THE HOLY CREED EXPLAINED BY ST. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA +386
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HOLY CREED
The Holy Creed of the Orthodox Church, is also refered to as the Nicene Creed mainly because, most of it, seven of the twelve Articles, were formulated at the First Ecumenical Council, which was held in Nicaea in 325 AD. The First Ecumenical Council convened due to a great controversy which had developed in Christendom regarding the essence of the Son of God also refered to in the Scriptures as the Word of God. The controversy, which, to the right believing Fathers of the Church, this controversy was in fact heresy, because the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity was being disputed, in that, the Son of God was a creature, like everything else made by God, because these heretics, were saying that the Son of God was not consubstantial (equal in essence), with the Father. On the other hand the pious and right believing Fathers of the Church, contended and affirmed that the Son of God is Consubstantial, Indivisible and Co-Eternal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and that the Son of God is certainly uncreated.
The rest of the Holy Creed, Articles eight through to twelve, were formulated at the Second Ecumenical Council, which convened in Constantinople in 381 AD. This Council convened due to yet another controversy which developed in Christendom, which was essentially connected with the aforemention heresy, only this time, the dispute was about the Holy Spirit. The Divine teachings and Biblical truths regarding the Holy Spirit, were of course affirmed by the Fathers of the Second Ecumenical Council who formulated the additional Articles to the Holy Creed, and thus completed it. The heresy and te heretics where condemned by the Church, this is one way the Church protects Her children from all error and falsehood.
The word "creed" comes from the Latin "credo" which means “I believe.” In the Orthodox Church the Creed is acknowledged and sometimes even called, "The Symbol of Faith", which is to say; “expression” or “confession” of the faith. Since it's formulation, the Holy Creed has been recognised as the authoritative expression of the fundamental beliefs of the Orthodox Church. For generations the Creed has been the criterion of authentic Faith and the basis of Christian education. Each of the twelve Articles in the Creed, are Biblical truths, which each and every Orthodox Christian professes daily, and in doing so, they continuosly reaffirm the Sacred Teachings of the Holy Scriptures. The more the Holy Creed is recited, the more Christians begin to strengthen their faith in Christ, because through this Confession of Faith, the Lord helps His servants grow in wisdom and understanding of the mysteries from above, which have been revealed to us by God. The Holy Creed is one of the most recited pieces of literature in the Orthodox Christian's prayer life. Below, is the Holy Creed of the Orthodox Church:
The Twelve Articles of Orthodox Christianity
I believe in one God the Father almighty, Maker 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 of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there shall be no end. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spake by the prophets. In one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins; I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come. Amen.
I believe in one God the Father almighty, Maker 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 of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried;
and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures;
and ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of the Father.
And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there shall be no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spake by the prophets.
In one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church;
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins;
I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the age to come. Amen.
