word ἐκ (“from”) from a theologically-significant passage of St. Gregory of Nyssa’s On the Lord’s Prayer, found in an ancient manuscript belonging to his brother-in-law, Penteclesiotes (a modern, critical text of the passage is found in J. Callahan, ed., Gregorii Nysseni de oratione dominica; de beatitudinibus [Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1992], pp. 42-43). Penteclesiotes’ manuscript originally read as follows: “Now the Spirit both is said to be from the Father, and is further testified to be from the Son” (Τὸ δὲ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς λέγεται, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Υἱοῦ εἶναι προσμαρτυρεῖται). By erasing the second ἐκ, Eskammatismenos changed the sense of this to, “Now the Spirit both is said to be from the Father, and is further testified to be of the Son” (or, “to belong to the Son”). When Eskammatismenos later confessed to the erasure, it presented a dilemma to John Bekkos, who reasoned that, if the word were written back into the manuscript, the obvious difference in handwriting would raise suspicions as to the word’s genuineness. The synod decided to leave the passage as it stood, that is, lacking the second ἐκ, but to place the synodal act in the book as an annotation, declaring to future readers what had happened there to the text.

Many readers of St. Gregory of Nyssa’s sermon have doubted that the second ἐκ, the reading favored by Bekkos, was in fact what Gregory of Nyssa wrote. The general editor of Nyssa’s works, Werner Jaeger, devoted much attention to the subject, and concluded that the word doesn’t belong there. John Callahan, who produced the GNO edition of the work (Gregorii Nysseni Opera, VII/2), agrees with Jaeger that the word is probably not what Gregory of Nyssa wrote, but stresses that that is not a conclusion one would reach on palaeographical grounds alone. Comparing the Greek manuscripts with an early Syriac version of the text, Callahan sees the word ἐκ as already present in the earliest witnesses to the textual tradition; it was certainly there, in some manuscripts, before the eighth century, that is to say, well before the major conflicts between the Greek and Latin Churches over the Holy Spirit’s procession. Callahan writes:

“…regarding the text tradition itself, we must conclude that the ἐκ belongs in the text as far as we can be guided by strictly palaeographical evidence. But, in the second place, it is very difficult to justify its presence in the text from the standpoint of Gregory’s own line of argumentation, as Jaeger has indicated.” (Callahan, op. cit., p. xii.)

In his own edition of the work, Callahan retains the word, but places it within brackets to stress that he finds its presence in the text dubious.

One may note that Eskammatismenos later went back on his support for union; he was one of the signatories to the Tome that condemned John Bekkos in 1285; later, Gregory of Cyprus made him his chartophylax, that is, his archivist and secretary, although, apparently, he ultimately turned on him, too.

I have translated the following synodal act from the Greek text edited by Leo Allatius in the seventeenth century and reprinted by J.-P. Migne, Patrologia graeca 141, 281-290, and H. Laemmer, Scriptorum graeciae orthodoxae bibliotheca selecta I (Fribourg 1864), pp. 411-422.

Annotation by the synod

On the third day in the month of May, the sixth day of the week, [i.e., Friday], the eighth indiction [1280], with his All-Holiness, our most-holy master, Lord John, Patriarch of Constantinople, New Rome, presiding in his rooms adjacent to the church of St. Theophylact, and, meeting in synod with him, the most reverend high priests: the most honorable Nicholas of Chalcedon, the most honorable Meletios of Athens, the most honorable Nicander of Larissa, the most honorable Leo of Serrai, together with Theodore of Cherson, Theodore of Sougdaia, Nicholas of Proeconesus, and Leo of Berrhoea, as well as the imperial magistrates, most beloved of God, who were also present:

1. Even the tiniest of hairs, if it should fall into the eye, produces both a darkening of the eye itself and considerable damage to the rest of the body. For if the eye is the light of the body, when it is in a bad state it follows of simple necessity that the whole body must be in conformity with its bad condition, and, as the body’s light has been quenched, there must be an obscuring of its ability to direct its own steps, which it derived from that light. And in the same manner, if by chance Holy Scripture should be damaged, and should suffer either addition or subtraction even to one tittle (cf. Mt 5:18), no slight damage would accrue to the whole body of the Church. In fact, what else is reckoned to serve the order and function of the eyes in that Body whose head is Christ if not the writings of the holy fathers, which have gained, from that head, principles of [spiritual] vision, and which illuminate the way for those who encounter them? What then ought to be done in the case of the bodily eye, and what is to be understood in the case of this spiritual eye of which it is said that no one who lacks rightness in respect of it shall see the Lord (cf. Heb 12:14; Mt 5:8)? Undoubtedly, just as it is the custom of those who are skilled in such matters to cleanse that physical eye and restore it to its function of benefiting the whole constitution of the body, so also it is fitting to make sure, as far as possible, that whenever there may appear a mote or, more seriously, a very beam in this other eye, it should be taken away with a view to doctrinal propriety and authenticity, so that, this eye being again healthy and restored to its former state, the light may shine and darkness may be banished. And to whom else is such a business a matter of concern if not to us who, by the mercy of the God of the fathers, have been accorded administration over such matters and over all the other written and paternal traditions that have been passed down, so that we may be shown to be genuine sons who grieve when we see the fatherly testaments falsified, or rather when we see the injustice done to ourselves in respect of that truly great and ever-abiding inheritance which, from the fathers, we possess — and so much the more when, in these texts, we see the blessing of peace shining forth and the reconciliation of the Churches confirmed? And perhaps such injustice occurs exactly to the extent that these texts become corrupted. For there are many incidental consequences when people mangle the truth and alter texts to suit their purposes; as a result, not only is their sinning with regard to the truth left uncorrected for them, but it is even thought to be supported out of the divine writings. And if the one who is wronged is the light of the church of Nyssa, and the book which suffers falsification is old and reliable, how much anguish of soul does this cause to those who have been betrayed even as touching their own souls, since, for the sake of the peace of the Church, they would wish that no one should have had to face a stumbling-stone. And, again, how vital is it that this issue should be addressed, and how solicitous ought we to be that the truth may find open expression, and, in the future, may be completely secure in all respects. And how fitting it is that we should devote our energies to matters of this kind and, to our ability, bring them to a just conclusion. In what way, then, the matter unfolded, and what sort of origins it had, will be most clearly shown in the following sections of this report.

