RE: [steiner] in the year 869 in Constantinople, 8th council
*******I believe that, to understand the root of the controversy, you'd have to go back to what was handed down to the Church from Aristotle about the separate 'souls' of Man, which was regarded as fundamental to all educated men's thought in late Roman times and especially influential to the thinking of most Gnostics, Platonists as they were. The rational soul the Greeks perceived that Man has was that through which Man knows the eternally true, as in mathematics. This the early Christians accepted as the spirit in Man. The later Roman church gradually downplayed this because it wanted authority to rest with its pseudo-Christian continuation of the Roman state religion, in other words that men could not know the spirit on their own but had to turn to Rome for answers. This is the root of the "two souls heresy."
Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 23:53:32 +0000
Subject: [steiner] in the year 869 in Constantinople, 8th councilRudolf Steiner refers frequently to this Council as to the abolishment of the spirit in man.
This came up in our study group Monday night.
" `Spirit' was eliminated (as I have often related) from Western humanity in the year 869 at
the Eighth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople. The dogma was then drawn up that
Christians must not regard man as consisting of body, soul and spirit, but of body and soul
only, though certain spiritual qualities were to be ascribed to the soul. This abolition of the
spirit is of tremendous significance. It was dogma, — that in the year 869 in
Constantinople, it was decided that man must not be regarded as endowed with `anima'
and `spiritus,' but only `unam animam rationalem et intellectualem. ' The dogma that `The
soul has spiritual qualities' was spread over the spiritual life of the West in the twilight of
the ninth century.
from Earthly Death and Cosmic Life
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.
http://wn.rsarchive .org/Lectures/ EarthDeath/ 19180205p01. html;mark= 30,27,41# WN_ma
There does not seem to be a clear statement of the abolishment but a deduction of the
two souls controversy and the Filioque controversy in my research on the Internet. Two
references below mention these:
One of our members forwarded the following;
"This council, designated as the eighth ecumenical council by western canonists:
http://www.piar. hu/councils/ ecum08.htm# Definition
Though the old and new Testament teach that a man or woman has one rational and
intellectual soul, and all the fathers and doctors of the church, who are spokesmen of God,
express the same opinion, some have descended to such a depth of irreligion, through
paying attention to the speculations of evil people, that they shamelessly teach as a
dogma that a human being has two souls, and keep trying to prove their heresy by
irrational means using a wisdom that has been made foolishness.
Therefore this holy and universal synod is hastening to uproot this wicked theory now
growing like some loathsome form of weed. Carrying in its hand the winnowing fork of
truth, with the intention of consigning all the chaff to inextinguishable fire, and making
clean the threshing floor of Christ, in ringing tones it declares anathema the inventors and
perpetrators of such impiety and all those holding similar views; it also declares and
promulgates that nobody at all should hold or preserve in any way the written teaching of
the authors of this impiety. If however anyone presumes to act in a way contrary to this
holy and great synod, let him be anathema and an outcast from the faith and way of life of
the two souls controversy referred to appears to be Manicheeism -- the idea that man had
a good soul and and a bad soul...
The following is an outline of Manichaeism and Plotinus' doctrine on evil. Reviving the
errors of the Marcionites, the Gnostics, and of Zoroaster, the Manichaeans posited two
supreme principles, one beneficent, the other evil, in order to explain the evil found in the
world, since evil cannot come from God, the good principle. They also taught that matter
and the flesh are from the evil principle, as is also the inferior or sensitive soul in man,
whereas the spiritual soul is derived from the good principle"
I found this about the Filioque (and the son) Controversy:
http://www.religion facts.com/ christianity/ beliefs/holy_ spirit.htm
"The Holy Spirit in Christian Theology
A formal doctrine of the Holy Spirit did not begin to be developed until the early third
century. Tertullian (c.160-c.225) and the Montanist heresy showed the need to distinguish
between true and false activities of the Holy Spirit. Origen of Alexandria (c.185-c.254)
taught that the Spirit worked primarily within the Church, whereas the Word (Christ)
worked within the whole of creation.
In the 4th century, a heretical group known as the Pneumatomachi or Macedonians
accepted the divinity of Christ (against Arianism) but denied the full divinity of the Holy
Spirit. This belief was refuted by St. Basil the Great in his De Spiritu Sancto ("On the Holy
Spirit") and the Pneumatomachi were condemned by Pope Damasus in 374 and by the
Council of Constantinople (canon 1) in 381. It was also at the Council of Constantinople
that the divinity of the Holy Spirit was formalized. The doctrine of the Spirit was further
elaborated by St. Augustine in his important work De Trinitate ("On the Trinity"), in which
the Holy Spirit is seen as the bond of union and love between the Father and the Son.
