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Shawn C. Smith

Journal of Early Christian Studies, Volume 22, Number 2, Summer

2014, pp. 261-286 (Article)
DOI: 10.1353/earl.2014.0026

For additional information about this article

Access provided by University of New Orleans (9 Jun 2015 20:41 GMT)

The Insertion of the Filioque

into the Nicene Creed and a
Letter of Isidore of Seville
The common tradition says the filioque first appeared in the Nicene Creed
at the Third Council of Toledo in 589. In contrast, the manuscript evidence
indicates it first appeared at the Eighth Council of Toledo in 653. The date
of the insertion can be narrowed further based on a letter of Isidore of Seville
(d. 636). This letter (ep. 6) has been typically considered spurious, but the
evidence supports its authenticity.

The filioque (and from the Son) is the principal theological issue that
divides the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches,1 but it is more
than a theological disagreement. The phrase is inserted into the creed
commonly known as the Nicene Creed (more technically called the
I am very grateful to Dr. Robert Rea for proposing, to a class years ago, the insertion of the filioque as a research topic and supervising the thesis that provided the
initial foundation for this work. I am thankful to Dr. John Castelein, Dr. Brian Messner, Ryan Hemmer, David Mosley, Brett Seybold, Rob Maupin, Claudia Muoz, and
Andrea Gentile for providing assistance with translation, and Dr. Paul Blowers and
Dr. Steven Cone for helpful suggestions on earlier drafts. Finally, I am appreciative
of the Lincoln Christian University library staff, especially Leslie Starasta, for acquiring resources that were not easily accessible and Julie Yarwood for acquiring some
resources I could not access through typical means.
1. Vladimir Lossky, The Procession of the Holy Spirit in the Orthodox Triadology, Eastern Churches Quarterly 7 (1948): 31 says, Whether we like it or not, the
question of the procession of the Holy Spirit was the sole dogmatic ground of the separation of the Eastern and Western Churches. This division continues despite the fact
that, in 1965, Patriarch Athenagoras I of Constantinople and Pope PaulVI withdrew
the anathemas made by those in 1054. Related to efforts to heal the schism, it is also
significant that Cardinal Ratzinger, later Benedict XVI, quoted the Creed without the
filioque and recognized the Orthodox churches as true particular Churches (Dominus
Iesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church [August
Journal of Early Christian Studies 22:2, 261286 2014 Johns Hopkins University Press


Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed),2 a foundational creed for nearly all

Christendom and an integral part of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist
for many. Therefore, this altering of the pronouncement of an ecumenical council, the Council of Constantinople in 381, changed the worship
and life of the church.
The Nicene Creed, originally written in Greek, does not contain the disputed clause. With filioque added, the creed affirms that the Holy Spirit
proceeds from the Father and the Son. Even though in the sixteenth
century, Cardinal Bellarmine, and others in the sixteenth to mid-nineteenth
centuries, said that the filioque was not included in the Nicene Creed at
the Third Council of Toledo (589),3 it has been traditionally held since
6, 2000], accessed Jul. 25 2012 via
2. For more information about the Creeds name, origin, and history see F.J.
Badcock, The History of the Creeds, 2nd ed. (New York: Macmillan Co., 1938),
187221; Charles Augustus Briggs, The Fundamental Christian Faith: The Origin,
History and Interpretation of the Apostles and Nicene Creeds (New York: Charles
Scribners Sons, 1913), 21167; A. E. Burn, An Introduction to the Creeds and to
the Te Deum (London: Methuen & Co., 1899), 98123; David Larrimore Holland,
Creeds of Nicea and Constantinople Reexamined, CH 38 (1969): 24861; Fenton
John Anthony Hort, Two Dissertations (London and Cambridge, UK: Macmillan and
Co., 1876); J. N. D. Kelly, The Nicene Creed: A Turning Point, Scottish Journal
of Theology 36 (1983): 2939; J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (New York:
Longmans, Green and Co., 1950), 296367; and Cuthbert Hamilton Turner, The
History and the Use of Creeds and Anathemas in the Early Centuries of the Church
(London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1906), 4161.
3. Robert Bellarmine, Disputationes de Controversiis Fidei advsersus hujus temporis Haereticos (Prague: Typis Wolffgangi Wickhart, 1722), 194. This is found in
De Christo, Lib. II, Caput XXII, 8. This work was originally published in Ingolstad
from 158693. As argued in this paper, Bellarmine, says the filioque was in the Creed
used at Toledo VIII. Adamo Zoernikav, Tractus Theologici Orthodoxi de Processione Spiritus Sancti a Solo Patre, 2 vols. (Hartungius, 1774), 1:28889 also cites
Bellarmine and notes the filioque missing from certain editions of acts of the council
and that Garsiae Louisa places Desunt Exc. (Desunt in excusis) in the margin of
the text for the words & Filio. See Garsiae Louisa, Collectio Conciliorum Hispaniae (Petrus Madrigal, 1593), 203. La Questione Storica Nella Controversia del
Filioque, Civilt Cattolica 3 (1929): 498, 499, 499 n.2 blames Louisa for adding
words to the Creed at Toledo III for the first time, since Bellarmine does not associate
them with the council. He also notes that Louisa amazingly claims on page 237 the
original Creed contained the word(s). Macaire, Thologie Dogmatique Orthodoxe,
5 vols. (Paris: Joel Cherbuliez, 1859), 1:314 concludes the insertion occurred in the
late eighth century, citing Bellarmine, Zoernicav, and Migne. J. P. Migne, Theologiae
Cursus Completus, 28 vols. (Paris: J. P. Migne, 1963), 5:406 associates the filioque
with Toledo VIII and not Toledo III. His work was originally published in 1841. Dionysius Petavius, Dogmata Theologica, 8 vols. (Paris: Ludovicum Vivs, 1865), 3:272.
Petavius lived 1583652.


then that the first evidence of the insertion in the Western creed is at that
council.4 But critical evidence revealed by A. E. Burn in English in 1908
questions this tradition.5 Since then many repeated the common tradition,
because they were either unfamiliar with or unconvinced by the evidence
against it.6
4. ODCC (1997), s.v. Filioque; G. W. Bromiley, Filioque, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 415; J. F. Bethune-Baker, An Introduction to the Early History
of Christian Doctrine (1903; reprint, London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1962), 21516
n.1; Stanley J. Grenz, Theology for the Community of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1994), 63; Adolph Harnack, History of Dogma, 7 vols., trans. Neil Buchanan
(New York: Dover Publications, 1961), 4:133; Charles Joseph Hefele, A History of
the Councils of the Church from the Original Documents, trans. Henry Nutcombe
Oxenham (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1896), 4:418; Roger E. Olson, The Story of
Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform (Downers Grove, IL:
InterVarsity Press, 1999), 308; Henry Barclay Swete, On the History of the Doctrine
of the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Apostolic Age to the Death of Charlemagne (Cambridge, UK: Deighton, Bell, and Co., 1876), 169; and Timothy Ware,
The Orthodox Church (New York: Penguin Books, 1997), 50. Cyriaque Lampryllos,
La Mystification Fatale: tude orthodoxe sur le FILIOQUE (Athens: 1892; reprint,
Lausanne: Lge dHomme, 1987), 2022 is even aware of the work of Zoernikav
and Bellarmine but still argues that the filioque was not a latter addition. See JeanJoseph Gaume, Trait du Saint-Esprit (Paris: Gaume et Cie, 1890), 68, 70 for a more
unusual view that the filioque was added at a council in Toledo in 447. A. Palmieri,
Filioque, Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique: Contenant lexpose des Doctrines de
la Theologie Catholique, leurs Preuves et leur Histoire, eds. A. Vacant, E. Mangenot,
and E. Amman, 15 vols. (Paris: Librarie Letouzey et An, 1924), 5:231011 challenges
this view. In more recent times, Henry Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila: The Occult
and the Charismatic in the Early Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976),
21617 said the council was not even held.
5. A. E. Burn, Some Spanish MSS of the Constantinopolitan Creed, Journal of
Theological Studies 9 (1908): 3013.
6. See Gerald Bray, The Filioque Clause in History and Theology, Tyndale Bulletin 34 (1983): 119; Charles Augustus Briggs, The Fundamental Christian Faith: The
Origin, History and Interpretation of the Apostles and Nicene Creeds (New York:
Charles Scribners Sons, 1913), 259; Daniel Callahan, The Problem of the Filioque
and the Letter from the Pilgrim Monks of the Mount of Olives to Pope Leo III and
Charlemagne: Is the Letter Another Forgery by Ademar of Chabannes? RBen 102
(1992): 75134; Haddad, The Stations of the Filioque, 211; Richard Haugh, Photius and the Carolingians: The Trinitarian Controversy (Belmont, MA: Nordland
Publishing Company, 1975), 160; R. G. Heath, The Western Schism of the Franks
and the Filioque, JEH 23 (1972): 97113; Frank G. Kennedy, The Introduction
of the Filioque into the Nicene Creed (M.A. thesis, St. Bonaventure College, 1932),
89; Geoffrey W. H. Lampe, Christian Theology in the Patristic Period, in History
of Christian Doctrine, ed. Hubert Cunliffe-Jones (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press,
1978), 120; Nick Needham, The Filioque Clause: East or West? Scottish Bulletin
of Evangelical Theology 15 (1997): 150; Susan A. Rabe, Ex Patre Filioque: SaintRiquier in the Carolingian Age (Ph.D. dissertation, Loyola University, 1958), 12627;
and Jos Vives, Toms Marn Martnez, and Gonzalo Martnez Dez, eds., Concilios


