In Defense of the Faith


By Fr. Panagiotes Carras


The deep-rooted antagonism of the Church in the Byzantine Empire toward the Roman Catholic West during the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries has been generally believed to spring from nationalistic or political causes,1 rather than religious. The endless discussions concerning the Filioque are only to be understood either in the light of the contemporary political conditions; or, as D.J. Geanakipoulos says, it would appear that the question of the Filioque, so bitterly debated at Florence, masked the vital, underlying problem of the hostility between Greeks and Latins.2 However, a careful examination of the discussion at the Council of Florence of the Filioque will reveal that the Orthodox understood that doctrine of the Filioque actually was in direct contra­diction to Orthodox soteriology and to the Sacramental life of the Church, which is the life source of the Church.3


Rome's acceptance of the Filioque in 1014 entrenched Scholastic theology which defended and developed an Augustinian soteriology contrary to Orthodox doctrine. For, to the Orthodox, salvation is the liberation of man from the power of death by participation in the Divine Life, the quickening Grace of God which is God Himself.


By 1438 Thomistic theology had so developed and applied the Filioque doctrine that the whole life and fabric of the Western Church was changed. The Orthodox at Florence faced not only the innovation of the Filioque (as did Saint Photius), but a host of teachings and practices spawned by a distorted trinitarian theology the doctrinal errors of which had been previously noted by Orthodox theo­logians such as Saint Gregory Palamas, Nilus Cabasilas, Nicholas Cabasilas, Symeon Thessalonikes,4 and Joseph Bryennius.5


The presuppositions, basis, and cause of the Filioque in Roman theology were well understood by the Orthodox; for Augustine6 and Aquinas7 were read and known in the East. The Emperor John VIII, however, forbade any discussion by the Orthodox on the relation of God's Essence to His Energies, which is the heart of the Filioque problem and of the difference between West and East, as had been demonstrated in the Hesychast Controversy.8   As evidence that Western theology was well known and that the basic problem was believed to be that of God's Essence and Energies, we have John VIII's first direction that the discussions at the forth coining revolve around the two basic problems of the Filioque and the Divine Essence and Energies.9 Once the discussions commenced, however, John VIII, attempted to avert all serious theological discussion on the problems.10  He realized that the cleavage between the Orthodox and the Latins was too deep and too wide to be healed.  According to the Orthodox, the Latins were not only wrong in regard to the Filioque and their theology of Grace, but were also wrong in regard to the Eucharist, Papal Primacy, Baptism, Purgatory, etc. Symeon Thessalonikes in his list of Latin errors11 included the withholding of the chalice from the laity, the withholding of Holy Chrismation and Holy Communion from infants, the non-concelebration of the clergy. Symeon was also shocked by Latin religious art, especially by the statues equipped with artificial hair and clothing and painted in life-like fashion.  What disturbed him even more was Latin sacred drama and the realism for which it strove.  For Symeon, Latin sacred drama was a theatrical profanation of divine things. He also points out that the ethical and moral corruption of the Latin Church was caused by doctrinal error.

No real union could have taken place at Florence.  A few bishops apostasized, yet most of these repented of their actions.12  In fact, when the Union had been signed and a Mass was held to celebrate the event, not one of the Greek bishops would take part with the Latins even though the Pope desired them to do so;13 and only three of the Orthodox party had anything to do with the service.14  0stroumoff also reports that while the delegation was in Venice on their way back to Constan­tinople, the Doge of Venice expressed the desire to see a Greek Divine Liturgy. The emperor wishing to accede to the Doge's wish of seeing the Greek service could prevail on the Metropolitan of Heracles alone to officiate in the Church of Saint Mark, and that too after many entreaties. The Metropolitan consented at last, but performed the service on the Greek Antimensia, and with the Greek communion plate; the Pope's name was not mentioned and the Creed was read without the Filioque clause.15


The envoys to the Council returned home only to find that they were con­sidered traitors to their faith.  In Constantinople, the faithful were told to shun the Unionists as one does a snake,16 and in Moscow, Isidore of Kiev, one of the signers and now a cardinal, was accused of heresy and imprisoned immediately upon his arrival.17  The Orthodox people refused to accept the Union, and would not Communicate with those who did.  In so doing, they remained adamant until the fall of the city, an event which they recognized as an act of God.18  The faithful who resisted the Union were not an illiterate mass ignorant of the issues at hand.  Rather, they were the faithful followers of two of the best educated men of their time, Saint Mark of Ephesus and Gennadius Scholarius; the latter became the first patriarch of Constantinople after the fall. These two shepherds explained to the faithful the nature of what was happening.