COMMENTARY OF THE HOLY CREED
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
“For God seeks nothing else from us, save a good purpose. Say not, ‘How are my sins blotted out?’ I tell you, from willing, from believing; what is shorter than this? But if your lips declare your willingness, but your heart is silent, the one who judges you knows the heart.” [Procatechesis 8]
“Just as a writing-reed or a dart has need of one to use it, so does grace require believing minds.” [1:3]
in one God
“Lay then in your souls as a sure foundation the doctrine concerning God: That God is only one, unbegotten, unoriginated, unchangeable, unalterable: neither by another begotten nor having another to succeed Him in His being: who neither began in time to be, nor shall ever have an end.” [4:4]
“We explain not what God is; but we honestly confess that we have no exact knowledge of Him; for on the subject of God, it is great knowledge to confess our want of knowledge…It suffices us for devotion, to know that we have a God; a God who is One, a God who is, is always; always like unto Himself; and has no Father, none mightier than Himself, no successor to dispossess Him of His kingdom: manifold in owerful, in substance uniform.” [6:2,7]
“Fly from the error of many gods; fly from all heresy.” [8:8]
“It is not enough to believe in One God: we must receive with reverence this also, that He is the Father of the Only-begotten, our Lord Jesus Christ. For thus our view of religion will rise above the Jewish one. For the Jews receive indeed the doctrine of One God…but they deny that He is also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…For the name of the Father, in its very utterance implies the Son: as in like manner to name the Son, is at once to imply the Father also. For if He is a Father, clearly He is the Father of a Son; and if a Son, clearly the Son of a Father…God then, though He is in an improper sense the Father of many things, is by nature and in truth the Father of One only, the Only-begotten Son our Lord, Jesus Christ: not becoming so in course of time, but being from everlasting the Father of the Only- begotten; not first without Son, and then becoming a Father, by a change of purpose; but before all substance, and all intelligence, before times and all ages, God has the prerogative of Father; and more honoured is this than in all the rest. A father, not by passion, not by union, not in ignorance, not by effluence, not by diminution, not by alteration.” [7:1-2,4-5]
“By belief ‘in one God,’ we utterly eradicate the misbelief in many gods, using it as a weapon against the Greeks,1 and every opposing power of heretics: and by adding, ‘in one God the Father,’ we oppose those of the circumcision, who deny the Only-begotten Son of God…Now we add to this, that He is also ‘Almighty;’ and that, because of the Jews and Greeks together, and all heretics. For some of the Greeks have said that God is the soul of the world. Others again, that His power reaches only to heaven, but not to earth as well…And heretics again…acknowledge not One Almighty God. For He is Almighty, whose might is over all things, who has power over all things. But they who say that there is one God, the Lord of the soul, and another the Lord of the body, make neither of them perfect, because each lacks what the other has…But according to Holy Scripture, and the doctrines of truth, there is but One God, who has dominion over all things by His power, and suffers many things of His will. For He has dominion even over the idolaters, but He suffers them of His forbearance; and even over the heretics who deny Him, but He suffers them in His patience; over the devil too, but He suffers with him, of His patience, not from want of power, as if foiled…Nothing then is excepted from the range of God’s power.” [8:1-5] “The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not confined to any place…He is in and around all things…He foresees the future: He is mightier than all things: He knows all things, and does what He wills; not subjected to antecedents or consequents, or to births, or chance, or fate; in all things perfect, and possessing in Himself the absolute form of every excellence; neither waning, nor increasing, but in mode and circumstance ever the same; who has prepared chastisement for the sinners, and a crown for the righteous.” [4:5]
Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible
“There is then only one God, the Maker of both souls and bodies: there is One the Artificer of heavens and earth, the Maker both of Angels and Archangels, - the Creator of many things, but the Father of One only before the worlds, even of His Only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom He made all things, visible and invisible.” [4:4] “Heretics have dared to say, that there are two Gods, a source of good, and a source of evil, and that both of these are unoriginate… At one time they say, that as to the world’s creation the evil god has nothing in common with the good God…They say that the good God is the Father of Christ…and the world, according to them, was made by the evil god.” [6:13]
