Coptic Doctrine Of The Holy Spirit

COPTIC DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is one of the Holy Trinity. He is consubstantial, coeternal, coequal, and coadorable with the Father and the Son. Origen may be considered as a good starting point on this subject. He treated the nature of the Holy Spirit, who is the “Paraclete” (or Comforter) in his book The Principles, as well as in his homilies on the Gospel of Luke. In the West, Tertullian also wrote on the same subject. After the Peace of the Church in 313 and the involvement of the Church in combating such heresies as Apollinarianism, Arianism, and Macedonianism, the Fathers of the Church consecrated a great part of their literary activities to writing about the Holy Spirit, which they treated under three main topics: the Trinity, Christology, and pneumatology. In Egypt, Athanasius, Didymus the Blind, and Cyril of Alexandria were among the writers. Outside of Egypt, Basil the Great and Severus of Antioch were the spokesmen and great theologians.

The Church of Alexandria played an active role in the Second Ecumenical Council in Constantinople (381 a.d.), and adopted its official creed of faith concerning the Holy Spirit: “Truly we believe in the Holy Spirit and in the Lord, Giver of life, Who forthly proceedeth from the Father; we worship and glorify Him with the Father and the Son; who was spoken of by the Prophets.” This creed is recognized and affirmed by all members of the World Council of Churches as an ecumenical declaration of the apostolic faith. In addition to the dogmatic treatise, the Holy Spirit is invoked in all liturgical rites and sacraments of the Coptic Church. The troparion of the prayer of the third hour, “O heavenly King,” is the unique prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit. This troparion contains quite a few Basilian expressions. It is also said in the Byzantine rite.

GAWDAT GABRA

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