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According to the answer at Is the Eastern Orthodox doctrine of "the Monarchy of the Father" consistent with the Athanasian creed?, the Revised Catechism says...

094 What difference is there between the Persons of the Holy Trinity?

God the Father is neither begotten nor proceeds from any other Person, he is the cause, source and principle. This is called the Monarchy of the Father.

etc.

Does this this mean the father does not require the son or holy spirit to exist, but the son and holy spirit are dependent on the father for their existence?

  • What is the "Revised Catechism"? – guest37 Jul 27 '17 at 17:59
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Your statement is correct in principle, but the vocabulary could lead to some incorrect conclusions.

the father does not require the son or holy spirit to exist

could be understood to mean that at some time the Father could have existed (or possibly even did exist) without the Son or the Spirit existing. This is not correct as the Son and the Spirit are co-eternal and co-uncreated with the Father.

Likewise,

the son and holy spirit are dependent on the father for their existence

is true as the Father is the source of the Trinity. However we must not understand 'dependent' to mean the Son and the Spirit are in someway conditional -- that if things had gone differently there could have been (for example) a Father, Sister, and Heartbeat instead.

The Father is the Fountainhead of the Holy Trinity, and it is not possible for there to be a Fountainhead without that which flows from it, the Son begotten and the Spirit proceeding.

  • Thanks for the answer. I'm a bit confused about your analogy though. It sounds a bit like modalism and tritheism merged together- three distinct functions of fountain flowing (father), flowing from fountain (son) and flowing from fountain (holy spirit) acting in one accord, or three separate entities (fountainhead, water, and the act of flowing) acting in one accord. Also, how does the term "cause" fit into this? Is the son and spirit an "effect" of the father? – Cannabijoy Jul 26 '17 at 3:44
  • @anonymouswho The emphasis in the Orthodox use of the term fountainhead or source is to emphasise that the Son and Spirit share the Father's essence because the Father is their source. I will expend the answer after I collect some sources. – bradimus Jul 26 '17 at 11:55

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