God is a
holy Trinity. A Trinity consubstantial and indivisible.
Consubstantial, that is, one essence, one nature. A
Trinity indivisible: the Son has never been divided from the Father, nor the Holy Spirit from the Father or the Son, and never
will be divided.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
are not three gods, but one God, since They have one
nature. But not only because of this. People also have
one nature, one essence. But with people one cannot say that two or three
persons are one person, no matter how close and amicable they may be. People
not only have separate bodies, but each one also has his own will, his own
tastes, his own moods. No matter how similar people
may be in body and character, it still never happens that everything is in
common or that everything is the same.
With the Three Persons of the
Holy Trinity everything is in common. The boundless love of the Father for the
Son, of the Son for the Father, and the same love between them and the Holy
Spirit make Their will and all of Their actions to be
common. They have one will, and everything is performed by Them
together. Whatever pleases the Father also pleases the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Whatever displeases the Holy Spirit also displeases the Father. Whatever the
Son loves, the Father and the Holy Spirit love also.
Everything is accomplished
jointly by the Holy Trinity. At the creation of the world it says in the Bible:
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light (Gen. 1:3). What
does "said" mean? It means that God the Father created by His Word,
by that Word of which the Gospel says, In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God
(John 1:1) and which is the Only-begotten Son of God.
God the Father created everything
by His Word; in other words, He accomplished everything through His Son. The
Father does not create anything without the Son, just as the Son does not
create anything without the Father, and the Holy Spirit always assists the
Father and the Son. It is said in the Bible about the creation of the world: And
the Spirit of God moved over the waters (Gen. 1:2). It "moved"
over creation, but did not merely move over it - the word in the Hebrew
original, which lacks an exact equivalent in Slavonic, signifies "to
cover," "to warm," just as a brood-hen sitting on her eggs gives
life to them by her warmth, and from them come forth living creatures.
By the Word of the Lord were
the heavens established, and all the might of them by the Spirit of His mouth (Ps. 32:6). All that exists was created
by God the Father through the Son and was brought to life by the Holy Spirit.
In other words, everything the Father wanted or wants, immediately was or is
fulfilled by the Son and is animated by the Holy Spirit. Thus was the world
created, thus was all accomplished by the providence of God concerning the
world and mankind.
In order to save man, who through
sin had fallen away from God and became mortal, the Son of God, in accordance
with the pre-eternal counsel of the Holy Trinity, obeying the will of the
Father, came down to earth, was born of the Ever-Virgin Mary through the action
of the Holy Spirit, proclaimed to the people the True God the Father and His Divine
will, and taught the true worship of God. Having suffered for our sins, He
descended in soul into hades, and, having freed the souls of the dead, He rose
from the dead.
Even before His sufferings,
Christ promised His Apostles, chosen by Him from among His disciples, to give
them the power to loose and to bind - to remit people's sins or to leave them
in their sins. After His Resurrection the Lord bestowed this gift of Grace not
on any of the Apostles separately, but on all of them together: He established
His Church, the repository of that Grace, and united in her all those who
believe in Him and love Him.
Having promised His Apostles that
He would invest them with power from on high, having sent them the Holy Spirit,
and having accomplished all for which He came to earth, the Lord Jesus Christ
ascended to Heaven, receiving in His humanity that glory and honor which He had
as the Son of God since before the creation of the world.
In descending upon the disciples of Christ, according to the promise, the Holy
Spirit confirmed them in the faith of Christ and through His Grace poured out
upon them the gifts of God. He strengthened them for the preaching and
fulfilment in life of Christ's teachings, for the building up of the Church
established by Christ and put into action by the Holy Spirit.
The Church, standing on her
foundation on earth and headed by the Son of God seated at the right hand of
the Father, is mysteriously guided by the Holy Spirit. She inwardly links
together all of her children and unites them with God. Through the Church,
God's gifts of Grace are poured out on those striving to follow the way of
Christ; they sanctify and fortify all good in them, and cleanse them from sin
and every defilement, making them able to become
receptacles of the radiance of the glory and power of God.
Through the Church man is made a
partaker of the Divine nature, and he enters into the closest relationship with
the Holy Trinity.
Not only the soul, but also man's
body is sanctified and communes with God by partaking of the Body and Blood of
Christ, through which he is united with the entire Holy Trinity. Through Divine
Grace, with the participation of his own will and effort, man becomes a new
creature, a participant in the eternal Kingdom of God.
Nature, too, is being prepared
for the coming Kingdom of God, for the coming purification by fire of the consequences
of man's sin and the curse that lies on her. She receives the first fruits of sanctification
through the descent of the Holy Spirit on her at Theophany in the blessing of
the waters and in many other Church rites, so that she may later become a new
earth and a new heaven.
This will be accomplished at the
time appointed by God the Father, and the Son of God will come in glory to
pronounce judgment on the world.
Then those who have loved God and
have been united with Him will shine with the rays of Divine light and will
eternally delight in the uncreated light of the Triune Godhead of the
Consubstantial, Life-creating, and Indivisible Trinity.
To God, our Creator and Saviour, be glory, honor, and worship unto everlasting ages:
"Come, O ye people, let us
worship the Godhead in Three Hypostases: the Son in the Father, with the Holy
Spirit; for the Father timelessly begat the Son Who is Co-ever-existing and
Coenthroned, and the Holy Spirit was in the Father, glorified together with the
Son; One Might, One Essence, One Godhead. In worshipping Whom let us all say: O
Holy God, Who madest all things by the Son, through the cooperation of the Holy
Spirit; Holy Mighty, through Whom we have known the Father, and through Whom
the Holy Spirit came into the world; Holy Immortal, the Comforting Spirit, Who
proceedest from the Father, and restest in the Son: O Holy Trinity, glory be to
Thee" (Dogmaticon of Great Vespers of Pentecost).
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