Page 4, 10th April 1981

10th April 1981
Page 4
Page 4, 10th April 1981 — A formidable hurdle in the unity stakes

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Locations: Rome


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A formidable hurdle in the unity stakes

I READ with the greatest interest and sympathy Christopher Howse's lead article, April 3, and of the Pope's call to unity on the basis of the Nicene Creed. Sadly, however, there is a fly in the ointment. that His Holiness wishes to use to head the wound.

In mentioning the Councils. which the Pope has called Catholics to cornmemorate. Mr Howse writes: "These councils hammered out the version of the Nicene Creed which is said at Mass." And unfortunately for the cause of unity. this is not so.

The Saviour spoke of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, "Who proceeds from the Father."

These words from St. John's Gospel (c11.15.v.26) were accepted into the Creed formulated at the Councils of Nicea and Constantinople (not Constantinople and Ephesus!). which in confessing belief in the Holy Spirit, speaks of Him as "the Lord. the Giver of Life. Who proceeds from the Father " So ran the Creed of undivided Christendom for centuries, and so the Creed is recited in Orthodox churches to this day.

In the West, however. the word (drogue (and from the Sbn) was interpolated. which modifies the

Saviour's doctrine. The Creed now said at Mass runs: And in the Holy Spirit. the Lord, the Giver of Life. Who proceeds from the Father and the Son. ...

Although in parts of the west, the (Moque had been used before this time, in the early years of the ninth century Pope Leo III had the uninterpolated Creed inscribed on silver plaques and set up in St. Peter's in Rome.

It was not for another two hundred years (in 1014, at the Coronation of the Emperor Henry 11) that the Creed with the innovation of thefilioque was used at Rome.

Oh, if only Pope John Paul II. in appealing to the authority of the earliest councils of the Church. had returned to their confession.

If only he had had the courage to remove the fly from the ointment. what a soothing balm his words would have been for Christians of the Orthodox Church. to whom the addition of the filioque is a cause of heartfelt offence.

Archimandrite Alexis Diocesan Administrator Russian Orthodox Church in Exile London W6

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