Council of Verzy and Papal Claims (A.D. 991)


Pope St. Sylvester II (Gerbert of Aurillac)

But the Church of God is not subject to a wicked pope…” was the words stated by by Archbishop Arnulf of Orleans at the Council of Verzy, near Reims, in June of 991 [1]. What do we as Catholics make of this statement, and more importantly, of this Council which, as I will describe, ignored a mandate from Papal Rome? Of course, this moment in history afforded True Western Orthodoxy (a site devoted to preserving the Western/Latin Patrimony of the [Eastern] Orthodox Church) the opportunity to make note of it, and to emphasize the point that the Orthodox churches are even more justified in shedding off mandatory Papal obedience on the proper conditions. Allow me to explain the background briefly, and then explain why it is that, however much can be extracted from this historical situation contra-Papacy, it does not afford as much fodder for Eastern Orthodox interests, particularly because of how things ended. Ends do not justify the means, of course, but I would argue that there are two stories going on here, and one should take into account both sides rather than highlighting one as the auto-victor.

During the 10th century, the Papacy had been rocked with scandal after scandal with violence and the ambition of unrighteous men. It was in this same century that a controversy over the proper occupant of office to the Archepiscopal See of Reims, whose holder was the Primate of France. In 987, Hugh Capet had become King of France as well create a shift in dynastic succession since he was unrelated to Charlemagne, which was the Carolingian line. Seeking to conciliate with Carolingian loyalists, Capet appointed a Carolingian, Arnulf [different than Arnulf of Orleans already mentioned], to be the Archbishop of Reims (989). Due to the potential tension this might create, Arnulf took an oath of political allegiance to Capet. This would soon turn around later in the same year for, upon the invasion of a usurping King of France, Charles of Lorraine, who happened to be Arnulf’s uncle, the latter opened the gates of the city of Reims to allow the invasion to occur. When brought under questioning by Capet, Arnulf defended himself by saying that it was against his will. Following this, Capet, the King of France, knowing the jurisdiction of the Holy See, appealed to Pope John XV to depose the Archbishop for his alleged deceptive treason.  However, for whatever reason, the Pope made no reply to this. After about 2 years, Capet called a Council to meet at the monastery of Saint-Basle at Verzy, which gathered many French bishops and several abbots, to officially depose Arnulf, and a Gerbert of Aurillac, who would later become Pope Sylvester II, was chosen to take his place.

At the Council of Verzy, debates were launched. It was, interestingly enough, the abbots, who formed the papal-party and protested that such decisions as the deposition of the Archbishop of Reims and the appointment of a successor should not be made without Papal sanction. One abbot in particular, St. Abbo of Fleury , who happens to be a Saint venerated by the Eastern Orthodox churches (Feast Nov. 13th),  was among them. I think it would be useful to take a moment and examine what St. Abbo had to say about the divine institution of the Papacy to ecclesiastical government, since his viewpoint, not all that different from Arnulf of Orleans, yielded a different conclusion on the matter of the deposition of the Archbishop of Reims.

St. Abbo (+945-1004) was involved with politics in his day, and he even wrote an abridgement to the earlier Liber Pontificalis entitled Epitome de XCI Romanorum Pontificum Vitis, which was a work on the lives of the Popes.  In the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Richard W. Pfaff sums up the contribution of St. Abbo in these words: “One of the most versatile thinkers and writers of his time, Abbo put his mark on several areas of medieval life and thought, but none more so than in transmitting much that was valuable from the tradition of reformed French monasticism to the nascent monastic culture of late tenth-century England“. When it came to Papal authority in the case where the occupant of office was morally reprehensible, St. Abbo, in Letter 15, clearly distinguished between the office of Pope and the personal character. St. Abbot is also recorded in his Liber Apologeticus as telling an audience that Christ Himself had


