Monday, June 20, 2016

The many names of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit, the Third Hypostasis of the Trinity has multiple names. Many Church Fathers have examined this interesting fact. St Gregory Nazianzen claimed: ‘I am seized with dread, when I think of the abundance of titles. . . He is called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Mind of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord, and Himself the Lord, the Spirit of Adoption, of Truth, of Liberty. . . . The Creator-Spirit, who by baptism and by resurrection creates anew; the Spirit who knows all things, who teaches, who blows where and to what extent he lists . . . who reveals, gives light, quickens, or rather is the very Light and Life; who makes temples, who deifies; who perfects so as even to anticipate baptism, yet after baptism to be sought as a separate gift; who does all things that God does; divided into fiery tongues; dividing gifts; making Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, pastors and Teachers . . .another Paraclete in the sense of another God.’[1]

According to a prayer from the Liturgy of St Basil, said silently by the priest, we read: He is ‘the Spirit of truth, the gift of adoption, the pledge of future inheritance, the first-fruits of eternal blessings, the life-giving power, the source of sanctification.’ Additionally, St John of Damascus names the third hypostasis of the Holy Trinity: ‘Spirit of God, direct, authoritative, the fountain of wisdom, and life, and holiness; God existing and addressed along with the Father and Son: uncreated, full, creative, all-ruling, all-effecting, all-powerful, of infinite power, Lord of all creation and not subject to any lord: deifying, not deified: filling, not filled: shared in, not sharing in: sanctifying, not sanctified.’[2]

[1] ‘Or. XXXI (Theol. V), 29-30’, P.G., XXXVI, 159 BC.
[2] ‘De fide orth., I, 8’, XCIV, 821 BC.

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