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Creeds of the First Seven Oecumenical Councils


  • The Nicene Creed
  • The Athanasian Creed
  • The Chalcedonian Creed
  • The Anathemas of the Second Council of Constantinople
  • The Creed of the Third Council of Constantinople
  • The Creed of the Second Council of Nicaea (the Seventh Oecumenical)
  • The Nicene Creed [this has many Platonist alusions]

    I believe in one God, the Father, Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
    And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages.
    Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten, not created, being of one essence with the Father,
    by Whom all things were created.
    Who for us, and for our salvation came from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and became man. And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried. And on the third day, He rose, according to the Scriptures. And ascended to heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom shall have no end.
    And in Holy Spirit, Lord Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke through the Prophets.
    And in One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
    I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
    I look for the resurrection of the dead. And the life of the world to come. Amen.

    The Athanasian Creed

    Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all else, hold to the Catholic Faith. Whoever does not keep this faith pure will certainly perish forever.

    Now this is the Catholic faith: We worship one God in three persons and three persons in one God, without mixing the persons nor dividing the essence. For each person: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is distinct, but the deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory and coeternal in majesty.

    What the Father is, so is the Son, and so is the Holy Spirit.
    The Father is uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated;
    The Father is eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal;
    Any yet they are not three who are eternal, but there is One who is eternal,
    just as they are not three who are uncreated,
    nor three who are infinite,
    but there is One who is uncreated and One who is infinite.
    In the same way the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, and the Holy Spirit is almighty;
    And yet they are not three who are almighty, but there is One who is almighty.
    So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God;
    And yet they are not three gods, but One God.
    So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord;
    yet they are not three lords, but One Lord.
    For just as Catholic truth compels us to confess each person individually to be God and Lord,
    so the Catholic faith forbids us to speak of three gods or three lords.

    The Father is neither made not created, nor begotten of anyone.
    The Son is neither made nor created, but is begotten of the Father alone.
    The Holy Spirit is neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeds from the Father.

    So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Spirit, not three Spirits.
    Within this Trinity none comes before or after; none is greater or inferior, but all three persons are coequal and coeternal, so that in every way, as stated before, all three persons are to be worshiped as One God, and One God worshiped as three persons.
    Whoever wishes to be saved must have this conviction of the Trinity. It is furthermore necessary for eternal salvation truly to believe that our Lord Jesus Christ also took on human flesh.

    Now this is the Catholic faith: We believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, is both God and Man.

    He is God, eternally begotten from the nature of the Father,
    and he is man, born in time from the nature of his mother,
    fully God, fully man, with rational soul and human flesh.
    Equal to the Father, as to his deity, less than the Father, as to his humanity;
    and though he is both God and Man, Christ is not two persons but one.
    One, not by changing the deity into flesh, but by taking the humanity into God;
    one, indeed, not by mixture of the natures, but by unity in one person;
    for just as the reasonable soul and flesh are one human being,
    so God and man are one Christ.
    Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty, and from there he willl come to judge the living and the dead. At his coming all people will rise again with their bodies to answer for their works. Those who have done good will enter eternal life, but those who have done evil will go into everlasting fire.

    This is the Catholic Faith. Whoever does not faithfully and firmly believe this cannot be saved.

    The Chalcedonian Creed

    We all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
    at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood,
    truly God and truly man,
    consisting also of a reasonable soul and body;
    of one essence with us as regards his manhood;
    like us in all respects, apart from sin;
    as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages,
    but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation,
    of Mary the virgin, the God-bearer;

    one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures,

    without confusion,
    without change,
    without division,
    without separation;
    the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union,
    but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved
    and coming together to form one person and subsistence,
    not as parted or separated into two persons,
    but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ;
    even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the Fathers has handed down to us.

    The Anathemas of the Second Council of Constantinople (553 AD)

    1. If anyone does not confess that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one nature or essence, one power or authority, worshipped as a trinity of the same essence, one God in three hypostases or persons,

    2. let him be anathema.
    3. If anyone does not confess that God the Word was twice begotten, the first before all time from the Father, non-temporal and bodiless, the other in these last days when he came down from the heavens and was incarnate by the holy, glorious, God-bearer, ever-virgin Mary, and born of her,

    4. let him be anathema.
    5. If anyone says that:
    6. If anyone says that:
    7. If anyone understands the expression "one hypostasis of our Lord Jesus Christ":
    8. If anyone says that:
    9. If anyone using the expression, "in two natures," does not confess that
    10. If anyone confesses that:
    11. If anyone says that:
    12. If anyone does not confess that our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified in the flesh is true God and the Lord of Glory and one of the Holy Trinity;