Scholarship in English shows limited attention to the issue. At the end

of the nineteenth century, books were written specifically about the filioque but not limited to the event in Spain.7 During this same period,
and the beginning of the twentieth century, a number of books about the
many creeds were published with small portions devoted to the filioque.8
In the middle of the twentieth century, J. N. D. Kelly included a section
devoted to the filioque.9 Since then, books and articles appeared devoted
to a survey of the filioque or some aspect of it.10 More common is the
debate on theological validity of the doctrine usually within ecumenical
discussions.11 An unpublished masters thesis was devoted to discovering
Visigticos e Hispano-Romanos (Barcelona: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientficas Instituto Enrique Flrez, 1963), 114. Although Kennedy does not cite Burn, he
is familiar with the work of Palmieri, which cites Bellarmine. Even so, he concludes
the filioque was in the Creed at Toledo III.
7. See Coker Adams, Filioque: A Letter to Rev. F. E. Warren (Edinburgh or London:
n.p., 1884); E. S. Ffoulkes, An Historical Account of the Addition of the Filioque to
the Creed (London: n.p., 1872); George Broadley Howard, The Schism Between the
Oriental and Western Churches, with Special References to the Addition of the Filioque to the Creed (n.p., 1892); Thomas Richey, The Nicene Creed and the Filioque
(New York: n.p., 1884); and Swete, On the History.
8. See Badcock, History of the Creeds, 21518; Briggs, Fundamental Christian
Faith, 25963; A. E. Burn, An Introduction to the Creeds and to the Te Deum (London: Methuen & Co., 1899), 11419; and Cuthbert Hamilton Turner, The History of
the Use of the Creeds and Anathemas in the Early Centuries of the Church (London:
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1906), 5761.
9. See Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 35867.
10. See George C. Berthold Cyril of Alexandria and the Filioque, SP 19 (1989):
14347; George C. Berthold, Maximus the Confessor and the Filioque, SP 18
(1985): 11317; Bray, The Filioque Clause, 91144; Callahan, The Problem of
the Filioque, 75134; Every, Misunderstandings Between East and West, 949;
Haddad, The Stations of the Filioque, 20968; Haugh, Photius and the Carolingians; Heath, The Western Schism, 97113; Daniel J. Nodes, Dual Processions of
the Holy Spirit: Development of a Theological Tradition, Scottish Journal of Theology 52 (1999): 118; Dietrich Ritschl, Historical Development and Implications of
the Filioque Controversy, in Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ: Ecumenical Reflections
on the Filioque Controversy, ed. Lukas Vischer (London: SPCK, 1981), 4665; and
A.Edward Siecienski, The Filioque: History of a Doctrinal Controversy (New York:
Oxford University Press, 2010).
11. See Hegumen Boniface, The Filioque Question, Diakonia 15 (1980): 7481;
Emmanuel Clapsis, The Filioque Question, Patristic and Byzantine Review 1
(1982): 12736; Mary A. Fatula, A Problematic Western Formula, One in Christ
17 (1981): 32434; Paul Henry, On Some Implications of the Ex Patre Filioque
Tanquam Ab Uno Principio, Eastern Churches Quarterly 7 (1948): 1631; Alasdair
I. C. Heron, Who Proceeded From the Father and the Son: The Problem of the
Filioque, Scottish Journal of Theology 24 (1971): 14962; Lossky, The Procession
of the Holy Spirit, 3153; Needham, The Filioque Clause, 14262; Bernd Ober-


when the insertion actually occurred, giving attention to how and why.12
But the author did not trace the development of the double procession
and interacted with a limited number of sources. Another thesis focused
on the insertion but is a mere twenty-six pages.13
Therefore, a study of the insertion of the disputed clause is presently
necessary. In 1948, Vladimir Lossky said, while allowing that the Toledan introduced filioque could be interpreted acceptably for the Orthodox:
A study of the Filioquism of the Spanish Councils of the fifth, sixth,
and seventh centuries would be of capital importance, that a dogmatic
appreciation of these formulas might be made. Here the disinterested work
of historical theology could be useful to the church.14

This article will demonstrate that the filioque clause was added to the
Nicene Creed in Spain between Toledo III (589) and Toledo VIII (653)
and most likely sometime before Isidore of Sevilles death in 636. This will
be accomplished by, first, citing the evidence and analysis of scholars that
believe the filioque was not used in the Creed in 589, and, second, arguing
for the authenticity of Isidores ep. 6 to General Claudius.15
Scholars WHO Question
the Insertion at Toledo III
Over roughly the last hundred years, some scholars have questioned the
filioque inclusion in the Creed at Toledo III. In 1899, Burn began questioning the reliability of the conciliar documents:
Two early editions of the Councils, howeverCologne (1530) and Paris
(1535)omit the words in the text of the creed quoted by the Council,
dorfer, The Filioque ProblemHistory and Contemporary Relevance, Scriptura 79
(2002): 8192; Vladimir Rodzianko, The Filioque Dispute and its Importance,
Eastern Churches Quarterly 10 (1953): 17791; Vladimir Rodzianko, Filioque in
Patristic Thought, SP 2 (1957): 295308; and Serge S. Verkhovsky, Procession of
the Holy Spirit According to Orthodox Doctrine of the Trinity, St. Vladimirs Seminary Quarterly 2 (1953): 1226.
12. See John J. Ferrainolo, Historical and Theological Background of the Third
Council of Toledo (589) (M.Div. thesis, St. Vladimir Orthodox Theological Seminary, May 1983).
13. Kennedy, Introduction of the Filioque into the Nicene Creed.
14. Lossky, Procession of the Holy Spirit, 33.
15. From this point in the article, Creed refers to the Nicene Creed alone and
creed for other creeds when lacking their proper name (e.g., Athanasian) and filioque refers to the words added to the Nicene Creed. The expression of the same
concept in other creeds or sources is designated as double procession.


and DAguirre16 admits that some MSS. do not contain them. In light
of subsequent history, it seems far less probable that they would be
intentionally omitted by a copyist than they would be added. But we must
be content to leave the point doubtful until the evidence of the MSS. has
been collected and sifted. Even if the interpolation was not made at that
time, it must have been made very soon after, and that in good faith, in
direct dependence on the Canon, which asserted the immemorial belief of
the Western Church.17

In 1908, Burn more confidently asserted that the insertion was not in
the Creed after examining some manuscripts. He was still careful not
to overstate the evidence; he called his research a beginning and said,
My time in the Spanish libraries last April was limited.18 Nevertheless,
he concluded,
Very little doubt is left in my mind that these MSS shew us the gradual
process at work by the copyists, influenced by the traditional belief in the
Procession of the Spirit from the Son, perhaps also the very strong words of
the 3rd Canon of the Council of Toledo, felt justified in adding them to the
text of the Creed as quoted at Toledo . . .19

In 1924, Palmieri, after surveying many authors, concluded that the filioque was probably not added in the fifth or sixth centuries, but when it
happened is unclear.20 He did not cite Burns work.
A few years later an author writing in Civilt Cattolica questioned the
filioque at Toledo III. In the first article in 1929, he noted the work of Bellarmine and Louisa (who noted in the margin of his work the lack of the
words in the printed editions), and that the insertion was missing in the
1530 and 1538 Cologne editions of councils.21 The next year he developed the argument further and confirmed the filioque was in the Creed
at Toledo VIII.22
16. Burn provides no citation. He must be referring to Aguirre, Defensio Cathedrae S. Petri contra declarationem Cleri Gallicani (Perez, 1683), liv. In another source
Aguirre notes in the margin Al. and then a version that lacks procedentum but
contains ex Patre et Filio. See Josepho de Aguirre, ed., Collectio Maxima Conciliorum
Hispaniae, Epistolarumque Decretalium Celebriorum (Ioachimum Ibarra, 1784), 764.
17. Burn, An Introduction to the Creeds, 115. See also Zoernikav, Tractus Theologici Orthodoxi, 289.
18. Burn, Some Spanish MSS, 302.
19. Burn, Some Spanish MSS, 303.
20. Palmieri, Filioque, 2312. In this article he surveys the work of Bellarmine,
Macaire, Zoernikav, and others.
21. La Questione Storica, 49899.
22. La Questione Storica Nella Controversia del Filioque (I), Civilt Cattolica
1 (1930): 31316.


Aldama responded to the work in Civilt Cattolica in 1934. He thought

that the filioque might have been missing but was not convinced because
of the manuscripts examined. He argued that more reliable Spanish manuscripts would have to be examined like the ones Burn examined, but
Burns work is incomplete.23
In 1938, Badcock said, based on Burns work, It would seem, however,
that it [the Creed] did not contain the clause and the Son, these words
being a later insertion of some copyist influenced by the anathema of the
Council.24 And twelve years later, Kelly said, also citing Burn,
The matter still requires investigation, but the conclusion seems inescapable
that, as originally recited at the council of Toledo, the text of C [the Nicene
Creed] was the pure one without the filioque. Nevertheless it was inevitable
that, with the growing stress laid on the doctrine, the word should speedily
creep into the creed. Spanish MSS of the subsequent centuries give abundant
illustrations of the process at work.25

