John-of-Damascus_01We hold the words “Holy God” to refer to the Father, without limiting the title of divinity to Him alone, but acknowledging also as God the Son and the Holy Spirit;

and the words “Holy and Mighty” we ascribe to the Son, without stripping the Father and the Holy Spirit of might;

and the words “Holy and Immortal” we attribute to the Holy Spirit, without depriving the Father and the Son of immortality.

For, indeed, we apply all the divine names simply and unconditionally to each of the subsistences in imitation of the divine Apostle’s words:

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and we in Him: and one Lord Jesus Christ by Whom are all things, and we by Him  (1 Cor. 8:5).

And, nevertheless, we follow Gregory the Theologian when he says, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom are all things, and one Holy Spirit, in Whom are all things.”

For the words “of Whom” and “through Whom” and “in Whom” do not divide the natures (for neither the prepositions nor the order of the names could ever be changed), but they characterise the properties of one unconfused nature.

And this becomes clear from the fact that they are once more gathered into one, if only one reads with care these words of the same Apostle, Of Him and through Him and in Him are all things: to Him be the glory for ever and ever, Amen (Rom. 11:36).

For that the “Trisagion” refers not to the Son alone, but to the Holy Trinity, the divine and saintly Athanasius and Basil and Gregory, and all the band of the divinely-inspired Fathers bear witness.

Because, as a matter of fact, by the threefold holiness the Holy Seraphim suggest to us the three subsistences of the superessential Godhead. But by the one Lordship they denote the one essence and dominion of the supremely-divine Trinity.

Gregory the Theologian of a truth says, “Thus, then, the Holy of Holies, which is completely veiled by the Seraphim, and is glorified with three consecrations, meet together in one lordship and one divinity.”

This was the most beautiful and sublime philosophy of still another of our predecessors.

John Damascene (c.675-749): De Fide Orthodoxa 3, 10.

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