Glossary of Christian Terms

Aristotle partitioned reality into substance and accident. When an object has become associated with an accident, this means that the object has assumed a quality which does not belong to it by nature. Instead some outside source is supplying the accidental quality to the object.

For instance consider the Gospel passage which states "But as many as received {the true Light}, to them gave he power to become the sons of God..." (Jn 1:12):

Consequently patristic authors say that Christ is the Son of God by nature due to the substantial quality of His sonship. In contrast people are said to be the adopted children of God due to the accidental quality of their sonship, since it is Christ who empowers them to become sons of God.

Compare with substance.

To have an adventitious quality is to say that something has a quality or characteristic which doesn't naturally belong to it, but which has been supplied by some outside source. It is the same as saying that something has an accidental quality.

chastity or continence:
A chaste individual is no longer dominated by the desire to have sensually pleasing experiences. Rather than trying to please himself, he tries to please God. About this St. Clement of Alexandria (150-215 A.D.) writes:
For continence is not merely a matter of sexual abstinence, but applies also to the other things for which the soul has an evil desire because it is not satisfied with the necessities of life. There is also a continence of the tongue, of money, of use, and of desire. It does not only teach us to exercise self-control; it is rather that self-control is granted to us, since it is a divine power and grace.
(Stromateis III, 1, 4; translated by Oultone and Chadwick in "Alexandrian Christianity")

Compare with lust.

"Christ" literally means the "Anointed One." According to St. Cyril of Alexandria (378 - 444 AD):
... if once uses the name 'Christ' one does not mean the pure Word or an ordinary man like one of us, but, as I said, the incarnate Word of God the Father anointed for his mission. There was not, as some assert, a deified man united with the Word, but the Word himself took flesh, being made man, and remained, even in this state, God.
(Select Letters, p. 163, quoting "Answers to Tiberius" 9)
Walter J. Burghardt provides further information on Cyril's view of Christ's anointing and mission:
As God, Christ is holy by nature; as man He is holy by participation; He receives the Spirit in His human nature, even though it is He Himself who effects the sanctification of His human nature by His own Spirit. It is His own Spirit He receives; He receives the Spirit as man; He gives the Spirit to Himself as God. Moreover, it is not for Himself that Christ receives the Spirit, but for us, to communicate Him to each of us.
(The Image of God in Man according to Cyril of Alexandria, p. 75, footnote 31)
St. Gregory the Theologian (329-390 AD) indicates that Christ is "the pure Seal of the Father and His most unerring Impress." Or as Christ Himself puts it, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (Jn. 14:9).

For related information, refer to hypostatic union, to self-emptying, and finally to St. Gregory of Nazianzus' metaphor which likens Christ to a burning candle.

coincidence of contradictories or coincidentia oppositorum:
The coincidence of opposites is a certain kind of unity perceived as coincidence, a unity of contrarieties overcoming opposition by convergence without destroying or merely blending the constituent elements. Although in once sense not obliterated, in another the constituent elements shed their multiple, differentiated status. Examples would include the coincidence of rest and motion, past and future, diversity and identity, inequality and equality, and divisibility and simplicity.

... coincidence does not really describe God. Rather it sets forth the way God works, the order of things in relation to God and to each other, and the manner by which humans may approach and abide in God. God is beyond the realm of contradictories. God ... preceded opposites, is undifferentiated, not other, incomparable, and without opposite, precedes distinctions, opposition, contrariety, and contradiction.
(Definition by H. Lawrence Bond in Nicholas of Cusa: Selected Spiritual Writings, p. 366)

consolations or favors:
In devoting herself to God, the soul rejects the comforts and consolation offered by material things, worldly honor, human relationships, etc. And God in turn encourages her in this self-denial by consoling the soul spiritually. At first these consolations are somewhat analogous to perceptual experiences; nonetheless they are not mediated by physical sense organs. It's as if every sensory channel had a spiritual counterpart. The soul may feel inwardly "touched" by God, or perhaps it may feel as though it's being inwardly anointed. The soul may feel as though it is in motion or expanding. The eyes of the soul may suddenly see an interior light; or they may perceive spiritual realities that can't be described in terms of shape, brightness, or color, but which seem to be "seen" nonetheless. The same goes for the other senses. In most cases it is almost impossible to describe in words what is in fact being perceived in these experiences, since there is nothing in the material world that's similar. Yet the individual retains a strong conviction that he or she is experiencing something in a spiritual manner, and this "perceptual" experience is typically accompanied by feelings of great peace, love, and delight. As David says, "O taste and see that the Lord is good" (Ps. 34:8).

When the individual goes for some length of time without worldly consolations (because of his self-denial) and without spiritual consolations (because these are truly "gifts" from God and He sends them when He wills), the individual is said to experience "aridity." At first individuals tend to chafe, grumble, and complain when God withdraws these consolations. However as the individual's love for God becomes more pure and less tainted with self-interest, these consolations become less important. Over time the individual gradually learns to joyfully abandon himself to whatever God wills for him because he trusts in God's goodness. This eventually leads to a state where God communicates Himself directly to the inner most center of the soul, without this experience being mediated through any physical or spiritual sensations. Yet the soul knows that God is present with greater conviction than it has ever known anything else.

deification, or divinization, or in Greek, theosis:
The writings of the Church Fathers make numerous references to deification. One of the earliest references appears in the writings of St. Athanasius (d. 373 AD) who describes the purpose of God's incarnation as follows:
He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God.
(On the Incarnation, Chapter 8, paragraph 54)

At this site similar statements are made by St. Gregory of Nazianzus.

In his translation of St. Cyril of Alexandria's Commentary of the Gospel of St. Luke, Georges Florovsky explains that through deification the total person is assimilated to the divine life and union with God. Such assimilation is believed to have become possible when Christ took on human flesh, thereby sanctifying it. For the Eastern Orthodox Church, Christ's incarnation is seen as closing the the gulf between spirit and matter.

Biblical passages which are regarded as supporting the doctrine of deification include: 2 Cor. 3:18; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; Phili. 3:20-21; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:24; John 3:5-6; Acts 17:28-29; 1 John 2:29; 1 John 4:15.

dispassion, or in Greek, apatheia:
St. John Climacus (circa 579-649 A.D.) states:
By dispassion I mean a heaven of the mind within the heart... Its effect is to sanctify the mind and to detach it from material things, and it does so in such a way that, after entering this heavenly harbor, a man, for most of his earthly life, is enraptured, like someone already in heaven, and he is lifted up to the contemplation of God.
(The Ladder of Divine Ascent, p. 282)
Bishop Kallistos Ware adds in the introduction to The Ladder:
{Dispassion} connotes not repression but reorientation, not inhibition but freedom; having overcome the passions, we are free to be our true selves, free to love others, free to love God. Dispassion, then, is no mere mortification of the passions but their replacement by a new and better energy.
(The Ladder of Divine Ascent, p. 32)

And finally Norman Russell adds in his notes to The Ladder:
For St. John Climacus dispassion is the denial of the passions, not merely in a negative way by ascetic discipline, but by redirecting the natural impulses of the soul and body toward their proper goal.
(The Ladder of Divine Ascent, p. 75, footnote 3)

economy, or in Greek, oikonomia:
Although God is uncreated and exists beyond time, out of His compassion for human beings God has repeatedly acted within the confines of time and space. The purpose of such activities has been to relieve human suffering and to save mankind from its fallen condition. Patristic writers regard the Word's incarnation as the culmination of all the Lord's salvific economy.