The role that these two leaders of the Orthodox faithful played in the last years before the fall should not be underestimated.  K.G. Mamones lists one hundred and ten titles in his catalog of the works of Saint Mark,19 and we must remember that Saint Mark reposed at the age of fifty-two. The works of Gennadius have been published in eight volumes by L. Petit. Mention need not be made of the long list of anti-Latin writings which circulated at that time, authored by such great men as Nilus and Nicholas Cabasilas. In Syropoulos we find references to Nilus Cabasilas as saint and to Nicholas as God-inspired.20


In the light of the cognizance of the real issues which the Orthodox faithful enjoyed, we can be assured of the severity with which they viewed the separation that now existed between them and the Latins, and we must make a serious attempt to ascertain the exact theological issues which were so vehemently defended. At the Council of Florence, the major debates centered around the canonicity and doctrinal truth of the Filioque.  A. Alivizatos, however, among others, claims that the Filioque issue was excessively magnified by the Byzantine theologians.21 Even in that age there was a serious attempt to dismiss the whole issue as a theologoumonon,22 in spite of the fact that the exponents of this doctrine, who were, at the same time, the leaders of the anti-Hesychast movement, had been condemned by two Councils.23 Bessarion and the other unionists at Florence made use of the research of the Latinophron Patriarch Beccus (1275-1282)24 in an effort to prove that from the Son and through the Son were the same according to the fathers,25 and to convince the Orthodox in this manner that they should not be scandalized by the Filioque.


Roman Catholic doctrine of the Filioque had so developed that it violated the basic teachings of the Church on the Holy Trinity. The property of causation was attributed to the one common essence of the Holy Trinity, and trinitarian doctrine accordingly developed around this basic premise. The theology of the Filioque is in direct contrast to the Orthodox teaching that the Essence of God is totally inconprehensible to man and that nothing can be postulated about it. The standard argument of the Orthodox against the Latins concerning the Filioque was that it implied that the Holy Spirit had two sources, the Father and the Son. Although the Latins at Florence, through their spokesman, never refused to admit that the Son is a cause of the Holy Spirit, they would never admit that they of the Spirit, and that the Son derives power from the Father to educe the Spirit not from Himself but from the Father."26 This doctrine concerning the one Essence of (.In' Trinity as the cause or principle of the Holy Spirit, was, for the Orthodox, nothing less than Sabellianism. The Latins, a few years after the Council of Florence, officially condemned both Sabellianism and the teaching that there are two principles in the Trinity, yet Scholarius warned:

Even as the Monophysites, though they deny ten thousand times that God suffered in the flesh, are still Theopaschites as long as they remain Monophysites, and even though they name Christ both true God and true man, but nevertheless remain Monophysites ...so also the same must be understood here, for as long as they profess the Filioque in the Creed, even though they deny ten thousand times the Dyarchy (alt. trans; the two principles of Godhead) and Sabellian-like teaching, and other such things, or even should they renounce or state their intent of renouncing their teachings at some point, but still retain the Filioque, they still remain what they are.27


The Latins appeared to the Orthodox to be either Sabellians, or to teach that there are two principles of Divinity. Even though the Latins condemned both doctrines, their theology, as well as the manner of its presentation, differed so greatly that the Orthodox could not be convinced that the Latins were not heretics. The Latins kept affirming that it is the Essence of God which is the source or cause of the persons, and to this the standard answer was: The essence, as the teachers stated, neither begets nor projects; but neither does the Father beget or project according to the common essence, nor does the Son do so, as you say; but according to His own essence, or rather, to His own hypostatical characteriatic."28  The Latin answer to the above was to begin a discussion of the substantia prima and substantia secunda, using Aristotle as an authority.29


At the Council of Florence, the theological debate on the Filioque was carried on principally by Saint Mark Eugenicus and John de Montenegro, a Dominican. Before the Orthodox allowed the Latins to force them to discuss the theology of the Filioque, they tried their best to limit the discussions to the canonicity of the insertion.30 These discussions lasted about two months. The Greeks argued that the insertion was uncanonical: We say that it is not permissable to add to the Creed, and that the addition which you have added is not a pious one. And we further state that no addition of any kind, neither word nor syllable, should be added to the Creed.31