“We cannot see the Divine Nature with the eyes of the flesh, but from the Divine works we may obtain some idea of His power…we say, ‘We believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;’ that we may remember that the same is both the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Maker of heaven and earth, and thus secure ourselves against the wrong paths of ungodly heretics, who have dared to speak evil of the All- wise Artificer of this world…No one must tolerate such as say, that the Maker of light is different from the Maker of darkness.” [9:4,7]
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
“They who have been taught to believe in One God, the Father Almighty, ought also to believe in His Only-begotten Son; for anyone who denies the Son, neither does he have the Father.2 If then a man wishes to be religious towards God, let him worship the Son; since otherwise the Father accepts not his service…Be not enticed by the Jews, who craftily say, ‘There is only One God;’ but together with the knowledge that God is one, know also that God has an Only-begotten Son…We say One Lord Jesus Christ, to signify that God’s Son is Only-begotten; we say, ‘One,’ lest you should suppose another.” [10:1-3] “He is called Christ, the Anointed; not anointed by human hands, but having eternally from the Father an unction to be High-Priest over man…He has two names, Jesus Christ; Jesus, because He saves, - Christ, because of His priesthood…Jesus then means among the Hebrews, ‘Saviour,’3 but in the Greek tongue, ‘Healer:’ 4seeing that He is Physician of souls and bodies, and curer of spirits…Kings among men have a royal style, which they keep to themselves; but Jesus Christ being the Son of God, has counted us worthy to be called ‘Christians.’ You are called Christians; be tender of that Name; let not our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, be blasphemed through you, but rather let your good deeds shine before men; that they who see them may, in our Lord Jesus Christ, glorify the Father who is in heaven.” [10:4,13,16,20]
the Son of God, the Only-begotten,
“We must not simply believe in Jesus Christ, nor receive Him, as if one of the many, improperly called christs. For they were figurative christs, but He is the true Christ, not raised by advancement from among men to the Priesthood, but having this dignity eternally from the Father. And for this reason the Faith guarding us beforehand, lest we should suppose Him to be one of the ordinary christs, adds to the profession of the Faith, that we believe ‘in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only- begotten Son of God.’ And again, when you hear of the Son, think Him not an adopted Son, but a Son naturally, a Son Only-begotten, having no other for His brother; for therefore is He called Only-begotten, because in the dignity of the Godhead, and in His generation of the Father, He has no brother. But we call Him the Son of God, not of ourselves, but because the Father Himself named Christ His Son; and that name is true which is given to children by their fathers…Our Lord Jesus Christ then became man; but by the many He was not known. Wishing, therefore, to teach that which was not known, He assembled His disciples, and asked them, Whom say men, that I, the Son of Man, am? Not from vain-glory, but wishing to show them the truth, lest dwelling with God, the Only-begotten of God, they should think lightly of Him as if He were a mere man…Again, I say, when you hear of the Son, hear of Him as a Son, not merely in an improper sense, but in a true sense, as a Son by nature, unoriginate; not as having come from bondage into the higher state of adoption, but as a Son eternally begotten, by an inscrutable and incomprehensible generation. And in like manner, when you hear of the First-born, think not that this is according to men; for the first-born among men have other brothers also.” [11:1-4]
begotten of the Father before all ages;
“He was not begotten to be other than He was before, but was begotten from the beginning, the Son of the Father, being above all beginning and all ages…He is then the Son of God by nature, and not by adoption, begotten of the Father…But when you hear of God’s begetting, fall not upon bodily things: think not of corruptible generation, lest you be profane. God is Spirit:5 spiritual is His generation: for bodies beget bodies, and need that time should intervene; but time intervenes not in the generation of the Son from the Father. And in the one case what is begotten, is begotten imperfect; but the Son of God was begotten perfect; for what He is now, that is He from the beginning, being begotten without beginning. And we are begotten, so as to pass from infantile ignorance to a state of reason; your generation, O man, is imperfect, for your increase is