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Theodor Damian

Subject Religion

Place Europe » Eastern Europe

Period 1 - 999 CE

Key-Topics doctrine, orthodoxy, theology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405185394.2011.x


The term Perichoresis indicates the mode of existence of the persons of the Holy Trinity characterized by interpenetration, co-inhabitation, mutual fellowship, surrounding, or indwelling. In Greek, perichoreo means to “make room,” to “go or revolve around.” The basis of the doctrine of Perichoresis lies in Christ's declaration about the co-inhabitation between him and the Father (“I and the Father are one,” Jn. 10.30; “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me,” Jn. 14.11) which indicates a relation of consubstantiality (homoousion) of the trinitarian persons. Even so, the first application of the notion in patristic times was not in the context of trinitarian theology, but in Christology, and it was used in order to emphasize the unity of the one divine person and the distinctiveness of the two natures in Christ. The idea appeared often in early patristic theological works (Justin the Martyr, Origen, Athanasius, Basil the Great) and though the term itself was also explicitly used in Sts. Gregory the Theologian and Maximos the Confessor, it was St. John of Damascus, in his work Exposition of the Orthodox Faith , who was really the church father to develop the term and concept most fully, especially where Perichoresis is used to describe the type of intra-trinitarian relationships. It was from the trinitarian context that St. John extrapolated the concept back to Christology; ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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