An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Processions (Trinitarian)

The divine processions of the Son and the Spirit in the immanent (internal) life of God are at the heart of the distinctions of the persons of the Trinity. Christian theology affirms that the Son proceeds from the Father (see Jn 8:42). Western theology has affirmed that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (see Jn 15:26). This double procession was expressed by the addition of the filioque clause to the Nicene Creed, which states that the Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son” (see BCP, p. 359). Eastern theology affirms that the Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son. Eastern theology therefore denies the double procession of the Spirit and rejects the addition of the filioque clause to the Nicene Creed. Some apply the term “procession” only to the Spirit, thereby distinguishing the Spirit from the Son who is “eternally begotten of the Father” (see BCP, pp. 358-359). The trinitarian processions concern the dynamic internal life of God with respect to the Son and Spirit, who are uncreated and co-eternal with God the Father. The internal processions of the “immanent Trinity” are distinguished from God's activity in creation, which is described in terms of the “economic Trinity.”

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.