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Bulgakov. Triunity Category: Theosis Meyendorff. Triunity

God. Trinity. Monarchy of the Father
In the works of Alexis Torrance

Wish to avoid subordinationism in the Trinity

3. The Monarchy of the Father

The third principle I would like to mention with regard to divine personhood is the Monarchy of the Father. Μοναρχία is a Greek word that simply means single source or one source. Some non-Orthodox theologians have been attracted by the idea of divine persons in communion as expounded by certain Orthodox like Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) and Vladimir Lossky. They often dislike, however, the idea that the communion within the Trinity is still linked by the Orthodox to the person of the Father. This distaste usually springs from a politically correct desire not to over-emphasize the Father over the others (too patriarchal), and the wish to avoid subordinationism in the Trinity. Subordinationism is the idea that one person in the Trinity is better than the others, or that there is a set rank of persons (first, second, third; gold, silver, bronze).

These criticisms, however, are misguided. The insistence by the Fathers of the Church on the Monarchy of the Father has nothing to do with the idea that the Father is better than the Others, or that He has some kind of monopoly over the divine life. It is simply an affirmation of the Father’s function as personal source in God. Just because the Son is begotten of the Father and the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father does not make them subordinate or less than the Father. A distinction of relation does not imply a distinction of rank or any inequality.

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