The Latins retorted that the Filioque is not an addition but an explanation, for nothing new is added to what is already taught: For the second time, we come to the question of that which you call an addition and which we call an explanation, which is not forbidden (by the Church).32 The Greeks continued to insist that absolutely nothing could be added after the Council of Ephesus, which had announced the prohibition. They further argued that this council had placed this restriction on everyone, including itself, and as evidence of this, Saint Mark brought out the point that even the term Theotokos, which is so important, was not inserted by the fathers of this council. (Those Fathers) who first forbade (any addition) were the first also who abided by their own order (or commandment). Thus, at that time, the naming of (the term) Theotokos was most clearly needed as an addition to the Creed. They entreated that (this term) be added (to the Creed), but they did not add it, making examples of themselves to those who would come after them; and thus validated that which they had laid down as law, even though there was great need for such an addition.33 Not only did the fathers refrain from adding anything to the Creed concerning the Mother of God, but they even refrained from adding anything on the two natures, the two wills and the two energies of Christ, all of which would have been quite useful against Nestorians, Monophysites, and Monothelites. The fathers, however, found a way with which to express the true faith without violating the canons; they published separate definitions.34


The Latins, however, kept insisting that the addition was an explanation and, as such, was perfectly in order. Their strongest argument, based on a false document, was that the Council of Ephesus was not the first to make the prohibition against any insertions to the Creed. They quoted the apocryphal Letter to Athanasius by Pope Liberius35 as proof that the Council of Nicea itself made a similar prohi­bition against insertions, yet the next Council completed the Creed.  Bessarion claimed that this argument baffled the Orthodox,36  yet the opposite was true.  Saint Mark openly declared that nothing was known of this prohibition in the East and refused to accept the argument.37


After two months of such discussions, the Orthodox were ready to abandon the Council and return to Constantinople. What do we accomplish by speaking thus, and by listening to empty words; for they will never convince us, or will we ever convince them; for this reason, we should return to our city.38  Yet after much pressure from the Pope and the emperor, they decided to allow the Pope to transfer the Council from Ferrara to Florence and to start discussions on the doctrine of the Filioque.39


The Orthodox delegation knew quite well that the Latins would base themselves on their own fathers who were not acknowledged in the East.40  Saint Mark and the rest of the Orthodox delegation knew the Latin arguments and their sources41 even before the Latins presented them. They were not at all impressed either by quotations from Augustine42 or Aquinas or the use of scholastic arguments.  In fact, Saint Mark often made clear that he believed Augustine to be in error.43  Later, when Saint Mark published his confession of faith, he declared: The words of the western fathers and doctors, which attribute to the Son the cause of the Spirit, I never recognize (for they have never been translated into our tongue nor approved by the Oecumenical Councils).44


Latin presuppositions being basically Augustinian,45 the debates at Florence centered around whether or not the Holy Spirit proceeds from the common essence of the Father and Son.  The Latins could find no Greek fathers who explicitly taught this doctrine. They did, however, find evidence which seemed to support their arguments in the patristic teaching that the Spirit is received from the Son. The Orthodox tried to point out that this referred to the temporal mission of the Holy Spirit. They were hindered in their explanations, however, by the fact that the emperor had forbidden them to speak on the uncreated Energies of God and the activity of the Holy Spirit within the world.


Montenegro started the discussions by affirming that The Spirit receives its existence from the Son46  which was immediately denied by Saint Mark.  In order to defend his position, Montenegro produced two passages from Saint Epiphanius, both of which were from a poor Latin translation.47  In the Greek Acts of the Council of Florence, the first text reads: I call him Son, who comes from (or is begotten of) from him (the Father), the Holy Spirit only (cometh) from both (the Father and the Son.48   The text, however, as accepted by Petavius and Migne, reads: If He names as Son, He who is begotten of Him, the Holy Spirit then is from both?49


The second text presented by Montenegro was, And as no one hath seen the Father, except the Son, nor the Son, except the Father, so do I dare to say that no man has known the Holy Spirit, except for the Father and the Son, from Whom He receives His being and proceeds neither the Son and the Father, except for The Holy Spirit, which (Spirit) truely glorifies, Who teaches all, and Who is (cometh) (from the Father and the Son.50