progressive. But think not that it is thus with Him, nor impute defect in power to Him who begat: for if that which He begat was imperfect, and in time received perfection, you impute defect in power to Him who begat; since that which time afterwards bestowed, this, according to you, the Father from beginning did not bestow. Think not, therefore, that this generation is human, as Abraham begat Isaac. For when Abraham begat Isaac, he begat, not whom he wanted, but whom another bestowed on him. But in God the Father’s begetting, there is no ignorance nor intermediate deliberation. For to say that He knew not what was begotten is the greatest impiety; and it is as great to say that after deliberation held in time, He afterwards became a Father. For God was not before without a Son, and afterwards in time became a Father; but He has the Son eternally, having begotten Him, not as men beget men, but as only He knows, who begat Him before all ages, True God.” [11:4-8]
“The Father begat the Son, not as among men mind begets thought. For the mind in us is something subsisting; but our thought, when uttered, is scattered abroad in the air and comes to an end. But we know Christ to be begotten, not as a word sent forth, but a Word subsisting and living; not spoken by the lips, and dispersed, but eternally and ineffably begotten of the Father and in a Person…Nor did He first resolve, and afterwards begat Him; but He begat Him eternally, and far more quickly than our words or thoughts; for we speaking in time, take up time; but in the case of the Divine Power, the generation is apart from time…Allow not any who say, that the beginning of the Son is in time; but acknowledge the Father, as that Beginning apart from time; for the Father is the Beginning of the Son, timeless, incomprehensible, without beginning; the Father is the fountain of the river of righteousness, even of the Only-begotten; who begat Him as only He knows. And do you wish to know, that our Lord Jesus Christ is likewise King Eternal? Listen again to Him when He says, Your father Abraham rejoiced greatly that he would see My day; and he saw it and was glad.6 Then, when the Jews received this hardly, He says again to them something yet harder; Before Abraham was, I am.7 And again, He says to the Father, And now, Father, glorify Me with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world came to be;8 for He has plainly said, ‘before the world was, I had glory with You.’ And again, when He says, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world,9 He evidently declares, ‘I have eternal glory with You’.” [11:10,14,20]
Light of Light, true God of true God,
“The Son of the Father [is] in all things like to Him who begat Him, eternal of an eternal Father, Life of Life begotten, and Light of Light, and Truth of Truth, and Wisdom of Wisdom, and a King of a King, and God of God, and Power of Power…He is then the Son of God by nature, and not by adoption, begotten of the Father…For the Father being true God, begat the Son like to Himself, true God. Not as teachers beget disciples, as Paul says to some, In Christ Jesus I begot you through the Gospel.10 For in this case he who was not a son by nature, became a son by discipleship; but in the case before us, He is a son naturally, a son truly…for at the time of His baptism [the Father] addressing Him with the words, ‘This is My Son,’ He said not, ‘This has now become My Son,’ but, ‘This is My Son:’ that He might make manifest, that even before the operation of baptism, He was a Son.” [11:4,7,9]
begotten, not made,
“He did not bring the Son from nothing into being, nor take him who was not into sonship; but the Father, being Eternal, eternally and ineffably begat One Only Son, who has no brother. Nor are there two first principles; but the Father is the head of the Son;11 One is the beginning.” [11:14]
“[The Son is] Himself God of all things, yet styling the Father, His own God; for He is not ashamed to say, I ascend to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.12 But lest you should think that He is the Father of the Son and of the creatures in a similar sense, He has in what follows signified a difference. For He said not, ‘I ascend to our Father,’ lest the creatures should be made equals of the Only-begotten: but He said, ‘My Father, and your Father;’ in one way Mine, by nature, - in another yours, by adoption. And again, ‘to My God, and your God;’ in one way Mine, as His True and Only-begotten Son; in another yours, as being His workmanship. The Son of God then is True God, ineffably begotten before all ages.” [11:18-19]
of one esssence with the Father,
