On The Addition Of Filioque To The Creed

The Nicene Creed (325) had the words "Proceeding from the Father":

the Council of Ephesus (431[1]) decreed that no addition was to be made

to the Creed, as there settled. When, however, the question was raised

whether we ought not to say "proceeding from the Father, and the Son

(Filioque)," various Scripture phrases were adduced in support of it:

such as, the Spirit of Christ (Rom. viii. 9), the Spirit of His Son

iv. 6), the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. i. 19),

the Spirit of Christ (1 Pet. i. 11). Also S. John xv. 26, xvi. 7,

xx. 32, and the general similarity of expressions which, speaking of

the Holy Spirit, refer to the Father, and to the Son.

The Eastern Churches were opposed to the addition of the words, "and

from the Son." The Western Churches were, mainly, in favour of it.

The controversy lasted from the 5th to the 11th century, and resulted

in the schism which still separates the Eastern and Western Churches.

It is usually agreed that the difference is not one of doctrine. The

Easterns prefer the phrase "receiving from the Son": the Westerns

prefer to assert afresh the equality of the Father and the Son, by

using the phrase, "proceeding from the Father and the Son." It may be

{177} doubted whether the words should have been added without the

assent of a General Council. But there is no denial of the equality of

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, in the Eastern, nor in the

Western, Churches.