"THROUGH THE SON"
St. Gregory Thaumaturgus
We acknowledge that the Son and the Spirit are consubstantial with the Father, and that the substance of the Trinity is one — that is, that there is one divinity according to nature, the Father remaining unbegotten, and the Son being begotten of the Father in a true generation, and not in a formation by will, and the Spirit being sent forth eternally from the substance of the Father through the Son, with power to sanctify the whole creation.
(Gregory Thaumaturgus, Sectional confession of faith 17)
St. Gregory of Nyssa
If, however, if any one cavils at our argument, on the ground that by not admitting the difference of nature it leads to a mixture and confusion of the Persons, we shall make to such a charge this answer — that while we confess the invariable character of the nature, we do not deny the difference in respect of cause, and that which is caused, by which alone we apprehend that one Person is distinguished from another — by our belief, that is, that one is the Cause, and another is of the Cause; and again in that which is of the Cause we recognize another distinction. For one is directly from the first Cause, and another by that which is directly from the first Cause; so that the attribute of being Only-begotten abides without doubt in the Son, and the interposition of the Son, while it guards His attribute of being Only-begotten, does not shut out the Spirit from His relation by way of nature to the Father.
(Gregory of Nyssa, To Abablius “On Not Three Gods”)*
--- St. Nyssen refers here to the Three Persons of the Trinity: One is "the Cause" (the Father), Another is "[directly] of the Cause" (The Son), and Another yet is "by that which is directly from the first Cause. (the Spirit)" The Casuality, in and of itself, is still referred back to the Father -- yet He is called "first Cause", and the Son is said to be "directly from the first Cause." Gregory is still assertive that the Spirit is not "shut out" from the Father in His relation to Him, but acknowledges that the Son plays an eternal role in that relationship.
For the plea will not avail them in their self-defense, that He is delivered by our Lord to His disciples third in order, and that therefore He is estranged from our ideal of Deity. Where in each case activity in working good shows no diminution or variation whatever, how unreasonable it is to suppose the numerical order to be a sign of any diminution or essential variation! It is as if a man were to see a separate flame burning on three torches (and we will suppose that the third flame is caused by that of the first being transmitted to the middle, and then kindling the end torch ), and were to maintain that the heat in the first exceeded that of the others; that that next it showed a variation from it in the direction of the less; and that the third could not be called fire at all, though it burnt and shone just like fire, and did everything that fire does. But if there is really no hindrance to the third torch being fire, though it has been kindled from a previous flame, what is the philosophy of these men, who profanely think that they can slight the dignity of the Holy Spirit because He is named by the Divine lips after the Father and the Son?
(Gregory of Nyssa, On the Holy Spirit, Against the Macedonians 6)*
--- Here, Gregory vouches for the co-equality of persons signified the Divine Name (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) against those who infer, from the fact that those titles occur in sequence, their must be a degradation in dignity. Nyssen compares the Divine Nature shared by all three Persons to a Fire alight upon three Torches. Ablaze on all three torches is the same fire, signifying the oneness of Divine nature and being, but one of those torches supplies the other two with that flame. That first torch passes its fire to a second, which in turn passes that fire received from the first torch onto the third. One torch is originator of that flame, and it is the same flame among all three, but the third torch receives the first torches light via the second torch.
St. Hilary of Poitiers:
St. Hilary of Poitiers:
As in the revelation that Your Only-begotten was born of You before times eternal, when we cease to struggle with ambiguities of language and difficulties of thought, the one certainty of His birth remains; so I hold fast in my consciousness the truth that Your Holy Spirit is from You and through Him, although I cannot by my intellect comprehend it.Hilary compares the "revelation" of the Son's eternal origin with the "truth" of the Spirit, and if he is taking this comparison to its fullest extent, he might also be referring to the Spirit's eternal origin. A great mystery of the Christian faith is that the Sons was born eternally of the Father; another great mystery of the Faith is that the Spirit is "from [the Father] through [the Son.]
(Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity 12:56) *
Elsewhere in this same work, Hilary explicitly uses the term "proceeds from Father and Son", and in rhetorical fashion asks whether to proceed from the Father and to receive from the Son "mean the same thing." He evidently sees that there is no difference in the Spirit "receiving of the Son" and "proceeding from the Father."
St. Athanasius of Alexandria:
Not then as the Son in the Father, so also we become in the Father; for the Son does not merely partake the Spirit, that therefore He too may be in the Father; nor does He receive the Spirit, but rather He supplies It Himself to all; and the Spirit does not unite the Word to the Father , but rather the Spirit receives from the Word.