At the same time, Gordillo said the filioque was first used at Braga VI
(675), not inserted at Toledo III but later in the seventh century.26
In the 1960s some scholars recognized Burns work. Every said that
Burns work makes the date of the insertion questionable.27 Dosetti thought
Burn made a mistake in his research that Kelly did not notice, but he still
thought the problem that Burn raised was interesting, especially after
23. J. A. Aldama, El Simbolo Toledano I (Rome: Pontificiae Universitatis Gregorianae, 1934), 124 n.45.
24. F. J. Badcock, The History of the Creeds, 2nd ed. (New York: Macmillian
Co., 1938), 216.
25. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 362. Ferrainolo, Historical and Theological Background, 92, says Burns work is unsubstantiated even though he does not believe,
for other reasons, the filioque was in the creed in 589. It seems that Ferrainolo had
not looked at Burns work and only relied on Kellys reporting and interpretation of it.
26. Mauricius Gordillo, Compendium Theologiae Orientalis, 3rd ed. (Rome: Pont.
Institutum Orientalium Studiorum, 1950), 134. The first edition was published in
1937 and the second in 1939. He is aware of work of Aldama, Palmieri, Macaire,
and Zoernikav. It is unusual that he did not mention the filioque at Toledo VIII. Also
during the 1950s, it is interesting that Latourette says the addition of filioque to the
creed seems to have been done first at Toledo in Spain in 589 or 653 (Kenneth Scott
Latourette, A History of Christianity [New York: Harper & Brothers, 1953], 303).
27. George Every, Misunderstandings Between East and West (Richmond, VA: John
Knox Press, 1966), 43. In contrast, Haugh, Photius, and the Carolingians, 160, not
challenging any specific scholar but acquainted with the works of Kelly and Every,
said, There is no reason to assume that the existence of the Filioque in the Ecumenical Creed at the Council of Toledo was itself a later interpolation of the Acts of
this Council, for all the historical influences which could have caused such an interpolation were equally present before and during the time of the Council of Toledo.


examining codices of the Hispana in Rome. In the end, he came to the

same conclusion as Burn but said the final word on the issue would await
study of some key manuscripts and a better translation of the Hispana.28
Schferdiek concluded the word was most likely not in the Creed at 589,
but was definitely used at Toledo VIII (653). He was familiar with Dosettis
work and did some of his own examination of the manuscripts.29
In 1981, Orlandis and Ramos-Lissn recognized that Kelly, Dosetti, and
Schferdiek questioned the common tradition. They concluded the issue
would be finally settled when a critical edition of the Spanish Councils is
published.30 They do maintain the filioque was used in 653.31
In the twenty-first century, Oberdorfer, citing Orlandis and RamosLissn, said the Creed probably lacked the filioque in 589, and was included
in 653, but he even expressed doubt concerning the latter date.32 More
recently, Siecienski said referring to Toledo III,
Here we must assume that either the council was using an already
interpolated creed . . . or that the acts of the council had themselves been
altered and the et Filio added by the hands of a later editor. This latter
(and more probable) theory was first advanced in 1908 by A. E. Burn, who
pointed out that in many early copies of the councils acts the phrase was
either missing or obviously in another hand.33
28. Dossetti, Giuseppe Luigi, Il Simbolo di Nicea e di Constantinopoli (Roma:
Herder, 1967), 17678 n.2.
29. Knut Schferdiek, Die Kirche in den Reichen der Westgoten und Suewen bis
zur Errichtung der westgotischen katholischen Staatskirche (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter
& Co., 1967), 21112 n.226.
30. Jos Orlandis ad Domingo Ramos-Lissn, Die Synoden auf der Iberischen
Halbinsel bis zum Einbruch des Islam (711) (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schningh, 1981),
10911 n.54. They report a letter from P. Felix Rodriguez saying that the project is
not yet completed, and he would not draw any conclusion about the filioque until
the codices of Toledo III are examined.
31. Orlandis and Ramos-Lissn, 2056. They cite Schferdiek and Vives, Martnez,
and Dez, eds., Concilios Visigticos e Hispano-Romanos, 26768.
32. Bernd Oberdorfer, Filioque: Geschichte und Theologie eines kumenischen
Problems (Gttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2001), 13536. Oberdorfer, The
Filioque Problem, 84 says, We have no certain witnesses whether the NC has been
used then [the late sixth and seventh centuries] including the Filioque addition. In
note 20 he writes, The discussion is controversial. Jose Orlandis and Domingo
Ramos-Lisson . . . argue that at the 8th synod of Toledo (653) the NC was recited
including the Filioque. According to Reinhard Slenczka, however, the documents of
the pre-Carolingian time provide no evidence that the NC has been used then in a filioquistic form. See Reinhard Slenczka, Das kumenische Konzil von Konstantinopel
und seine kumenische Geltung heute, in Una Sancta; Zeitschrift fr kumenische
Begegnung 36 (1981), 198209 (Oberdorfer cites pages 298309, but the article is
located on pages 198209). I am unable to locate where Slenczka makes this precise
claim, but it could possibly be inferred from his work.
33. Siecienski, Filioque, 69. He also cites Orlandis and Ramos-Lisson.


As described in note 3, Siecienski is not correct about Burn being the first
to raise the problem, but he is the first in the twentieth and twenty-first
The work of all of these authors provides a strong foundation for concluding that the filioque was not in the Creed at Toledo III but was in the
Creed at Toledo VIII, though the conclusion is not absolutely certain. Burn
noted his work was not complete and others have recognized the importance of awaiting a critical edition of the councils. The critical edition was
finally published in 1992. Authoritatively, Diez and Rodriguez leave the
words et Filio out of the Creed of Toledo III, and the words appear at
Toledo VIII.34 Gemeinhardt recognized their work in 2002.35
The Authenticity of Isidore of Sevilles
Letter to General Claudius
If the filioque was undoubtedly included in the Nicene Creed in 653, is it
possible to locate a more precise date for its initial inclusion? Isidore of
Seville died in 636 placing any of his authentic letters before that date. In
ep. 6, Isidore responds to General Claudiuss question about the Greeks
accusing the Latins of adding to the Creed. The letter says, and so some
of the Greeks boldly strive to reprehend the Romans because in the profession of holy faith they sing with heart and mouth to God: Who proceeds
from the Father and the Son, although in the aforementioned councils it
was stated: Who proceeds from the Father . . . .36 Isidore continues in
the letter to defend the Latin version of the Creed. The critical phrase in
the Creed says, ex Patre Filioque procedit.37
If the letter is spurious, the date of insertion could not be narrowed.

34. Gonzalo Martnez Diez and Flix Rodriguez, eds., La Coleccin Cannica
Hispana V: Concilios Segunda Parte, Monumenta Hispaniae Sacra, Serie Cannica 5
(Madrid: Consejo Superior Investigaciones Cientficas, 1992), 67, 386. For ToledoIII
they note Patre] et Filio add. ECpTZSRp. For Toledo VIII they note et Filio] Filio D.
35. Peter Gemeinhardt, Die Filioque-Kontroverse zwischen Ost- und Westkirche
im Frhmittelalter (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2002), 5354.
36. Isidore of Seville, ep. 6.4 (trans. Gordon B. Ford, The Letters of St. Isidore of
Seville [Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert, 1970], 33).
37. Isidore of Seville, ep. 6.4. It seems odd that Filioque is used in the Creed
according to this letter and et Filio is used in the councils, especially since this is a
creed of such importance. Surely wording should be exact, but this is probably not
an issue. The meaning is exactly the same, and the difference is only a matter of
style. It is easily conceivable that various Spanish churches fixed the Creed their
own way after Toledo III in response to the third anathema and the directive to use
the Creed in the mass.


Mullins says the letter is considered spurious by most authorities.38 She is

aware of Arvalos arguments for authenticity, and the work of Morin, but
she does not note that Morin argued for the letters authenticity.39 Morin
said, Oudin and other critics have questioned the authenticity of these
two documents [epp. 6 and 8], but with interested motives and without a
single reason which is in the least convincing.40
Often the claims that the letter is spurious involve no argumentation,41
and, when arguments are provided, they are not convincing. In what follows, general evidence supporting the letters authenticity will be provided,
and arguments demonstrating the letter is spurious will be challenged.
38. Sister Patrick Jerome Mullins, The Spiritual Life According to Saint Isidore of
Seville (Ph.D. dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1940), 19.
39. Also, Mullins does not mention that Joanne Mariana (Juan de Mariana), of the
seventeenth century, made no notes expressing doubts about the letters authenticity.
He edited Lucae Tudensiss (Luc de Tuy d. 1249) work, which quotes from the letter.
See Lucae Tudensis, De altera vita fideique controversiis Adversus Albigensium errors
libri III, ed. Joanne Mariana (Ingolstad, 1612), 91. Arvalo draws attention to this
piece of evidence (PL 81:503).
40. A. E. Burn, The Athanasian Creed and Its Early Commentaries, Texts and
Studies: Contributions to Biblical and Patristic Literature 4, ed. J. Armitage Robinson
(Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1896), lxxx translates G. Morin, Les
Origines du Symbole Quicumque Dit Symbole DAthanase, Science Catholique V
(1891): 675. Morin unfortunately does not discuss the issue beyond this statement.
P. D. King, Law and Society in the Visigothic Kingdom, Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought, 3rd series, 5, ed. Walter Ullmann (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1972), 123 n.3 disagrees with Paul Sjourn, Le Dernier Pre de
Lglise, Saint Isidore de Sville: So Rle dans LHistoire du Droit Canonique (Paris:
Gabriel Beauchesne, 1929), 9495 regarding the authenticity of ep. 8. R. E. McNally,
Isidoriana, Theological Studies 20 (1959): 436 and P. Angel Custodio Vega, El
Primado y La Iglesia Espaola en los Siete Primeros Siglos, Ciudad de Dios 154
(1942): 507 also consider ep. 8 authentic.
41. ODCC (1997), s.v. Isidore, St. (c.560636) says, Of the 14 letters attributed to him, only those of Baulio are certainly genuine. Many other works ascribed
to him are forgeries or of doubtful authenticity. Jos A. de Aldama, Indicaciones
sobre la cronologa de las obras de S. Isidoro, in Miscellanea Isidoriana: homenaje
a San Isidoro de Sevilla en el XIII centenario de su muerte, 6364 de abril 1936
(Roma: Universidad Gregoriana, 1936), 60 n.13 says the letter is apocryphal. In
the main text he discusses the authenticity of a different letter. Eligius Dekkers and
Aemilus Gaar, eds., Clavis Patrum Latinorum: qua in Novum Corpus Christianorum
Edendum Optimas quasque Scriptorum Recensiones a Tertulliano ad Bedam, Sacris
Erudi 3 (Steenbrugis: in Abbatia sancti Petri, 1951), list the letter in a section entitled
Spvria. M. C. Diaz y Diaz, Index Scriptorum Latinorum Medii Aevi Hispanorum
(Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientficas, 1959), 44 lists the letter in
a section entitled falso adscriptae in codd. Vel. edd. Mullins, Spiritual Life, 19
is at least cited which has a good review of the discussion. Ford, Letters, 7 cites the
opinions of others but with no discussion of argumentation regarding authenticity.
See also King, Law and Society, 123 n.3.


