For more than 1,000 years, the churches of the West and East have been united by their use of the Nicene Creed (more technically the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed), which was worked out at church councils at Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381, respectively, and confirmed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Around the year 600, however, some churches in the west began amending the part of the creed that talks about the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. The original creed states (in Greek) that the Holy Spirit proceeds “from the Father.” Some churches in the west amended this to say that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. This amendment was embodied in a single Latin word, filioque. The “filioque clause” was accepted by the Roman church and became standard in the west by the year 1,000. Ever since, it has been a point of controversy between western and eastern churches.
Without fanfare, a group of Anglican and Orthodox scholars has been working on this issue, trying to find a basis for agreement, and it appears that they have done so. Their published statement, “The Procession and Work of the Holy Spirit,” is only a few pages long and well worth study. It concludes that the “filioque clause” can reasonably be omitted from the Creed. The ACNA, of which St. Barnabas is a part, already recognizes that the “filioque clause” does not appear in the original Creed and its published liturgies contain the clause in brackets, indicating that it is optional. The statement of the Anglican/Orthodox working group can be found here:
The statement has been submitted to governing authorities in both the Anglican and Orthodox churches for review and approval. This may appear a small thing, but healing any breach existing among Christian churches is a good thing, if done in a spirit of discernment and seeking to understand God’s Word.