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Apostles’ Creed

Year of FaithThe Apostles’ Creed has 12 article – essentially 12 lines in it.

There’s a lovely story: the 12 apostles are sitting around after Jesus has gone back to heaven after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and they are about to go and share and spread the good news. But of course there’s no gospels, no new testament written yet; so they need to have some sort of agreement about what they are going to tell people.

And in this story Peter starts off, and the story says he’s inspired by the Holy Spirit of course, so Peter starts off and says, “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” Then, in one version of the story it’s Andrew who speaks next, in another version it is John who says, “I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.” James the elder continues, “who was conceived by the Holy Spirit…” And so they go on round the twelve. And there you have it: the Apostles’ Creed!

UPDATE: Here is a wonderful chanting of the Apostles’ Creed (H/T Jesse) with each apostle with his line (you can follow who is singing what here):

And yes, James, some will understand those singing as actually the apostles… 😉

This is the first post in a series that will reflect on this creed in this Year of Faith.

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11 Responses to Apostles’ Creed

  1. You need a YouTube video with this post, Bosco: “Iesus autem transiens” by Robert Wylkynson, from the Eton Choir Book, dated c.1500-1515 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVn9luxW72A).

    It’s a 13-part canon in which each apostle sings his contribution to the Apostles’ Creed over the ground text “Iesus autem transiens” (But Jesus, passing through the midst of them…). If you follow the score, you can see which clause goes with which apostle, according to the version of the story known to Wylkynson (http://www1.cpdl.org/wiki/images/e/e4/WYLK-JES.pdf).

    I actually sang this in concert once. The total range necessary is 13 notes (coincidence?), and it’s one of the few times anyone’s actually asked me to sing a high F# in public…

    • Reg: There is not one of us who would not gladly suffer death to rid this country of the Romans once and for all.
      Dissenter: Uh, well, one.
      Reg: Oh, yeah, yeah, there’s one. But otherwise, we’re solid.

  2. It’s named after the two Apostles Paul and Peter who were attributed as founding the community of the Way (as they were then known) in Rome, which with the Didache and the book of Ecclesiasticus were part of the catechetical books used, with this creed being part of the formula for the sacrament of Baptism for the catechumens. Legends used to add or embellish our traditions but the so-called Enlightenment by Reason have made us so suspicious of how human oral traditions work that we are ripping our anthropology apart into apparent fact and fiction. Myths still have a place in speaking to the human spirit as modern films and such attest. We need both sorts to keep our heritage rich. Do we want to burn books again? Probably not.

  3. Many thanks indeed Bosco and Jesse. A suitable way to celebrate this most solemn feast of the Holy Trinity.

    Although I have to say my personal favourite is the credo from Monteverdi’s Missa In illo tempore. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8vrCPaUISs (Harry Christophers & the Sixteen) … very closely followed by the credo from Biber’s Missa Bruxellensis. Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEde2LVnaiM The credo starts @ 04:56. Jordi Savall’s performance in Salzburg is quite stunning! Enjoy! And adore …

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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