General Indications of Authenticity

Some aspects of the letter give an impression of authenticity irrespective of
the arguments of some scholars. First, it is very likely that Greeks would
have lived in close proximity to Claudius. He was dux of the province
of Lusitania, and Greeks were residing in Lusitania, a fact supported by
literary and archaeological evidence.42 Therefore, it is very plausible that
Claudius would have heard some Greeks complain about the insertion.43
Second, Claudius was an important individual whom Isidore would have
engaged in epistolary correspondence. John of Biclaro said, Claudius the
commander of Lusitania, was ordered by King Recarred to intercept it
[the camp of the Franks] and hastened to the place . . . . For the General
Claudius, with scarcely three hundred men, is known to have put to flight
42. Ana Maria Jorge, Church and Culture in Lusitania in the VVIII Centuries:
A Late Roman Province at the Crossroads, in The Visigoths: Studies in Culture and
Society, ed. Alberto Ferreiro (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 1089 says, the Greek communities dedicated to international trade had been living in Lusitania since the beginning
of the Christian era in cities like Mrida or Santarm and they formed an important
group ready to welcome and help their compatriots who arrived from the Orient. The
Vitae Sanctorum Patrum Emeretensium include the biography of two Greek bishops,
Paul and his nephew Fidelis, who succeeded him as bishop in the metropolitan See of
Mrida in the sixth century. Paul arrived from the East thanks to the ease with which
it was possible to travel between the two sides of the Mediterranean, and practiced
medicine. He was later elected as bishop of the city. This event bears witness not only
to his personal prestige but also the supremacy of the Greek colony and the cosmopolitan environment in Visigothic Mrida in which a Greek immigrant could be elevated
to the episcopal seat. Fidelis is another example of this: he arrived in Mrida, along
with a group of Oriental merchants, and was nominated by his uncle Paul to take
over the episcopal tasks when he himself was too old to perform them. The literary
notices concerning the presence of Greek settlements in Mrida are confirmed by the
archaeological data: note that some Greek inscriptions of Greek families dated from
the sixth or seventh century have been preserved. The Greek inscriptions found in
other regions of Lusitania indicate that during the period we are studying there probably existed Oriental colonies in Mrtola and Lisbon as well.
43. Consider also that Byzantine Empire controlled a portion of Spain until 624.
For more information about the relationship between Spain and Byzantium see Roger
Collins, Early Medieval Spain: Unity and Diversity, 4001000 (New York: St. Martins
Press, 1983); Timothy E. Gregory, A History of Byzantium (Malden, MA: Blackwell
Publishing, 2005), 137, 151; Yitzhak Hen, Roman Barbarians: The Royal Court and
Culture in the Early Medieval West (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 12452,
other chapters in The Visigoths, J. N. Hillgarth, Coins and Chronicles: Propaganda in
Sixth-Century Spain and the Byzantine Background, in Visigothic Spain, Byzantium
and the Irish, ed. J. N. Hillgarth (London: Variorum Reprints, 1985), 483508; J.N.
Hillgarth, Historiography in Visigothic Spain, in Visigothic Spain, Byzantium, and
the Irish (London: Variorum Reprints, 1985), 261311; E. A. Thompson, The Goths
in Spain (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969); and Joseph F. OCallaghan, A History of
Medieval Spain (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1975), 4247, 77.


almost 60,000 Franks and to have cut down the greater part of them with
the sword.44 Isidore of Seville also refers to this story.45 Another indication
of Claudiuss importance is that Gregory the Great sent a letter to him.46
Third, there are some similarities between Isidores other works and
ep. 6. His defense of the double procession in the letter is consistent with
his teaching in Etymologies and De ecclesiasticis officiis.47 In both the letter and the Etymologies, he is careful to distinguish proceeding from
begetting. And, although possibly coincidental, in both sources he cites
Deuteronomy 6.4 in opposition to tritheism.48

Responses to Objections against the Letters Authenticity

Ep. 6 has been viewed with suspicion because of its reference to the Athanasian Creed and the filioque, inclusion in late manuscripts, and expression of papal supremacy.49 When examined closely these issues do not
detract from the letters authenticity. Even though the letters authenticity
still remained doubtful for Arvalo,50 he saw no reason to reject the letter
based on Oudins concerns related to the filioque, papal supremacy, and
the Athanasian Creed.51 The following will respond to these objections,
referring to Arvalos work as needed.
Reference to the Athanasian Creed
In ep. 6 Isidore says, Likewise, you took care to make known to me the
objection of some Greeks that in the synod of Nicea and Constantinople
it is said that it was prohibited under pain of anathema in the Apostles
44. John of Biclaro, Chronicle 91 (trans. Kenneth Baxter Wolf, Conquerors and
Chroniclers of Early Medieval Spain [Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1990], 77).
45. Isidore of Seville, Goth. 54.
46. Gregory the Great, ep. 120. The NCPF does not clarify this is the same Claudius,
but this is clarified by John R. C. Martyn, trans., The Letters of Gregory the Great,
3 vols. (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2004), 2:704 n.712.
47. Isidore of Seville, Etymologies 7.3 and De ecclesiaticis officiis 1.24(23).
48. Isidore of Seville, Etymologies 8.5.67.
49. Paul Sjourn, Dernier Pre de Leglise, 7374 offers another objection to
authenticity. He compares a passage in the letter to ep. 4, which he considers spurious but not because of the words that it uses in common to ep. 6. Mullins, Spiritual
Life, 1718 says ep. 4 is supported by ancient manuscripts, and, of the scholars she
surveys, Sjourn is the only one that considers it spurious.
50. PL 81:513.
51. Casimir Oudin, Commentarius de Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticus, 3 vols. (Lipsiae:
Weidman, 1722; reprint, Farnborough, UK: Gregg International Publishers Limited,
1970), 1:1592 raises another objection related to the letters use of Prelati which
he associates with the twelfth or thirteenth centuries. Arvalo addresses the issue in
relation to Isidores works (PL 81:506).


Creed and in that of holy Athanasius to take away or add something

concerning the Catholic faith . . . .52 Ceillier claims the letter is from the
period of the dispute between the Greeks and Latins regarding the procession of the Holy Spirit. He does not specifically say the reference to
the Athanasian Creed makes the letter spurious but does note the Greeks
believed the creed was genuine and from Athanasius. He also mentions in
his assessment of a related letter from Isidore to Eugenius (ep. 8) that the
creed could have been known by that name in Isidores time, but not usually by that name, and there is no evidence that it was widely accepted by
the Catholic Church till later.53 Therefore, two important questions must
to be answered: First, was the Athanasian Creed well known at this time
and by what name? Second, would the Greeks have referred to the creed
in such a way, especially since the creed contains the double procession?
Concerning the creeds notoriety, it may have been influential in councils
as early as Toledo III. The Athanasian Creed (also known as the Quicunque
vult) was possibly used to compose King Reccareds confession (containing
the double procession) and the third anathema which said, If anyone does
not believe that the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son,
and is coeternal with and like unto the Father and the Son....54 Kelly
notes that two passages from Reccareds confession seem to betray the
influence of vv. 5f. (with 21) and v. 3 of the Quicunque respectively....55
Burn says, It is quite possible that the Council of 589 were influenced by
the teaching of the Quicunque vult, since the words of their 3rd Canon
reflect reminiscence of clause 24.56
Even if the creed did not influence Toledo III, it definitely influenced
52. Isidore of Seville, ep. 6.4 (trans. Ford, 31, 33).
53. Remy Ceillier, Histoire Gnale Auteurs Sacrs et Ecclsiastiques, 23 vols. (Paris:
Louis Vivs, 1882), 11:72223. Oudin, Commentarius de Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticus,
1:159293 mentions that the ep. 8, which he rejects, references the Athanasian Creed
like ep. 6. See also Sjourn, Dernier Pre de Lglise, 94.
54. Hefele, History of the Councils, 4:417. Ferrainolo, Historical and Theological
Background, 79 says the wording is different from Toledo III and that the Athanasian Creed may have not influenced the council, but Kelly and Burn feel justified in
mentioning the similarities even though their wording does not express full assurance.
55. J. N. D. Kelly, The Athanasian Creed: The Paddock Lectures for 196263
(New York: Harper & Row, 1964), 38. For a text and translation of the creed with
the corresponding verses to which Kelly refers, see 1720.
56. Burn, An Introduction to the Creeds, 117. It is strange that Burn says the
phrase in the creed affirming the double procession is found in clause 24. In both
places the text is provided in his work, this phrase is listed as 22 (192, 196). Kelly,
Early Christian Creeds, 19 lists this phrase as verse 23. Even so, the context demonstrates that Burn could not be referring to any other phrase than the one concerning
the Spirits procession.