St. Abbo of Fleury

said to Peter “thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church” . He also stated that Peter merited to be called “princeps ecclesiae” (Head of the Church) in Epistle V (PL 139.423D). For St. Abbo, St. Peter and his successors had an authority over the whole church derived from their Christ-given “principatus” (leadership) which truly is held by Christ Himself (PL 139.465d). In his Collectio Canonum, St. Abbo writes: “The authority of the Roman and Apostolic See shines over the universal Church of the whole world with the favor of Christ our Lord. And no wonder, when the pontiffs of the same See are seen to fill the place of St. Peter, who is the prince of the whole Church” (PL 139.479b). There is still much more to read from this saintly abbot, but I would not want to pass over a significant statement he makes, once again, in Epistle V: “Now, the Roman Church in its excellence over all the churches has this privilege that, as she holds the principate of the Apostolic head as key-bearer of the heavenly kingdom, the Roman church likewise bestows authority to virtually all her limbs, which are dispersed over the four corners of the whole earth. Who therefore contradicts the Roman, what are they but making themselves a portion of those who wander and become adversaries of Christ?!” [2]. Thus, even in the context of wicked Popes, there is this recognition of their office as being of divine institution. I have to say that I was quite surprised to find that he is venerated by the East. Perhaps there is a good reason. If we take all things into consideration, it should not surprise us, since what St. Abbo here claims about the divine institution of the Papacy was already loudly proclaimed by Pope St. Leo the Great over around 5 centuries prior, and many Pope’s before him claimed the same. Both Protestants and Eastern Orthodox scholars have discovered this, and several statements of St. Leo demonstrate the same.

To St. Abbo and others, Arnulf of Orleans issues a thundering anti-Papal statement which goes down in history as one of the first clear signs of what later would be called Gallicanism which we have on the record.

(a view which saw great restraint on Papal authority), which would later claim that the Pope had no authority over the Church of France. He listed how one Pope after another was wicked and depraved, and concludes with a question: “To what city shall we be able Pope_John_XVto have recourse in the future, now that we see the mistress of all nations destitute of all resources whether human or divine” [3]. In any case, the accused Arnulf [of Reims] was deposed by the Council in Verzy, and a Gerbert of Aurillac was “appointed” Archbishop of Reims. To this, Arnulf of Reims appealed to the authority of the Pope for a re-opening of the case. Pope John XV responded and asked the bishops, along with the royal officials, who had deposed Arnulf to either meet in the city of Rome or to meet at Aachen with his legate,  Abbot Leo of Sant’Alessio all’Aventino, to hear the case. The bishops refused to abide by the authority of the Pope in this matter. This would be in violation of the ancient canons of Sardica (3/5) which permit any accused bishop to appeal to Rome, and for the latter to enact a process of re-examination. Those bishops and royal officials met against the former in a Council in Chelles (994), and in turn, Pope John XV had excommunicated them, and stated that Arnulf is still the Archbishop of Reims since there was no valid deposition. Gerbert was also suspended by Leo (the Papal legate) at a Synod in Mouzon, thus officially declaring null the decrees of Verzy.

Pope John XV died in 996, and Gregory V, who reaffirmed the status of Arnulf as Archbishop of Reims, succeeded to the papal throne. Arnulf, formerly being in prison for his treason, had been released with the enthronement of Robert, son of Hugh Capet, as King of France in 996. A new turn of events intertwined with the problem of Arnulf as the valid Archbishop contra Gerbert, the pretender. King Robert had divorced his wife Suzanne five years before being enthroned and was joined in “marriage” to another, Bertha of Chartres, just after becoming King. When Pope Gregory V heard of this in 997, he stated that the re-marriage was null and that he was still lawfully wedded to Suzanne, thus living in adultery.  The Pope threatened excommunication to Richard if he did not amend his life, but the King refused. Even Gerbert, the pretending Archbishop of Reims, condemned this 2nd union, and had to travel to a German court on the matter, to see Otto III. But Robert came to his senses and began negotiations with the Pope. Sending St. Abbo of Fleury as intermediary, he pleaded with the Pope to allow his second marriage with Bertha, and that Arnulf would be able to return peacefully to the Archepiscopal see of Reims. Pope Gregory V admired the King’s willingness to recognize Arnulf, but could not permit his union with Bertha, saying “What God has joined together, let no man put assunder“.