2. When with God’s help the ecclesiastical peace had now already been consummated, and the perennial scandal had been put aside by the grace of the Spirit (for it had to be that, at some point, such dark raving madness would be nullified, and the light of concord would again shine, and the God of peace would triumph in a great plenitude of victory), it was our own task to contribute to this peace to the extent of our abilities, and to support it out of the sacred Writings, as was proper, so that we should not be accused of speaking out of our own belly (cf. Isaiah 8:19 LXX), but out of rivers divinely struck, and from bellies that have been filled with living water (cf. Exod 17:6-7; John 7:38). Thus it was that, receiving into the hearing of the ear now this text and now that one, then again yet another, and, simply put, all of them, we were, by God’s mercy, while going through these one by one, granted a fair voyage towards the peace that has been consummated, and were pointing out to others the way. And if in some way there remained some scandal for these others, by reason of a commendable fear, we had no trouble in holding such people as lacking faith, and as bearing no serious opposition to us and to those who supported our position. But (O the envy and the cunning wiles of Satan!) even some of our own people took a stand with the opposing side, and, as they took it to be a good thing, and something glorious, if they should wage war against the peace, they separated themselves from our Church and became a sect unto themselves. It is true that, burdened at all times by the weight of those Holy Writings that make for peace, they were at some point going to come forward and put aside obstinacy and enmity, and would cherish peace with us and be joined to the whole body of the Church; that, in fact, took place later. But, at that time, as long as their obstinacy still held sway, and they set their own preferences before the wealth of truth, what else was left for them to do when faced with texts of this kind except to act as occasion presented itself to them? For these men were versatile in speech and understanding, able to reconstrue some texts, interpreting them in another sense, as though they accorded with their own position, while other texts they claimed were inauthentic; and again, in the case of some texts, although they admitted that they were written by the fathers (which was the sole point about them that they got right), they would bring forth the excuse — a miserable excuse indeed and wholly unworthy of the fathers’ purposes — that, since the fathers produced these writings in opposition to the arguments that were being circulated back then by the heretics, there exist places where the fathers fell short of what is fitting; although it fails to register with the people who make this claim that it is in no way to God’s glory and to the upholding of the truth when arguments are compounded of falsehoods and of things unworthy of the Spirit. But, as we were saying, these aforesaid men, being at that time entirely given over to their own will, acted cunningly against their own best interests, and were fearless in producing arguments that only aggravated their lack of what is beneficial, while the many and various things they spoke were all directed towards the same end, the impugning of peace and a warring against the truth of the Scriptures; so many were the ways in which they labored to procure their own ruin. But all these things were tolerable to us, that is to say, to the Truth, so long as the Scriptures were preserved whole and they merely gave them such false interpretations as they would. But when someone resorts to a piece of iron, and scrapes off writing, one immediately understands that this is done for no other reason than the soul’s mere appetite; and anyone who gives due consideration to this will discern that, since such people had no grounds upon which they could contradict so clear a truth, they decided to expunge it. In what manner this was done, and by whom, and how, our report will now relate.

3. Along with other books belonging to a certain son-in-law of the grand economos Xiphilinos, a man named Penteclesiotes, who, together with his fellow son-in-law, the referendarius of our Church, Eskammatismenos, at that time stood with the opposing party, there was a book that was much revered on account of its antiquity; in it were various divinely-wrought treatises by the great and wonderful father Gregory, the light of the people of Nyssa. One of the works contained in it was his sermon On the Lord’s Prayer, which begins, “When the great Moses had brought the people of Israel to the mystical initiation at the mountain.” At the point in this work where this father had come to speak about matters of theology and to teach concerning what is common and what is particular among the hypostases of the Godhead, he went on to say: “But the Holy Spirit both is said to be from the Father, and is further testified to be from the Son.” So then, when the aforesaid grand economos, Xiphilinos of blessed memory, had gone through this book and had arrived at this passage, after he had borrowed this book of Penteclesiotes’ in order to read it, he concluded by bringing this section of the discourse, and its agreement with the peace, into common awareness. And it became known to everyone, and known to us, too, as well as to the owner of the book, even though he was opposed to our position. And so it was that no little support for peace came about for the fulness of the Church on account of this, by the mercy of God. So when the referendarius, who was brother-in-law to the book’s owner and who shared the same opinions, had seen this text with his own eyes and had no other way of coping with it, since it was obvious, and its reliability was supported by many features of the book, he determined to erase this plain refutation, in his then-opposition to our views, and so he takes a piece of iron and scrapes off the word ἐκ (“from”), failing to take account of the fact that the same reading was given by still other copies of the book, that these likewise contained this text and supported the word ἐκ, and that the uncorrupted reading had escaped destruction.

4. But when at length his self-satisfied obstinacy had abated in him, and he had come to be on the side of peace, and had held communion with us, as many others also did, then did we, in our Mediocrity, frequently take counsel with him about various things. And it so happened that, on a certain occasion, we in our Mediocrity were reminded of the aforesaid book. But the referendarius, as though constrained by some inward pressure, praised the book, and said such things about it as seemed to him appropriate; but in the midst of this, while he was talking about the book, he confessed that, in the place where the text had read “and is further testified to be from the Son,” he had taken a knife and had scraped the word ἐκ (“from”) from the discourse [yielding the reading, “and is further testified to be of the Son”]. I don’t know just why he confessed this, or what cause impelled him. But, however it was, this came entirely from the Truth and from the God of the fathers. What then was to be done under these circumstances? An anxious consideration and a moth eating away at the bones befell us, in our Mediocrity, how it could have happened that this statement was corrupted, that this text, which had greatly contributed to the ecclesiastical peace, had lost its reliability, and how, although it had escaped damage for so long a time during the days when warfare was being waged against the Church of Old Rome, it had just now been debased by a slapdash cutting, so that henceforth neither would the text, left as it stands, give the authentic sense, nor would it still possess reliability and authenticity even if the word were put back in its place again, since people would conclude that the word had been added later on, given the suspicion engendered by the erasure.

5. We therefore, in our Mediocrity, conferred about this matter with our brothers and concelebrants, the most reverend high priests who were found near at hand, and sought to remedy the situation; with them, we considered how the Church’s rightful possession might be preserved for it. And there came about a common counsel and a synodal determination, that the place where the word ἐκ had lay should be left empty — for it would not be safe to write this word back in again, since this would raise suspicions for those who should come later, given the more recent character of the writing — but that notice should be made of the circumstances of the incident, and that there should be, in that place, a common testimony and certification, for the safety of future generations, explaining how the word that was written there had been erased. For thus, with the truth having been indicated in this way, there would not be cause for anyone to become distrustful on account of this passage, and to frame improper arguments against the authenticity of the text.