“Believe [that] Our Lord Jesus Christ [is] like in all things to Him that begat Him: [He] began not His existence in time, but was before all ages eternally and incomprehensibly begotten of the Father and is God’s Wisdom and Power, and Righteousness personally subsisting…together with the Father reigning…wanting nothing to the dignity of Godhead, and knowing His Father, even as He is known by His Father…And neither should you separate the Son from the Father, nor by confusing them together believe that the Son is the Father. But believe that of One God is One Only-begotten Son, who was before all ages, God the Word: the Word, not uttered externally and dispersed abroad in the air, nor like to words impersonal, but the Word, the Son, the Maker of all who have the Word, the Word who hears the Father and Himself speak.” [4:8]
“He said in the Gospel, I am in the Father and the Father in Me.13 He said not, I am the Father, but, I am in the Father and the Father in Me. And again, He said not, I and the Father am one, but, I and the Father are one;14 that we should neither separate them, nor so confound them, as to make the Son the Father. One they are, in respect of the attributes which belong to Godhead, since God has begotten God. One, from consideration of their kingdom; for the Father does not reign over these, and the Son over those…but that kingdom which the Father has, the same the Son has likewise. One they are, because there is no disagreement or division between them; for the will of the Father is not one, and that of the Son another. One, because the works of Christ are not one, and the Father’s other…The Son then is True God, having the Father in Himself, not changed into the Father; for the Father was not made man, but the Son…The Father did not suffer for us; but the Father sent Him who should suffer for us. Neither let us ever say, ‘There was a time, when the Son was not’; nor let us admit that the Son is the Father. But let us walk in the king’s highway; let us turn aside neither to the right-hand nor to the left. Neither let us, thinking to honour the Son, call Him the Father; nor, supposing to honour the Father, imagine the Son to be some of the creatures. But let the One Father through the One Son be worshipped, and let not their worship be separated…Let us neither make a separation nor confusion between the Father and the Son; and neither should you ever say, that the Son is foreign to the Father, nor give way to them who say, that the Father is at one time the Father, at another, the Son; for these things are strange and impious, and not the doctrines of the Church. But the Father, having begotten the Son, remains the Father, and is not changed. He begat Wisdom, yet retained Wisdom Himself; and begat Power, yet became not weak; He begat God, He lost not His Godhead; and neither has He Himself lost anything, by diminution or change, nor has He who was begotten any thing wanting. Perfect is He who begat, perfect is That which was begotten; He who begat, is God, He who was begotten, is God.” [11:16-18]
by whom all things were made.
“When the Father proposed to form all things, the Son at the will of the Father, created all things, that the act of willing might secure origination to the Father, and the Son in turn might be sovereign over His own workmanship, - the Father not separated from lordship over His own works, and the Son reigning over things created not by others, but by Himself. For, as I have said, neither did the Angels create the world, but the Only-begotten Son, who was begotten, as I have said, before all ages; by whom all things were made, nothing being excepted from His creation.” [11:22]
“Christ made all things, whether you speak of Angels or Archangels, Dominions or Thrones. Not that the Father availed not to create the works Himself; but He willed the Son to reign over His own workmanship, Himself giving to Him the design of the things to be made…And this may we most certainly know from the Old and New Testaments. For when He said, Let Us make mankind according to Our image and according to Our likeness,15 it is manifest that He addressed some one present. But most decisive of all are the words of the Psalmist, He spoke, and they came to be; He commanded, and they were created;16 as if the Father ordered and spoke, and the Son created all things at His will…He who through His loving-kindness descended into Hades, had at the first created man out of clay. Christ then is the Only-begotten Son of God, and the Maker of the world…Not only of the things which are visible, but Christ, at the will of the Father, is also the Maker of the things which are not visible.” [11:23-24]
who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven,
“The Lord heard the prayer of the Prophets. The Father did not overlook our race which was perishing; He sent His own Son, the Lord from heaven, to be our Physician.” [12:8]
and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary,
“Believe that He, the Only-begotten Son of God, for our sins came down from heaven to the earth, having taken a manhood of like feelings with us, and being born of the Holy Virgin and the Holy Spirit, not in appearance or imagination, but in truth: nor did He pass through the Virgin as through a channel; but truly took flesh of her, and of her was truly nourished with milk, and truly ate as we do, and truly drank as we do: for if the Incarnation was a phantom, salvation likewise is a phantom.” [4:9]