With great irony, Gerbert, the falsely elected Archbishop of Reims, by a series of events which transpired, was elected to succeed Pope Gregory V and chose the name Sylvester II in 999, and made a formal judgment recognizing the validity of Arnulf of Reims as the true and authentic Archbishop, and he stated that while Arnulf offended King Capet with his treason, he could be recognized as Archbishop because his “deposition” had not


Pope Sylvester II

obtained Rome’s assent. Therefore, what Gerbert, when he was rival to Arnulf, denied was in the authority of Rome, he unhesitatingly affirmed as Pope.  So within a matter of 8 years, a solid change of mind, and the one for whom the Arnulf of Orleans had argued vociferously against Papal authority in the case of moral detriment or other disqualifying conditions is now here dancing to a different tune. Oxford historian, J.N.D. Kelly, writes this of Pope Sylvester II: “Once installed a Pope, Sylvester showed himself an intransigent champion of the traditional rights of the papacy which he had earlier assailed. Thus he immediately authorized his old rival Arnulf to resume his functions as Archbishop of Rheims on the ground that his deposition had not been sanctioned by the Holy See, and proceeded to act with a high hand against metropolitans and bishops who incurred his disapproval.” [4]

While I personally believe that current Canon Law should use the development of doctrine from both Scripture, history, and the Tradition of the Church to validate certain codified boundaries of the Pope, what we see here is an instance of Gallicanism being overturned by providence, and the Papal principle is vindicated despite the appalling situation Rome was in. A Medievalist historian, Walter Ullman, described the situation of this time period in the following words: “…even at this nadir…the Papacy itself does not appear to have suffered in prestige and authority… What mattered to the outside world was the institution as such, not the personality of the Pope…In this way the ancient Papal principle of a distinction between the papal office and the individual incumbent, was vindicated in a most striking manner” [5].

[1] Speech by Archbishop Arnulf of Orleans (+1003AD), Synod of Verzy in 991 AD; quoted in Schaff’s “History of the Christian Church, Volume 4”, pages 290-292

[2] The Political Theology of Abbo of Fleury, Marco Mostert, p. 128-9; Latin translation of the entire letter: “Opportunitas temporis solet quaeri ad exsequendam (0423C) efficaciam eiuslibet negotii, quandoquidem nihil fit quod eo carere possit. Quod ideo vestrae charitati obieci, quia plus aequo distulistis mittere indiculum vestrae legationis: ac idcirco vobis parere mihi fuit impossibile, quibus placere omnimodis gestio, nec unquam bonorum praeceptis inobediens apparebo, nisi constrictus aut religionis proposito, aut temporis articulo. Verum cum charitative ad expeditum iter monuissetis, haec adeo demiror, cur causam promotionis in vestris litteris non significastis: nam auctoritates sanctorum Patrum, quas specialiter deferri iussistis, quoquo locorum prae manibus habeo, ne decipiar aemulorum lenocinio, qui fratri parant foveam, et fortassis incident in eam (Eccle. X, 8). Unum quasi ex vulgi opinione addidici, (0423D) domnum videlicet AR. archiepiscopum contradicere privilegiis sancti M. communis patroni; quod quis desipiens crederet, ut vir tantae auctoritatis et mansuetudinis contraire velit Romanorum pontificum decretis et sanctorum canonum institutis? Siquidem Romana Ecclesia sua super omnes Ecclesias excellentia hoc habet privilegii, ut, sicut claviger regni coelestis obtinet principatum apostolici culminis, ita eadem Romana Ecclesia auctoritatem tribuat omnibus quasi suis membris, quae sunt per quatuor climata totius orbis. Qui ergo Romanae Ecclesiae contradicit, quid aliud quam se a membris eius subtrahit, ut fiat portio adversariorum Christi? Certe unicuique Ecclesiae suum iubet servari privilegium, (0424A) illud magnum et inviolabile Nicaenum concilium, quod sanctissimus papa Gregorius ita se fatetur venerari, ac si sanctum Evangelium. De privilegiis quoque idem papa venerabilis scribit episcopo Ioanni, inquiens: Grave nimis et contra sacerdotale constat esse propositum, cuiusquam monasterii privilegia olim indulta confundere, et arritum (sic) quae sunt pro quiete disposita niti deducere (lib VII, epist. 33). Et infra: Proinde his fraternitatem vestram hortamur affatibus, ut a monasterii molestia se sine aliqua excusatione contineat, et quae eis sunt diutius custodita, nullius occasionis tentet usurpatione convellere, sed cuncta illibate et sine aliqua studeat refragatione servare; et plus sibi in eodem monasterio, quam, praedecessoribus (0424B) suis licuit, noverit non licere. Absit itaque, absit ut sanctorum virorum, et maxime antiquorum pontificum Romanorum scripta modernorum sustineant praeiudicia, et floccipendant posteriorum sensa, quorum venerantur memorias! Si enim iuniores tempore veterum aspernantur edicta, quibus assensum praebere debuerant, quid restat, nisi ut plumbum aquis supernatet, lignum vero fundo tenus mersum dehiscat? praesertim cum scriptum sit: Ne transgrediaris terminos quos posuerunt patres tui (Prov. XXII, 28). Hoc unum suadeo, ut perquiratis merita Turonensium et Romanorum pontificum, quorum alter edixit, alter conscripsit, et postea utrum illis a contradicentium industria prae pondere diiudicare poteritis. Valete.”, and can be accessed here.

