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Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed

June 28 2008 Benedict XVI, Patriarch of the West, and Bartholemew I, Ecumencial Patriarch of Constantinople recited together the “Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed”.

Πιστεύω είς ενα Θεόν, Πατέρα, παντοκράτορα, ποιητήν ουρανού καί γής, ορατών τε πάντων καί αοράτων.

Καί είς ενα Κύριον, Ίησούν Χριστόν, τόν Υιόν του Θεού τόν μονογενή, τόν εκ του Πατρός γεννηθέντα πρό πάντων τών αιώνων. Φώς εκ φωτός, Θεόν αληθινόν εκ Θεού αληθινού γεννηθέντα, ού ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τώ Πατρί, δι’ ού τά πάντα εγένετο. Τόν δι’ ημάς τούς ανθρώπους καί διά τήν ημετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα εκ τών ουρανών καί σαρκωθέντα εκ Πνεύματος ‘Αγίου καί Μαρίας τής Παρθένου καί ενανθρωπήσαντα. Σταυρωθέντα τε υπέρ ημών επί Ποντίου Πιλάτου καί παθόντα καί ταφέντα.

Καί αναστάντα τή τρίτη ημέρα κατά τάς Γραφάς.

Καί ανελθόντα είς τούς ουρανούς καί καθεζόμενον εκ δεξιών τού Πατρός.

Καί πάλιν ερχόμενον μετά δόξης κρίναι ζώντας καί νεκρούς, ού τής βασιλείας ουκ εσται τέλος.

Καί είς τό Πνεύμα τό ¨Αγιον, τό Κύριον, τό ζωοποιόν, τό εκ τού Πατρός εκπορευόμενον, τό σύν Πατρί καί Υιώ συμπροσκυνούμενον καί συνδοξαζόμενον, τό λαλήσαν διά τών Προφητών.

Είς μίαν, αγίαν, καθολικήν καί αποστολικήν Έκκλησίαν. ‘Ομολογώ εν βάπτισμα είς άφεσιν αμαρτιών. Προσδοκώ ανάστασιν νεκρών. Καί ζωήν τού μέλλοντος αιώνος.

Άμήν.

I 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,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
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,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who 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 Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, often called the Nicene Creed, was composed in part and adopted at the First Council of Nicea (325) and revised with additions by the First Council of Constantinople (381).

The Council Fathers used Πιστεύομεν (“We believe…”).

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15 thoughts on “Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed”

  1. Christianne McKee

    It’s interesting that the pope gave up the filioque. Was it an ecumenical gesture or does it indicate a shift in Roman theology?

  2. Thaks for this – especially the translation! I taught myself some Greek as a teenager, but was very slow at translation, and it’s went downhill since then…

  3. There is no “Filioque” (who proceeds from the Father and the Son) in the original Greek text. “Filioque” is a Latin word, added in the later Latin text. Quoting the original text in the 6 August 2000 document Dominus Iesus, the Roman Catholic Church did not add the “Filioque”. I would be interested if in Greece, Roman Catholics add “Filioque” into their Greek vernacular Mass? Eastern Rite Catholics in full communion with the Vatican generally do not add the “Filioque” into their vernacular liturgy.

  4. My understanding is that the Filioque addition was the straw that broke the camel’s back with respect to unilateralism of the Roman See, and thus gave impetus to the Great Schism between Eastern and Western Christendom circa 1054.

    While it may only represent another clumsy rhetorical oversight of the Curia, perhaps Rome is willing to renounce this willful heresy. One can only hope it becomes a trend.

    Who knows? Maybe next Rome will lead the way to an embrace of theoria in the West, or The Bishop of Rome will reappraise the focus and emphasis of the title, “First among Equals,” maybe various canons might be dusted off and re-evaluated and liberalized as matters of mere church discipline, rather than of dogma.

    One can hope. One can pray.

  5. Brian,

    I’m not sure if we can call filioque a heresy. Yes it was a non-ecumenical addition to the agreed upon text, but heresy – and thus incorrect? I am not so sure.

    When we say the Spirit proceeded from the father and the Son, we say so at the counsel of Holy Scripture. Remember that it was the Son who promised the gift of the spirit and in fact the Son who said he would be the one to give it.