Note that oikonomia in Greek means "accommodation", and hence these activities within time and space are ways in which the Lord has accommodated Himself to our human condition.

faculty of appetite:
The soul is said to possess three faculties. The faculty of appetite is sometimes referred to as desire or concupiscence. It refers to the fact that each individual feels a lack of something within himself. To address this emptiness, he turns elsewhere for fulfillment. When he turns to the world his hunger is said to be misdirected, and he goes unsatisfied. But when he turns to God, his faculty of appetite realizes its God-given function. Or as scriptures put it:
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Hearken diligently to me and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in fatness. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live.
(Is. 55:2-3)

Jesus said to them, "... I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."
(Jn. 6:35)

gift of tears:
In The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Kallisto Ware believes that John Climacus discussed three levels of tears:
  1. Contranatural tears which arise when our will is thwarted, for example tears of anger, jealousy, or frustration
  2. Natural tears which arise in response to emotional and physical suffering, whether such suffering is experienced by ourselves or by others with whom we feel sympathy. Examples are tears of grief, pain, or compassion. These tears seem to contribute to our healing.
  3. Supranatural tears are what mystics are referring to when they speak of the gift of tears. In the passage which follows, St. Isaac of Nineveh likens these tears to the tears wept at birth. The mystic who experiences such tears is being reborn into the age to come, and as such is experiencing a foretaste of heaven:
    The fruits of the inner man begin only with the shedding of tears. When you reach the place of tears, then know that your spirit has come out from the prison of this world and has set its foot upon the path that leads towards the new age. Your spirit begins at this moment to breathe the wonderful air which is there, and it starts to shed tears. The moment for the birth of the spiritual child is now at hand, and the travail of childbirth becomes intense. Grace, the common mother of us all, makes haste to give birth mystically to the soul, God's image, bringing it forth into the light of the age to come. And when the time for the birth has arrived, the intellect begins to sense something of the things of that other world -- as a faint perfume, or as the breath of life which a newborn child receives into its bodily frame. But we are not accustomed to such an experience and, finding it hard to endure, our body is suddenly overcome by a weeping mingled with joy.
    (Kallisto Ware adapting a passage from "Mystic Treatises by Isaac of Nineveh" ET A.J. Wensinck, p. 85, quoted by Ware on pp. 26-27 of The Ladder of Divine Ascent)

    Somewhere between normal and supranormal tears are the tears shed in mourning over one's sins. Like normal tears, these tears bring healing. However with reconciliation, tears of sorrow begin to mingle with tears of joy and take on a supranormal quality.

Someone who experiences hesychia in prayer.

hypostatic union:
Hypostatic union refers to the union of the divine and human natures in the person of Christ. According to St. Cyril of Alexandria (378 - 444 AD):
If the Word who was begotten mysteriously of God the Father and who afterwards issued as man from woman by assumption of flesh (not lifeless flesh but flesh endowed with life and reason) is truly and actually one Son, he cannot be divided into two persons or sons but remains one, though not disincarnate or incoprporeal but possessing his very own body in inseparable union. To say this could not possibly mean or entail mingling, merger or anything of that kind {i.e. the assumption of human nature cannot be conceived as changing the divine nature in any way, since the divine nature is simple, and immutable}, how could it? If we call the Only-begotten Son of God become incarnate and made man "one", that does not means that he has been "mingled"...; the Word's {divine} nature has not transferred to the nature of the flesh or that of the flesh to that of the Word -- no, while each element was seen to persist in its particular natural character for the reason just given, mysteriously and inexpressibly unified he displayed to us one nature (but I said, incarnate nature) of the Son {i.e. the actions of Christ are the product of one person, experiencing himself as one subject, even though He is composed of two disparate natures}.
(Cyril of Alexandria: Select Letters, p. 89)
As to the impact of Christ's hypostatic union on human nature, Lionel R. Wickham writes:
Did it give human nature any new constituent properties? Cyril's answer is that it did not, but that it restored the image {of God in man which man had} distorted by sin but not lost ... and made it possible for man actually to be what he was intended to be.
(Cyril of Alexandria: Select Letters, pp. 160-161, footnote 37)

The revered image of Christ or a holy person, usually painted on wood; such images play an important part of Eastern Orthodox worship.

