The Use of the Term Perichoresis in the Trinitarian Dogma According to St. Gregory of Nyssa

  • Marius Telea
Part of the Pathways for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue book series (PEID)


In order to understand the ontological foundation of human existence as person, it is necessary to move from the level of an anthropological approach toward theology. It is interesting to note that in the theological field, the concept of person has undergone a long process of definition and refinement. Without going too much into the details of this process, which are not directly relevant for our issue, we will just mention that the problematics of the significance of the concept of person appeared in the context of debating the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, as a way of differentiating the Son from the Father and the Holy Spirit (differentiation that became necessary as a direct result of the Christic revelation and of the Pentecost) and at the same time of affirming the unity in diversity in the context of the intratrinitarian relationship (necessary for preserving the revelation in the Old Testament, which affirms the existence of only one God.)


Christian Theology Ontological Foundation Anthropological Approach Divine Nature Church Father 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    St. John of Damascus, Dogmatica (An Exposition of Christian Faith), third edition, trans. D. Fecioru (Bucharest: Scripta, 1993), I.8, 31–32.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Nicolae Chiţescu, Isidor Todoran, and Ilie Petreuţă, Teologia Dogmatică şi Simbolică (Dogmatic and Symbolic Theology), vol. 1, second edition (Cluj-Napoca: Renaşterea, 2004), 321.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Harold H. Oliver, Metaphysics, Theology and Self: Relational Essays (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2006), 65.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Oliver Crisp, Divinity and Humanity: The Incarnation Reconsidered (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 3;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Richard Swinburne, The Christian God (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 209, n. 20.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Elena Vishnevskaya, “Perichoresis in the Context of Divinization: Maximus the Confessor’s Vision of a Blessed and Most Holy Embrace” (PhD diss., Drew University, 2004).Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    G. W. H. Lampe, Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976), col. 1077.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    Harry Austryn Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Church Fathers: Faith, Trinity, Incarnation, third edition, revised (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1970), 418–28.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Cele cinci cuvântări teologice (The Five Theological Orations), trans. Dumitru Stăniloae (Bucharest: Anastasia, 1993), 6.Google Scholar
  10. 14.
    G. L. Prestige, God in Patristic Thought (London: SPCK, 1964), 284.Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    Miroslav Volf, After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1998), 208–13;Google Scholar
  12. Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991), 271.Google Scholar
  13. 18.
    Richard Bauckham and Carl Mosser, The Gospel of John and Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2008), 374.Google Scholar
  14. 20.
    Peter Stemmer, “Perichorese: Zur Geschichte eines Begriffs,” Archiv für Begriffgeschichte 27 (1983): 9–55.Google Scholar
  15. 21.
    St. Gregory of Nyssa, Apologia in Hexaemeron (Patrologia Graeca, ed. Jacques Paul Migne [Paris: Imprimerie Catholique, 1857–66; hereafter PG] 44, 96A, 108B); Contra Eunomium I, 10, Gregorii Nysseni Opera (hereafter GNO) I, ed. Werner Jaeger (Leiden: Brill, 1960), 54, 24; De anima et resurrectione (PG 46, 113B); Oratio funebris in Flacillam imperatricem, 6, in GNO IX, ed. G. Heil and A. van Heck (Leiden: Brill, 1990), 485, 5. See Daniel F. Stramara Jr., “Gregory of Nyssa’s Terminology for Trinitarian Perichoresis,” Vigiliae Christianae 52 (1998): 257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 23.
    De Trinitate, 10 (PG 77, 1144B); See also B. Fraigneau-Julien, “Un traité anonyme de la Saint Trinité attribué à Cyrille d’Alexandrie,” Recherches de Science Religieuse 49 (1961): 188–211, 386–405.Google Scholar
  17. 48.
    See Nicaea II, Acta sexta, in J. D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio, vol. 8 (Paris: Librairie universitaire H. Welter, 1902), col. 293E.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Marius Telea 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marius Telea

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations