According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, proceed means:

Full Definition of proceed; intransitive verb

1: to come forth from a source : issue

2 a: to continue after a pause or interruption b: to go on in an orderly regulated way

3 a: to begin and carry on an action, process, or movement b: to be in the process of being accomplished; the work is proceeding well

4: to move along a course

Spiration means:

b (1): the act by or manner in which the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father or from the Father and the Son (2): the relation subsisting by virtue of this procession

Procession means:

a: continuous forward movement: progression b: emanation; the Holy Spirit's procession from the Father

The Nicene Creed says God proceeds (verb) from God and God.

The noun spiration is the act of this proceeding.

Sort of like how the noun "hearing" is "the act of perceiving sounds" to describe the verb "hear".

The noun procession means "continuous motion forward".

So procession is the act of proceeding.

What are the differences between spiration and procession so that we could understand them as two distinct acts?

  • It's the same difference as between "to be loved" and "to love."
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 20:58
  • @Geremia So it means "the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son" and "the Father and Son proceed the Holy Spirit"?
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 23:10
  • No, that's different. Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and Son is a different relation than what the Holy Spirit has to the Father and the Son. Think about human relationships: My relationship to my father is clearly not my father's relationship to me.
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 14, 2016 at 23:21
  • @Geremia What I mean is, couldn't Aquinas just as easily said "The answer to what it means for the Holy Spirit to proceed from the Father and Son is this: just as the Son is begotten of the Father, and the Father begets the Son; likewise the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son, and the Father and Son proceed the Holy Spirit."? Is that all this really means?
    – Cannabijoy
    Commented Oct 15, 2016 at 1:03
  • Yes, provided it's understood that the two processions are distinct.
    – Geremia
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 5:14


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