In Christian literature the word, image, refers to the biblical passages which states that man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Consequently God is regarded as the image's Archetype. Nonetheless the first man sullied the divine image through sinful disobedience. That image is restored through sacrament of baptism (often referred to as illumination by the Early Church) and then preserved by purifying the passions (i.e. by becoming humble and by longing for God instead of power, reputation, sensual pleasure, or other material things).

Since the divine image in Christ was never sullied through sin, this led St. Gregory the Theologian to say that Christ is "the pure Seal of the Father and His most unerring Impress" (Oration 30:20). This has also led many Christians to attempt to increase their own likeness to the divine Image by imitating Christ.

Christ Himself refers to the divine image metaphorically in Luke 20: 24-25 when He was asked whether people should pay tribute to Caesar. Christ responded by requesting a coin and asking his audience whose image was on it. The crowd replied, "Caesar's". Hearing this, Christ said that you should give to Caesar those things which belong to Caesar (i.e. his coins, for they bear his image), and you should give to God what belongs to God (i.e. your very selves, for you bear God's image).

According to Wickham, some patristic authors believed that the two terms, image and likeness (Gen. 1:26), meant the same thing, while others differentiated their meanings. Irenaeus (adv. Haer. 5, 6, 1; 5, 16, 2) distinguishes between image and likeness, with our likeness being lost at the fall and restored by Christ. Clement (Strom. 2, 22) and Chrysostom similarly distinguish image from likeness. Although Origen distinguishes the two terms, he reserves the term likeness for the consummation of creation at the end of time, which is when he believed our likeness to God would be restored. However the Alexandrians, Philo (the Jewish philosopher), Athanasius, and Cyril all believed the two terms were identical, as did the Antiochenes, Theodore and Theodoret.
(Cyril of Alexandria: Select Letters, p. 193, fn. 9)

In the early church, baptism was frequently referred to as Illumination. The grace conferred by baptism was regarded as a spiritual light which Christ caused to shine in the soul of the newly baptized person. Ephesians 5:14 is believed to be a quotation from an ancient baptismal hymn:
Wake up, O sleeper,
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.
Quotations cited here from St. Gregory of Nazianzus would seem to suggest that the word, Illumination, was intended to have more than a metaphorical meaning.

incensive power:
The incensive power is said to be one of the soul's three powers. It is often manifested as wrath or anger, but can be more generally defined as the force provoking vehement feelings.
(The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 380)

Intellectual sun, and intellectual light:
Christ is the "intellectual sun" who gives off an "intellectual light." This sun is said to be "intellectual" to make it clear that the light it gives off is not a physical light which is perceived through the senses. Instead the vision of this light is perceived directly by the intellect, where the intellect (or nous) is regarded not as the seat of discursive thought, but as the organ which passively receives spiritual visions.

intellectual and imaginary visions:
St. Teresa differentiates between intellectual visions and imaginary visions. Despite the name, imaginary visions have nothing to do with the imagination. Imaginary visions are seen with the "eyes of the soul." They are imaginary in the sense that an incorporeal image is seen; this image has form and perhaps even color. In contrast, the object of an intellectual vision is not really an image at all. It is not seen with the eyes of the soul, but instead is communicated directly to the intellect.

With respect to the intellectual vision of light, one of St. Teresa's first editors, Luis de León stated:

Though man in this life, if so raised by God, may lose the use of his senses and have a fleeting glimpse of the Divine Essence, as was probably the case with St. Paul and Moses and certain others, the Mother is not speaking here of this kind of vision, which, though fleeting, is intuitive and clear, but of a knowledge of this mystery which God gives to certain souls, through a most powerful light which He infuses into them, not without created species. But, as this species is not corporeal, nor figured in the imagination, the Mother says that this vision is intellectual and not imaginary.
intelligible realities or beings:
The intelligible realities are the incorporeal forms which are imperfectly represented by the corporeal forms of the objects which we see all about us. Intelligible realities are something like archetypes or the exemplars of things which exist eternally and potentially within God.

In patristic writings, lust signifies much more than sexual desire. As the driving principle in fallen life, lust directs behavior toward self-pleasing experiences and away from potentially unpleasant experiences. When in Colossians 2:18 Paul speaks about the fleshly mind (KJV), the sensuous mind (RSV), the unspiritual mind (NRSV), or the mind of one's flesh (literal translation from the Greek), Paul is referring to a mind dominated by such broadly-defined lust. Compare to chastity.

mourning, or sorrow, or in Greek, penthos:
St. John Climacus (circa 579-649 A.D.) says:
Mourning which is according to God is ... an anguished heart that passionately seeks what it thirsts for, and when it fails to attain it, pursues it diligently and follows behind it lamenting bitterly.
(The Ladder of Divine Ascent, p. 136))
noetic activity, or in Greek, noera ergasia:
This is the activity of the intellect, where the intellect is regarded as the eye of the heart. The intellect is an organ of contemplation that's not involved in reasoning. Through noetic activity, intelligible realities are said to "nourish" the intellect, just sensations are said to "nourish" the senses through their perceptual activity. For embodied individuals such as ourselves (as opposed to angels), intelligible realities are only made accessible to us through the symbolism of material forms and images.

Rather than following his own will (which is to be self-directed), a monk whose activities are directed by another individual is said to be living under obedience. The director becomes the monk's spiritual father or mother, which is a profound responsibility. The Apostle Paul states that the spiritual father is held to be accountable before God for the acts of his spiritual children (cf. Heb. 13:17).

St. John Climacus (circa 579-649 A.D.) makes some interesting observations in how obedience leads to humility and death before dying.

Broadly speaking, the Christian religion consists of three distinct groups of believers:
  1. Orthodox,
  2. Roman Catholic, and
  3. Protestant.
The first schism occurred in 1054 when the Orthodox and the Roman Catholic church split with each other over doctrinal issues. Later during the Reformation, Protestants broke off from the Roman Catholic church.

As the name suggests, Orthodox Christians believe they have preserved the Christian faith intact as it has been handed down since the days of the apostles.

The Holy Spirit, who is one of the members of the Trinity.

passible aspect:
Two of the soul's three powers are said to define the soul's passible aspect; these two are its power to desire and its power to act incensively. These two powers are said to be particularly vulnerable to passion.
(The Philokalia, vol. 2, p. 380)

The passions:
The passions are said to dominate whenever an individual is motivated by the desire to have pleasurable experiences. The Apostle Paul would say that such an individual is carnally minded (Rom. 8:6) and that he's living according to the flesh (Rom. 8:12-13).

The sought-after pleasures may be patently sensual in nature, but they may also be more subtle. For instance a person who is dominated by the passion of vainglory is motivated by the pleasure that comes from being held in high esteem by other people. Hence Christ denounces ostensibly pious acts that are in fact an outgrowth of the passions (Mt. 6:5-6; Mt. 6:16-18). The Apostle Paul makes a similar point when he states that the carnal mind in itself constitutes enmity against God and that individuals who are governed by this mindset lack the capacity to please God (Rom. 8:7-8).

To be in right relationship with God, a man must imitate Christ whose motivation was not to please Himself, but to always do those things which pleased His Father (John 8:29). By seeking to please God instead of self, an individual is following Christ's injunction to deny himself, pick up his cross, and follow Him (Mark 8:34).

Note that it's not pleasure itself which is being condemned here. What's being condemned is permitting a hoped for pleasure to control one's behavior, thoughts, or even one's outlook. It's through submission to such control that one becomes a servant of sin; yet Christ promises freedom to those individuals who put his teachings into practice (John 8:31-36).

posse (Latin for can or to be able):
Term adopted by Nicholas of Cusa to refer to the potentiality inherent in a created thing, sentient or insentient. Or to put it somewhat differently, it refers to what that thing is capable of being.