“We receive God the Word, who was truly made man, not of the will of man and woman, as the heretics say, but made man of the Virgin and the Holy Spirit according to the Gospel, not in appearance, but in reality…Heretics go wrong in many ways. Some of them altogether deny that He was born of the Virgin; others say that He was born, yet not of a virgin, but of a woman married to a husband. And others say that Christ was not God made man, but that a man was made God; for they have dared to say that it was not the pre- existing Word who became man, but that a certain man by advancement was crowned…Let us loathe them also, who say that the birth of the Saviour was of a man and woman, and who dare to say that it was of Joseph and Mary, because it is written, And he took to him his wife.17 For let us call to mind Jacob, who before he had received Rachel said to Laban, Give up my wife;18 for like as she, in virtue of the promise only, was called the wife of Jacob, before the marriage took place, so also Mary, in that she was betrothed, was called the wife of Joseph.” [12:3,31]
“The Holy Spirit…came upon the Holy Virgin Mary; for since He who was born was Christ the Only-begotten, the power of the Highest overshadowed her, and the Holy Spirit coming upon her,19 sanctified her, that she might be able to receive Him, by whom all things were made.20 I have no need of using many words for you to learn that the birth was without defilement or taint.” [17:6]
“Since through Eve, a virgin, death came, it was necessary that through a virgin, or rather from a virgin, life should appear; that as the serpent had deceived the one, so to the other Gabriel might bring good tidings.” [12:15]
“The Archangel Gabriel is His witness, bringing good tidings to many; the Virgin Theotokos21 is His witness; the blessed manger is His witness.” [10:19]
and became man;
“The Lord took on Him what man required. For since man sought to be addressed by one of like countenance, the Saviour took on Him a nature of like affections, that men might more readily be taught…Men, having forsaken God, made images in the form of men; since then that which was in the form of man was untruly worshipped, God became truly man, that untruth might be destroyed…By those very weapons then have we been saved, by which the devil was used to vanquish us. The Lord took of us a like nature with us, that He might save human nature. He took a like nature with us, that to that which lacked He might give the larger grace; that sinful humanity might be made partaker of God.” [12:14-15]
“Christ was twofold, Man in what was seen, God in what was not seen: eating truly as Man like us, (for He had like feelings of the flesh with us,) but feeding with the five loaves the five thousand as God: dying as Man truly, but as God raising him who had been four days dead: sleeping in the ship truly as Man, and walking on the waters as God… Although he was despised of men and beaten as a man, yet He was acknowledged by the creature as God; for the sun, seeing his Lord outraged, hid his light in trembling, not enduring the sight.” [4:9-10]
“For neither is it religious to worship the mere man, nor is it pious to speak of Him as God only, separate from His manhood. For if Christ, as He truly is, be God, but took not manhood, we are aliens from salvation. Be He then adored as God, but let it be believed that He became man; for neither is there any profit in calling Him man without His Godhead, nor is it salutary, if we confess not His manhood together with His Godhead. Let us confess the presence of the King, and the Physician.” [12:1]
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate,
“He was crucified for our sins truly, should you be disposed to deny it, the very place which all can see refutes you, this blessed Golgotha, in which, on account of Him who was crucified on it, we are now assembled: and further, the whole world is filled with the portions of the wood of the Cross.” [4:10]
“Every deed of Christ is a boast of the Catholic Church, but her boasts of boasts is the Cross; and knowing this, Paul says, But far be it from me to boast, except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.22 …Now the glory of the Cross has led into light those who were blind through ignorance, has loosed all who were held fast by sin, and has ransomed the whole world of men. And wonder not that the whole world was ransomed; for it was no mere man, but the only-begotten Son of God, who died on its behalf.” [13:1]
