CREED – A statement of belief. Creeds in their earlier forms were used by the apostles, and many are recorded in the New Testament (Eph. 5:14; 1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:11-13). The creed used throughout the Church was adopted at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 and expanded at the Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381. The Nicene Creed is used at baptisms, the Divine Liturgy, and in personal daily prayers.
CREED comes from the Latin credo, “I believe.” From the earliest days of the Church, creeds have been living confessions of what Christians believe and not simply formal, academic, Church pronouncements. Such confessions of faith appear as early as the New Testament, where, for example, Saint Paul quotes a creed to remind Timothy, “God was manifested in the flesh.. .” (1 Timothy 3:16). The creeds were approved by Church councils, usually to give a concise statement of the truth in the face of the invasion of heresy.
The Creed is an exposition, in few but precise words, of that doctrine which all Christians believe.
The most important creed in Christendom is the Nicene Creed, the product of two Ecumenical Councils in the fourth century. Fashioned in the midst of a life-and-death controversy, it contains the essence of New Testament teaching about the Holy Trinity, guarding that life-giving truth against those who would change the very nature of God and reduce Jesus Christ to a created being rather than God in the flesh. The creeds give us a sure interpretation of the Scriptures against those who would distort them to support their own religious schemes. Called the “Symbol of Faith” and confessed in many of the services of the Church, the Nicene Creed constantly reminds the Orthodox Christian of what he personally believes, keeping his faith on track.
- The first article of the Creed speaks of God as the prime origin, more particularly of the first Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Father, and of God as the Creator of the world;
- The second article, of the second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
- The third article, of the incarnation of the Son of God;
- The fourth article, of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ;
- The fifth article, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ;
- The sixth article, of the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven;
- The seventh article, of the second coming of Jesus Christ upon earth;
- The eighth article, of the third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Ghost;
- The ninth article, of the Church;
- The tenth article, of Baptism, under which are implied the other Sacraments also;
- The eleventh article, of the future resurrection of the dead;
- The twelfth article, of the life everlasting.