Toledo IV (633), presided over by Isidore. Toledo IVs confession included

the phrase, sed procedentem ex Patre et Filio profitemur.57 The confession
was composed in reliance on the Athanasian Creed, with more certainty
than the distant echoes of the creed found in the documents of Toledo
III and the Creed of Damasus.58 Kelly says, There is every likelihood
that Isidore himself drafted it, for at every point it bears the imprint of his
thought and language,59 and, Clearly the Quicunque must have been
well known, and its authority established beyond question, for Isidore to
have made such extensive use of it in the councils profession of faith.60
Burn says, The evidence of the Canon of 633 is quite sufficient to support the authenticity of these letters [epp. 6 and 8] so far as quotation of
the Quicunque is concerned.61
Regarding the creeds name, it is associated with Athanasius in the early
eighth-century Leningrad codex C.62 Even more ancient, the canon of the
Synod Autun (c. 670) uses the name of Athanasius and is the first recorded
association of his name with the creed.63 Kelly even regards it as a distinct possibility (not to be more positive) that the Athanasian title is after
all original [to the time of Caesarius of Arles (50242)].64
Finally, it seems odd that the Greeks would refer to the Athanasian
Creed to bolster their case against the alteration of the Nicene Creed. The
Athanasian Creed directly contradicts the theological point they make,
since it contains the double procession. But, this is not an overwhelming
problem. First, the story may not be reported precisely since Claudius
may be reporting what he heard from others with Isidore then reporting
what Claudius said. Second, as revealed in the quote above, the Greeks
are not appealing to the Athanasian Creed on the basis of its theology
but rather to its anathema on those who alter the Catholic faith. Since
the creed was so influential at the time in Spain, it would make sense for
the Greeks to appeal to it without necessarily believing the creed or its
name were authentic.
57. Hefele, History of the Councils, 450 n.4.
58. Kelly, Athanasian Creed, 3839. See also G. D. W. Ommanney, A Critical Dissertation on the Athanasian Creed: Its Original Language, Authorship, Titles, Reception, and Use (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1897), 1214. Burn, An Introduction to the
Creeds, 153 notes that the confession relies on the Creed of Damasus.
59. Kelly, Athanasian Creed, 39.
60. Kelly, Athanasian Creed, 4041.
61. Burn, Athanasian Creed, lxxx. Arvalo also refers to Toledo IV in his discussion of the authenticity of ep. 6 (PL 81:507).
62. Kelly, Athanasian Creed, 20.
63. Kelly, Athanasian Creed, 41, 5354. Arvalo also notes this synod (PL 81:507).
64. Kelly, Athanasian Creed, 54.


Reference to the Filioque

As described above, Ceillier associates the letter with the later dispute
over filioque. Sjourn says those who consider the letter authentic think
it was interpolated, and others associate the letter with the later Carolingian dispute, particularly focusing on the letters testimony that the
Holy Roman Church approves and believes that the Holy Spirit proceeds
from the Father and the Son.65 McNally, citing Sjourn, associates the
letter with the ninth century, noting the clear tendentious teaching on
the Filioque clause in the Creed and on the primatial prerogatives of the
papacy (latter issue addressed below).66 Oudin places the letter after the
controversy over the filioque in the time of Photius.67
Despite these perspectives, it is unnecessary to associate the filioque
debate in this letter with a later time, since all of the factors existed for
such an exchange to occur. As already demonstrated, there were Greek
communities in Lusitania and the filioque was in the Creed. It is conceivable that this exchange would receive little attention at the time and in
history. It was only some Greeks and a duke in a province in Spain,
not a major debate between the Carolingians and Byzantium. The small
skirmish was nothing compared to the later war.
Additionally, the belief that the doctrine of the double procession was
approved by the Holy Roman Church was reasonable, since the doctrine
was pervasive in the West since Augustine. In Gaul, Eucherius of Lyons
(d. 449),68 Faustus of Riez (d. 49095),69 Gennadius of Marseilles (d.
496),70 Julianus Pomerius (d. 498) (a priest of Arles), 71 Avitus of Vienne
(d. 523),72 and Gregory of Tours (d. 594)73 supported the double procession. In Africa, Fulgentius of Rupse (d. 533) did the same.74
Another important figure from Gaul, Caesarius of Arles (50242), also
65. Sjourn, Dernier Pre de Lglise, 95. Isidore of Seville, ep. 6.4 (trans. Ford,
33). Sjourn says that even those who uphold the authenticity of the letter think
this was interpolated.
66. McNally, Isidoriana, 439.
67. Oudin, Commentarius de Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticus, 1:1592.
68. Eucherius of Lyons, Instructiones ad Salonum 1 (PL 50:774).
69. Swete, On the History, 154; Henry Barclay Swete, The Holy Spirit in the Ancient
Church: A Study of Christian Teaching in the Age of the Fathers (London: Macmillan
and Company, 1912; reprint, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1966), 154.
70. Gennadius of Marseilles, De ecclesiasticus dogmatibus (PL 58:980).
71. Julianus Pomerius, De vita contemplativa 1.18 (PL 59:433).
72. Avitus of Vienne, Fragmento libri de divinitate Spiritus Sancti (PL 59:385).
73. Gregory of Tours, The History of the Franks 1.
74. Fulgentius of Ruspe, To Peter on the Faith (trans. FC 95:6164, 93); Fulgentius of Ruspe, Fulgentius to Ferrandus (trans. FC 95:538).


taught the double procession.75 In Sermon 10, titled The Beginning of

a Selection on the Catholic Faith, he preached, the Holy Spirit, in turn,
proceeds from both.76 In another sermon, titled The Beginning of the
Creed of St. Athanasius, Bishop, the Third Person is described as not
made or created or begotten, but proceeds from the Father and the Son.77
This latter sermon attests to Caesariuss use of the Athanasian Creed, but
his reverence for it is seen more by his desire for others to know this creed.
In the preface to a collection of sermons, Caesarius says, Because it is
necessary . . . that all clergymen, and laymen too, should be familiar with
the Catholic (i.e., the Christian) faith, we have first of all written out in
this collection the Catholic faith itself as the holy fathers defined it, for we
ought both ourselves frequently to read it and instruct others in it. Then
he sets forth the full text of the Athanasian Creed so that the clergy should
know what to teach. His comments indicate that at his time this creed was
considered a concise summary of Christian doctrine and was to be studied
by the faithful.78

It is understandable that the creed with the double procession would

be accepted in Spain: In 512, Pope Symmachus gave Caesarius of Arles
authority to settle matters of faith in Spain as well as Gaul.79 Caesarius
was given this authority by being made the papal vicar of Gaul and given
the pallium.80
As Caesarius was the popes vicar in Gaul and in part of Spain, every
bishop who went to Rome had to pass through Arles and obtain from
him letters of recommendation. He adroitly took advantage of this to
force upon them one or more of his collections of homilies, demanding of
them a promise to have them read in the church . . . . Thus it came about
75. Mark Dorenkemper, The Trinitarian Doctrine and Sources of St. Caesarius
of Arles (Fribourg, Switzerland: University Press, 1953), 98 summarizes Caesariuss
perspective on the Spirits procession as, An internal procession from the Father and
the Son, eternal and without order and degreessuch is the procession of the Holy
Spirit as St. Caesarius describes it. Consider more details Dorenkemper gives about
Caesariuss teaching on the procession of the Spirit: how he thought procession was
somehow different from generation but did not know the difference between the two
(97, 135), and how he did not see any correlation between the missions and processions of the Persons (109).
76. Caesarius, Sermons (trans. FC 31 [1]:59).
77. Caesarius, 27. Morin here gives the Athanasian Creed in the formhomiletic,
writes Morin, and somewhat freer (66 [3]: 229).
78. Robert L. Wilken, Introducing the Athanasian Creed, Currents in Theology
and Mission 6 (1979): 5. See Caesarius Sermon 2 (trans. FC 31 [1]: 2526).
79. Kelly, Athanasian Creed, 110.
80. For more information about this role, its responsibilities, and the pallium see
William E. Klingshirn, Caesarius of Arles: The Making of a Christian Community in
Late Antique Gaul (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 12931.


that collections transcribed through the labors of Caesarius spread almost
immediately into Gaul, Spain and other cisalpine countries. In Spanish
Tarragona they were put to good use as the so-called Homilies of Toledo,
which were read at Mass in the Visigothic liturgy.81