[3] Popes in the Middle Ages, vol 5, Horace Mann – pp. 358-359

[4] Oxford Dictionary of Popes, p. 137

[5] “A Short History of the Papacy in the Middle Ages” by Walter Ullman, page 123

Rebuttal to Western Rite Orthodox Monk on Maurus, Archbishop of Ravenna, and the Supposed “Roman Encroachment”



St. Peter Chrysologus, Archbishop of Ravenna (449)

A certain Hieromonk Enoch  produced a blog post wherein he seeks to show an early testimonial against the teaching of the Papacy as understood by the Catholic Councils of Lyons (1274),  Florence (1438-1444), Vatican (1870), and re-affirmed at Vatican II (1962-68). Here is my rebuttal to this article and which seeks to look at some of the surrounding facts which will completely block the force of his post.  Let me first describe the historical situation, and then the critique will proceed thereafter.

Pope St. Vitalian (venerated by the Eastern Orthodox on July 23rd) ordered Metropolitan of Ravenna, Maurus (in office from 642-671), to travel to Rome in order to verify his theological positions in a Synod, but Maurus refused to obey the summons. Vitalian ended up excommunicating Maurus, and Maurus attempted the same for the Pope. Maurus appealed to the Emperor  in Constantinople for intervention, and it ended up being successful. In 662, Emperor Constans II, who himself was particularly interested in releasing Ravenna from Roman oversight given that the Byzantine exarch , by then, resided in Ravenna, granted autocephaly to the See of Maurus and it was decreed that all future elections to episcopal office in that see would not be required to be conducted by Rome, as was formerly the case, but rather that the Emperor himself would confirm elections along with three nearby suffragans. It is recorded that when Maurus died in 671, his last words on his deathbed was for his colleagues to not submit to the authority of Rome. This event actually has a bigger backdrop. There had been previous tension between Rome and Ravenna, but that is outside the purview here.

Alright, so what’s wrong with Fr. Enoch’s article? In the first place, Maurus was seeking to be released from the Patriarchal authority of the Roman See, not specifically the Universal Papal authority. Ravenna had been within the Patriarchal oversight of Rome since Pope Celestine (430) decreed it to be so with approbation from Emperor Valentinian III. And so for the Pope to issue orders summoning the Metropolitan of Ravenna to attend a Synod in Rome was not an “encroachment” at all. . Needless to say, Maurus’s appeal was to the secular arm of Byzantine caesaro-papism, and it ended up being a mere minor set back for Rome since this ill-achieved autonomy from Rome only lasted 7 years. Metropolitan Theodore, 2nd successor to Maurus after Reparatus, was, like his predecessor Maurus, summoned to Rome by Pope St. Agatho I, third successor after Pope St. Vitalian, and, while there, negotiations were conducted and the autonomy acquired by Maurus was rescinded. This agreement was constitutionally confirmed, and thus Roman patriarchal authority over Ravenna restored, under the Pontificate of Pope St. Leo II with the approprobation of  the new Emperor Constantine

Some more data which exposes Fr. Enoch’s idea of the event between Pope St. Vitalian vs. Maurus is to be detailed below.

(1) As already stated, it was in the year 430 that Ravenna was elevated to Metropolitan status by a decree of the Pope and with approbation from Emperor Valentinian III. This happened when a certain John was occupant of the see of Ravenna. St. Peter Chrysosologous, successor to John, was also ordained by the Bishop of Rome,  was an ardent supporter of the Petrine supremacy of the Pope when he wrote to Eutychios of Constantinople saying ““We exhort you [Eutychios], honorable brother, that you obediently listen to what has been written by the blessed Pope of the city of Rome, since blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own See, offers the truth of the faith to those who seek. For we, in our zeal for peace and faith, cannot decide questions of faith apart from the consent of the bishop of Rome..” (St. Peter Chrysologus, Ad Eutychem, 449 AD).  In any case, Fr. Enoch already begins with the premise that Maurus is rightfully retaining an independence from Rome, as if it was his right. In fact, it was not.

