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The Holy Spirit

In the Scriptures

And in the Holy Spirit (John 14:26Acts 1:8)

The Lord, the Creator of life (Acts 5: 3-4Genesis 1:2John 6:632 Corinthians 3:6)

Who proceedeth from the Father (John 15:26)

Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified (Matthew 3:16-17)

Who spake through the prophets (I Samuel 19:20Ezekiel 11:51 Peter 1:10-11Ephesians 3:5)

Commentary from the Fathers

The Holy Orthodox Church confesses the Holy Spirit as the True God, the Third Person (Hypostasis) of the Holy, Consubstantial, Life-Giving and Indivisible Trinity. The Church confirmed her hope and faith in the Holy Spirit as God in the definition of the Second Ecumenical Council (Constantinople, 381), which was convened to condemn, among other things, the heresy of Macedonius who denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit. This definition entered into the Creed as the eighth article.

Holy Scripture testifies to the Holy Spirit while speaking of the very beginning of Creation: The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters (Gen. 1:2). Further in Holy Scripture the Holy Spirit is mentioned frequently, disclosing His divine attributes. The Holy Spirit is the True God (Acts 5:3-4). He is glorified equally with the Father and the Son (Matt. 28:19), He is All-Knowing (John 14:26; 1 Cor. 2:10-11), Everywhere-Present (Rom. 8:9), Eternal (John 14:6), and Omnipotent (1 Cor.12:7-11). Creative activity is inherent in Him (Gen. 1:2; Ps. 32:6; Job 33:4), He regenerates souls, cleanses men of their sins and sanctifies them (John 3:5-6; 1 Cor. 6:11), and is the world’s Providence (Ps. 104:30). The Creed calls the Holy Spirit the Giver of Life, because through His activity man becomes a partaker in life eternal in God.

The distinctive property of the Third Person of the Trinity the Holy Spirit is that He proceeds from God the Father, Who, according to St. Maximus the Confessor, confers His one nature upon the Son and upon the Holy Spirit alike, in Whom it remains one and undivided, not distributed, while being differently conferred; for the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father is not identical with the generation of the Son by the same Father. The procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father is eternal and comprises the Spirit’s personal property, belonging to Him alone as the Third Person of the Trinity.

The Orthodox Church has always preserved and will continue to preserve unaltered the Undivided Church’s teaching on the Holy Spirit’s personal property the eternal procession of the Spirit from the Father the definition of the Second Ecumenical Council and the teaching of the Church Fathers in the spirit and power of Holy Scripture. She preserves untouched the formulation of the Creed as set out by the first two Ecumenical Councils. The Fathers of the following Ecumenical Councils forbade any alterations in the Creed through addition or deduction of any new words.

As Holy Scripture teaches, the Father creates everything by the Son in the Holy Spirit.

According to St. Cyril of Alexandria,

"It is the Father Who acts, but by the Son in the Spirit; the Son also acts, but as the power of the Father, inasmuch as He is from Him and in Him according to His own Person. The Spirit also acts, for He is the All-Powerful Spirit of the Father and of the Son."

The Holy Spirit participated with the Father and the Son in the creation of the world, for by the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth (Ps. 33:6), and of man (Gen. 1:26-27) .The Holy Spirit bore witness of Himself through the Prophets and the chosen men of God, proclaimed the Lord’s Truth and Will to God’s people, and disclosed the coming Messiah in the prototypes: No prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men, moved by the Holy Spirit, spoke from God (2 Pet. 1:21).

The action of the Holy Spirit never ceased in the world, but it was only with the coming of Christ the Savior into the world that the fullness of God’s saving grace was made accessible to men. And from His fullness have we all received, grace upon grace (John 1:16).

The Holy Spirit was revealed to the world in a special way on the day of the founding of Christ’s Church Pentecost when He descended upon the Holy Apostles in the form of tongues of fire (Acts 2). From that charismatic moment to the present the Holy Spirit abides in the Church as Christ Himself bears witness: And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of Truth (John 14:16).

Everything in the Church is filled with the Holy Spirit. The action of His grace abides in every sacrament of the Church and extends to all forms of divine service. In the Holy Eucharist, the supreme sanctifying moment in the Church’s daily liturgical service, the prayers and rites are linked, above all, with the invocation of the Holy Spirit. The Church prays that through Holy Communion we may commune with the Holy Spirit; that we, having partaken of the Holy Gifts, may bear the living Christ in our hearts and be temples of the Holy Spirit.

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