This thing seemed good to all, and now, this day, it is brought to pass by this present synodal act, while the referendarius confesses again, and makes not the least denial, that the word ἐκ (“from”) was crossed out by him, and he seeks pardon, for he did such a thing during the time when he was divided from us in schism. Whence also the present synodal act, which has come about for the sake of making clear what happened, has been entrusted to our chartophylax, for the security of those who shall come afterwards, and for a help to those who shall encounter the book, who, from this, may learn the pure and unadulterated truth.

17 Responses to “Sententia synodalis”

  1. Francis Says:

    Related and unrelated…

    I was wondering if you were aware of this and if so, if you could shed any light on the matter. I know you are busy so I don’t expect a response. Please excuse the long links:

    First, what lead me to the other documents, this NCR article, which contains, “Fr. Johannes Grohe, an Opus Dei priest who teaches church history at Santa Croce, spoke on the history of church councils. He offered several interesting nuggets, such as the fact that a regional council in Persia in 410 produced one of the earliest insertions of the famed filioque clause into the Creed, specifying that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father “and from the Son.” This council, as Grohe points out, was an Eastern affair, and its adoption of the filioque came out of the rich theological reflection of early Persian Christianity. Hence the notion that the filioque is solely an imposition of the medieval Western Church upon the East, born of later controversies between Rome and Byzantium, is historically dubious.”

    and finally:

  2. Francis Says:

    Thank you for your work here. It is always fascinating and I always hope my Google reader will reveal a new post from you.

  3. bekkos Says:


    Yes, I am aware of the Council of Seleucia of 410, although I have not yet had time to check your links. I will be on the road most of today, and I don’t generally blog on Sundays, but I will try to get back to you about it on Monday. Thanks for reading the blog.


  4. Kiran Says:

    Thank you. Fascinating. This places Augustine in an interesting light. Far from going off on his own neo-Platonic philosophico-theological tangle, he seems to have a lot in common with the Cappadocians… This, coming from me, is pure speculation (though it is a speculation I like because I am fond of Augustine). Would you agree, Dr. Gilbert?

  5. Kiran Says:

    As you have said here before, I notice… Sorry. I should read your previous posts before commenting…

  6. bekkos Says:


    I had a chance this morning to look at the links you provide. The book by William Baum and Dietmar W. Winkler, The Church of the East: A Concise History, looks like an excellent study; too bad it costs over $150.

    My point in providing this translation of the decree of this synod of 1280 was not to assert conclusively that St. Gregory of Nyssa did, or did not, write the word ἐκ in this passage of the De oratione dominica. But those who do claim to know what the fathers taught ought to be prepared to examine all the relevant evidence; the testimony of the synod of 1280 is an important and reliable piece of evidence regarding the history of the text, and it also indicates how tenuous, at times, is our knowledge of what the fathers actually said, when their words, in being passed down through the centuries, have been subject to the occasional ravages of editors like the referendarius Michael Eskammatismenos. (Given this incident, the fact that Gregory of Cyprus later chose Eskammatismenos to be his chartophylax, that is, his patriarchal librarian, with free access to all the documents in the patriarchal archives, is frightening, and it says something about the Cypriot’s deep love of the truth. It would be a bit like hiring Bernie Madoff to be head of the federal reserve.)

    (It need hardly be added that Orthodox zealots were not the only practitioners of textual falsification; on the Catholic side, the most flagrant example was the False Decretals, in which the Emperor Constantine the Great supposedly bestowed temporal sovereignty over the whole West to Pope Sylvester.)

    The acts of the Council of Seleucia-Ctesiphon of 410 give an important piece of evidence regarding what the early Church did and did not think about the Holy Spirit. The question, I think, is how to interpret this evidence. If one interprets it to mean that Augustine was not a complete innovator, that there were people, even in the East, who saw the Holy Spirit as depending ontologically upon the Son, as well as upon the Father, in his origination, then that, I think, is a justifiable inference. If one interprets it to mean that everyone in the East thought this, that this was the common, universal opinion, then I think one is attempting to derive a meaning from this text that it does not bear.

    From the Baum/Winkler book, I learn that the Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon of 410 had, as one of its goals, the bringing of the Church of the East “into harmony with the faith of the West” (Baum/Winkler, p. 16). To that end, “the creed of the Council of Nicaea (325) appears before the synodical canons as adapted for the Persian church” (ibid.). Note which creed is here presented before the Persian Church for its adoption: it is not the Creed of Constantinople of 381, but the Creed of Nicaea of 325. This raises for me the question: to whom did the Persian bishops go to enquire concerning the “faith of the West”? In all likelihood, they did not go to Constantinople; if they had gone there, they would have adopted the Constantinopolitan Creed. And they probably did not go to Antioch, either, where the Constantinopolitan Creed was also probably in use, and where the dominant theological school of thought was already flatly opposed to this language that speaks of the Spirit being “from the Son.” That leaves two main possibilities: the Persians probably enquired either at Rome or at Alexandria. Both at Rome and at Alexandria, the Council of Constantinople of 381 was resented for having elevated the Archbishop of Constantinople to second place within the universal hierarchy. St. Cyril of Alexandria seems not to have known of the Constantinopolitan Creed; he never quotes it. And when the Council of Ephesus (431) prohibits additions being made to the “Nicene Creed,” it means the Creed of Nicaea, not the Creed of Constantinople. So the evidence of the Synod of Seleucia-Ctesiphon suggests at least the following:

    (1) the Persians saw Rome-Alexandria, not Constantinople-Antioch, as authoritative interpreters of “the faith of the West”;
    (2) the Persians may have heard “from the Father and the Son” at Rome or at Alexandria, or they may have added it themselves when they translated the Nicene Creed; at any rate, it was not judged to be in conflict with what they already believed;
    (3) the opinion St. Augustine defended in his writings, that the Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, was not his invention; it was an opinion already widespread in the West, and apparently had support from Syriac-speaking Christians outside the confines of the Roman Empire.

