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Dear Father Angelo good evening,
we know that God the Father begets the Word and loves Him infinitely and, at the same time, is loved in the same way by the Son (or Word) because the Son is also God. Therefore, the Son proceeds from the Father. The Holy Spirit who is God proceeds from the Father and from the Son: according to our understanding, in what way does the Holy Spirit proceed?

Priest’s answer


1. the Holy Spirit is the love of the Father, the love of God.
He is the love that is inside God, or rather who is God.
But God doesn’t love Himself blindly, but through knowing Himself.
Therefore the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the intellect, meaning through God’s knowledge itself who is the Word, the Son.

2. It’s true that Jesus says: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.” (Jn 15:26).
However, Jesus Himself also says: “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name” (Jn 14:26) and most importantly: “But if I go, I will send him to you.” (Jn 16:7).

3. He also says: “He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” (Jn 16:14-15).
It clearly says here that it’s not just the Father, but also the Son who sends the Holy Spirit.
Furthermore, the Spirit takes from the Son (“he will take from what is mine) that which He will declare, because everything that the Father has also belongs to the Son. 

4. That the Holy Spirit also proceeds from the Son and is therefore communicated by Him is likewise said in the Gospel, when the first apparition of the resurrected Jesus to the Apostles is recounted.
Having entered the upper room when the doors were closed, after having said “Peace be with you”, he breathed (here is the communication of the Holy Spirit) on them and said: “Receive the holy Spirit.” (Jn 20:22).

5. Saint Paul confirms all of this by saying that the Holy Spirit isn’t only the Spirit of the Father, but also the Spirit of the Son.
Indeed he says: “God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” (Gal 4:6).

6. Therefore, there’s only one principle from which both the Son and the Holy Spirit proceed: the Father.
There’s also only one spiration: from the Father through the Son, that is, through cognition.

7. During the Council of Florence (1439) there was an agreement between the Latins (Catholics) and the Greeks (Orthodox), so much that it was declared: “In the name of the holy Trinity, Father, Son and holy Spirit, we define, with the approval of this holy universal council of Florence, that the following truth of faith shall be believed and accepted by all Christians and thus shall all profess it: that the holy Spirit is eternally from the Father and the Son, and has his essence and his subsistent being from the Father together with the Son, and proceeds from both eternally as from one principle and a single spiration.” (DS 1300).
And also: “We declare that when holy doctors and fathers say that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Father through the Son, this bears the sense that thereby also the Son should be signified, according to the Greeks indeed as cause, and according to the Latins as principle of the subsistence of the holy Spirit, just like the Father. And since the Father gave to his only-begotten Son in begetting him everything the Father has, except to be the Father, so the Son has eternally from the Father, by whom he was eternally begotten, this also, namely that the holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.” (DS 1301).

8. The Greeks also agreed with the Latins in subscribing to the following: “We define also that the explanation of those words “filioque” (and from the Son) was licitly and reasonably added to the creed for the sake of declaring the truth and from imminent need.” (DS 1302).

9. In practice though, after the Council of Florence, the West continued to profess that the Holy Spirit “proceeds from the Father and from the Son”, while the East continued to abide by the original formulation from the Council of Constantinople.

I wish you to always be filled with the Holy Spirit, I bless you and recommend you to the Lord.
Father Angelo

Translated by Marta G.