The Filioque Controversy
The controversy over the Latin word filioque is regarded by scholars as one of the chief
factors contributing to the split of the western and eastern churches, which was
formalized in 1054 AD. It continues to be the source of bad feeling towards Catholicism in
Eastern Orthodoxy today. Although the controversy centers around just one word and a
rather abstract issue regarding the Holy Spirit, it causes some theological difficulty for
Eastern Christians, but perhaps more importantly, they resent the West's tampering with
the ecumenical creeds, which are of great importance in Orthodoxy.
The filioque controversy centers around the relationship between the Spirit and the other
two Persons in the Trinity, the Father and the Son. In Christian theology and creeds, the
Son is "eternally begotten" of the Father. This means that the Son is somehow caused or
generated by the Father but not created or begotten in a chronological sense, since the
two are both eternal. But how to understand the relationship of the Holy Spirit to the
Father and the Son? In the Eastern Church, the Spirit is described as proceeding from the
Father. Like "begotten," this term both recognizes the Father as the source and indicate an
eternal, ongoing relationship. This was the phrase used in the original Nicene-
Constantinopolitan Creed (381).
In the Western Church (Catholicism and Protestantism) , however, the Spirit is described as
proceeding from the Father and the Son. This last phrase, "and the Son," is the English
equivalent of the Latin word filioque. The idea that the Spirit proceeds from the Son, which
is also known as "Double Procession" is based on the following New Testament passages:
John 16:13-15 - Jesus says the Spirit will take what is Jesus' and show it to the disciples
Gal. 4:6 - Holy Spirit as "the Spirit of the Son"
Rom. 8:9 - Holy Spirit as "the Spirit of Christ"
Phil. 1:19 - Holy Spirit as "the Spirit of Jesus Christ"
John 14:16, 15:26, 16:7 - Jesus sends the Holy Spirit
John 20:22 - Jesus breathes on the disciples and says, "Receive the Holy Spirit"
Western theologians also find support for the filioque doctrine in the writings of St. Cyril
of Alexandria, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, and especially St. Augustine. The filoque phrase is
first recorded as being added to the creed at the Third Council of Toledo (589), and by the
9th century the phrase was routinely used in the Western Church. The attractiveness of
this view for Western thinkers is that it emphasizes the relational bond between the three
Persons of the Trinity. They sought to preserve the Persons' distinction from one another,
but also emphasizing their unity and close relationship.
However, most of the early Greek church fathers were adamant that the Spirit proceeds
only from the Father, and, as seen above, the original 381 Creed reflects this belief.
Eastern theologians stress that there must be only one Fount of Divinity within the
Godhead, which is the Father. Thus the Son is begotten (gemnesis) of the Father and the
Spirit proceeds (ekporeusis) from the Father. For Eastern Christians, the filioque amounts
to believing that there are two sources of divinity within the Godhead, which causes all
kinds of internal contradictions and tensions, weakens the distinction between Son and
Spirit, and depersonalizes the Spirit. They point to the Western term "Spirit of Christ" as a
classic example of the way the filioque doctrine blurs the line between the Second and
Third Persons of the Trinity.
However, despite the considerable tension between Greek and Latin thinkers on this issue,
some have sought to reconcile the two approaches. St. Augustine, while affirming the
filioque, affirmed that the Holy Spirit "principally proceeds" from the Father. Other Latin
writers have likewise sought to clarify that they were not teaching two sources of divinity
within the Godhead, and the Council of Lyons (1274) stated that "the Holy Spirit proceeds
from the Father and the Son, yet not as from two origins but as one origin." Nevertheless,
the same Council of Lyons also condemned those who deny the filioque clause and the
doctrine remains a significant point of contention between Eastern and Western Churches
today. The most recent development is a statement issued by the North American
Orthodox-Catholic Consultation on October 28, 2003, which concluded a four-year study
on the issue and suggested steps towards unity.
Protestants generally follow the Catholic doctrine of the filioque. Anglicans, who among
Protestants are most closely identified with Catholicism, have generally accepted Double
Procession since the 39 Articles, but modern Anglican theologians participating in
ecumenical discussions on the subject are often disposed to dropping the filioque from
I also did find a French text which is a translation of John Meyendorff, The Orthodox
Church, Crestwood, NY, 1981 P.195-197 stated to be found at : http://www.ocf. org/
After many attempts, I was not able to find the English text which is also the Filioque
controversy as seen by the Orthodox at that address.
So there does not seem to have been as clear statement as Rudolf Steiner's to be found in
Any help to clarify this query would be appreciated.
Roger L. Laplante
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