    What relevance this Persian, Syriac creed has to the question of what St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote some thirty years or so earlier, however, is unclear to me. It may be that St. Gregory had heard such language already being used; one finds similar things, for instance, in the Ancoratus of St. Epiphanius, written, I believe, around 370 A.D. The idea that St. Gregory could not have used such language, that such language necessarily signified heresy to him and the other orthodox fathers, would mean that St. Gregory must have held St. Epiphanius to be a heretic, if he in fact had read his work. Or it could be that someone else, later, was familiar with such language, and intentionally or inadvertently added the word when copying St. Gregory of Nyssa’s book. In any case, if Callahan, the editor of the book, is right, the presence of the word in Gregory’s text is very old, older than the controversies that were raised at the time of St. Photius. So far as I can see, the original reading of St. Gregory of Nyssa’s text remains an open question; and I do not see a priori reasons for rejecting the reading defended by John Bekkos and erased by Michael Eskammatismenos.


  7. bekkos Says:


    The foregoing note should serve to answer also your question about Augustine and the Cappadocians. Although I would agree with you that St. Augustine has more in common with the Cappadocians than he is often given credit for, I can’t say that that is established on the basis of this text alone, because, as noted above, I can’t positively state that the reading Bekkos defends is right. But I think that there is a genuine possibility of it being right; if it is, then it would support your point.


  8. Veritas Says:


    Thanks for this post. Very informative and really does make one think about the words that we seem to take for granted when we read or quote the fathers.

    On a side note, I just had a very pleasant conversation with an older Greek couple that own a very delicious Greek restaurant by my home. I told them I was Catholic; they told me they were Orthodox. But there wasn’t much debate (although, I should say, I probably love debate a little more than I should). Just mutual recognition of the greatness of our God.

    In a time where one short stroll around the internet will unearth a countless number of disparaging polemics, it’s more than refreshing to conversate with persons who — no matter their communion — are obviously steeped in their faith.

    Like I said, I love debate. More to the point, I think it’s essential. But, somehow, that essentiality seems to turn to dust when we find ourselves in convicted agreement on so many divine things. I know I’m probably not making much sense; but I often find myself feeling sympathetic to St. Thomas’ situation, when after having a divine experience, he uttered, “All I have written seems as straw.”


  9. bekkos Says:


    I can sympathize with St. Thomas; all that I have written seems like straw most of the time, too, even though I have not yet received a special divine vision to back this up; given that I have not written two theological summas and countless commentaries on Scripture and Aristotle, but only a couple of articles in academic journals, a paperback translation of poems by St. Gregory the Theologian, and this present blog, this perception of writing straw is much more readily understandable in my own case than in that of the Angelic Doctor. But I think I will not yet emulate John Bekkos by referring to myself in public as “Our Mediocrity,” however well-deserved and fitting this self-description might be.

    Debate is good, but there is something to be said for St. Paul’s word of advice: “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations” (Romans 14:1).


  10. bekkos Says:

    Some readers of this text might be interested in comparing this translation with the original Greek. Below, I give the Greek text, which is found both in Migne, PG 141, 281B-289A and in H. Laemmer, Scriptorum Graeciae Orthodoxae bibliotheca selecta (Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 1866), pp. 411-422. Pagination is indicated in the following text in two ways: for Migne, page numbers are given between backslashes (//); for the text in Laemmer, page numbers are given within asterisks (**). (In general, I have kept to the punctuation of the Migne text, but, where readings differ, have followed Laemmer.)


    Μηνὶ Μαίῳ γ´, ἡμέρᾳ ἕκτῃ, ἰνδικτιῶνος ὀγδόης, προκαθημένου τοῦ παναγιωτάτου ἡμῶν δεσπότου, τοῦ πατριάρχου Κωνσταντινουπόλεως νέας ῾Ρώμης κυρίου Ἰωάννου ἐν τοῖς κατὰ τὸν ἅγιον Θεοφύλακτον κελλίοις αὐτοῦ συνεδριαζόντων τῇ μεγάλῃ ἁγιωσύνῃ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἱερωτάτων ἀρχιερέων, τοῦ Χαλκηδόνος, καὶ ὑπερτίμου Νικολάου τοῦ Ἀθηνῶν, καὶ ὑπερτίμου Μελετίου τοῦ Λαρίσσης, καὶ ὑπερτίμου Νικάνδρου τοῦ Σεῤῥῶν, καὶ ὑπερτίμου Λέοντος, τοῦ Χερσῶνος Θεοδώρου, τοῦ Σογδαίας Θεοδώρου, τοῦ Προικονήσου Νικολάου, *412* καὶ τοῦ Βεῤῥοίας Λέοντος, παρισταμένων καὶ θεοφιλεστάτων δεσποτικῶν ἀρχόντων.

