The Creeds

Nicene Creed

This creed arose from the Council of Nicaea, held in 325 CE. The council sought to address the heresy of Arianism, which asserted that the Son of God was not eternal, but created by the Father.

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Apostle’s Creed

Written forms of this creed date back to the third century. It was composed in part as a response to Gnosticism, which denied the physical reality of Jesus. Today this creed serves as an ecumenical symbol of faith and is used in several Canadian Anglican liturgies including the service of baptism, and morning and evening prayer.

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

Athanasian Creed

This creed was attributed to St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, but was probably written by another fifth-century theologian whose name is unknown. It is included in the Book of Common Prayer, but is used very rarely in current Anglican Church of Canada liturgies.

  1. WHOSOEVER would be saved / needeth before all things to hold fast the Catholic Faith.
  2. Which Faith except a man keep whole and undefiled, / without doubt he will perish eternally.
  3. Now the Catholic Faith is this, / that we worship one God in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity;
  4. Neither confusing the Persons, / nor dividing the Substance.
  5. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, / another of the Holy Ghost;
  6. But the Godhead of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one, / the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.
  7. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, / and such is the Holy Ghost;
  8. The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy Ghost uncreated;
  9. The Father infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Ghost infinite;
  10. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Ghost eternal;
  11. And yet there are not three eternals, but one eternal;
  12. As also there are not three uncreated, nor three infinites, / but one infinite, and one uncreated.
  13. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, / the Holy Ghost almighty;
  14. And yet there are not three almighties, but one almighty.
  15. So the Father is God, the Son God, the Holy Ghost God;
  16. And yet there are not three Gods, / but one God.
  17. So the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, / the Holy Ghost Lord;
  18. And yet there are not three Lords, / but one Lord.
  19. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity / to confess each Person by himself to be both God and Lord;
  20. 20 So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion / to speak of three Gods or three Lords.
  21. The Father is made of none, / nor created, nor begotten.
  22. The Son is of the Father alone; / not made, nor created, but begotten.
  23. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and the Son; / not made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.
  24. There is therefore one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; / one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts.
  25. And in this Trinity there is no before or after, / no greater or less;
  26. But all three Persons are co-eternal together, / and co-equal.
  27. So that in all ways, as is aforesaid, / both the Trinity is to be worshipped in Unity, and the Unity in Trinity.
  28. He therefore that would be saved, / let him thus think of the Trinity.
  29. FURTHERMORE, it is necessary to eternal salvation, / that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  30. Now the right Faith is that we believe and confess / that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is both God and Man.
  31. He is God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; / and he is Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world;
  32. Perfect God; / perfect Man, of reasoning soul and human flesh subsisting;
  33. Equal to the Father as touching his Godhead;/ less than the Father as touching his Manhood.
  34. Who although he be God and Man, / yet he is not two, but is one Christ;
  35. One, however, not by conversion of Godhead into flesh, / but by taking of Manhood into God;
  36. One altogether; / not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.
  37. For as reasoning soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ;
  38. Who suffered for our salvation, / descended into hell, rose again from the dead;
  39. Ascended into heaven, sat down at the right hand of the Father, / from whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
  40. At whose coming all men must rise again with their bodies, / and shall give account for their own deeds.
  41. And they that have done good will go into life eternal; / they that have done evil into eternal fire.
  42. THIS is the Catholic Faith, / which except a man do faithfully and stedfastly believe, he cannot be saved.

GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, / and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, / world without end. Amen.

For the removal of doubts, and to prevent disquietude in the use of the Creed commonly called the Creed of Saint Athanasius, it is solemnly declared:

1. That the Confession of our Christian Faith, commonly called the Creed of Saint Athanasius, does not make any addition to the Faith as contained in holy Scripture, but warns against errors which from time to time have arisen in the Church of Christ.

2. That as holy Scripture in divers places promises life to them that believe, and declares the condemnation of them that believe not, so the Church in this Confession declares the necessity, for all who would be in a state of salvation, of holding fast the Catholic Faith, and the great peril of rejecting the same. Wherefore the warnings in this Confession of Faith are to be understood no otherwise than the like warnings in holy Scripture, for we must receive God’s threatenings, even as his promises, in such wise as they are generally set forth in holy Writ. Moreover, the Church does not herein pronounce judgement on any particular person or persons, God alone being the Judge of all.

Featured image by NeONBRAND on Unsplash.