(2) Some 55+ years before this split from Ravenna and Rome occurred, during the Pontificate of St. Gregory the Great (A.D. 600), there was a letter from another  John, Metropolitan of Ravenna, and in this letter John makes it clear that Rome was the source of Ravenna’s Metropolian privileges. He writes: “And how should I be so daring as to presume to oppose that most holy see, which transmits its laws to the universal Church, for maintaining whose authority, as God knows, I have seriously excited the ill-will of many enemies against myself?”, and “……Wherefore let no one endeavour to insinuate anything against me to my lord, since if any one wishes to do so, he cannot prove that any novelty has been introduced by me. For in what manner I have obeyed your commands and served your interests when cause required, may Almighty God make manifest to your most sincere heart: and I attribute it to my sins that after so many labours and difficulties which I endure within and without I should deserve to experience such a change. But again this among other things consoles me, that most holy fathers sometimes chastise their sons for the purpose only of advancing them the more, and that, after this devotion and satisfaction, you will not only conserve to the holy Church of Ravenna her ancient privileges, but even confer greater ones in your own times.“, and “…… that as often as priests or levites of the Church of Ravenna have come to Rome for the ordination of bishops or for business, they all have proceeded with napkins before the eyes of your most holy predecessors without any blame. Wherefore also at the time when I, sinner as I am, was ordained there by your predecessor, all my presbyters and deacons used them while proceeding in attendance on the lord pope. And since our God in His providence has placed all things in your hand and most pure conscience, I adjure you by the very Apostolical See, which you formerly adorned by your character, and now govern with due dignity, that you in no respect diminish on account of my deservings the privileges of the Church of Ravenna, which is intimately yours; but, even according to the voice of prophecy, let it be laid upon me and upon my father’s house, according to its deserving. I have, therefore, for your greater satisfaction, subjoined all the privileges which have been indulged by your predecessors to the holy Church of Ravenna, though none the less finding assurance in your venerable archives in reference to the times of the consecration of my predecessors. But now whatever, after ascertaining the truth, you may command to be done, is in God’s power and yours; since I, desiring to obey the commands of my lord’s Apostleship, have taken care, notwithstanding ancient custom, to abstain till I receive further orders.”
And so Maurus would be combating prerogatives and privileges which former Meotropolitans of Ravenna gladly said belonged to Rome.

(2) The whole dispute would make it seem as though Maurus was in the right, and Vitalian was in the wrong. However, I wonder Maurus even a Saint venerated by the East? Fr. Enoch’s article seems to say so, but I cannot find any source material for that. I am not sure. Interestingly enough, it is Pope St. Vitalian who is venerated by today’s Orthodox. So if Fr. Enoch wanted to stick with the idea that this event was an act of Rome usurping authority, then he will be accusing an Eastern Orthodox Saint of Papalism. Secondly, since, as we saw, the brief autonomy of Ravenna, established by the Emperor, lasted only 7 years and Roman jurisdiction was restored under Popes St. Agatho and Leo II, then Fr. Enoch would have to say that these latter 2 saints, also venerated by the modern Orthodox, were guilty of Papalism since they sought to restore what they lost in Maurus.

(3) Other events in Pope St. Vitalian’s life indicate that he was an ardent Papalist. Catholic Encyclopedia describes his relations with the churches of the East: “ Vitalian also had occasion to enforce his authority as supreme judge in the Eastern Church. Bishop John of Lappa in Crete, deposed by a synod under the presidency of the MetropolitanPaulus, appealed to the pope, and was imprisoned for so doing. He escaped, however, and went to Rome, where Vitalian held a synod in December, 667, to investigate the matter, basing its action on the records of the metropolitan Synod of Crete, and pronounced John guiltless. Vitalian wrote to the MetropolitanPaulus demanding the restoration of John to his diocese, and the return of the monasteries which had been unjustly taken from him. At the same time the pope directed the metropolitan to remove two deacons who had married after consecration. Vitalian also wrote respecting John to an imperial official and to Bishop George of Syracuse, who had supported the deposed bishop. Some of the letters attributed to this pope are spurious. He was buried at St. Peter’s.” So here one is curious as to why Fr. Enoch, an Orthodox cleric, is seeking to establish evidence in Maurus and Emperor Constans II against the Papacy when it is his own Saints who were on the opposing side? How can it be credible that the Orthodox Church would venerate all three of these Popes which Fr. Enoch insinuates were “encroaching” their Papal authority over Ravenna and then turn around to defend the logic of Maurus in the whole process mid-7th century? These questions, I believe, indicate that this would a rather instinctive guess at what may have thought to be a significant challenge to Papal authority. However, in the end, it was quite outside the purview, and had more to do with the Patriarchal rights of Rome over Ravenna being suspended by the force of the Byzantine Emperor.


