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The Apostles’ Creed & the Nicene Creed

The Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his 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 into hell;
on the third day he rose again from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
from there 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 life everlasting.

The Nicene Creed:

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, 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], who with the Father and the Son 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.

What is the Difference between the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed?

A “creed” is a a formal doctrine, or system of beliefs, for a church or religious group. The word creed derives from the Latin credo, meaning, “I believe.”  The purpose of a creed is to provide a basic, succinct statement of the faith. 

The Apostles’ Creed, which is sometimes called the Apostolic Creed, is one of the earliest statements of Christian belief. The Apostles’ Creed it is widely used by most Christian denominations. The creed is trinitarian (i.e., relating to belief in the doctrine of the Trinity) in structure with sections affirming belief in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

The Apostles’ Creed is attributed to the teaching of the Twelve Apostles.  Tradition holds that the Apostles composed this Creed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and that each apostle wrote one of the twelve articles of faith expressed in the Creed.

The Apostles’ Creed was formally adopted by the Catholic Church as early as the middle of the second century AD.

The Nicene Creed is the most common creed used in Christianity. The creed was originally formulated in 325 at the council of Nicea (a city in ancient Turkey; hence the name “Nicene”) and later revised at the council of Constantinople in 381. It is based on the Apostles’ Creed.

At the time the Nicene Creed was written, the Catholic church was struggling with the Arian heresy, which denied that Christ was truly God, but rather that he was a created being. The creed was formulated to repudiate Arianism and clearly states that Christ is eternal and part of the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

In all branches of Christianity, the Nicene creed is widely used today. For example, at each Roman Catholic Mass, it is used as a profession of faith.

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