    α´. Καὶ θρὶξ ἐμπεσοῦσα τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ τὸ φαυλότατον ἐπισκοτεῖ μὲν καὶ τούτῳ, πολλὴν δὲ καὶ τὴν ζημίαν ἐπιφέρει τῷ λοιπῷ σώματι. Εἰ γὰρ τοῦ σώματος λύχνος ὁ ὀφθαλμός ἐστιν, τούτου διακειμένου κακῶς, πᾶσα πάντως ἀνάγκη, καὶ σύμπαν τὸ σῶμα τῇ καχεξίᾳ ταύτῃ συνδιατίθεσθαι, καὶ ὅσα *413* καὶ λύχνου σβεσθέντος αὐτοῦ, ἀμαυροῦσθαι τὸ παρ᾽ ἐκείνου ποδηγετούμενον. Καὶ θείας ὡσαύτως Γραφῆς κατὰ τὸ τυχὸν κακουργηθείσης, καὶ μέχρι καὶ μιᾶς κεραίας παθούσης τὴν πρόσθεσιν, ἢ τὴν ἀφαίρεσιν, οὐκ ὀλίγη καὶ ἡ λύμη ἐπενεχθείη ἂν τῷ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας ἅπαντι σώματι. Καὶ τί γὰρ ἄλλο τῷ τοιῷδε σώματι, οὗ κεφαλὴ ὁ Χριστός, εἰς ὀφθαλμῶν λογισθείη ἂν τάξιν καὶ χρείαν, ἢ αἱ τῶν ἁγίων Πατέρων γραφαί, ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτῆς τὰς τοῦ ὀπτικοῦ κεκτημέναι ἀρχὰς καὶ φωταγωγοῦσαι τοὺς ἐντυγχάνοντας; Τί γοῦν ποιητέον ἐπὶ τῷ σωματικῷ ὀφθαλμῷ, καὶ τί διανοητέον ἐπὶ τῷ πνευματικῷ τούτῳ, οὗ χωρὶς τῆς ὀρθότητος οὐδεὶς τὸν Κύριον ὄψεται; Πάντως ὥσπερ ἐκεῖνον ἐκκαθαίρειν ἔθος τοῖς περὶ ταῦτα δεινοῖς, καὶ πρὸς τὸ λυσιτελοῦν τῇ /284A/ ὁλομελείᾳ τοῦ σώματος ἀποκαθιστᾷν· οὕτω καὶ τοῦτον ἄξιον καθόσον οἷόν τε περιποιεῖσθαι, καὶ τὸ φαινόμενον μὲν κάρφος, ὑπερβάλλον δὲ καὶ αὐτὴν τὴν δοκόν, ὑπεξαιρεῖσθαι διὰ τὸ τῶν δογμάτων ἀξιοπρεπὲς καὶ ἀνόθευτον, ὡς ἂν ὑγιαίνοντος τούτου, καὶ καθὼς ἦν ἀποκαταστάντος, τὸ φῶς ἐπιλάμπῃ καὶ ἡ σκοτεία διώκηται. Τίσι δ᾽ ἂν ἄλλοις τῆς τοιαύτης μελήσειε *414* περιποιήσεως ἢ πάντως ἡμῖν τοῖς ἐν τῷ ἐλέει τοῦ τῶν Πατέρων Θεοῦ, τὴν τῶν τοιούτων οἰκονομίαν λαχοῦσι, καὶ ἐφ᾽ ἑτέραις ἁπάσαις γραφικαῖς τε καὶ πατρικαῖς παραδόσεσιν, ὡς ἂν υἱοὶ φαινώμεθα γνήσιοι τῶν πατρῴων διαθηκῶν παραχαραττομένων ὑπεραλγοῦντες, ἢ μᾶλλον ἡμῶν ἑαυτῶν ἀδικουμένων, τὴν ἀπ᾽ ἐκείνων κληρονομίαν τὴν μεγάλην ὄντως καὶ ἀεὶ διαμένουσαν, πολλῷ δὲ πλέον ἐφ᾽ αἷς τὸ τῆς εἰρήνης ἐπιλάμπει καλὸν καὶ ἡ τῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν καταλλαγὴ ἐνισχύεται· καὶ τοσοῦτον ἴσως, ὅσον καὶ κακουργεῖσθαι ταύτας· ὡς τὰ πολλὰ συμβαίνει παρά τινων τὴν ἀλήθειαν σπαραττόντων, μεταποιούντων αὐτάς, πρὸς ὅπερ καὶ βούλονται, ἵνα μὴ μόνον ἀνεύθυνον ᾖ τὸ περὶ τὸ ἀληθὲς ἁμαρτάνειν αὐτοῖς, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐκ τῶν θείων Γραφῶν λογίζηται ἰσχυροποιούμενον. Εἰ δὲ καὶ ὁ τῶν Νυσσαέων φωστὴρ ὁ ἀδικούμενός ἐστι, καὶ ἀξιόπιστος βίβλος καὶ παλαιά, ἡ παθοῦσα τὴν παραχάραξιν, ὁποῖον τοῦτο, εἰς ὀδύνην ψυχῆς τοῖς προϊεμένοις καὶ αὐτὰς τὰς ψυχάς, ὑπὲρ τοῦ μηδὲν ὑπολελεῖφθαι, διὰ τὴν ἐκκλησιαστικὴν εἰρήνην, μηδενὶ σκάνδαλον. Ὁποίαν δὲ πάλιν πραγματευτέον τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν, καὶ ὅπως σπουδαστέον ὡς ἂν τὸ *415* ἀληθὲς τὴν παρρησίαν ἔχῃ, καὶ τὸ ἀσφαλὲς τὸ εἰσέπειτα πάντως μεγίστην, καὶ οἵαν εἰκὸς ἐπὶ τοιούτοις ἡμᾶς ἐκπονῆσαι, καὶ κατὰ τὸ δυνατὸν διαπράξασθαι. Ὅπως τοίνυν προέβη, καὶ οἵαν ἔσχε τὴν καταρχήν, αὐτὸς ὁ λόγος προϊὼν δηλώσει σαφέστατα.