(1) Oxford Dictionary of Popes, J.N.D. Kelly
(2) The Formation of Christendom, Judith Herrin
(3) The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages (476-752), Jeffrey Richards
(4) Writing Ravenna: The Liber Pontificalis of Andreas Agnellus, Joaquín Martínez Pizarro
(5) Churches of Eastern Christendom, Beresford Kidd
(6) History of the Church vol. II, Johann Joseph Ignaz von Döllinger
(7) Catholic Encyclopedia, art. “Pope Vitalian”


The Filioque in Eastern Orthodox Saints of the West (350-680 A.D.)



St. Hilary of Poitiers (+350, Feast Day Jan. 13th) writes:
“Nor will I infringe upon any one’s liberty of thought in this matter, whether they may regard the Paraclete Spirit as coming from the Father or from the Son [utrum ex Patre an ex Filio Spiritum paracletum putent esse]. The Lord has left nothing uncertain…Consequently, He receives [accipit] from the Son who has been sent by Him and proceeds from the Father [A Filio igitur accipit qui et ab eo mittitur et a Patre procedit]….The Spirit of truth proceeds from the Father, but He is sent by the son from the Father [A Patre enim procedit Spiritus veritatis, sed a Filio a Patre mittitur]” (De Trinitate 8.20). Now, some readers might immediately say that the sending of the Spirit from the Son is an economic procession in the world towards creation. Not only is this fine distinction not present in the quote just provided, but serious reasons exist to not even both speculating. In the very same Book and Chapter of the above citation, St. Hilary says that the procession of the Spirit from the Father is the same as proceeding from the Son. He writes: “Now I ask whether to receive from the Son is the same thing as to proceed from the Father. But if one believes that there is a difference between receiving from the Son and proceeding from the Father, surely to receive from the Son and to receive from the Father will be regarded as one and the same thing. For our Lord Himself says, Because He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father has are Mine: therefore said I, He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. That which He will receive—whether it will be power, or excellence, or teaching—the Son has said must be received from Him, and again He indicates that this same thing must be received from the Father. For when He says that all things whatsoever the Father has are His, and that for this cause He declared that it must be received from His own, He teaches also that what is received from the Father is yet received from Himself, because all things that the Father has are His”. (On the Holy Spirit 8.20, [PL 10:250C-251A])

Pope St. Damasus I (+384 – Feast Day Dec. 11th): The text to be cited is probably from the word of a Roman synod anywhere within the years 377 to 380. Some scholars attribute it directly to Pope Damasus. Other scholars have said it was the word of a Synod, though accepted by Pope Damasus. In either case, it means the same for the purpose here. The Synod, or, if it was solely Damasus, then it was Damasus, was responding to the heresy which said the Spirit Himself was a creature. It states: “We believe…in the Holy Spirit, not begotten nor unbegotten, not created nor made, but proceeding from the Father and the Son, always co-eternal with the Father and the Son” (The Filioque: History of a Doctrinal Controversy, A. Edward Siecienski, pp. 56-57). Now, in the Synod of Rome 382, which issued either the whole or the first three chapters of a text often referred to as the Decretum Gelasianum (Explanatio Fidei), a clear testimony to the Filioque doctrine is found. Now, if we ascribe it to St. Damasus or to St. Gelasius, it is to no less a venerated Saint in the contemporary Eastern Orthodox community. The text says: “The Holy Spirit is not only the Spirit of the Father, or not only the Spirit of the Son, but the SPirit of the Father and the Son. For it is written, ‘If anyone loves the world, the Spirit of the Father is not in him’ (1 John 2:15). Likewise, it is written, ‘If anyone, however, does not have the Spirit of Christ, He is none of His (Romans 8:9)’. When the Father and the Son are mentioned in this way, the Holy Spirit is understood, of whom the Son Himself says in the Gospel, that the Holy Spirit ‘proceedeth from the Father (John 15:26)’ and ‘He shall receive of mine and shall annuonce it to you (John 16:14)'” (Patrologia Latina 13.374)

St. Augustine of Hippo (+354-430, Feast Day June 18th ): “If that which is given has for its principle the one by whom it is given, because it did not receive from anywhere else that which proceeds from the giver, then it must be confessed that the Father and the Son are the principle of the Holy Spirit, not two principles, but just as the Father and the Son are one God . . . relative to the Holy Spirit, they are one principle” (The Trinity 5:14:15 [A.D. 408]).

