Nicene Creed


Episcopal Church
1979 Book of Common Prayer version

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again 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.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

Amen.


The first Nicene Creed was so named as it was adopted at the first Council of Nicaea (now Iznik, Turkey).   Of the 1800 bishops in the Roman Empire, 318 attended the council in 325 to settle a controversy concerning the nature of Jesus Christ.   It defined the Son as consubstantial with the Father and was adopted as the official position of the church regarding the divinity of Christ.   It introduced the word homoousios (Greek, "of the same substance") to correct the error of the homoiousian ("of like substance") party. To it were added several clauses against Arianism, the heresy named for its author, Arius, that denied the full divinity of Jesus Christ.

A later creed that is popularly known as the Nicene Creed is more properly called the Niceno-Constantinopolitan or Constantinopolitan Creed.   It is based on a 4th-century creed that was made under the influence of the bishop of Jerusalem, St. Cyril, and edited in a Nicene sense.   It is contained in the Ancoratus of St. Epiphanius of Salamis and is traditionally but erroneously attributed to the first Council of Constantinople, which met in 381.   Of the 178 words in the original of this second "Nicene Creed," only 33 are positively taken from the creed of 325.   The second creed is received as ecumenical by the Eastern and Roman communions and by the majority of the Reformed churches.   It employs the singular form of the words used for expressing assent, "I believe," "I hope," "I confess."

At the Council of Toledo (589), the Western church added the filioque clause ("I believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and Son") and inserted the preposition "in" before the words "one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church."
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Apostles' Creed   |   Reflections on Prayer by Rev. Glenda Meakin