    β´. Ἤδη μὲν σὺν Θεῷ τῆς ἐκκλησιαστικῆς τελεσθείσης εἰρήνης, καὶ τοῦ πολυετοῦς σκανδάλου ἐκποδὼν γεγοντότος τῇ τοῦ Πνεύματος χάριτι, (ἔδει γάρ ποτε τὴν τοιαύτην διαλυθῆναι σκοτόμαιναν, καὶ τὸ τῆς ὁμονοίας ἐπιλάμψαι φῶς, καὶ πολλῇ τῇ περιουσίᾳ τὸν τῆς εἰρήνης νικῆσαι Θεόν), ἦν μὲν ἡμῖν καθόσον οἷόν τε συναίρεσθαι τῇ εἰρήνῃ, καὶ ἐκ Γραφῶν ἁγίων, καθὼς καὶ ἦν ἄξιον, αὐτὴν συνιστᾷν, ἵνα μὴν ἐκ κοιλίας λέγοντες ἐλεγχοίμεθα, ἀλλ᾽ ἐκ ποταμῶν θεοκροτήτων, καὶ κοιλιῶν ζῶντος πεπληρωμένων ὕδατος. Ὅθεν καὶ νῦν μὲν ταύτην, νῦν δὲ ἐκείνην, ἄλλοτ᾽ ἄλλην, καὶ ἁπαξαπλῶς ἁπάσας, εἰς ἀκοὴν ὠτίου δεχόμενοι, εὐοδούμενοι καθ᾽ ἑκάστην ἦμεν τῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐλέῳ πρὸς τὴν τελεσθεῖσαν εἰρήνην, καὶ ἄλλοις ὑποδεικνύοντες τὴν ὁδόν. Εἴ τί που καὶ σκάνδαλον ἦν ἐν αὐτοῖς διά τινα φόβον ἐπαινετόν, ῥᾳδίως εἴχομεν αὐτοὺς ἀπει- *416* θεῖς, καὶ μηδὲν ἀντίξουν πρὸς ἡμᾶς καὶ τὰ ἡμέτερα φέροντας. Ἀλλ᾽, ὢ τοῦ φθόνου καὶ τῶν σατανικῶν μηχανῶν! ἔστησαν εἰς ἐναντίαν μοῖραν καὶ τῶν ἡμετέρων τινές, καὶ δόξαν τούτοις ἀγαθόν τι ποιεῖν, εἴπως διαπολεμοῖεν πρὸς τὴν εἰρήνην, ἔσχισαν ἑαυτοὺς τῆς ἡμετέρας Ἐκκλησίας, καὶ καθ᾽ ἑαυτοὺς ἐγεγόνεισαν· οἳ καὶ ταῖς ὑπὲρ /285A/ τῆς εἰρήνης ἁγίαις Γραφαῖς διὰ παντὸς καταγχόμενοι, ἔμελλον μέν ποτε προσελθεῖν, καὶ ἀποθέσθαι μὲν τὸ πεισματικὸν καὶ δυσήνιον, ἀγαπῆσαι δὲ τὴν μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν εἰρήνην, καὶ τῇ ὁλοκληρίᾳ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας συγκολληθῆναι· ὃ δὴ καὶ ἐγένετο ὕστερον. Ἀλλὰ τότε καθ᾽ ὃν μὲν καιρὸν ἡ τούτων ἔτι πεισμονὴ χώραν εἶχεν, καὶ περὶ πλείονος τῆς ἀληθείας τὴν ἰδίαν ἐτίθουν ἀρέσκειαν, τί ἕτερον ἐπὶ ταῖς τοιαύταις γραφαῖς ἦν αὐτοῖς διαπράττεσθαι, ἢ καθόσον ἦν αὐτοῖς εὔπορον; Τῶν γὰρ ἐπηβόλων λόγων καὶ γνώσεως οἱ ἄνδρες ἦσαν, ἃς μὲν ἄλλως, καὶ ὡς αὐτοῖς βουλητὸν ἐπεξηγεῖσθαι, ἃς δὲ καὶ νόθους εἶναι διισχυρίζεσθαι, ἔστι δ᾽ οὗ καί τινας ὁμολογεῖν μὲν τῶν Πατέρων εἶναι, τοῦτο μόνον ὑγιῶς λέγοντας, προφέρειν δὲ ἀπολογίαν, φοβερὰν οἴμοι καὶ ἀναξίαν ὅλως τῆς τῶν Πατέρων προθέσεως, ὅτι πρὸς *417* τοὺς τότε κινουμένους λόγους παρὰ τῶν αἱρετιζόντων ποιούμενοι τὰς γραφὰς, ἔστιν οὗ καὶ τοῦ εἰκότος οἱ Πατέρες διέπιπτον· τῶν οὕτω λεγόντων μὴ συνορώντων ὡς οὐ δόξα ὅλως Θεοῦ καὶ σύστασις ἀληθείας τὸ διὰ ψευδῶν τινῶν συγκροτεῖσθαι καὶ ἀναξίων τοῦ Πνεύματος. Ἀλλ᾽ ὅπερ ἐλέγομεν, ὅλοι τότε τοῦ ἰδίου θελήματος ὄντες οἱ εἰρημένοι, καθ᾽ ἑαυτῶν ἐσοφίζοντο, καὶ ἄδειαν εἶχον λόγων, ἐφ᾽ οἷς ἐνδεεῖς καθίσταντο τοῦ συμφέροντος, πολλὰ μὲν καὶ διάφορα λέγοντες, εἰς ἓν δὲ καὶ τὸ αὐτὸ καταντῶντες, τὸ ἀντιλέγειν τῇ εἰρήνῃ, καὶ πρὸς τὴν τῶν Γραφῶν ἀλήθειαν διαμάχεσθαι, ὅσα καὶ διαφόροις τρόποις τὸν οἰκεῖον πραγματευόμενοι ὄλεθρον. Ἀλλὰ ταῦτα πάντα ἦσαν ἡμῖν, ταυτὸ δὲ εἰπεῖν καὶ τῇ ἀληθείᾳ ἀνεκτά, τῶν Γραφῶν σωζομένων, λέγει ἐκείνοις τὴν ἐπεξήγησιν, οἵαν ἐβούλοντο. Τὸ δὲ καὶ εἰς σίδηρον ἀπιδεῖν, καὶ τὴν γραφὴν ἀποξύειν, ἔστι μὲν ἐκ προχείρου κατανοῆσαι γενέσθαι διὰ ψυχῆς μόνης ὄρεξιν, τῷ δέ γε ἐπηβόλως κατανοοῦντι ἐντεῦθεν διαγνωσθήσεται καὶ ὡς, ἐπεὶ μηδόλως οἱ τοιοῦτοι ἀντειπεῖν πρὸς οὕτω φανερὰν ἀλήθειαν εἶχον, ἀπα- *418* λείφειν ταύτην διέγνωσαν. Τίς δὲ ὁ τρόπος, καὶ παρὰ τίνος, καὶ ὅπως, ὁ λόγος ἤδη ἐρεῖ.

