Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors and the Holy Fathers


17 Entries

... we know according to godliness One Father, who sent His Son to be our Saviour; we know One Son, who promised that He would send the Comforter from the Father; we know the Holy Spirit, who spoke in the Prophets, and who on the day of Pentecost descended upon the Apostles in the form of fiery tongues, here, in Jerusalem, in the Upper Church of the Apostles. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 16 no. 4)

According to the Scriptures, to know the One God is the root of immortality, and to know the dominion of the Three-in-One is the whole and entire truth. The word of the Gospel on this subject can be understood thus: 'This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God' in three hypostases, 'and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent' in two natures and two wills (John 17:3). St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 32)

Against those who cast it in our teeth that we are Tritheists, let it be answered that we confess One God not in number, but in nature. For everything which is called one in number is not one absolutely, nor yet simple in nature. But God is universally confessed to be simple and not composite. God, therefore, is not one in number. What I mean is this: We say that the world is one in number, but not one by nature, nor yet simple; for we divide it into its constituent elements, fire, water, air and earth. Again, a man is called one in number. We frequently speak of one man, but man, who is composed of body and soul is not simple. Similarly we say one angel in number, but not one by nature nor yet simple, for we conceive of the hypostasis of the angel as essence with sanctification. If therefore everything which is one in number is not one in nature, and that which is one and simple in nature is not one in number; and if we call God one in nature how can number be charged against! us, when we utterly exclude it from that blessed and spiritual nature? EPISTLE VIII: A defense of his withdrawal, and concerning the faith,

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, the triple and single light of the one Godhead, that exists singly in Trinity and is divided without division. For the one God is Trinity, whose glory the heavens declare, while earth proclaims his dominion, the sea his might and every physical and immaterial creature his greatness. For to him belongs all glory, honour, might, greatness and magnificence, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. A prayer in the Liturgy of St James, ''

God is known and understood in everything in three hypostases. He holds all things and provides for all things through His Son in the Holy Spirit; and no one of Them, wherever He is invoked, is named or thought of as existing apart or separately from the two others. St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 30)

It is the Father to Whom all existence owes its origin. In Christ and through Christ He is the source of all. In contrast to all else He is self-existent. He does not draw His being from without, but possesses it from Himself and in Himself. He is infinite, for nothing contains Him and He contains all things; He is eternally unconditioned by space, for He is illimitable; eternally anterior to time, for time is His creation. Let imagination range to what you may suppose is God's utmost limit, and you will find Him present there; strain as you will there is always a further horizon towards which to strain. Infinity is His property, just as the power of making such effort is yours. Words will l fail you, but His being will not be circumscribed. St. Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, Book 2

Just in the same way, man has mind, word and spirit; and the mind cannot be without the word, nor the word without the spirit, but the three are always in one another, yet exist in themselves. The mind speaks by means of words, and the word is manifested through the spirit. This example shows that man bears in himself a feeble image of the ineffable prototype, the Trinity, thus demonstrating that he has been made in God's image. St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 31)

The Father through the Son, with the Holy Spirit, is the giver of all grace; the gifts of the Father are none other than those of the Son, and those of the Holy Spirit; for there is one salvation, one Power, one Faith; One God, the Father; One Lord, His only-begotten Son; One Holy Spirit, the Comforter. And it is enough for us to know these things; but inquire not curiously into His nature or substance: for had it been written, we would have spoken of it; what is not written, let us not venture on; it is sufficient for our salvation to know that there is Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 16 no. 24)

The Spirit of the supreme Logos is a kind of ineffable yet intense longing or 'eros' experienced by the Begetter for the Logos born ineffably from Him, a longing experienced also by the beloved Logos and Son of the Father for His Begetter; but the Logos possesses this love by virtue of the fact that it comes from the Father in the very act through which He comes from the Father, and it resides co-naturally in Him.

It is from the Logos's discourse with us through His incarnation that we have learned what is the name of the Spirit's distinct mode of coming to be from the Father and that the Spirit belongs not only to the Father but also to the Logos. For He says 'the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father' (John 15:26), so that we may know that from the Father comes not solely the Logos - who is begotten from the Father - but also the Spirit who proceeds from the Father. Yet the Spirit belongs also to the Son, who receives Him from the Father as the Spirit of Truth, Wisdom and Logos. For Truth and Wisdom constitute a Logos that befits His Begetter, a Logos that rejoices with the Father as the Father rejoices in Him.

