The woman clothed with the sun
Holy Scripture     ru     en  
+ Categories
+ Apparitions
La Salette
1000 years
Bulgakov. Divine Motherhood Category: Theosis …between created and uncreated…

God. Trinity
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Personalism of the doctrine of God

In the Word of God and in the Church tradition, the personal nature of the Divine is firmly established.

In the Word of God and in the Church tradition, the personal nature of the Divine is firmly established. God the Father speaks of Himself: I, God the Son speaks of Himself: I, and of the Comforter Spirit: He. The whole Holy Trinity in Unity speaks of itself: I and We. This personalism of the revealed doctrine of God, which is pre-emptive of the impersonal conception, is the basis of the patristic teaching on the Holy Trinity, which attempts to express the dogma in the language of religious philosophy, in metaphysical terms, to formulate a logical concept.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
Учение об ипостаси и сущности
в восточном и западном богословии


The life of the trihypostatic God is a pre-eternally realizing Fulness. By trihypostaseity the solitude of the Absolute subject, his aloneness, is overcome. The Trihypostatic God is one in His triunity, but not alone…

With the victory of Orthodoxy, homoousianism, faith in the trihypostatic God, over the doctrine of the monoadic monohypostaciety of the Godhead, the whole formulation of the question about the relations of God anf the world is changed. It is now impossible to say about the trihypostatic God that which inescapably has to be said about the monohypostatic monad that needs the world: the life of the trihypostatic Godhead as Love, as preeternal mutuality and self-revelation is absolutely self-sufficient and complete, it needs no one and nothing and cannot have any supplementing. The trihypostatic God lives in Himself, i.e., in the Holy Trinity, and this Life is a pre-eternally realizing Fulness. Hence the world is not necessary for God himself and it is powerless to add any supplementing to the Fullness. The world is entirely a creation of the generous and magnanimous love of God, a love which gives and which receives nothing. God is necessary for the world as its foundation and goal, but not the reverse. By trihypostaseity the solitude of the Absolute subject, his aloneness, is overcome, and thanks to this victory the monohypostatic God is compelled as it were to create the world. The Trihypostatic God is one in His triunity, but not alone…

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
The Doctrine of the Wisdom of God in St. Athanasius the Great and Other Church Fathers. p.146

In order to clarify this question it is necessary to distinguish (of course, in the abstract) the immanent Trinity from the economic Trinity, the supra-eternal life of the Holy Trinity in Itself from Its trihypostatic revelation in creation. Let us first investigate trinitarity in its immanent aspect. Here, Revelation gives us the fact of the divine triunity of the Father, Son, and Spirit: Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, the one Name, the one God the Holy Trinity. Not three in unity, but triunity; and not one, but unifiedness in Trinity. This is the divine number, which does not exist in the natural world, but which is a super-number for the latter: the three in one. This super-number refers not to things, which can be counted in their separateness and juxtaposition, but to the Divine Person or Persons, Who has or have one unified, but not common, natural life.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
Trinitarity and the Third Hypostasis. p.53

The Most Holy Trinity is the One True God

Each of the Hypostases is a single true God, and the Most Holy Trinity is a single true God.

The dogma of the Holy Trinity says that one God exists in three hypostases, having an inseparable single being, and all of them are of equal honor, and each of them is the one true God, and the Most Holy Trinity is the one true God (cf. the definitions of the creed of St. Athanasius.*) Sometimes dogma is also portrayed in such a sense that trinity refers to hypostases, unity to nature. A direct consequence of this is the complete rationality of the dogma, since triplicity and unity are understood in different relationships.**) — However, such an interpretation of the dogma overly adapts it to rational definitions. Trinity must be understood as a trinity both in relation to essence and hypostasis. The Divine Person, the Divine Subject, is not triple (as involuntarily admitted in such an interpretation of the dogma), but triune.

*) «And the catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Essence. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son; and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one; the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated. The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited. The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal.» … «And in this Trinity none is before, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal.»
**) For example Мitr. Mакарий, Догматическое богословие, vol. I, 29, pp. 201-205 (1868 г.).

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
Главы о Троичности
4. Сверхразумность Догмата о Святой Троице

Relationships of mutual revelation

Hypostases are connected with each other by mutual revelation.
The hypostasis of the Father is self-revealing, and the Son and the Holy Spirit are revealing.

