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Catholic Dictionary




A term meaning "and from the Son," which over the centuries became the center of controversy between the Eastern Churches separated from Rome and the Catholic Church. The Eastern Christians first objected to the insertion of this phrase in the Nicene Creed, which now states that the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son." The last three words had not been in the original creed but were added later, with the approval of Rome. After the ninth century the Eastern leaders challenged not only the addition but the doctrine itself, whether the Holy Spirit proceeded not only from the Father but also from the Son. In recent years the issue has become more historical than doctrinal, since those who believe in Christ's divinity, whether Eastern or Western Christians, all accept the fact that the Third Person proceeds from the Second as well as the First Person of the Trinity. Given this common faith, the verbal expression has become secondary.