    γ´. Προσῆν ἐφ᾽ ἑτέροις βίβλοις τῷ τοῦ μεγάλου οἰκονόμου τοῦ Ξιφιλίνου γαμβρῷ, οὗ Πεντεκλησιώτης τὸ ἐπίκλην, ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς σύναμα τῷ συγγάμβρῳ αὐτοῦ τῷ τῆς καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς Ἐκκλησίας ῥαιφερενδαρίῳ τῷ Ἐσκαμματισμένῳ τῆς ἐναντίας μοίρας τότε καθίστατο, καὶ βίβλος πολλὴν τὴν σεμνότητα ἐκ τῆς ἀρχαιότητος ἔχουσα ἐν ᾗ πονήματα ἦσαν διάφορα θεοκρότητα τοῦ τῶν Νυσσαέων φωστῆρος, Γρηγορίου δηλαδὴ τοῦ μεγάλου καὶ θαυμασίου Πατρός. Εἷς οὖν τῶν ἐκεῖσε λόγων ἦν καὶ εἰς τὸ, Πάτερ ἡμῶν, ὁμιλία, ἧς ἡ ἀρχή, «Ὅτε προσῆγεν ὁ μέγας Μωσῆς τῇ κατὰ τὸ ὄρος μυσταγωγίᾳ τὸν Ἰσραηλίτην λαόν·» καθ᾽ ὃν γενομένῳ τῷ τοιῷδε Πατρὶ περὶ κοινῶν καὶ ἰδίων τῶν τῆς Θεότητος ὑποστάσεων θεολογῆσαί τε καὶ διδάξαι, ἐπῆλθεν εἰπεῖν· «Τὸ δὲ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Πατρὸς λέγεται, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Υἱοῦ εἶναι προσμαρτυρεῖται.» Τὸ τοιόνδε οὖν τεμμάχιον τοῦ ῥητοῦ, καὶ τὴν *419* ἐντεῦθεν εἰς τὴν εἰρήνην συγκρότησιν, συνετέλεσε μὲν /288A/ τῷ κοινῷ ὁ τῆς μακαρίας μνήμης ἐκεῖνος μἐγας οἰκονόμος ὁ Ξιφιλῖνος, διερχόμενος τὴν τοιαύτην βίβλον, καὶ κατὰ τοῦτο τὸ χωρίον γενόμενος, ἐν τῷ ταύτην ἐκ τοῦ Πεντεκλησιώτου χρήσασθαι εἰς ἀνάγνωσιν· πασίδηλον δὲ ἐγεγόνει, καὶ ἡμῖν αὐτοῖς, καὶ αὐτῷ δὲ τῷ τὴν βίβλον ἔχοντι, καὶ ἀντικαθισταμένῳ πρὸς τὰ ἡμέτερα. Ἦν τοῦτο, καὶ οὐκ ὀλίγη συγκρότησις γέγονεν ἐν τῷ ἐλεοῦντι Θεῷ εἰς τὴν εἰρήνην ἐντεῦθεν τῷ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας πληρώματι. Ὁ γοῦν ῥαιφερενδάριος σύγγαμβρος ὢν καὶ ὁμογνώμων ἔτι τῷ τὴν βίβλον ἔχοντι, οἰκείοις ὀφθαλμοῖς τὸ τοιοῦτον ἰδών, καὶ μὴ ἔχων ὅ τι καὶ δράσειε πρὸς τοῦτο, φανερὸν ὄν, καὶ τὸν ἀξιόπιστον ἀπὸ πολλῶν τῶν τῆς βίβλου πλουτοῦν, τὸν σαφῆ τοῦτον ἔλεγχον ἀπαλείφειν ἔγνω, ἔτι τοῖς ἡμετέροις μαχόμενος, καὶ χρῆται σιδήρῳ, καὶ ὑποξύει τὸ ἐκ, μὴ ὑπολογισάμενος, ὡς καὶ ἕτεραι βίβλοι εἰς τὸ αὐτὸ *420* ἠρευνήθησαν, κἀκεῖναι οὕτως εἶχον καὶ τὸ ἐκ ἐπλούτουν, καὶ τὸ ἀνόθευτον ὑπεξέφευγον.

    δ´. Ἀλλ᾽ ἐπειδὴ ἔληξέ ποτε τούτῳ τὸ ἰδιόπεισμον καὶ τῆς εἰρήνης ἐγένετο, καὶ μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν τὸ κοινωνικὸν ἔσχεν, ὥσπερ καὶ ἕτεροι πλείονες, πολλάκις μὲν περί τινων αὐτὸν ἐκοινολογεῖτο ἡ μετριότης ἡμῶν. Ἔτυχε δέ πως ἀναμνησθῆναί ποτε τὴν ἡμῶν μετριότητα τῆς δηλωθείσης βίβλου. Ὁ δέ γε ῥαιφερενδάριος, ὥσπερ ὑπό τινος παρωθούμενος, ἐπῄνει μὲν τὴν βίβλον, καὶ περὶ αὐτῆς τὰ δοκοῦντά οἱ ἔλεγεν· διωμολόγησε δὲ μεταξὺ λέγων περὶ τῆς βίβλου ὡς ἐν τῷ τόπῳ, οὗπερ ἦν, «καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Υἱοῦ εἶναι προσμαρτυρεῖται,» χρησάμενος μαχαίρᾳ τὸ ἐκ τοῦ λόγου ἀπέξυσεν, οὐκ οἶδ᾽ ὅπως ὁμολογήσας αὐτὸ καὶ παρ᾽ ἣν τὴν αἰτίαν. Τέως δὲ ὅλον ἦν τοῦτο τῆς ἀληθείας καὶ τοῦ τῶν Πατέρων Θεοῦ. Τί τὸ ἐπὶ τούτοις; Ἐμμέριμνος λογισμός, καὶ σὴς ὀστέων ἐμπίπτει τῇ ἡμῶν μετριότητι, ὅπως τοιοῦτον ῥητὸν ἐνοθεύθη, καὶ τὴν ἀξιοπιστίαν ἀπώλεσε τῇ ἐκκλησιαστικῇ εἰρήνῃ τὰ πολλὰ συμβαλλόμενον, καὶ ὅπως χρόνοις τοσούτοις τὸν κίνδυνον ἀποδράν, ὅτε καὶ ὁ κατὰ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας τῆς πρεσβυτέρας ῾Ρώμης ἐσφάδαζε πό- *421* λεμος, ἀρτίως παρεχαράχθη ὑπὸ ἀποτόμῳ τομεῖ, ὡς μήτε τὸ ἐντεῦθεν τοῦ ἐκ λείποντος ἀσφαλὲς εἶναι, μήτε μὴν προστεθέντος καὶ πάλιν τὸ ἀξιόπιστον ἔχειν τὴν βίβλον καὶ ἀσφαλές, ἐκ τοῦ προσφάτως λογίζεσθαι προστεθῆναι διὰ τοῦ ξύσματος ὕποπτον.

