GREAT ZIMBABWE UNIVERSITY
: CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY
: MR MUZAMBI
: Discuss the complexities associated
with The Filioque.
Filioque is a combination of Latin words meaning "and from the Son ," added to the Nicene Creed by the Third Council of Toledo in 589 . It state that , "I believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and Son " . The Filioque debate is of importance , both as a theological issue in itself , and also as a matter of importance in the contemporary relations between the Eastern and Western Churches . The basic issue at stake is whether the Holy Spirit may be said to proceed from the Father alone or from the Father and Son . Initially, the historical background is also of importance in this debate. “The Nicene Council in A.D. 325 was concerned with defending the Divinity of The Lord Jesus Christ against the Arian heresy. As such, the creed formulated by its fathers said little about the Church’s belief about The Holy Spirit. The Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381 was again concerned with defending the Divinity of The Lord Jesus Christ, but was also concerned with defending the Divinity of The Holy Spirit. For that reason, it expanded the Creed formulated by the previous Council in the section pertaining to the Church’s belief regarding The Holy Spirit. This section then read: “ We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the life-Giver, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets…”” (http://www.suscopts.org). Unfortunately, there are some who elected to follow another path. According to Kelly,(1978:246), In A.D. 587, the local council of Toledo (Spain), attempting to combat Arianism by emphasizing The Son’s equality with The Father, added the Filioque clause to the creed. This changed the Creed to: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the life-Giver, who proceeds from the Father and from the Son, who with the Father and Son is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets…” Furthermore, “ from Spain, the Filioque spread to the Germanic tribes of the Franks (modern day France). Pope Leo III (795-816) intervened and forbade any alteration in the Creed. He ordered the Creed without Filioque. He said that he did this, “for love and defense of the Orthodox faith.” The Franks ignored the Pope and continued to use the Filioque. The dispute between east and West grew and became the focus of the council of Constantinople in A.D. 879-880”(http://www.freewebs.com/trinitytruth). This Council reaffirmed the Creed of A.D. 381 and declared any and all additions to the Creed invalid. Still, the Filioque continued to be used by the Franks and even spread to other Germanic tribes. Eventually, even Rome began to use the Filioque – at the coronation of Henry II in 1014 as Emperor by Pope Benedict VIII (1012-1024), due to his dependence on the Roman Empire for military protection (Maynell,1994:89). In time, belief in the Filioque became dogma in Roman Catholicism by the Council of Lyon 1274. In view of the idea that the Spirit proceeds from the Person (Hypostasis) Father, Western theologians felt obligated to hold that the Spirit proceeds from the Person of the Son as well as the...
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