St. Leo the Great (+450, Feast Day Feb 18th) : “And so under the first head is shown what unholy views they hold about the Divine Trinity: they affirm that the person of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost is one and the same, as if the same God were named now Father, now Son, and now Holy Ghost: and as if He who begat were not one, He who was begotten another, and He who proceeded from both yet another”” (Letter XV, section II)

St. Eucherios of Lyons (+AD 454 – Feast Day Nov. 16) , writes: “The Holy Spirit is neither begotten or unbegotten, but rather is He who proceeds from the Father and the Son, as a harmony, we may say, of Both” (Spiritus Sanctus nece genitus nec ingentius …. sed potius qui ex Patre et Filio procedat, velut quaedam patris filioque concordia). Migne 1.774

St. Faustus, Bishop of Riez (+485 – Feast Day September 28), writes:
“The fact that he has a name to Him proves that he is the Third Person, beside the two Firsts ; their unity of majesty shows that it proceeds from God and that ” third ” in the enumeration does not mean an inferiority of rank. Indeed, proceeding from the inmost of God is to be of its substance, not its creature. Do not try to penetrate how he is God, the one of whom it is manifest that he is God. Here the reason is silent, the truth is manifested. Why ask how is the union and equality between the King and the one of which it is proven that it is of royal nature and honored as such? It is superfluous to seek out the name when there is no doubt of its Greatness. Thus the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, according to these words:Who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him ( Ro 8: 9). And these: He breathed on them and said to them: ” Receive the Holy Spirit ( Jn 20:22 )……..If you want to know what is the difference between the one born and the one that proceeds, it naturally depends on the first being the only Son (of the Father) while the second derives its origin from the Father and the Son” (A Book “From the Holy Spirit” which is in french at this link, but can be translated. Author of translation approved the text – On the Holy Spirit)

St. Gennadius of Massilius (+495) writes:
““We believe that there is One God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost: Father, because He hath a Son; Son, because He hath a Father; Holy Ghost, because He is from [ex] the Father and the Son. The Father then is the Beginning [Principium] of Deity, Who as He never was not God, so also was He
never not Father: from Whom the Son was Begotten; from [a] Whom the Holy Ghost was not Begotten, because He is not Son; nor Unbegotten, because He is not Father; nor made, because He is not from [ex] nothing, but from [ex] God the Father and God the Son God proceeding” (Migne 58, 980)

St. Julianus Pomerius, presbyter of Arles (+498, influenced by St. Diadochos of Photiki) writes:
“..the faithful committed to our charge ought to be taught concerning the Holy Spirit that He proceeds from the Father and the Son, and therefore cannot be said to be either generate or ingenerate” (Patrologia Latina 59. 432)

St. Avitus of Vienne (+523 – Feast Day Feb 5th), writes:
“We for our part affirm that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the is the property of the Holy Spirit to proceed from the Father and the Son” (Migne 59.385-6)

St. Boethius (+524, Feast Day Oct. 23) writes:
“We shall admit that God the Son proceeded from God the Father and the Holy Ghost from both [et ex utrisque Spiritum Sanctum]…But since the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and since there are in God no points of difference distinguishing Him from God, He differs from none of the others” (De Trinitate 5; Eng. Trans.: Boethius, The Theological Tractates, trans. H.F. Stewart and E.K. Rand, Loeb Classical Library [New York: Putnam and Sons, 1926], 27,29)

