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explanation about the Holy Trinity

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#1 Mary Jo

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:01 PM

I read this on an orthodox website: "To try to comprehend unbegottenness (Father), begottenness (Son), or procession (Holy Spirit) leads to insanity, says the holy Gregory the Theologian, and so the Church approaches God in divine mystery, approaching God apophatically, being content to encounter God personally and yet realize the inadequacy of the human mind to comprehend Him."

Does anyone know where I can find the original text that this is taken from?
Also, can anyone please explain what it means? Does it mean that the concept of the Trinity is so difficult to understand that we should believe it the way the Church teaches it?

#2 Aidan Kimel

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 01:55 PM

I suspect that what you have quoted is the writer's paraphrase of St Gregory. Perhaps the author was thinking of a quotation like the following:

This I give you to share, and to defend all your life, the one Godhead and power, found in the three in unit, and comprising the three separately; not unequal, in substances or natures, neither increased nor diminished by superiorities nor inferiorities; in every respect equal, in every respect the same; just as the beauty and the greatness of the heavens is one; the infinite conjunction of three infinite ones, each God when considered in himself; as the Father, so the Son; as the Son, so the Holy Spirit; the three one God when contemplated together; each God because consubstantial; one God because of the monarchia. No sooner do I conceive of the one than I am illumined by the splendor of the three; no sooner do I distinguish them than I am carried back to the one. When I think of anyone of the three I think of him as the whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking escapes me. I cannot grasp the greatness of that one so as to attribute a greater greatness to the rest. When I contemplate the three together, I see but one torch, and cannot divide or measure out the undivided light.

- Gregory Nazianzen, Orations 40.41, as quoted by Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity, 378

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