Der Evangelische Theologe: Franz Leenhardt on Divergent Impulses in Latin West and Greek East
Eastern Christianity has always emphasized far more than Western Christianity the function and the action of the Holy Spirit. In this way it has endeavoured to affirm and safeguard the “overflowing” of the earthly by the heavenly; it has steadfastly refused to confound the event with the institution, the eschatological with the actual; it has wished to preserve for every mystery an open door to a beyond which should be its glorification. This tendency of its thought was manifested in the maintenance of the epiklesis in the eucharistic liturgy; the church must pray that the Holy Spirit should be outpoured on the gifts and the faithful. The Latin church, on the contrary, attributes to the priest the power of pronouncing in persona Christi efficacious words for the production of consecration. In that context the liberty and the living action of Christ are placed in the power of the historical institution; the Holy Spirit merges with this, which by definition He indwells.