    13. let him be anathema.
    14. If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomius, Macedonius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, together with their impious, godless writings, and all the other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforementioned four Holy Synods and all those who have held and hold or who in their godlessness persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned;

    15. let him be anathema.
    16. If anyone defends the heretical Theodore of Mopsuestia, who said that
    17. If anyone defends the heretical writings of Theodoret
    18. If anyone defends the letter which Ibas is said to have written to Mari the Persian,

    The Creed of the Sixth Oecumenical Council: the Third Council of Constantinople (681 AD)

    We also proclaim two natural willings or wills in him and two natural operations,
    without separation,
    without change,
    without partition,
    without confusion,
    according to the teaching of the holy Fathers:

    and two natural wills not contrary to each other, God forbid, as the impious heretics have said they would be, but his human will following, and not resisting or opposing, but rather subject to his divine and all-powerful will.

    For it was proper for the will of the flesh to be moved naturally, yet to be subject to the divine will, according to the all-wise Athanasius.
    For as his flesh is called and is the flesh of God the Word,
    so also the natural will of his flesh is called and is God the Word's own will, as he himself says:
    "I came down from heaven, not to do my own will,
    but the will of the Father who sent me,"
    calling the will of the flesh his own, as also the flesh had become his own.
    For in the same manner that his all-holy and spotless ensouled flesh, though divinized, was not destroyed, but remained in its own law and principle also his human will, divinized, was not destroyed, but rather preserved, as Gregory the divine says:
    "His will, as conceived of in his character as the Saviour,
    is not contrary to God, being wholly divinized."
    We also glorify two natural operations in the same our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God,
    without separation,
    without change,
    without partition,
    without confusion,
    that is, a divine operation and a human operation, as the divine preacher Leo most clearly says:
    "For each form does what is proper to it,
    in communion with the other;
    the Word, that is, performing what belongs to the Word,
    and the flesh carrying out what belongs to the flesh."
    We will not therefore grant the existence of one natural operation of God and the creature,
    lest we should either raise up into the divine nature what is created,
    or bring down the preeminence of the divine nature into the place suitable for things that are made.
    For we recognize the miracles and the sufferings as of one and the same person,
    "according to the difference of the natures
    of which he is and in which he has his being,"
    as the eloquent Cyril said.

    Preserving therefore in every way the unconfused and undivided, we set forth the whole confession in brief; believing our Lord Jesus Christ, our true God, to be one of the holy Trinity even after the taking of flesh, we declare that his two natures shine forth in his one hypostasis, in which he displayed both the wonders and the sufferings through the whole course of his dispensation, not in phantasm but truly, the difference of nature being recognized in the same one hypostasis by the fact that each nature wills and works what is proper to it, in communion with the other. On this principle we glorify two natural wills and operations combining with each other for the salvation of the human race.

    The Creed of the seventh Oecumenical Council, the Second Council of Nicaea (787 AD)

    To make our confession short, we keep unchanged all the ecclesiastical traditions handed down to us, whether in writing or verbally, one of which is the making of pictorial representations, agreeable to the history of the preaching of the Gospel, a tradition useful in many respects, but especially in this, that so the incarnation of the Word of God is shown forth as real and not merely fantastic, for these have mutual indications and without doubt have also mutual significations.
    We, therefore, following the royal pathway and the divinely inspired authority of our Holy Fathers and the traditions of the Catholic Church (for, as we all know, the Holy Spirit indwells her), define with all certitude and accuracy that just as the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross, so also the venerable and holy images, as well in painting and mosaic as of other fit materials, should be set forth in the holy churches of God, and on the sacred vessels and on the vestments and on hangings and in pictures both in houses and by the wayside, to wit, the figure of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, of our spotless Lady, the Mother of God, of the honourable Angels, of all Saints and of all pious people.
    For by so much more frequently as they are seen in artistic representation, by so much more readily are men lifted up to the memory of their prototypes, and to a longing after them; and to these should be given due salutation and honorable reverence not indeed that true worship of faith which pertains alone to the divine nature; but to these, as to the figure of the precious and life-giving Cross and to the Book of the Gospels and to the other holy objects, incense and lights may be offered according to ancient pious custom.
    For the honor which is paid to the image passes on to that which the image represents, and he who reveres the image reveres in it the subject represented ....

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