…the hypostasis of the Father is self-revealing, and the Son and the Holy Spirit are revealing. Hypostases are connected with each other not by relations of origin, as the dominant doctrine teaches, but by mutual revelation. In the relationship of the hypostases, the threefold, and not its dual nature, must also be sustained, for in the latter case the Trinity would be split into two dualities. In this sense, the «taxis» or the order of hypostases in the Holy Trinity is also explained.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter. About Godmanhood. Part II
(Автореферат) Журнал "Путь" №50

…both hypostases [Word and Spirit] “indivisibly and inseparably” reveal the Father both in eternal life, in Divine Sophia, and in creation, created Sophia. God the Father reveals himself for Himself in Sophia, which is one, but there are two Sophian hypostases: the Word of all words, as the ideal content, and the Spirit, which manifests it in Beauty: in Sophia, “ideality is real, and reality is ideal”, and the adequacy of the relationship of both opening hypostases does not eliminate their separateness, despite their inseparability. Therefore, it is wrong to correlate the Divine Sophia with only one hypostasis, the Logos or the Holy Spirit, no, both of them open it only in Their indivisibility.

This duality is also expressed in the fact that the fullness of the image of God in man is realized in two principles of the spirit - male and female, which only in their union, but together and in their separate personality, show the image of eternal Humanity in St. Sophia. This analogy also leads us to the understanding of the fact that in God-manhood the incarnated Logos assumes a masculine nature for himself, while the Holy Spirit chooses the Virgin Mary as the Spirit-bearer, so that the fullness of God-manhood is expressed only by this pair: Jesus-Mary.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter. About Godmanhood. Part II
(Автореферат) Журнал "Путь" №50

The Father is revealed in the God-manhood of the Son and the Holy Spirit; in this sense, He is Himself God-manhood.

The ancestral hypostasis, as transcendent in the Holy Trinity itself, and therefore in creation, however, is immanently revealed in the revealing hypostases. And this idea of a transcendent-immanent Beginning provides the only possible way out of the philosophical aporia, the correlation of the transcendent and the immanent. The Father, revealing himself through the dyad of the Son and the Spirit, thereby reveals Himself in Sophia and in this sense, the self-revelation of the Father and He himself is Sophia (although not vice versa). The Father, who is in the eternal Sophia, is also the Father in the created Sophia, for a person adopted by God through the incarnation of the Logos from the Spirit of adoption. The image of the Father is inscribed in heaven and on earth, in eternity and in creation. At the same time, attention is drawn to the fact that the Father in the Word of God is predominantly and even almost exclusively called God and is in this sense God (ho theos, auto theos) par excellence. Such is He in the Holy Trinity, in pre-eternal Humanity, the Divine Sophia, such is He in earthly humanity, the created Sophia, — God-manhood. The Father is revealed in the God-manhood of the Son and the Holy Spirit; in this sense, He is Himself God-manhood. And to Him, the heavenly God and Father, heaven and earth pray: Our Father, who art in heaven! Abba Father!

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter. About Godmanhood. Part II
(Автореферат) Журнал "Путь" №50

The Nature of Spirit

Personal consciousness of self is proper to the nature of spirit: “I am that I am,” Jehovah, says the Lord. Spirit is, above all, personality as personal consciousness of self, as “I.” An impersonal (“unconscious”) spirit is a contradiction. But this I is not an abstract self-consciousness that is not connected with anything and empty for itself (even the dreaming I of Hinduism at least has its dream and lives in it). It is a living I (“I am that I am”), the subject of a certain objectivity, the subject of a certain predicate, the receptacle of a certain content. The living I has its own life. It is the source of this life and its fullness, its beginning and end. The personal spirit thus has in itself its own nature, in which it lives, ceaselessly realizing itself for itself through this nature, defining itself and revealing itself to itself. This indissoluble unity of the personal self-consciousness, of I and its nature, grounding the life of the personal spirit, is the spirit's limiting intuition of itself and also the initial ontological axiom. … God possesses personality and nature, hupostasis, phusis, or ousia. As a result, God is a hypostasis that has its own nature, and precisely in this sense He is a living personal spirit. Such a definition of personal spirit is applicable to any spirit, divine, angelic, or human. The distinctive property of the Divine Spirit is that this Spirit is not only a personal but also a trihypostatic spirit, a trihypostatic personality, which, however, has one nature and, accordingly, one life (not a life in common, but precisely one life), just as every unihypostatic spirit has one nature and one life.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
I. The Creaturely Spirit. p.89

The spirit of God is the triunity of the three hypostases in the separateness of Their Persons.

The Holy Spirit is Their hypostatic union in the Third Person.