In Rome, the filioque may not have been added to the Nicene Creed until
much later, but the doctrine was expressed by Paschasius, a Roman deacon (d. 512),82 Boethius (d. 584),83 and Cassidorus (d. 584).84 Examining
the popes, Leo the Great responded to a letter from Turibius of Asturica
(Astorgia) (which included a list of propositions against Priscillianism)
in a letter dated July 21, 447 and said the Holy Spirit proceeded from
both.85 Leo lists Priscillianist propositions and condemns them. Chadwick
says, it is safe to conclude that either Leos letter or a list of propositions
closely based upon it was circulated for formal signature.86 Therefore,
Leos epistle and the concept of the double procession would have been
read by a number of church leaders. Also, Leos letter likely exerted influence on the Spanish Pastors Creed, which contains the filioque.87
This creed then influenced the councils of Braga I (561) and ToledoIII.
Presiding over the council of Braga I, Lucretius of Braga reminded
those present of Leos letter and read the document from Bishop Pastor,
recognized as having some authority.88 Later Pastors Creed influenced
81. Caesarius of Arles, Sermons (trans. FC 31 [1]: xxii). J. N. Hillgarth, Popular Religion in Visigothic Spain, in Visigothic Spain: New Approaches, ed. Edward
James (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980), 24 says, Many of the sermons prescribed
to be read in Visigothic Spain are contained in the Homiliary of Toledo. Over half of
the 118 items . . . were taken from Caesarius of Arles (48) or Augustine (13), with
other Patristic sources, such as Maximus of Turin or Gregory the Great, drawn on to
much a lesser extent. Collins, Early Medieval Spain, 6061 says, The greatest debt
owed in this direction was to the sermon collections of Caesarius of Arles (502542)
one of which became the basis of the homiliary used by the Church of Toledo in the
seventh century.
82. Paschasius De Spiritu Sancto 1.12 (PL 62:23). In Swete, On the History, 158
he says ex utroque procedit are the words used and he cites this section of the PL,
but the passage actually says, ex utroque progreditur. Whichever words he used,
he translates them as proceeds in The Holy Spirit, 347.
83. Boethius, De Trinitate 5 (PL 64:1254).
84. Cassiodorus, In psalt. praef. (PL 70:23). In Ravenna, Agnellus (d. 569) supported the double procession. See Agnellus Epistola ad Armenium de ratione fidei
(PL 68:38384).
85. Leo the Great, ep. 15.2 (trans. NPNF2 12:21). Siecienski, The Filioque, 64 says,
there remains doubts about the authenticity of the letter itself. But this would not
impact the argument made here if it was believed to be authentic at the time.
86. Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila, 217.
87. Chadwick, 177, 218; Kelly, Athanasian Creed, 90.
88. The latter document, recognized as having some authority and containing the
double procession, was read to the council. The documents authority is evident,


ToledoIII.89 Kelly says that the confession Reccared read to the council
relies on Pastors Creed.90
Another pope, Gregory the Great, also wrote phrases in his Moralia
that could be interpreted as supporting the double procession.91 When
Gregory was a Roman deacon, he stayed in Constantinople (57986), busy
delivering a series of lectures on Job. Later, Gregory edited this work into
the Moralia and dedicated it to Leander of Seville, Gregorys companion
in Constantinople. The early redaction of the Moralia was carried back
to Spain by Leander and became the earliest source of the extraordinary
reputation for learning and sanctity which Gregory enjoyed among the
Spanish ecclesiastical writers of the seventh century.92 After Gregory was
in Rome and Leander returned to Spain they still maintained their friendship through letters.93 Leander, Isidores brother, presided over ToledoIII

because the council thought from the interpolated address that the document (with
its creed and eighteen anathemas) was composed at a council by the bishops of Tarraconensis, Carthaginensis, Lusitania, and Baetica.
89. Arvalo noted the filioques presence at Toledo I and III (PL 81:5034). The
creed of Toledo I is not associated with that council and is really the Pastors Creed
(Chadwick, Priscillian of Avila, 177, 214; Kelly, Athanasian Creed, 90). Toledo III did
not include the filioque in the Nicene Creed, but Arvalos reference to the council still
has meaning since the filioque was in Recarreds confession and the third anathema.
Despite his proof of the filioque at the time, he does allow for the possibility that the
filioque reference in ep. 6 is a later interpolation (506).
90. Kelly, Athanasian Creed, 38.
91. Frederick H. Dudden, Gregory the Great: His Place in History and Thought,
2 vols. (New York: Russell & Russell, 1967), 2:349 says, Gregory leaves us in no
doubt as to his real opinion. In several places he distinctly asserts that the Holy Spirit
proceeds both from the Father and the Son. Dudden supports this claim by citing
passages from the Moralia (30.17, 2.92, and 1.30). Also consider Gregorys perspective
in Dialogues (trans. FC 39:109): Now certainly the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, is ever
proceeding from the Father and the Son. Siecienski, The Filioque, 7071 finally concludes that Gregory likely supported the popular doctrine but says interpreting Gregory
from his writings is difficult. He examines some of the same passages as Dudden.
92. Mullins, Spiritual Life, 57. Collins, Early Medieval Spain, 60 also recognizes
the influence of Gregory on the Spanish church through Leander: This [the relationship of Gregory and Leander] meant that most of Gregorys writings very quickly
became available in the Visigothic kingdom and they came to exercise, with the sole
exception of the thought of Augustine, the greatest single influence upon the learning of the Spanish Church in the seventh century. Like Mullins, Peter Meyvaert,
Uncovering a Lost Work of Gregory the Great: Fragments of the Early Commentary on Job, Traditio 50 (1995): 5574 recognizes that Leander brought back the
earlier Moralia to Spain, because Isidore used this edition to replace sections of the
final version that were never sent to Leander.
93. For correspondence see ep. 43 and ep. 49 (trans. NPNF2 12) and ep. 121
(trans. NPNF2 13).


and likely wrote Reccards confession read at the council.94 It is not surprising that the Moralia has been identified as one of Isidores sources.95

Late Manuscripts
Beeson indicates that only Isidores letters to Braulio and Masona are
found in early manuscripts.96 This issue can be treated briefly as Mullins
alone cites this as evidence of ep. 6 generally being considered suspect.97
Also, the argument is logical in nature, not necessarily requiring further
examination of the manuscript evidence.
The later provenance in no way necessitates that ep. 6 and other letters are spurious. Some of Isidores letters found only in late manuscripts,
like ep. 6, may have more generally been considered spurious, but others
have been generally considered authentic. Mullinss treatment of the letters
demonstrates various scholars view ep. 1 (to Leudefredus) as genuine,98
and ep. 5 (to Helladius) is considered authentic by Mullins, McNally, and
even Sjourn, who radically considers all of the letters spurious except
this one and those to Braulio.99
Papal Supremacy100
Ep. 6 says, Thus I know that I am at the head of the Church of Christ as
long as I confess to show due obedience reverently, humbly, and devotedly
in everything to the Roman pontiff in particular, as vicar of God, before all
94. Dudden, Gregory the Great, 1:408.
95. Thomas L. Knoebel, trans., Isidore of Seville: De Ecclesiasticus Officiis (Mahwah, NJ: The Newman Press, 1989), 25.
96. Charles Henry Beeson, Isidor-Studien, Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Lateinischen Philologiedes Mittelalters 4 (Munich: C.H. Beck, 1913), 60.
97. Mullins, Spiritual Life, 5 n.26.
98. Mullins, 17. For opposing views see Eligius Dekkers and Aemilus Gaar, eds.,
Clavis Patrum Latinorum, 3:211; Diaz y Diaz, Index Scriptorum Latinorum, 44;
Ford, The Letters of St. Isidore of Seville, 7; and Sjourn, Dernier Pre de Lglise,
166. McNally, Isidoriana, 439, says, The problem of its authenticity has not yet
been definitely solved.
99. Mullins, 1819; McNally, Isidoriana, 436; and Sjourn, Dernier Pre de
Lglise, 7181. Diaz y Diaz, Index Scriptorum Latinorum, 42 also lists it as authentic. McNally, Isidoriana, 439 n.439 explains that Sjourns extreme position is
not generally accepted by scholars.
100. In this section evidence from ep. 8 is excluded, since the letters authenticity
has been debated, but there is good reason to consider it. (See note 40, above, for
authors that regard the letter as genuine). Isidore says, But concerning the question of the equality of the apostles, Peter takes precedence over the others because
he deserved to hear from the Lord: You will be called Cephas; you are Peter (John
1, 42) and other things; and he first received in the Church of Christ the honor of
the priesthood not from any other but from the very Son of God and the Virgin. It


other prelates of the Church.101 As noted above, this perspective on the

Pope leads some to consider the letter spurious. Oudin doubts the letter on
these grounds.102 Sjourn doubts the letters authenticity because of this
same passage despite noting evidence that supports Isidores respect for the
papacy.103 He notes a passage in De ecclesiasticis officiis where Isidore says,
Thus far concerning the first priests of the Old Testament. In the New
Testament, however after Christ the order of the priesthood began with
Peter. For to him the pontificate in the church of Christ was given first. [He
quotes Matt 16.1819] He was therefore the first to receive the authority
of binding and loosing, and the first to bring people to faith by the power
of his preaching. And since the other apostles also became equal sharers
with Peter in honor and authority, they also preached the gospel, dispersed
throughout the whole world. Coming after them, there succeeded them
the bishops, who have been setup throughout the world in the seats of the
was said to him even after the resurrection of the Son of God by the same: Feed my
lambs (John 21, 15). Christ designated the prelates of the churches by the name of
lambs. Although his dignity of power is transferred to all Catholic bishops, yet in a
special way and with a singular privilege it remains forever higher to the bishop of
Rome as the head than all the other members. Thurs whoever, separated from the
head, does not reverently exhibit the due obedience to him, renders himself subject
to the schism of the Acephali, in asmuch as the Holy Church approves and defends
the following statement of Holy Athanasius concerning the belief in the Holy Trinity,
as if it were an article of the Catholic faith (ep. 8.2 [trans. Ford, 47]).
101. Isidore of Seville, ep. 6.2 (trans. Ford, 31).
102. Oudin, Commentarius de Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticus, 1:1593.
103. It is surprising that Sjourn doubts the authenticity of the letter on these
grounds. Much of his analysis reveals a high view of the papacy by Isidore and those
at the time. At other times he cites evidence to the contrary. Besides the evidence
analyzed in the body of this paper, he says the popes did not have much involvement
in the regular affairs of the Spanish church, and Rome did not play a big part from
the standpoint of its judicial powers (Sjourn, Dernier Pre de Lglise, 91). On the
other hand, he notes that Isidore recognized Rome as the apostolic see at ToledoIV,
and he, Leander, and even the most suspicious of the Spanish church respect the
legislative authority of the church and see the popes authority equal to the councils
(9192). He tells of Isidore following the practice of his own church for the tonsure
but the apostolic see for fasting (9293). E. Magnin, Lglise Wisigothique au VIIe
Sicle (Paris: Alphonse Picard et Fils, 1912), 1314 only draws attention to the latter.
104. Isidore of Seville, De ecclesiasticis officiis 2.5.56 (trans. Knoebel, 72). Even
though King accepts that Isidore recognized papal primacy he says that Isidore states
the next to last sentence almost defensively (Law and Society, 123 n.3). Magnin,
Lglise Wisigothique au VIIe Sicle, 12 also notes the contrast between the end and
beginning of the passage. This passage of Isidore is from Cyprian, On the Unity of
the Church 4 (trans. ANF 5:422). Cyprian says, If any one consider and examine
these things, there is no need for lengthened discussion and arguments. There is easy
proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter saying,


