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Bulgakov. Triunity Category: Theosis Self-definition of Hypostases

God. Trinity. Taxis
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Taxis, or order, in the patristic literature refers to the relationship that exists ists among the hypostases, in part on the basis of their «origin», and in part on the basis of their «sending» or other features. They are thus defined fined as First, Second, and Third….

Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
I. 2. The Taxis or Order of the Hypostases in the Holy Trinity

No place for origination in the taxis

All the hypostases are equally eternal, equally divine, and equally important in their mutual self-definition. Therefore, there is and can be no place for origination in the taxis.

Taxis should not be interpreted from the point of view of origination, either in its Catholic, Filioque-related sense, or in the sense of various forms of subordinationism, Arianizing, Stoic, or Neoplatonic. Taxis does not abolish the equi-divinity of the hypostases; nor does it diminish their equi-divinity either with respect to the fullness of their consubstantiality or with respect to their hypostatic being. But the former, the nature, is diminished by the Catholic doctrine of the Filioque, which distinguishes the Son and the Holy Spirit with reference to the fullness of their nature; and it is also diminished by Stoic subordinationism, which distinguishes quantitatively, as it were, the degree of the fullness of Divinity in the different hypostases. A second diminution is introduced by Neoplatonizing Origenism, which, to different degrees and in different forms, infiltrates patristic theology as well as the later scholastic theology, even up to the present day. Do we not see this in different interpretations of the phrase "my Father is greater than I" (John 14:28) (in St. Basil the Great and in other supposedly anti-Arian but actually Arianizing authors)? And do we not see it in the hesitation experienced by the fourth-century doctors of the Church when it came to proclaiming the Holy Spirit God, or in a certain relative diminution of the Holy Spirit in the Filioque (which considered the Holy Spirit to be the one barren hypostasis in the Holy Trinity alongside the two fruitful hypostases)? In general, one can say that patristic and post-patristic theology could not overcome this temptation of subordinationism in connection with the trinitarian taxis.

Nor is it overcome by the interpretation of the taxis as the order of origination of the hypostases from one another, as from their cause, aitia, or as from a common source, divinitas. The fruitful or productive hypostases are thus superior to the barren hypostasis, which does not produce but only proceeds.

… In effect, Orthodox theology never figures out what to do with the taxis of the baptismal formula.

… All the hypostases are equally eternal, equally divine, and equally important in their mutual self-definition. Therefore, there is and can be no place for origination in the taxis.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
Ch. I. 2. The Taxis or Order of the Hypostases in the Holy Trinity

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