The Comforter

The Comforter

The Comforter

The Comforter


Sergius Bulgakov is widely considered to be the twentieth century's foremost Orthodox theologian, and his book "The Comforter is an utterly comprehensive and profound study of the Holy Spirit.

Encyclopedic in scope, "The Comforter explores all aspects of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, as they are viewed in the Orthodox tradition and throughout church history. The book has sections on the development of the doctrine of the Spirit in early Christianity and on the development of the doctrine of procession in the patristic and later Byzantine periods. It also touches on the place of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity and explores Old and New Testament notions of the Spirit of God. A concluding chapter deals with the mystical revelation of the Holy Spirit. Made available in English through the work of Boris Jakim, today's premier translator of Russian theology and philosophy into English, Bulgakov's "Comforter in this edition is a major publishing event.


I. Early Christianity

1. The Post-Apostolic Age

The revelation of the Third hypostasis, the Holy Spirit, not as a gift of the Spirit of God, but as a Divine Person of the Holy Trinity, is expressed by words of fire in the Gospel. Christ Himself announced “another Comforter” (John 14:16), Whom He will send from the Father after His departure from the world; and the name of this Comforter is thunderously proclaimed by Him as part of the Name of the Holy Trinity: “baptizing … in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).

This baptismal formula is in fact the Christian confession of faith in the hypostatic being not only of the Father and of the Son but also of the Holy Spirit. the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and, in particular, of the Person of the Holy Spirit, is presented in the New Testament as an unshakable dogma of the faith, which it is impossible to deny or diminish by reinterpretation; and it has always been accepted as such by the Church.

The Pentecost was the living revelation of this dogma. the gifts of the Holy Spirit poured forth so obviously and so abundantly upon the

1. Throughout this translation I make use of the King James Version, which I sometimes modify to make it conform with the Russian Bible. in all cases I have replaced “Holy Ghost” with “Holy Spirit.” — Trans.

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