Posse Itself or Posse Ipsum:
Term adopted by Nicholas of Cusa to refer to God in His Unbounded Potentiality.

prayer of union:
This terminology is used by St. Teresa of Avila. In this state, the soul suddenly finds itself without thought and without consciousness of itself or of the things of this world. All consciousness is absorbed in God. As St. Teresa says, the soul:
has completely died to the world so that it may live more fully in God. This is a delectable death, a snatching of the soul from all the activities which it can perform while it is in the body... The mind would like to occupy itself wholly in understanding something of what it feels, and, as it has not the strength to do this, it becomes so dumbfounded that, even if any consciousness remains to it, neither hands nor feet can move; as we commonly say of a person who has fallen into a swoon, it might be taken for dead.
(Interior Castle, p. 98).

For as long as such a soul is in this state, it can neither see nor hear nor understand: the period is always short and seems to the soul even shorter than it really is. God implants Himself in the interior of that soul in such a way that when it returns to itself, it cannot possibly doubt that God has been in it and it has been in God...
(Interior Castle, p. 101).

For when He means to enrapture this soul, it loses its power of breathing, with the result that, although its other senses sometimes remain active a little longer, it cannot possibly speak. At other times it loses all its powers at once, and the hands and the body grow so cold that the body seems no longer to have a soul -- sometimes it even seems doubtful if there is any breath in the body. This lasts only for a short time (I mean, only for a short period at any one time) because, when this profound suspension lifts a little, the body seems to come partly to itself again, and draws breath, though only to die once more, and, in doing so, to give fuller life to the soul. Complete ecstasy, therefore, does not last long.
(Interior Castle, pp. 154-5).

prepossession, or predisposition:
A habitual longing for something besides God. According to St. Theodorors the Great Ascetic, a prepossession is:
The ingrained influence of habits running counter to virtue. When this is operative over a long period, it exerts a pressure which drags the intellect down towards earthly things.
(Theoretikon, p. 40 of the Philokalia, vol. 2)

rational, or in Greek, logikos:
Logikos is typically translated as "rational", but this can be a misleading translation when it occurs in the writings of the Church Fathers, since these authors are not using logikos to refer to man's ability to reason logically. The Fathers of the Church stated that man is logikos because the human mind (or nous) has been created for the express purpose of participating in the uncreated Logos, or Word of God. In other words, man realizes his potential for being logikos when he engages in contemplation of the Logos, i.e. God. Burghardt, in characterizing the viewpoint of St. Cyril of Alexandria (378 - 444 AD), states that man sees the light of reason when man shares in the Life of the One who is Light by nature, i.e. the Logos of God (see The Image of God in Man According to Cyril of Alexandria, p. 34).

self-emptying, or in Greek, kenosis:
As God the Word is full, and it is from His own fullness that He bestows gifts on His creatures (Jn 1:16). In contrast man is an impoverished being; everything that man possesses has been received as a gift (1 Cor. 4:7). To become incarnate then, Christ had to remain full in His Godhood, while at the same time becoming empty and needy like us with respect to His manhood. Or as St. Cyril of Alexandria (378 - 444 AD) puts it:
We must not think that he who descended into the limitation of manhood for our sake lost his inherent radiance and that transcendence that comes from his nature. No, he had this divine fullness even in the emptiness of our condition, and he enjoyed the highest eminence in humility, and held what belongs to him by nature (that is, to be worshipped by all) as a gift because of his humanity.
(On the Unity of Christ, p. 123)
St. Gregory the Theologian (329 - 390 AD) explains the purpose of Christ's self-emptying below:
He Who gives riches becomes poor, for He assumes the poverty of my flesh, that I may assume the richness of His Godhead (Oration 38:18).
The Apostle Paul describes this act of self-emptying at length in Philippians 2:5-11, where he enjoins his readers to humble themselves and adopt a mind-set similar to that of Christ.

God is the Cause of every created thing, so each thing is said to be sequent to God, i.e. follows from God.

Spiritual Marriage:
In Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila says that the union of Spiritual Marriage takes place when God brings the soul into the Seventh Mansion of the castle, the mansion where He Himself dwells. At this point the soul experiences an infusion of brilliant light, and from then on the soul feels that it shares in the ongoing companionship of God.

stillness, or in Greek, hesychia:
St. John the Solitary (c. 425 AD) is describing stillness (or hesychia) when he states that:
... this spiritual prayer is more interior than the tongue, more deeply interiorized than anything on the lips, more interiorized than any words or vocal song. When someone prays this kind of prayer he has sunk deeper than all speech, and he stands where spiritual beings and angels are to be found; like them, he utters "holy" without any words...

For God is silence, and in silence is he sung by means of that psalmody which is worthy of Him. I am not speaking of the silence of the tongue, for if someone merely keeps his tongue silent, without knowing how to sing in mind and spirit, then he is simply unoccupied... he is just keeping an exterior silence and he does not know how to sing in an interior way
(quoted in "The Fountain & the Furnace: The way of tears and fire", written by Maggie Ross, published by Paulist Press, copyright 1987)

St. Ephrem the Syrian:
Praise... starts out as vocal praise, but the more refined and purified it becomes, the more it takes on the character of the silent praise of the angelic beings.
(The Luminous Eye, p. 79; quoting from Ephrem's "Faith" 4:1)
Sebastian Brock elaborates on the above:
There is thus a twofold movement from the silence of ingratitude to vocal praises, and then on to a different sort of silence, the silence of silent praise. This movement of praise from sound to silence is seen by Ephrem as a counterpart to the movement of God from the Silence of His ineffable Being to the divine Utterance, the Word.
(The Luminous Eye, p. 79)
The Son of God:
According to St. Cyril of Alexandria (378 - 444 AD):
We {humans} are fathers of our children by way of an outflow and division, because what is born attains to a complete and absolutely distinct individuality. But this is not what we mean when we say that the Son was begotten of God the Father. He shone forth from his substance and radiated from him like light; he is not outside him but is of him and in him. Human fathers are older than their children but this is not at all the case with God. He ever co-exists with the Father and possesses unoriginate existence along with his parent so that the Father too is always being revealed, because there was no time when this was not so.
(Cyril of Alexandria: Select Letters, pp. 145, 147, quoting "Answers to Tiberius" 2)
The Son of God is also known as the Word of God. Once He incarnated Himself, He became known as the Christ.

Considered in its Aristotelian sense, a substance is one of a number of properties which define a particular class. It is not possible to take this property away from a member of the class without causing injury to that member, but if it were possible, the object in question would no longer be a member of the same class. Compare with accident.

Three powers/aspects/faculties of the soul:
The soul has three powers: the intelligence, the incensive power and desire. With our intelligence we direct our search; with our desire we long for the supernal goodness which is the object of our search; and with our incensive power we fight to attain our object.
(St. Maximos the Confessor, in Various Texts, p. 193 of the Philokaila, vol. 2)

One God who is simultaneously three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. How are the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit different? My personal take on this is that the Father engenders, the Son manifests, and the Holy Spirit permeates. For a more elaborate description of the Trinity, see the Nicene Creed and the Apostles' Creed.

The Word of God, or in Greek, the Logos:
The Word is the second person of the Trinity. The Father is said to speak forth the Word in a timeless manner that is beyond our comprehension. The Father and the Word that He speaks are inseparable and consubstantial. Everything that came into created being did so through the mediation of the Word (cf. John 1:1-5).

St. Gregory the Theologian (329 - 390 AD) states:

And He is called the Word, because He is related to the Father as Word to Mind; ... because of ... His declaratory function... {For} the Son is a concise demonstration and easy setting forth of the Father's Nature... And if any one should say that this Name was given Him because He exists in all things that are, he would not be wrong.
(Oration 30:20)
The Word of God is also known as the Son of God. The incarnate Word is known as the Christ.

Mysticism in World Religions | Christian Mysticism | ©1999 by D. Platt