St. Fulgentius of Ruspe (+526 – Feast Day Jan. 3rd) writes:
“Believe most firmly , and never doubt, that the same Holy Spirit, the One Spirit of the Father and the Son, proceeds from the Father and the Son. That He proceeds also from the Son is supported by the teaching both of Prophets and Apostles” (De Fide 11, Patrologia Latina 65.695). And : “The Father is begotten of none; the Son is begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son” (De Trinitate 2, Migne 499). And: “The Holy Spirit is wholly the Father’s and wholly the Son’s, because He is by nature the One Spirit of the Father and the Son; for which cause He proceeds wholly from the Father and the Son, and abides wholly in the Father and the Son; for He so abides as to proceed, and so proceeds as to abide” (Epistle 14, Migne 418)

St. Isidore of Seville (+600 – Feast Day April 4th) writes:
“The Holy Spirit is called God because He prpoceeds from the Father and the Son and has their essence…There is, however, this difference between the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit, that the Son is begotten of One, but the Spirit proceeds from both” (Patrologia Latina 82.268)

Pope St. Gregory Dialogus (+604, Feast Day March 12) writes:
“We can also understand His [i.e. the Son’s] being sent in terms of His divine nature. The Son is said to be sent from the Father from the fact that He is begotten of the Father. The Son relates that He sends the Holy Spirit… The sending of the Spirit is that procession by which it proceeds from the Father and the Son. Accordingly, as the Spirit is said to be sent because it proceeds, so too it is not inappropriate to say that the Son is sent because He is begotten” (Homiliarium in Evangelia Libri Duo 2.26 (Eng. Trans. Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies, trans. Dom David Hurst [Kalamazoo, Mich.:Cistercian Publications, 1990], page 202)).

St. Maximos the Confessor, +650 AD) “Those of the Queen of cities (Constantinople) have attacked the synodic letter of the present very holy Pope not in the case of all the chapters that he has written in it, but only in the case of two of them. One relates to the theology of the Trinity and, according to them, says: ‘The Holy Spirit also has his ekporeusis (ekporeuesthai) from the Son’. The other deals with the divine incarnation. With regard to the first matter, they (the Romans) have produced unanimous evidence of the Latin fathers, and also of Cyril of Alexandria, from the study he made of the gospel of St. John. On the basis of these texts, they have shwon that they have not made the Son the cause (aitian) of the Spirit — they know in fact that the Father is the only cause of the Son and the Spirit, the one by begetting and the other by ekporeusis (procession) — but that they have manifested the procession through him (to dia autou proienai) and have thus shown the unity and identity of the essence…. ” (Letter to Marinus – PG 91, 136)

St. Theodore of Canterbury (+A.D. 680) : “‘And we glorify our Lord Jesus Christ as they glorified Him, adding nothing, taking away nothing: and we anathematize in heart and word whom they anathematized: we receive whom they received: glorifying God the Father without beginning, and His Only-begotten Son, Begotten of the Father before all ages: and the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, ineffably; as those holy Apostles, and prophets, and doctors, whom we above commemorated, have preached‘” (Council of Hatfield, 680 AD).

St. Germain I of Constantinople (634-744 A.D.) – Let Death Pass You By, O Most Immaculate Lady


Of the 9 sermons attributed to St. Germain I of Constantinople, here below is one of the Dormition homilies.

“Let death pass you by, O Mother of God, because you have brought life to men. Let the tomb pass you by, because you have been made the foundation stone of inexplicable sublimity. Let dust pass you by; for you are a new kind of formation, so that you may be mistress over those who have been corrupted in the very stuff of their Potter’s clay…. Painful though it be for the soul to be dawn away from the body, O most Immaculate Lady, it is far more painful to be deprived of you!” (Patrologia Graeca 98. 357)

From the same homily:

“O Lay, all-chaste, all-good, rich in mercy, comfort of Christians, tender consoler of the afflicted, the ever-open refuge of sinners, do not leave us destitute of thy assistance…Shelter us under the wings of they goodness. By thy intercession watch over us. O unfailing hope of Christians, hold forth to us eternal life..For no one, Lady, all-holy, is saved except through thee, all-holy one…No one, Lady most chaste, is favored with any gift except through thee. No one, Lady most venerable, is given the merciful gift of grace except through thee… After thy Son, who more than thee has the interests of mankind at heart? Who more than thee protects and sustains us in our bitter sorrow? …Who like to thee excels as suppliant for sinners? …At the very invocation of thy hold name, thou dost turn aside from they servants the attacks of that most evil enemy, and keep them safe and unharmed”

(Patrologia Graeca 98, 377-381, English from Mary in the Documents of the Church, Ed. Fr. Paul Palmer S.J., page 57) )