The text which Migne has, however, not only differs from the text of Montenegro, but by examining it in its context, one can better understand the Orthodox position:

Since now, as the Lord states, (the Spirit) proceedeth from the Father, and is received of ‘Me’, and as no one knows the Father, except the Son, nor the Son, except the Father, so do I dare to say in such a manner no one knows the Spirit, except the Father and the Son, from whom the Spirit proceedeth, and from whom he is received, and that no one knows the Father and the Son, except the Holy Spirit, who truly glorifies, who teaches all things, who attesteth to the Son, who is of the Father and from the Son: the only guide to the truth, the interpreter of the holy Laws (or the interpreter of the laws of the saints).51


Saint Mark contested the validity of the texts, and explained that Saint Epi­phanius never said that the Holy Spirit receives its being from the Son. He also called particular attention to the use of the words proceeds and is received. According to Saint Mark, Saint Epiphanius used the verb proceeds to show that the Holy Spirit receives its existence from the Father.  The verb receive, however, is used to show the agreement and concordance of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son, which Son announces to his disciples (the coming) of the Holy Spirit, who would instruct them in the matters which they had received from Him.52  Later in the debate, Saint Mark again clearly stated the Orthodox position: According, therefore, to the theology of the Fathers, we are able to comprehend that the Spirit thus proceedeth from the Father, that is to say, derives its existence (or being) from the Father; is given (or bestowed) by the Son; and is received by those who believe in him.53

That the verb receives is used to show the activity of the Holy Spirit in the world was further demonstrated by Saint Mark through his citing of Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Cyril of Alexandria. Montenegro, however, denied that Saint Mark's interpretation of Saint Epiphanius was correct. He insisted that Saint Epiphanius actually taught that the Holy Spirit receives its being from the Son also. Saint Mark then asked if, by this, he meant that the Holy Spirit receives its being from both the hypostasis of the Father and that of the Son. Montenegro answered:

We admit that whenever we say that (the Holy Spirit) is from the Father, we mean from his Person, whenever we say that he is from the Son, we mean to say from his Person; for the essence of the Father and the Son is one. As the Father projects the Spirit, so does the Son likewise project the Holy Spirit, as if from one the Holy Spirit is projected.54


At this point it seems necessary to note that the Latin subsistentia (person) was rendered hypostasis by the interpreters, a rendition which could easily lead the Orthodox to believe that the Latins were teaching that the Holy Spirit had two sources.  For the Latins, this was not so; the source of the Holy Spirit is one, the common essence of the Father and the Son. The use of the Thomistic term subsistentia leads us further to understand why, when one reads the Acts of the Council, he is led at times to believe that the two opposing sides spoke different theological languages.


Latin theology teaches a Trinity of persons subsisting in the one undivided nature or essence, thus reducing the persons to relations of paternity, sonship and active and passive spiration. Orthodox theology on the other hand hangs on the patristic terms the only source of the super-essential Godhead is the Father (Saint Dionysius)55 and The only source of Godhead is the Father (Saint Athanasius)56  The Latins, following Augustine, who defined the essence of God to be simplicity (unity),57  defined God as Actus Purus.58 Aquinas in his fivefold proof for the existence of God followed pagan Greek Philosophy and declared that there must be a first mover, unmoved, a first cause in the chain of causes. For Roman Catholic Scholastic Theology, God is this unmoved cause. Their theology became a theology of Being, and God was then subjected to a theology which was governed by categories and laws of being.  Everything from the first principle down to the last detail was thought of as likewise determined by these laws and categories, and thus deducible in a logically consistent manner which in effect was Aristotelian.


This theology of Being was propounded at Florence also. When Montenegro was asked to clarify why, when referring to from Him, he at one time would mean the hypostasis (subsistentia) of the Father, and at another time the essence, he answered:

The existence and the essence of the Father are the same thing. For this reason, we always say that the Spirit is from His essence.59


In the same line of thinking we find Montenegro affirming that:

the essence and the person or hypostasis are the same thing, in reality, and differ only according to our mode of comprehension, in that the person depends on the essence and the attributes. Now, therefore, while the persons differ according to thought or word, the essence remains common to the persons, but the attributes in no way are made common to all; this being due to the vitality of the relationship.60


In order to preserve the unity of the Trinity, the Latins made the persons subsistent to the essence.  According to Scholastic Theology it is from the essence that the Son is born and the Spirit proceeds, yet the essence itself is not the cause of generation and spiration.  Consequently the persons of the Trinity cause generation and spiration. The essence is not (the cause) of the divine generation or spiration, but rather, the persons generate and spirate, so that it follows that the cause of the Spirit is the person, and not the essence. 61


When Saint Mark heard that last statement he proclaimed, I am not able to connect your statements, for it seems to me that they are contradictory. For at times, you say that the Father and the Son are of the essence, which is one, and which essence is also the number, but now, you again change, consequently saying to the teachers that the essence is not the cause of the hypostases, per se.62  The query of Saint Mark was due to the fact that since in Latin theology the persons of the Trinity are reduced to relations within and subsistent to the Divine Essence, the Essence becomes the source of Godhead instead of the hypostasis of the Father.  Accordingly, the modes of existence peculiar to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit lose their identity and simply become casual and principal relationships within the common Essence.  In Thomistic theology, the above is expressed in the following terms:

In creatures relations are accidental, whereas in God they are the divine essence itself. Thence it follows that in God essence is not really distinct from person: and yet that the persons are really distinguished from each other. For person, as above stated signifies relation as subsisting in the divine nature. But relation as referred to the essence does not differ therefrom really but only in our way of thinking: while as referred to an opposite relation, it has a real distinction by virtue of that opposition. Thus there are one essence and three persons.63


Such a theology forced the Latins to deny that God had any real relationship with the world, limiting the activity of God within the world to the mission of created grace. This is all in keeping with the Augustinian doctrine whereas, everything which is said of God, is said of Him as regards either His substance or relation.64


The nature of the Latin theological approach was such that the Orthodox theologians were actually dumbfounded by certain Latin positions. One particularly striking incident took place while Saint Mark and Montenegro were discussing,sup>65 a passage of Saint Basil.  Montenegro stated that there is an order of nature within the Trinity and that the Holy Spirit is third in order. Saint Mark said that Latin theology was on this particular point Eunomian66 and he asked Montenegro: Was Eunomios then speaking the truth when he said that the Holy Spirit was third in order and dignity?  To this the answer was yes.67


Montenegro, however, was simply propounding Thomistic Trinitarian theology, when he stated the reason for numbering the Holy Spirit third in order of nature by saying: We, therefore, say that the Son is the beginning from the beginning as He was God of very God, since the Father is the beginning. 68  On this point Aguinas teaches that, the order of nature means not the ordering of nature itself, but the existence of order in the divine persons according to natural origin.69   Again Aguinas’ teaching was an explanation of Augustine’s doctrine, which defined order of nature as not whereby one is prior to another, but, whereby one is from another.70  This is the basis of the theology of the Filioque. The Latins argued that they did not teach two origins of the Holy Spirit and yet at this point they were arguing that the Holy Spirit is third in order of nature because it is from the Son, Who is second in order of nature because He is from the Father.  To an Orthodox it may appear that the Latins teach two origins of the Holy Spirit when they speak of an order of nature in the Trinity, yet in reality, for the Latins, the origin of the Holy Spirit is one, the Divine Essence.  The persons of the Holy Trinity are understood in terms of relations. The relationship of the persons within the essence is expressed as the relationship of love.  The Father loves Himself and the Son, and in this the Holy Spirit proceeds as Love.70  Since Love between the Father and the Son is mutual, the Spirit (Love) proceeds from both. These relationships have their origin in the Divine Essence and, because the object loved is said to be in the lover,72 then even if the Holy Spirit has its origin in the loved (the Son) it still actually originates in the lover (the Father).


To all the arguments of the Latins that when they teach that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son, they do not teach two causes of the Holy Spirit but one, Saint Mark answered, and is it possible for one cause to come from two persons? Is this not a commingling of the hypostases? This is the dogma of Sabellios.73  Saint Mark understood what the basis for the Filioque was and according to him it taught a confusion of the hypostatic modes of existence. in continuation he stated:

if then, the unique source of the super-essential Godhead is the Father, and in this He is distinguished from the Son and the Spirit, what was the objective of this radical distinction? The Son cannot partake of the source of the Father, nor can the Holy Spirit do so, for thus, there is a confusion concerning the divine persons, and the distinctions are abolished. For as he says, neither is it lawful that those things which are united be abolished, nor can those things which are distinguished (from one another) be confused. And for this reason, (the matter) of the source of the Godhead can in no way be attributed to the Son.74


Montenegro was convinced that he could show that even the fathers of the East taught that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Son.  In attempting to prove his thesis, Montenegro offered Saint Mark an opportunity to confess the Church’s doctrine of Uncreated Grace:

We receive the Spirit from the Son: this is the Spirit of adoption. We become by Grace what the Son is by nature, through the adoption by the Spirit ...... if then, we receive the Spirit of adoption from the Son, we are also adopted of the Father by the Spirit. From the Spirit, we receive naught but that very Spirit.75


Upon hearing this, Montenegro, who was familiar with Orthodox doctrine, tried to force Saint Mark to expound on the doctrine of the Uncreated Energies of God. Finally he asked him directly: I ask you, reverend Father, is this Spirit which is bestowed by the Son creator, or is it creation?  For there are two modes in all; creator and creation; and if the Holy Spirit is creator, His energies are then created. Is this Holy Spirit, therefore, which God has poured upon us through Jesus Christ a creation?76  Saint Mark would not answer Montenegro, even though Monte­negro restated the question.  We are told by the Acts that, The Emperor, fearing that this discussion would lead us to another dogma, thus bringing unwillingly to the fore the question of the created and uncreated, directed that the discussion of this matter be halted.77


Reading the Acts one can readily note that this short but frantic episode concerning the Orthodox doctrine on Uncreated Grace was planned by Saint Mark. He continuously met Montenegro's arguments with standard answers: here, however, he insisted upon revealing the Orthodox doctrine on Grace.  In fact, he managed to put in a last word before the emperor made his power felt.  Saint Mark plainly and boldly stated what he considered to be the basis of the Latin heresy.  Concerning this matter is our difference to be found.  Let him (Montenegro) show us how he derives that the Spirit receives its existence from the Son, and how we receive creations from the Spirit.78  Saint Mark knew quite well that the Filioque doctrine was to be viewed in the context of Orthodox doctrine on the Divine Essence and Energies. He was familiar with Augustine and Aquinas and previous to his trip to Florence he had written such works as collection of chapters against the Heresy of the Akindynists and concerning the distinction between Divine Essence and Energies and concerning the fruits of the Spirit.79


Further evidence from the discussions at Florence that show Saint Mark was familiar with Scholastic theology is to be found when Montenegro, in defending the doctrine of the order of nature within the Trinity, brought forth an analogy between the stars and the Trinity.  Saint Mark interrupted Montenegro' s exposition and asked, From out of the created things and examples do you with to portray the professedly Divine Things' Montenegro answered Yes, created examples are used to explain the uncreated. From human things and from various beings, we exemplify the incomprehensible and inconceivable.80 This was clearly an exposition of the Augustinian and Thomistic doctrine of Analogia Entis, which Saint Mark recognized.


The Filioque controversy was quite involved and, in actuality, cannot be understood unless the doctrine of the Filioque is examined in the light of the Orthodox teaching on the Divine Essence and Energies.  It is due to a false theology on the Essence and activity of God that the Filioque found a place in the Latin Creed.  Saint Mark had an excellent knowledge of the doctrine of the Divine Essence and Energiess and was able to realize what the basis of the Filioque was. He was the successor of Joseph Bryennius81 who in turn had been a personal desciple of Saint Gregory Palamas.82  Although during the Filioque discussions at the Council of Florence, Saint Mark didn't have an opportunity to expound on the Orthodox doctrine of Grace, he did manage in one place83 to be explicit about the doctrine of the Uncreated Energies, and in two places84  to speak concerning the activity of the Holy Spirit in the world.  In his final reference to the activity of the Holy Spirit in the world he based himself on Saint Gregory Nazianzus' phrase that the Holy Spirit, is sent through economy, comes of its own volition.85  The Spirit is sent. into the world through the Son and it is through the Son that the Holy Spirit is revealed to mankind.86


The open discussions of the Council of Florence were not the only time that Saint Mark made it evident that the basic error of Latin theology is its incorrect view of the Divine Essence and Energies. Saint Mark submitted to the Latins87  three documents on purgatory in which he struck out at the doctrine of the Beatific Vision88 and Latin gnoseology89.

The Roman Catholic doctrine of the Filioque not only confuses the Hypostases of the Holy Trinity but also denies the real activity and presence of the Holy Spirit within the world.  According to the Holy Scriptures and the teachings of the Holy Fathers, if we do not acquire the Holy Spirit in this life, we are not saved.  St. Mark of Ephesus as well as all the Fathers who struggled against the false teachings of the Filioque were able to see and point out the dangers that lurked behind the phrase and from the Son. The Council of Florence has much to teach us, especially how when we are confronted by a new Council of Florence soon to be convened by the counterfeit Orthodox hierarchs who sit on the thrones of Constantinople and Moscow. The Filioque doctrine has already been accepted by them  and now they seek to give it the appearance of being Orthodox by convening a new Council of Florence. We believe, however, that just as these efforts bore no fruit in the past they will not be able, even now, to drown the truth in the sea of error.



1  D.J. Geanikopoulos, The Council of Florence (1438-1439) and the Problem of Union Between the Greek and Latin Churches, Church History, XXIV <1955>, No. 4, pp. 324-346.  cf.  J. Gill, The Council of Florence, (Cambridge. 1959), pp. 1-15. S. Runciman, The Eastern Schism, (Oxford, 1955), pp. 160-161; A. Alivizatos, Economy, (Athens, 1949), p. 97 (in Greek).


2  Geanikopoulos, op. cit., p. 333.


3  Cabasilas, N., De Vita in Christo, Migne, P.G., 150:521.


4 S. Upson, Simeon Archbishop of Thessalonika, St. Vladimir' s Seminary Quarterly, II (1958) No. 4, pp. 14-15.


5 A. Schmeman, "St. Mark of Ephesus and the Theological Conflicts in iyzantium", St. Vladimir's Seminary Quarterly, I (1957) No. 1, p. 16.


6 J. Romanides, Notes on the Palamite Controversy and Related Topics, Greek Orthodox Theological Review, VI (1960-1961) No. 2, p. 203.


7 The most important works of Acquinas were translated by Demetrius Cydones and his brother in the fourteenth century, cf. P. Sherrard, The Greek East and the Latin West, (London, 1959), p. 120.


8 The Hesychast Controversy was essentially a battle between Orthodox and Latin theologies, cf. J. Romanides, of), cit., pp. 194-205. Also C. K. Mamones notes that All the foes of the hesychasts were initiates of the Scholastic theology of the West.' K.G. Mamones, Mark Evgenicus; His Life and Works, Theologia, 25 1955), p. 384 (in Greek). Krumbacher also states that there are parts of Akindynus' Concerning Essence and Energy, which are literal translations from Acquinas' De Veritate Catholicae Fidei Contra Gentiles. K. Krumbacher, History of Byzantine Literature, (Athens, 1897), vol. 1, p. 195 (in Greek).


9  A. Schmemann, op. cit., pp. 16-17.


10  I. N. Ostroumoff, The History of The Council of Florence, (London, 1861), p. 46.


11  Migne, P. G., 155:97-123.


12  Excluding of course Bessarion, Isidore and Dorotheus.


13  I. N. Ostroumoff, op. cit., p. 156.


14  They carried the water and towel for the washing of the Pope's hands, cf. J. Gill, of,, cit., p. 293 -  294.


15  I. N. Ostroumoff, op. cit., p. 166.


16  I. Sevenko, "Intellectual Repercussions of the Council of Florence", Church History, XXIV (1955) No. 4, p. 299.


17  M. Cherniavskv. "The Reception of the Council of Florence in Moscow", Church History, XXIV (1955) no. 4, P. 348.


18  Migne, P. G. , 157:1058.


19  K. G. Mamones, op. cit., pp. 553-563.


20  1. Sevenko, op. cit., p. 314.


21  A. Alivizatos, op. cit., p. 97.


22  J. Romanides, op. cit., pp. 190-191.


23  Synods of Constantinople held in 1341 and 1351.


24  D. S. Balanos, Byzantine Church Authors, (Athens, 1951) pp. 133-135 (in Greek).


25  J. Gill, op. cit. ,p. 249.


26  J. Gill, Actorum Graecorum Concilii Florentini, (Rome 1953), p. 290.


27  Scholarius, G., Centre L'Union de Florence, ed. L. Petit, "Oeuvres Completes de Gennade Scholarios'', (Paris, 1930), t. Ill, pp. 155-156.