“He was glorified as God always; but now He was glorified in bearing the Crown of His patience. He gave not up His life by force, nor was He put to death violently, but of His own accord. Hear what He says, I have authority to lay down My life, and I have authority to take it again;23 I yield it of My own choice to My enemies; for unless I chose, this could not be. He came therefore of His own set purpose to His passion, rejoicing in His noble deed, smiling at the crown, cheered by the salvation of men; not ashamed of the Cross, for it saved the world. For it was no common man who suffered, but God in man’s nature, striving for the prize of His patience… Adam by the tree fell; you by the Tree are brought to Paradise. Fear not the serpent; he shall not cast you out; for he is fallen out of heaven.”24 [13:6,31]
“These things the Saviour endured, having made peace through the blood of His Cross, through Him, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.25 For we were enemies of God through sin, and God had appointed the sinner to die. One of two things therefore had to happen: either that God, keeping His words, should destroy all men, or that in His loving-kindness, He should cancel the sentence. But behold the wisdom of God; He preserved both: to His sentence its truth, and to His loving-kindness its exercise. Christ took our sins in His body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, should live to righteousness.26 Of no small account was He who died for us; He was not a literal sheep; He was not a mere man; He was more than an Angel; He was God made man. The transgression of sinners was not so great, as the righteousness of Him who died for them; we have not committed as much sin as He who laid down His life for us has wrought righteousness, - who laid it down when He pleased, and took it again when He pleased.” [13:33] “He stretched out His hands on the Cross, that He might encompass the ends of the world; for this Golgotha is the very centre of the earth.” [13:28]
“Jesus then really suffered for all men; for the Cross was no illusion, otherwise our redemption is an illusion also. His death was not in appearance, for then is our salvation also a tale.” [13:4]
and was buried;
“He was laid truly as man in a tomb of rock, but the rocks burst asunder through fear because of Him. He descended to the regions beneath the earth, that from there also He might redeem the just. For, tell me, could you wish the living only to enjoy His grace, and that, despite most of them being unholy; and not wish those who from Adam had for a long while been imprisoned to have now gained their liberty?” [4:11] “His body then was made a bait to lure death, to the end that the dragon hoping to devour Him, might cast forth those whom he had already devoured.” [12:15]
and the third day He rose again
“But He who descended to the regions beneath the earth, again ascended from there, and Jesus who was buried, rose again truly on the third day.” [4:12] “Now therefore the Dead is risen, - He who was free among the dead,27 and the deliverer of the dead. He, whose head was bound, by reason of His patience, was bound in scorn with the crown of thorns, has now, being risen, put on the diadem of His victory over death...Death was struck with dismay on beholding a new visitant descending into Hades, not bound by the chains of that place.
Why, o porters of Hades, were you scared when you saw Him? What unwonted fear seized you? Death fled, and his flight betrayed his cowardice. The holy prophets ran unto Him, and Moses the Lawgiver, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; David also, and Samuel, and Esaias, and John the Baptist, who bore witness when he asked, Are You the coming One, or do we look for another?28 All the Just were ransomed, whom death had devoured; for it was proper for the King who had been heralded, to become the redeemer of His noble heralds. Then each of the Just said, O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?29 For the Conqueror has redeemed us.” [14:1,19]
according to the Scriptures;
“For all things concerning Christ are put into writing, and nothing is doubtful, for nothing is without a text. All things are inscribed on the monuments of the Prophets; clearly written not on tablets of stone, but by the hand of the Holy Spirit.” [13:8] “For concerning the divine and sacred Mysteries of the Faith, we ought not to deliver even the most casual remark without the Holy Scriptures: nor be drawn aside by mere probabilities and the artifices of argument. Do not then believe me because I tell you these things, unless you receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of what is set forth: for this salvation, which is of our faith, is not by ingenious reasonings, but by proof from the Holy Scriptures.” [4:17]
and ascended into heaven
“And Jesus having finished His race of patience, and having redeemed men from their sins, ascended again into the heaven, a cloud receiving Him: and Angels stood by as He went up, and Apostles gazed.” [4:13]
“Think not that because He is absent in the flesh, He is therefore absent also in the Spirit. He is here present in the midst of us, listening to what is said of Him, and beholding what is in your mind.” [14:30]
and sitteth at the right hand of the Father.