  6. Joel, I’m not sure that those scriptural passages can be invoked for that. I think the procession refers to the eternal relationship within the Godhead, not the temporal sending of the Spirit which your texts refer to. But then, maybe the Athanasian Creed helpfully says it: “The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible… not three uncreated nor three incomprehensible, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.” 🙂

  7. Joel, as a theological unitarian, but who has an odd and perhaps misplaced respect for the creed (as “our side” lost at Nicea), I just have to mention that the past tense– proceeded– is the problem. The creed itself has this in the present tense– proceeds– though I think the use of the present tense is merely for the purpose of trying to capture something about the Godhead which is both eternal and “above time,” and thus “beyond tense.”

    That said, the “procession” aspect of the Godhead (that is, that the persons of the Godhead are in someway continuously in procession), as expressed in the creed, has always been a sore spot with unitarians (again, the small case is intentional, to include anyone with such a theological viewpoint, beyond Unitarians or Unitarian Universalists). One can only wonder why one God, three persons “in the ordinary sense of the word,” would be “processing” at all, given, as noted above, their eternal nature. Though the text of the creed doesn’t discount this possibility, it certainly suggests that the Father doesn’t proceed (or isn’t proceeding) from the Spirit. One wonders why not, unless there is some hierarchy amongst the three persons of the one Godhead not (at least openly) taught in trinitarian Christianity, nor generally depicted in its symbols.

    Such a conundrum.

  8. I think it’s very cool that they recited this together. I have always loved the poetry of

    God from God, Light from Light,
    true God from true God,

  9. I’ve never quite understood the “creedal” aspect of “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God.” My somewhat cynical nature leads me to think they do protest too much (as if they’re trying not only to craft a creed, but at the same time trying to justify the Godhood of Christ). I have, however, always liked it. It’s somewhere between a koan and haiku.

    As a good unitarian (and Unitarian, for that matter, and thus by nature “non-creedal”), I recommend the book (by a Catholic priest), The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters, by Luke Timothy Johnson. He makes the best case possible for the creed (okay, creeds)– directed in the main against non-liturgical Evangelicals.

  10. Filioque (Ecclesiastical Latin: [filiˈɔkwe]), Latin for “and (from) the Son”, is a phrase found in the form of Nicene Creed in use in the Latin Church. It is not present in the Greek text of the Nicene Creed as originally formulated at the First Council of Constantinople, which says only that the Holy Spirit proceeds “from the Father”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filioque

  11. The filioque has no legitimate place in the Nicene Creed. The Creed adopted at the First Council of Constantinople, that the Council of Ephesus declared anathema on those who add to or take from it, and that was further endorsed by the Council of Chalcedon is the Nicene Creed. This is the faith of the Church.

    The Third Council of Toledo is often suggested as the place where it was added into the Creed, but this is almost certainly untrue. The Council did endorse including it in the liturgy on Sundays.

    The Synod of Frankfurt in 794 did include the Filioque. The reasons suggested here where to combat Spanish Adoptionism – however it may be that it was to sure up the lines of demarcation between the Roman and Byzantine Empires.

    The Synod of Friuli in 796 moved the Creed to the western position in the liturgy – after the gospel – rather than before the anaphora.

    Charlemagne seems to have a hand in this, and when he pushed the Pope (Leo) on it the Pope said no, and had the Nicene Creed (without the filioque) inscribed of silver shields that hung outside the tomb of Peter. (C807)

    In 1014 for the enthronement of Henry II Benedict IX agreed to include the Filioque in order to enlist Henry’s support in ridding the Papal States of the Saracen in the South and the Norman in the North.

    The filioque has too much politics and too little theology.

    The Lambeth Conference on three occasions suggest that member Churches should restore the Nicene Creed without the Filioque.

    1. Thanks, Philip. I agree with you. I am working on another blog post which will again bring this up in the next week or so. Blessings.

  12. As I remember reading somewhere, part of the Council of Florence which actually got rejected involved a number of representatives of Orthodox churches agreeing with the Catholic bishops that they would both find “from the Father, *through* the Son” acceptable. I’m pondering paragraphs 246 – 248 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which deal with this rather quickly.

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