This accords with the words that He spoke through Solomon:'I was She who rejoiced together with Him' (Prov. 8:30). Solomon did not say simply 'rejoiced' but 'rejoiced together with'. This pre-eternal rejoicing of the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit who, as I said, is common to both, which explains why He is sent from both to those who are worthy. Yet the Spirit has His existence from the Father alone, and hence He proceeds as regards His existence only from the Father. Our intellect, because created in God's image, possesses likewise the image of this sublime Eros or intense longing - an image expressed in the love experienced by the intellect for the spiritual knowledge that originates from it and continually abides in it." St. Gregory Palamas (Topics of Natural and Theological Science no. 36, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pgs. 361-362)

The final end of Orthodoxy is pure knowledge of the two dogmas of faith - the Trinity and the Duality; to contemplate and know the Trinity as indivisible and yet not merged together; to know the Duality as the two natures of Christ joined in one person - that is, to know and to profess one's faith in the Son of God both before incarnation, and after incarnation, to praise Him in His two natures and wills unmerged, the one Divine and the other human. St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 26)

The kingdom of God is knowledge of the Holy Trinity, extending as far as the state of one's mind permits, and filling it with an endlessly blessed life. Abba Evagrius the Monk(Texts on Active Life no. 3)

There is One God, the Father, Lord of the Old and the New Testament: and One Lord, Jesus Christ, who was prophesied of in the Old Testament and came in the new; and One Holy Spirit, who through the prophets preached of Christ, and when Christ was come, descended, and manifested Him. St. Cyril of Jerusalem (Catechetical Lectures: Lecture 16 no. 3)

Three realities pertain to God: essence, energy, and the triad of divine hypostases. As we have seen, those privileged to be united to God so as to become one spirit with Him - as St. Paul said, 'He who cleaves to the Lord is one spirit with Him' (I Cor. 6:17) - are not united to God with respect to His essence, since all theologians testify that with respect to His essence God suffers no participation.

Moreover, the hypostatic union is fulfilled only in the case of the Logos, the God-man.

Thus those privileged to attain union with God are united to Him with respect to His energy; and the 'spirit', according to which they who cleave to God are one with Him, is and is called the uncreated energy of the Holy Spirit, but not the essence of God... St. Gregory Palamas (Topics of Natural and Theological Science no. 75, The Philokalia Vol. 4 edited by Palmer, Sherrard and Ware; Faber and Faber pg. 380)

Trinity is simple unity; it is not merged together - it is three in one. The One three-hypostatical God has the three hypostases perfectly distinct in Himself. St. Gregory of Sinai (Texts on Commandments and Dogmas no. 29)

We sin in thought, word, and deed. In order to become pure images of the Most Holy Trinity, we must strive that our thoughts, words, and deeds may be holy. Thought corresponds, in God, to the Father, the word to the Son, and the deed to the all-accomplishing Holy Spirit. St. John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ: Part 1, Holy Trinity Monastery pgs. 72-73)

Where, then, the grace of the Spirit is asserted, is that of God the Father of of the Only-Begotten Son denied? By no means; for as the Father is in in the Son, and the Son in the Father, so, too, "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, Who hath been given us" (Rom. 5:5). And as he who is blessed in Christ is blessed in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, because the Name is one and the Power one; so, too, when any divine operation, whether of the Father, or of the Son, or of the Holy Spirit, is treated of it is not referred only to the Holy Spirit, but also to the Father and the Son, and not only to the Father, but also to the Son and the Spirit. St. Ambrose of Milan, Of the Holy Spirit

Who then is that Father Who had no beginning? One Whose very Existence had no beginning; for one whose existence had a beginning must also have begun to be a Father. He did not then become a Father after He began to be, for His being had no beginning. And He is Father in the absolute sense, for He is not also Son; just as the Son is Son in the absolute sense, because He is not also Father. These names do not belong to us in the absolute sense, because we are both, and not one more than the other; and we are of both, and not of one only... St. Gregory Nazianzen (Third Theological Oration no. 5)

Redeeming the Time

↑ Grab this Headline Animator

We confidently recommend our web service provider, Orthodox Internet Services: excellent personal customer service, a fast and reliable server, excellent spam filtering, and an easy to use comprehensive control panel.

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas