An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


From the Greek pneuma (wind, breath, spirit) and logia (doctrine), indicating that branch of Christian theology which deals with the Holy Spirit. Three aspects of the received doctrine are especially important: 1) The recognition by the Council of Constantinople in 381 that God is one Being in three Persons. This recognition acknowledges the full divinity of the Spirit, “who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified” (Nicene Creed, BCP, pp. 327, 328, 359). The decision represents the triumph of the Cappadocian Fathers over the pneumatomachians or Macedonians, who denied the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. 2) The definition of the difference between the Son and the Spirit. As the Council of Nicaea declared the Son to be “begotten, not made” (Nicene Creed, BCP, p. 326), the Council of Constantinople declared that the Spirit “proceeds from the Father” (see BCP, p. 327; Jn 15:26). 3) The addition to the Creed of the so-called “filioque” clause during the sixth century, perhaps at the Council of Toledo in 589 (or earlier). The clause asserts that the Spirit proceeds from “the Father and the Son.” This “addition” came to be universally accepted in the west but rejected by Eastern Orthodox churches. The 1988 Lambeth Conference recommended that the phrase be dropped from the Nicene Creed in Anglican churches. The 1994 General Convention of the Episcopal Church resolved to delete the filioque from the Nicene Creed in the next edition of the Prayer Book. See Holy Spirit.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.