28  Actorum Graecorum, pp. 287-288 (my italics).


29  ibid, p. 288. "and concerning the various meanings of the word essence, some one (Aristotle) has spoken in the fifth Tome of Metaphisics9'.


30  I. N. Ostroumoff, op. cii., pp. 62-87. Gill, op. cit. pp. 147-178.


31  Actorum Graecorum, p. 47.


32  ibid., p. 101.


33  ibid. p. 146.


34  ibid. p. 148.


35  Migne, P. G. , 28:1469 - 1471.

36  J. Gill, op. cit., pp. 168 - 169.

37  ibid., p. 162.

38  Actorum Graecorum, p. 217.

39  J. Gill, op. cit., pp 169 - 179; N. Ostroumoff, op. cit., pp. 84-91.

40  N. Ostroumoff, op. cit., p. 86.

41  Saint  Mark  read  Augustine's De Trinitate in Greek.  Cf. Documents Relatifs au Concile de Florence, ed. L. Petit, Patrologia Orientalis, v. 15, p. 73.


42  J. Gill, op. cit., p.216.


43  N. Ostroumoff, op. cit., pp 52 & 55; Patrologia Orientalis, v. 15, pp. 48, 49, 67, 88 - 91, 121 - 122.


44  Quoted in J. Gill, op. cit., p. 226.

45  The doctrinal debate was  started  by  Montenegro who  in  his opening address quoted Augustine twice. Actorum Graecorum,  p.  250 ff.


46  Actorum Graecorum, p. 255.

47  N. Ostroumoff, op. cit., p. 93.

48  Actorum Graecorum, p. 256.

49  Migne, P. G., 43:148.

50  Actorum Graecorum, p. 256.

51  Migne, P. G., 43:153.

52  Actorum Graecorum, p. 257.

53  ibid.. p. 271.

54  ibid., p. 261.

55  ibid.. p. 368.

56  ibid.. p. 323.

57  Augustine,   On  The  Holy  Trinity,  Nicene  and  Post-Nicene Fathers, (Grand Rapids, 1956), vol. 3, pp. 99 - 101.

58 T. Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Q. 9, Art. 1; Q. 54, Art. 3; Q. 79, Art. 2; Q. 90, Art. 1.

59  Actorum Graecorum, p. 265 (My italics).

60  ibid.. p. 266.

61  ibid., p. 281.

62  ibid.

63  Summa, Q. 39, Art. 1 (My italics).

64  Augustine, op. cit., p. 88 - 89.

65  Actorum Graecorum, pp. 286 - 339.

66  ibid., p. 315.

67  ibid.

68  ibid., p. 308.

69 Summa, Q. 42, Art. 3 (My italics).

70 Quoted in Summa, Q. 42, Art. 3.

71 ibid., Q. 37, Art. 1 & 2; Q. 41. Art. 2.

72 ibid., Q. 37. Art. 1.

73  Actorum Graecorum, p. 352 (My italics).

74  ibid., p. 368

75  ibid.,  p.  342 (My italics). At this point St. Mark struck out against the Roman Catholic doctrine of created Grace.


76  ibid., p. 345.

77  ibid., p. 346. ,  78 ibid., p. 348.

79  K. G. Mamones, op. cit. p. 536.

80  Actorum Graecorum, p. 365.

81 Bryennius was also familiar  with Aquinas and Western Theology. cf. Dictionaire de Theologie Catholique. (Paris, 1905), vol. 2, pp. 1158 - 1159.

 82  A. Schmemann, op. cit., p. 16.

83  Actorum Graecorum, p. 345.

84  ibid.. pp. 257 & 364.

85  ibid., p. 365.

86  ibid.. p. 367.

87  Private  discussions on Purgatory were held  at  Ferrara  while everyone waited for  the  Emperor and the Pope to start the work of the council officially, cf. J. Gill, op.  cit., pp. 85 -130. N. Ostroumoff, ap. cit. , pp. 40-64.


88 Patrologia Orientalis, vol. xv, p. 157.

89  ibid., p. 161.