(Athanasius, Four Discourses Against the Arians III:25:26)
If then, as you say, 'the Son is from nothing,' and 'was not before His generation,' He, of course, as well as others, must be called Son and God and Wisdom only by participation; for thus all other creatures consist, and by sanctification are glorified. You have to tell us then, of what He is partaker. All other things partake of the Spirit, but He, according to you, of what is He partaker? Of the Spirit? Nay, rather the Spirit Himself takes from the Son, as He Himself says; and it is not reasonable to say that the latter is sanctified by the former. Therefore it is the Father that He partakes; for this only remains to say. (Athanasius, ibid I:5:15) *The Arians apparently acknowledged that all created things, by virtue of the creatureliness, partake of God's Holy Spirit. Athanasius, in taking Arian christology to task, essentially presses them with the question that naturally arises from their theology: if the Logos is a creature, shouldn't it then partake of the Spirit as well? Athanasius then immediately presents the corrective theology, and bases its truth upon Christ's own words: "Nay, rather the Spirit Himself takes from the Son, as He Himself says", and juxtaposes this with the fact that "it is the Father [of which] He partakes."
St. Didymus the Blind
For it is not the case that the Father announces to the Son his will as though the Son, who is Wisdom and Truth, were ignorant, since everything which [the Father] speaks he possesses in wisdom and in substance, as he is wise and truly subsisting. For the Father, therefore, to speak, and for the Son to hear, or, vice versa, for the Son to speak to the Father, signifies the identity of nature and of volition that is in the Father and the Son. And also the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Wisdom, cannot hear the Son speaking things which he does not already know, since he himself is that which is put forth from the Son…The Lord’s words that follow confirm this opinion, when he says, “He (i.e., the Paraclete) shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine” (Jn 16:14). Once more, this term, “to receive,” must be understood in a manner befitting the divine nature… For just as the Son, in giving, is not deprived of those things which he bestows, and does not confer upon others to his own loss, so likewise the Spirit does not receive what he did not have before…For neither is the Son anything apart from those things which are given to him by the Father, nor is there any other substance belonging to the Holy Spirit besides that which is given to him by the Son. (Didymus the Blind, de Spiritu Sancto 36-37)
Servian of Gabala
To God the Father, the Unbegotten, and to the Only-begotten Son, begotten from him, and to the Holy Spirit who proceeds from their essence, to the Three in One substance, be all glory, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. (Servian of Gabala, Sermon on the Epiphany, c. 390)
St. Epiphanios of Salamis
And we believe in the Holy Ghost, who spake in the Law, and preached in the Prophets, and descended at Jordan, and spake in the Apostles, and indwells the Saints. And thus we believe in him, that he is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the perfect Spirit, the Spirit the Comforter, uncreate, who proceedeth from the Father, receiving of the Son, and believed on.
(Creed of St. Epiphanius)
St. Ambrose of Milan
The Holy Spirit also, when He proceeds from the Father and the Son, is not separated from the Father nor separated from the Son. For how could He be separated from the Father Who is the Spirit of His mouth? Which is certainly both a proof of His eternity, and expresses the Unity of this Godhead.According to St. Ambrose, the reality of the Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son, is a proof of His eternality and of the unity of the Godhead.
(Ambrose of Milan, On the Holy Spirit 1:11:120)
Learn now that as the Father is the Fount of Life, so, too, many have stated that the Son is signified as the Fount of Life; so that, he says, with You, Almighty God, Your Son is the Fount of Life. That is the Fount of the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit is Life, as the Lord says: The words which I speak unto you are Spirit and Life, (John 6:64) for where the Spirit is, there also is Life; and where Life is, is also the Holy Spirit. (Ambrose of Milan, On the Holy Spirit 1:15:172)
St. Maximus the Confessor
“For just as the Holy Spirit exists, by nature, according to substance, as belonging to the Father, so also does he, according to substance, belong to the Son, in that, in an ineffable way, he proceeds substantially from the Father through the begotten Son.” (St. Maximus the Confessor, Question 63 to Thalassius)
“Just as Mind is the cause of the Word, so also it is [cause] of the Spirit, but by means of the Word [διὰ μέσου δὲ τοῦ λόγου]. And just as we are unable to say that a word is ‘of the voice,’ so also neither can we say that the Word is ‘of the Spirit.’”
(St. Maximus the Confessor, Quaestiones et dubia, I, 34)