The spirit of God is the triunity of the three hypostases in the separateness of Their Persons. The Holy Spirit is Their hypostatic union in the Third Person. If one can say, on the basis of the principle of the monarchy of the Father, that the entire Holy Trinity is the Father Who reveals Himself in the Son and the Spirit, one can also speak about the divine triunity of the Divinity revealed in the hypostasis of the Holy Spirit. In the first case the Father is autotheos or ho Theos, God the Subject; in the second case, one can say about the Third hypostasis that it is the Spirit of the spirit, to pneuma (with an article), in relation to Theion pneuma, a predicate (or even copula) that has become its own subject. In the fullness and perfection of His self-revelation, God is the Third and final hypostasis, which in this sense is, as it were, also the First hypostasis.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
III. On the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit. p.154

God is Spirit

God is Spirit. As such, He has a personal consciousness of self (“hypostasis”) and a nature (“ousia”); and this inseparable union of nature and hypostasis is the life of Divinity in itself, a life that is both personally conscious and naturally concrete. This interrelation between hypostasis and nature, their inseparable union, is proper to both …

In relation to the hypostasis of God as the Absolute Subject, there is the trihypostatic personality, which in one personal consciousness of self unites all the modes of the personal principle I, thou, he, we, and you; whereas a unihypostatic personality has all these modes except I outside itself, in other personalities, and is thus limited and conditioned by them in its being. Fully manifested and actualized, the personal principle, the hypostasis, is a trihypostatic personality, in which the personal unity is revealed in the reality of three hypostatic centers, or hypostases, in triunity. Trinity is the divine number, not three and not one, but precidely triunity, Trinity. Such hypostatic being is realized not statically, as the uni-personal self-consciousness of the separate, isolated I in itself, reposing in its self-givenness (although this static and self-finished character is only apparent, for every I goes out into thou, we, you); rather it is realized dynamically, as the eternal act of trinitarian self-positing in another. This dynamic self-positing is love: the flames of the divine trihypostasis flare up in each of the hypostatic centers and are then united and identified with one another, each going out of itself into the others, in the ardor of self-renouncing personal love. Statically, the unihypostatic personality is the center of self-affirmation and of repulsion; it is egocentric. Dynamically, the personality actualizes itself as the initial principle of self-renouncing love, as the going out into another I. The Holy Trinity as a personality is precisely such a dynamic personal principle. In it, the static being of each personal center is the initial principle of the dynamic going out, where personal self-affirmation is removed and overcome, and the Person is realized as the ring of this trinitarian self-moving love. Therefore, the first thing one must say about the Divine Person is that, as trihypostatic, this Person is equally real in one hypostasis and in three hypostases, that this Person is the pre-eternally realized reciprocity of love that totally vanquishes personal isolation and identifies three in one, while itself existing by the real being of these personal centers. [On this subject, as well as on the further considerations in the present chapter, see my work «Chapters on Trinity». I will not repeat the discussion in that work here.]

The trihypostatic Divinity is one Person, despite this trihypostatizedness, or rather in virtue of it. And in this unity of its personality (which nevertheless is not a monohypostatizedness) the Divine spirit does not formally differ from the creaturely spirit. And the Divine Person lives, actualizing His life in His nature. The one trihypostatic Divine Person has His divine nature — that is the fundamental definition of the Church. The trihypostatic God has His one nature, and He has this nature both as the Divine triunity in its unicity and as each hypostasis in its being: not only is the Son “consubstantial” with the Father (which was precisely the subject of dispute in the Arian epoch) but the Holy Spirit is «consubstantial» with the Father and with the Son. TThe three hypostases have their nature not in common, not in common possession (nor do they have it each one for Himself, which would be tritheism), but as one for all, homoousianly, not homoiousianly. In the domain of the theoretical reason, or rationality, this can be expressed only in equalities of the unequal: (1a) the Holy Trinity differs from each hypostasis, is not equal to it; (1b) the Holy Trinity is equidivine with respect to each hypostasis and consequently is equal to it; (2a) the Holy Trinity possesses one nature; (2b) each hypostasis also possesses one nature; consequently, the possession of one nature is equal and different for the Holy Trinity and each individual hypostatsis. These rational contradictions, to which this idea is reduced, can be explained by the fact that rational thought deals with static quantities that are posited externally in their finished facticity, whereas here it is faced with acts that are fluid in their dynamicity and continuity. These acts are therefore not subject to rational thought; they are not exhausted by its schemata.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
II. The Divine Spirit. p.94

See also



        For this research to continue
please support us.
Contact information     © 2012—2024     Disclaimer