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What is the Holy Spirit?

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What is the Holy Spirit?

Yesterday, the Church celebrated its birthday. This is the day when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and gave them strength and wisdom to preach the Gospel to all the world, according to the word of Christ: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit descends upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the ends of the earth. " (Acts 1: 8)

What I have always been incomprehensible is the “separation of functions” among the persons of the Holy Trinity. If God is one, then what does it matter for me, what kind of person performed this or that action? Is there some kind of “separation of powers”, or simply – to whom in what situation does he pray? The Day of the Holy Spirit is a great excuse to understand.

In Holy Scripture

Christ said to the apostles: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all and remind you everything that I have said to you” (John 14:26). So, the Spirit had to teach the apostles "everything" (apparently, first and foremost necessary for the preaching) and recall the words of Christ, which they heard during his time on earth. According to Archbishop Averky, the presence of the Spirit will, as it were, replace them with direct communication with Christ, to whom they are accustomed.

The word "Parakletos", translated here as "Comforter" is a legal term, the closest to which will be the modern concept of a lawyer (actually, the word "ad-vocal" is a literal translation of the Greek "para-cellos", literally – "called by someone "). By the same word they called a special person who in his own words inspired warriors on the battlefield. Some researchers believe that at the time of the translation of the Bible into the Slavic language, the legal practices of these peoples were so little developed that the concepts of a lawyer were simply absent in their languages, so they were replaced with some words that could be understood by these simple people. After all, consolation, support – indeed, one of the functions of a lawyer. Similarly, the word “witness” (“martiros”) was usually translated as “martyr”.

So, the “functions” of the Holy Spirit, according to Scripture, are associated with support, teaching, a reminder of the presence of Christ and His protection and the help that He provides to man.

In worship

And what do liturgical texts of this day say on this subject? “The Holy Spirit … Life and Life-Giving, Light and the Giver of Light, the Good One Himself and the Source of Goodness”, “The Holy Spirit is light and life, and a living rational source. The spirit of wisdom, the spirit of reason, good, righteous, thinking, lord, purifying transgressions; God is idolizing; Fire is emanating from Fire; speaking, acting, distributing talents ".

Here comes the theme of power, the light with which the Holy Spirit fills the life of a person, various talents (gifts, talents) that He sends to people; “Goodness” (that is, kindness and sensitivity to other people). In the end, the Holy Spirit is “god-making,” that is, making people gods, as St. Athanasius the Great said.

Another important aspect is that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Church; He ensures its unity and wholeness. The Spirit helps to overcome disunity: "when the fire tongues distributed, / He called for the unity of all, / and we according to praise the All-Holy Spirit" (Kondak of the holiday of the Trinity) and makes those who obey him to be one Church.

Have holy fathers

"The Holy Spirit is an immaterial fire: the light of faith, the warmth of love, the fiery tongues, uttering God's law in the heart … He awakens from the charm of the world, leads to trusting in God, leads to repentance … If we do not hinder His action, – He directs in a close way selflessness … ”(Moscow Filaret)

“Now God gives man a new Spirit (Ezek. 36, 26), breathes in him a new breath of life … The apostles were the first vessels of the Holy Spirit … As the winter cold stirs life in plants, so does the spirit of man freeze when he is committed to sin … In the seed there is a germ of life and in plants that die off for the winter, there is life; but if the Lord does not send the spirit of spring, then the face of the earth will not be built up and renewed (Ps. 103, 30) ”(Theophan the Recluse)

So, the action of the Holy Spirit in man is like a certain representation, the voice of God in man. Indeed, we see that the word “paracletos” is used deliberately, and the legal analogy is not accidental.

In addition, the Holy Spirit helps a person to change (“the spirit of spring”), gives him the strength to grow.


So the Holy Spirit:

· Ensures the unity of believers among themselves;

· Sounds like a “voice of God” in a person, contributes to his spiritual growth;

· Fills a person with power, light; gives “the fruit of the spirit” (Gal. 5:22);

· Is the source of the “gifts of the Spirit” (1 Cor. 12: 1-10) —human and superhuman talents and abilities.

What should I do?

What must I do to have the Holy Spirit in me? On the one hand, as svt. Philaret, for this you need to be “born again” (John 3: 3). The presence of the Spirit in man is a sign of his election as God, as was the case in the Old Testament, when the Holy Spirit himself chose the prophets and spoke through them.

On the other hand, Christ promised that “Your Heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him,” and in this connection man’s inner aspirations come to the fore: what he truly seeks, what he wants, what he does in the first place. “What a person sows, he will reap: he who sows into the flesh of the flesh will reap corruption, and he who sows the spirit will reap eternal life (Gal. 6, 7-8),” quotes St.. Theophan the Recluse of the words of the Apostle Paul.

How do you understand the work of the Holy Spirit in you? What are you doing to be with Him? Tell us in the blog!

One wonders asking the question: what am I really striving for?

Looking inside myself, I understand that first of all I want happiness: peace, joy, peace, love, creativity, freedom. Often, I begin to look for all this “on the side,” but in my heart I understand that I can only get it from God.

However, is such a motivation for spiritual life the right one — the one the Lord expects from me? It seems that not quite. I have two separate notions in my head: “happiness” and “God”, and they are connected logically: God is the source of happiness, therefore I aspire to God. Reading what the righteous wrote – ancient and modern – you understand that they did not have such a division. They saw only God – as the source of all joy, all happiness, and sought directly to Him.

It remains to hope that the Lord will accept me with such a motivation.

Matvey Berhin
newsletter editor
[email protected]

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