He takes this to mean that Isidore considre lvque de Rome comme

le plus autoris reprsentant de lpiscopat et de la tradition des Pres.105
He even recognizes the use of a letter from Gregory the Great, that
addressed the issue of triune immersion, at Toledo IV as demonstrating,
Lenseignement du pape est, doffice, considr comme la doctrine des
Pres.106 On the other hand, Sjourn notes that Leander consulted both
John the Faster, patriarch of Constantinople, and Gregory regarding the
issue.107 In response, this does not appear to be an overwhelming problem. It seems possible that just as Leander knew Gregory from his time in
[quotes Matt. 26:1819]. And again to the same he says, after his resurrection, Feed
my sheep. And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal
power, and says, [quotes John 20:21]; yet, that he might set forth unity, He arranged
by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest
of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership
both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity. The connection
is mentioned by Arvalo (PL 81:78182 n.5); Sjourn, Dernier Pre de Lglise, 93;
Vega, Primado Romano, 504; and Madoz, El Primado in Espaa en el Ciclo Isidoriano, Revista Espaola de teologa 2 (1942): 240. Madoz also refers to a similar
passage in Isidores ep. 8.
105. Sjourn, Dernier Pre de Lglise, 93. See also Madoz, Primado in Espaa,
106. Sjourn, 94.
107. Sjourn, 93. See also Magnin, Lglise Wisigothique au VIIe Sicle, 910.
Sjourn says Isidore only included Gregorys response in the Hispana, because his
response was unfavorable and inclusion of anything besides papal letters and councils
would have tainted the collection. The letter from John to Leander is referred to by
Isidore in De viris illustribus 39.2 (PL 83:1102). John only endorsed triune immersion.
(Isidore is surely correct about the John Leander corresponded with, but his accuracy
is questionable, since he says Gregorys Liber Regulae Pastoralis was written to John
of Constantinople [De viris illustribus 39.1 {PL 83:1101}]. It was probably written
to John of Ravenna. See Gregory the Great Pastoral Rule [trans. NPNF2 12.1; trans.
Henry Davis, St. Gregory the Great: Pastoral Care {Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1950},
241 n.4]; Otto Bardenhewer, Patrology: The Lives and Works of the Fathers of the
Church, trans. Thomas J. Shahan [St. Louis: B. Herder, 1908], 652; and Dudden,
Gregory the Great, 1:229 n.1.) In a later chapter about Leander he refers to the letter to Gregory (41.3 [PL 83:1104]). An English translation by Laurent Cases can be
found at
.html (accessed Jan. 25, 2014). Gregorys response is in ep. 43 (trans. NPNF2 12:88):
But with respect to triune immersion in baptism, no truer answer can be given than
what you have yourself felt to be right; namely that, where there is one faith, a diversity of usage does no harm to holy Church. Now we, in immersing thrice, signify the
sacraments of the three days sepulture; so that, when the infant is a third time lifted
out of the water, the resurrection after a space of three days may be expressed. Or,
if any one should perhaps think that this is done out of veneration for the supreme
Trinity, neither so is there any objection to immersing the person to be baptized in
the water once, since there being one substance of three subsistences, it cannot be
in any way reprehensible to immerse the infant either thrice or once, seeing that by


Constantinople, he could have known John as well, influencing his desire

to write to him.108 In addition, Gregorys call for single immersion was
decreed at Toledo IV, demonstrating the authority of the papacy as even
Sjourn admitted, and the council recognized Rome as the apostolic
see109 and the authority of Rome regarding the acceptance and liturgical
use of Revelation.110 Similarly, papal teaching and authority was recogthree immersions the Trinity of persons, and in one the singleness of the Divinity
may be denoted. But, inasmuch as up to this time it had been the custom of heretics
to immerse infants in baptism thrice, I am of opinion that this ought not be done
among you; lest, while they number the immersions, they should divide the Divinity,
and while they continue to do as they have been used to do, they should boast of
having bot the better of our custom.
108. John was patriarch from 58295. Leander was in Constantinople in 580 and
then again from 584 to 586 (Martin of Braga, Pachasius of Dumium, Leander of
Seville, trans. Claude W. Barlow, Iberian Fathers 1 [Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1969], 177 and Saint Leander, Archbishop of Seville: A Book
on the Teaching of Nuns and a Homily in Praise of the Church, trans. and ed. John
R.C. Martyn [Landham, MD: Lexington Books, 2009], 4).
109. Hefele, History of the Councils, 4:451: As in Spain some in baptizing dip
only once and others three times, and so with many doubts arise whether someone
has been validly baptized, we will receive instructions in regard to this difference
from the apostolic see, namely, from Pope Gregory of blessed memory. The latter,
in his letter to Bishop Leander approves as well the single as the triple immersion;
but he add: If hitherto, in Spain only the heretics (Arians) have used a triple immersion, in order dum mersiones numerant, divinitatem dividant, the orthodox must no
longer employ triple immersion. Accordingly the Synod decrees the universal introduction of the single immersion as a symbol of the death and resurrection of Christ,
and of the unity of the Trinity. Bernhard Schimmelpfennig, The Papacy (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1992), 7273 doubts that the two brothers from Seville
granted overwhelming authority to the pope. He says, Though both had become
good friends with Gregory as apocrisiarii in Constantinople, they did not allow the
pope to interfere in their work. They began the tradition, which lasted until the end
of the empire, of holding imperial councils at the royal residence in Toledo under
the chairmanship of the primate of Toledo at which questions of faith, doctrine and
organization were declared binding for the whole realm. And, Instructions from
the papacy were accepted by the Spanish only if they accorded with their own views.
For example, at the fourth Toledo Council in 633, Isidore of Seville put through as a
council resolution a letter from Gregory had sent to Isidores brother Leander regarding baptism. This view seems overly pessimistic. In the end, Gregory was the one the
Spanish church followed instead of the patriarch. Was the Spanish church just picking their favorite view? This is difficult to determine. Leanders letters are not extant.
Gregory does appear to affirm the view Leander expressed in his letter, but it appears
Leander was just saying that a diversity of usages was acceptable, not, as Gregory says
later, that single immersion had to be used due to the heretics (see note 107, above).
110. Diez and Rodriguez, eds., Coleccin Cannica Hispana V, 2056. Canon
XVII says, Apocalipsin librum multorum conciliorum auctoritats et synodica sanctorum praesulum Romanorum decreta Iohannis euangelistae esse praescribunt et inter
diuinos libros recipiendum constituerunt. Et quia plurimi sunt qui eius auctoritatem


nized at Toledo III,111 Seville II (619),112 and Toledo VI (638) (the latter
using the teaching of Pope Leo).113
There is some evidence that Sjourn does not mention. In the Etymologies, Isidore says,
The pontifex is the chief of priests, as if the word were the way of
his followers. And he is also named the highest priest and the pontifex
maximus, for he creates priests and levites (i.e., deacons); he himself
disposes all the ecclesiastical orders; he indicates what each one should do.
Indeed, in former times pontifexes were also kings, for this was the custom
of our ancestors, that the king was himself a priest or pontifexhence the
Roman emperors were also pontifexes.114

It is plausible that this passage expresses a high view of the papacy. It is

situated in a section about clerics were he discusses various offices, bishops
non recipiunt atque in ecclesiam Dei praedicare contemnunt, si quis eum deinceps
aut non receperit aut a pascha usque ad pentecostem missarum tempore in ecclesia
non praedicauerit, excommunicationis sententiam habebit. See Magnin, Lglise
Wisigothique au VIIe Sicle, 14.
111. Diez and Rodriguez, eds., 109: Maneant in suo uigore conciliorum omnium
constituta simul et synodicae sanctorum praesulum Romanorum epistolae. See
Magnin, Lglise Wisigothique au VIIe Sicle, 14.
112. Louisa, Collectio Conciliorum Hispaniae, 29596: Illi tricenalis objectio
silentium ponit: hoc enim & secularium Principum edicat praecipiunt, & Praesulum
Romanorum decreuit auctoritas. Arvalo (PL 81:506) and Sjourn (Dernier Pre
de Lglise, 93) note this canon.
113. Hefele, History of the Councils, 4:462. Magnin, Lglise Wisigothique au VIIe
Sicle, 9, 15 draws attention to this passage.
114. Isidore of Seville, Etymologies 7.12.1314 (trans. Stephen A. Barney et al.,
The Etymologies of Isidore of Seville [New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006],
171). Vega, Primado Romano, 503 uses this passage to clarify the meaning of
Pontificatus in relation to a previously quoted passage in De ecclesiasticis officiis,
and says, Todo esto es San Pedro, cuyo pontificado ejerce sobre las Iglesia Cristo.
A l le corresponde por derecho divino la potestad de ligar y desligar, de dar leyes y
derogarlas, de imponer preceptos y aplicar penas a los trasgresores, de perdonar los
pecados o retenerlos. Madoz, Primado in Espaa, 239 does not refer to this passage but he does note the last sentence of the following: Peter (Petrus) took his name
from rock (petra), that is, from Christ, on whom the Church is founded. Now petra
is not given its name from Petrus, but Petrus from petra, just as Christ is so called
not from Christian, but Christian from Christ. Therefore the Lord says (Matthew
16:18), Thou art Peter, and upon this rock (petra) I will build my church, because
Peter had said (Matthew 16:16), Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. Then
the Lord said to him, Upon this rock which you have proclaimed I will build my
church, for (1 Corinthians 10:4) the rock was Christ, on which foundation even
Peter himself was built. He was called Cephas because he was established as the head
(caput) of the apostles, for in Greek means head, and Cephas is the Syrian
name for Peter (Isidore of Seville, Etymologies 7.9.2 [trans. Barney, 168]). Vega
refers to this passage as well (5056).