    ε´. Κοινοῦται τοίνυν τὰ περὶ τούτου ἡ μετριότης ἡμῶν τοῖς παρευρεθεῖσιν ἱερωτάτοις ἀρχιερεῦσιν ἀδελφοῖς ἡμῶν καὶ συλλειτουργοῖς· ἀναζητεῖ θεραπείαν τοῦ πράγματος· σκοπεῖ σὺν αὐτοῖς, πῶς ἂν ἐπανασωθείη τῇ Ἐκκλησίᾳ τὸ αὐτῆς δίκαιον. Καὶ κοινὴ βουλὴ προβαίνει, καὶ γνώμη συνοδικὴ εἶναι μὲν τὸν τόπον καινόν, καθ᾽ ὃν τὸ «ἐκ» κείμενον διαγέγραπται· ὅτι μηδ᾽ ἀσφαλές, ἀπό γε τοῦ νῦν γραφῆναι καὶ πάλιν αὐτό, ὑποψίαν τοῖς εἰς ἔπειτα ἔχον διὰ τὸ τῆς γραφῆς ὑπόγυιον, σημειωθῆναι δὲ τὰ τοῦ πράγματος, καὶ κοινὴν μαρτυρίαν καὶ πίστιν ἐντεῦθεν εἶναι, ὅπως τὸ γραφικὸν παρεχαράχθη ῥητόν, διὰ τῆν τῶν ὀψιγόνων ἀσφάλειαν. Μηδὲ γὰρ ἂν εἶναι τὸ ἀπὸ τοῦδε οὕτω /289A/ σημειωθέντος τοῦ ἀληθοῦς, διαπιστεῖν τινα, καὶ προφάσεις, ἃς οὐ χρή, κατὰ τοῦ ῥητοῦ *422* προφασίζεσθαι. Ἔδοξε τοῦτο κοινῶς καὶ ἤδη τὴν σήμερον περατοῦται διὰ τῆς παρούσης συνοδικῆς πράξεως, ὁμολογοῦντος μὲν καὶ πάλιν τοῦ ῥαιφερενδαρίου, καὶ οὐκ ἀρνουμένου τὸ σύνολον, ὅτι τὸ «ἐκ» παρ᾽ αὐτοῦ διαγέγραπται, ζητοῦντος δὲ καὶ συγγνώμην, ὅτι καθ᾽ ὃν καιρὸν ἀφ᾽ ἡμῶν οὗτος ἐσχίζετο, τὸ τοιοῦτον πεποίηκεν. Ὅθεν καὶ ἡ παροῦσα συνοδικὴ πρᾶξις, εἰς δήλωσιν γεγονυῖα, ἀπετέθη τῷ καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς χαρτοφυλακείῳ εἰς ἀσφάλειαν μὲν τῶν εἰς ἔπειτα, ὠφέλειαν δὲ τῶν ἐντυγχανόντων τῇ βίβλῳ, μανθανόντων ἐντεῦθεν καθαρὰν καὶ ἀδόλωτον τὴν ἀλήθειαν.

  11. ioannis Says:

    “…if by chance Holy Scripture should be damaged, and should suffer either addition or subtraction even to one tittle (cf. Mt 5:18), no slight damage would accrue to the whole body of the Church.”

    That’s a good argument indeed against adding the filioque in the Creed (even if its meaning was correct).

  12. Veritas Says:

    Hello Ioannis,

    I don’t want to suggest that your position of the Filioque not being added to the Creed is wrong, but I do think there is a very big difference between adding to the Creed and adding to Holy Scripture. Recall that Constantinople I (in 381) added words to the Creed. It should also be noted that that council was not a council of the whole Church, nor was it intended to be ecumenical. I’m not so sure how pertinent the words you have quoted actually are. The West is just as appalled at the addition (or subtraction) of Scripture as is the East.



  13. ioannis Says:

    Hello Veritas,

    My point was meant to be that if Saint Gregory’s and every single Father’s work can be designated as Holy Scripture, as the text imples, there are many reasons to apply that to the Creed as well and therefore it can be treated as Holy Scripture.

    Now, as Saint Gregory and each writer has the right to moderate the texts that he produces, I guess that the Church who is the author of the Creed enjoys the same right in regard to the texts that belong to her. One difference is that the Church herself forbade any addition to or subtraction from the Creed.

    The Council of 381 was not summoned as an Ecumenical but it evolved into one. The proof is in the texts that it produced wherein it refers to itself as such (see for instance the epistle sent to the bishop of Rome).

    Personally I do not believe that the filioque is an addition but a correction of the Fathers because the Holy Spirit either proceeds from the Father or from the Father and the Son.
    I just wanted to show that Patriarch Bekkos, in that document, contradicts himself.

  14. Veritas Says:

    Hello Ioannis,

    The Church did forbid the changing of the Creed in 431 at Ephesus; however, the Creed they had in mind was the one proclaimed at Nicaea in 325 — not Constantinople in 381.

    I have read the epistle sent to Rome (a year later in 382 if memory serves?); I also vividly remember reading how the council referred to itself as ecumenical. However, the term was used much looser back then. Recall the epistles sent to Rome from North Africa using the same terminology: ecumenical; yet no council East or West has an ecumenical council coming from North Africa.

    Perhaps I haven’t followed your argument as well as I should have, but I don’t see how you have shown how John Bekkos has contradicted himself.



  15. bekkos Says:


    You might be interested to know that Bekkos did not think the Latin Church’s adding of the word Filioque to the text of an ecumenically-approved creed was a good idea. He says in one of his writings,

    “One cannot call anything ‘proper’ that is the occasion of division among brothers; I agree with you in this. But because the addition of this word in no way violates the notion of orthodoxy that has been passed down to us — for it impairs neither the oneness of the substance nor the threeness of the hypostases — I pardon my brothers, and, disregarding the addition of the word, I seize upon the harmony of meaning, and am a disciple of those teachers who, overlooking verbal disagreement, embraced the peace they found in the agreement of meaning.” (On the Union and Peace of the Churches, § 14.)

    That is to say, his main point was to look at what the Latin version of the creed taught. Did it teach positive heresy, or was it merely a foreign way of stating the same faith? His reading of texts of fathers like St. Gregory of Nyssa, among them this text that says that the Spirit “is further testified to be from the Son,” convinced him that this Latin way of expressing the faith was not unknown to the Greek fathers themselves. So, for the sake of peace, he argued that the Greeks overlook this alteration in the creed and accept the Latin Christians as brothers in Christ. He emphatically did not condone any change in the wording of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed as used by the Greek Church itself. Pressure was put on the hierarchy of the Greek Church by Pope Nicholas IV to do that, i.e., to add καὶ ἐκ τοῦ Υἱοῦ; Bekkos, politely but firmly, said no. I think that is something you might want to bear in mind.


  16. ioannis Says:


    I wasn’t clear enough. I simply said that since Patriach Bekkos treats St. Gregory’s texts as Holy Scripture he has to treat the Creed in a similar manner and reject any addition to it on the same grounds.

    The prohibition of the changining of the Creed was restated in the 1st canon of the 7th E.C. and in the decrees of the Council of Constantinople of 880 which was deemed as ecumenical from both West and East for sometime.

    I believe that the council of 381 uses the term ecumenical in the same sense that St. Athanasius used it for the council of Nicaea. If some epistles from N. Africa use the same terminology that does not mean that they use it with the same meaning since they were of different character. They weren’t called, for instance, by the Roman Emperor.

  17. ioannis Says:


    Thank you for the information. I did not know it.

    But I do not agree with Bekkos that there is agreement in meaning between the two expressions because, for one reason, I can not see how can one designate that common principle/cause of the Father and the Son from which the Holy Spirit is said to proceed without violating either the oneness of the substance or the threeness of the hypostases.

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