before the passage and priests and others after the passage. In his discussion of bishops he explains patriarchs (Rome, Antioch, and Alexandria),
archbishops, metropolitans, and bishops.
There are also Spanish epistles from the period that use strong words
for the papacy, bolstering the authenticity of ep. 6. In Reccareds letter to
Gregory the Great, he used phrases holy lord and most blessed pope,115
thee who art powerful above all other bishops, and thy Holiness.116
In Licinianus of Carthagenas letter to Gregory he used most blessed
lord pope, Thy holiness, your Blessedness, most holy father,
your crown, and most blessed father.117 Finally, Braulio of Saragossa,
Isidores friend and student, wrote to Pope Honorius most reverend lord
and deserving of apostolic glory, and Prince of Rome.118 Thompson
says, He fully recognizes the primacy of the bishop of Rome (Romanus
princeps).119 Arvalo draws attention to Braulios words at the opening
of the letter:120
115. Magnin, Lglise Wisigothique au VIIe Sicle, 78 and Charles H. Lynch, Saint
Braulio, Bishop of Saragossa (631651): His Life and Writings, Studies in Mediaeval
History, n.s., 2 (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America, 1938), 100
say pope was not solely used of the Bishop of Rome at this time, but Lynch does
say that Braulio seems to use it that way even though that alone does not prove his
belief in papal primacy.
116. Gregory the Great, ep. 61 (trans. NPNF2 13:1617). According to n.6, the
NPNF2 says, the genuineness of this letter is considered doubtful, but Martyn,
trans., The Letters of Gregory the Great, 2:698 makes no mention of any doubts.
117. Gregory the Great, ep. 54 (trans. NPNF2 12:11921).
118. Braulio of Saragossa, ep. 21 (trans. FC 63:51, 54).
119. Thompson, Goths in Spain, 185. Despite this King says this letter and another
from Julian of Toledo to Benedict II have a tone prickly independence, resentful of the
exercise of Roman authority (Law and Society, 123). He continues, It has been not
implausibly suggested that by the end of the century schism was near (12324). He
also says, Braulio stressed that God worked through the king as well as through the
pope (123 n.4). Pius Bonifacius Gams, Dies Kirchengeschichte von Spanien (Regensburg: Georg Joseph Manz, 1864), 2.2:244 refers to the bitterness and irritability in
the letter. It seems plausible that the popes authority would be recognized even in
the midst of flared emotions. The letter was a response to the popes criticism ...
about their failure to take make more repressive measures against the Jews (Collins, Visigothic Spain 407711, 165). Even Thompson, who says Braulio recognizes
the popes primacy, discusses aspects of the letter that show Braulio is defending the
Spanish church. Lynch, Saint Braulio, 5556 says, It suffices here to say that the successor of Peter is accorded due respect and recognition . . . His [Honoriuss] zeal in
discharging his duty of watching over all the churches, and keeping them from schism
and heresy, is lauded, and his right to demand an accounting in Spain is accepted as
a matter of course. Nevertheless, the noticeable tone of aggrieved testiness in the Letter echoes a growing national pride of church and state in Spain. He also surveys
the perspectives of various scholars on the issue of whether Spain at this time was
attempting to set up a national Church independent of Rome (145). He concludes


You are performing extremely well and most suitable the duties of your see
as it was conferred upon you by God; with holy care of all the churches,
resplendent in the shining flame and in the mirrors of your doctrine, you are
providing a worthy guardianship for the Church of Christ; with the sword
of the divine word and the weapon of heavenly zeal, you are confounding
those who deride the Lords tunic; after the fashion of Nehemias, with your
energy and your watchfulness, you are cleansing the sacred House of God,
our Mother, from wicked and accursed deserters.121

Lynch refers to such phrases as most excellent and outstanding of bishops as displaying the respect and recognition of the pope.122 He says,
Throughout the letter his primacy is stressed,123 and, This valuable

this is not the case (146). Magnin, Lglise Wisigothique au VIIe Sicle, 21 describes
the perspective of the Spanish church in this exchange with the pope: Mais lestime
mme o les Pres de Tolde tiennent le sige de Rome les rend dautant plus sensibles aux critiques dHonorius. J. Prez de Urbel, Braulio, DHGE, 10:448 says,
Son accent est ferme, tout en tant respectueux. Ceux qui ont vu dans ce texte un
indice de lindpendance de lglise wisigothique envers Rome, ne se sont pas arrts
le regarder de prs. For Madozs discussion of the letter see Primado in Espaa,
23637, 24447. Vega, Primado Romano, 52123 says, Despus de leda atentamente esta Carta, clebre en los anales de la Iglesia Espaola, y que en la misma
Roma tuvo merecida resonancia, no se explica uno cmo se ha podido ver en ella un
rasgo siquiera de independencia jerrquica y de protesta contra la autoridad suprema
de la Silla Apostlica. La respuesta del ilustre prelado cesaraugustano es espontnea,
franca, sincera, sin eufemismos, quiz con algo de esa noble rudeza y energa propia
del carcter espaol, pero respetuosa y sumisa siempre a la autoridad del Papa, que
ni un momento, ni lni sus colegas en el episcopado, discuten y menos contradicen.
Al contrario, en toda la Carta abundan las frases de reconocimiento hacia aqulla,
tributndole los elogios ms fervientes y los eptetos ms excelsos, and Todas estas
expresiones nos revelan, no slo un reconocimiento profundo y sincero de la suprema
autoridad pontificia, sino una sumisin interior y exterior de la voluntad a la misma,
completa y sin restricciones. Ni una palabra de protesta contra su ingerencia en los
asuntos de la Iglesia Espaola, ni una insinuacin velada, ni una sospecha siquiera
contra la legitimidad de su accin, siquiera sta resulte dura, excesivamente intempestiva y, en principio, injusta contra ellos. Ni San Braulio ni el episcopado espaol,
es cierto, se muestran en la Carta obsequiosos y deferentes, y menos cordiales y aduladores; pero s respetuosos y atentos y con nimo generoso y dispuesto a obedecerle
al ms leve mandato o insinuacin.
120. PL 81:507. Lynch, Saint Braulio, 101 also quotes some of this passage in
contrast to the fact Honorius was later condemned.
121. Braulio of Saragossa, ep. 21 (trans. FC 63:51).
122. Braulio, 56. Lynch, Saint Braulio, 55. Lynch also notes praestantissme praesulum and Apostolatus vestry apex (italics by Lynch).
123. Lynch, Saint Braulio, 100 continues with other titles than mentioned above:
New titles are brought to the fore. He is the most eminent of Prelates and most
blessed Lord, your eminent Apostleship, your sanctimony, most reverend of men
and holiest of fathers, the most excellent of Bishops, and the head of our ministry.


etter does more than recognize the primacy of the pope; it expresses
clearly, with as much precision as there is beauty and image and idea, the
dogma of the infallible magisterium of the Roman Pontiff.124 Finally,
regarding another epistle of Braulio, Lynch says, The primacy of the pope
is acknowledged unequivocally in Letter 14. Questioned by Fronimian on
the liturgical office of Good Friday, he describes the customs in Saragossa,
Seville, Toledo, Gerona, and, as if it were the final authority, Rome.125
The study of the manuscript evidence clearly demonstrates that the filioque was not in the Nicene Creed at Toledo III (589), but first appeared
at Toledo VIII (653). Although it cannot be maintained with absolute
certainty, there is good reason to believe ep. 6 from Isidore to Claudius
is authentic based on the evidence supporting its authenticity and the
inadequacy of arguments against it. Therefore, the Creed was changed
after 589 and before 636 when Isidore died. Previously scholars believed
the insertion occurred in 589 or previous to the council. If some scholars
thought the filioque was not added by 589, it must have occurred between
589 and 653. This paper corrects the common tradition and further narrows the possible date of this critical event because of an important piece
of evidence not provided by conciliar records.
Reasons for the change to the Creed are implicit in the previous sections, but a fuller treatment of the historical and theological environment
would require another work. Briefly stated, it seems logical that this event
would occur with the pervasive Western belief in the double procession,
influence of creeds that contained the double procession, and, finally, the
third Council of Toledos requirement to include the Creed in the mass
coupled with the anathema against those who did not believe the double
Shawn C. Smith is Registrar at Lincoln Christian University

124. Lynch, 102 cites and translates Urbel, Braulio, 10:448. The whole sentence
says, En mme temps que cette libert desprit nous trouvons dans ce document
fameux, clairement exprim, avec autant de prcision que de beaut dimage et dide,
le dogme du magistre infaillible du romain pontife.
125. Lynch, 100; Braulio of Saragossa, ep. 14 (trans. FC 63:3840). Lynch continues, This recognition in liturgical matters may have been limited on the part of
the master, Isidore, but when Braulio wrote to Pope Honorius. Lynch derives this
perspective on Isidore from Sjourn, Dernier Pre de Lglise, 92.