“Concerning the Son’s sitting at the right hand of the Father…let us not curiously pry into what is properly meant by the throne, for it is incomprehensible: nor endure those who falsely say, that it was after His Cross and Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, that the Son began to sit on the right hand of the Father. For the Son gained not His throne by advancement; but from the time that He is, (and He is ever begotten), He also sits together with the Father.” [14:27] “Let the One Son be proclaimed, who before the ages sits at the right hand of the Father; partaking in His throne eternally, not by advancement in time, after His passion.” [11:17] “For the throne at God’s right hand He received not, as some have thought, because of His patient endurance, being crowned as it were by God after His Passion; but throughout His being – a being by eternal generation – He holds His royal dignity, and shares the Father’s seat.” [4:7]
And He shall come again with glory
“We preach not only one advent of Christ, but a second also, far more glorious than the former. For the former gave to view His patience; but the latter brings with it the crown of the divine kingdom. For all things, to speak generally, are twofold in our Lord Jesus Christ. His generation is twofold: the one, of God, before the ages; the other, of the Virgin at the end of the ages. His descent is twofold: one was in obscurity, like the dew on the fleece; the second is His open coming, which is to be. In His former advent, He was wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger; in His second, wrapping Himself in light as in a garment.30 In His first coming, He endured a Cross, having despised the shame;31 in His second, He comes attended by the Angelic host, receiving glory. Let us not then rest in His first advent, but look also for His second.” [15:1] “This Jesus Christ, who has ascended, is coming again from heaven, not from earth. And I say, not from earth, because many antichrists have now come from the earth; for, as you have seen, many have already begun to say, I am the Christ: and besides there is to come the abomination of the desolation,32 usurping the name of Christ. But look for the true Christ, the Son of God, the Only- begotten, who is henceforth to come not from the earth, but from heaven, appearing to all more bright than any lightning or other brilliance.” [4:15]
to judge the living and the dead;
“Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, comes from heaven; and He comes in glory at the end of this world, in the last day. For this world shall have an end, and this created world shall be made new. For since corruption, and theft, and adultery, and every sort of sin, have been poured forth over the earth, and blood has been mingled with blood in the world, therefore, that this wondrous dwelling-place may not remain filled with iniquity, this world shall pass away, that that more beautiful world may be made manifest…Let us not sorrow, as if we alone died; the stars also shall die; and perhaps rise again. And the Lord shall roll up the heavens, not that He may destroy them, but that He may raise them up again more beautiful…The things then which are seen shall pass away, and there shall come things which are looked for, things fairer than these; but as to the time let no one be curious.” [15:3-4]
of His kingdom there shall be no end.
“He will reign with a kingdom, heavenly, eternal, and without end…And should you ever hear anyone say that the kingdom of Christ shall have an end, abhor the heresy; it is another head of the dragon…A certain one has dared to affirm, that after the end of the world Christ shall reign no longer; and he has dared to say, that the Word which came forth from the Father shall be again absorbed into the Father, and shall be no more; uttering such blasphemies to his own perdition…For as we may not speak of the ‘beginning of the days’ of Christ, so neither endure anyone who at any time speaks of the end of His kingdom. For it is written, His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.”33 [4:15 & 15:27,32]
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life,
“Believe also in the Holy Spirit, and hold concerning Him the same opinion which has been delivered to you to hold concerning the Father and the Son…This Holy Spirit is One, indivisible, of manifold power; working many things, yet Himself without parts…who with the Father and the Son is exalted with the glory of the Godhead.” [4:16] “There is One Only Holy Spirit, the Comforter; and as there is One God the Father, and no second Father; - and as there is One Only- begotten Son and Word of God, who has no brother; - so is there One Only Holy Spirit, and no second spirit equal in honour to Him. The Holy Spirit then is Power most mighty, of a divine and unsearchable nature; for He is a living and intelligent Being, and is the sanctifying principle of all things made by God through Christ.” [16:3]
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified,
“There is not one glory to Father, and another to Son, but one and the same with the Holy Spirit.” [6:1]
“The Father through the Son, with the Holy Spirit, bestows all things; the gifts of the Father are none other than those of the Son, and those of the Holy Spirit; for there is one Salvation, one Power, one Faith; One God, the Father; One Lord, His only-begotten Son; One Holy Spirit, the Comforter. And it is enough for us to know these things; but enquire not curiously into His nature or substance: for had it been written, we would have spoken of it…for it is sufficient for our salvation to know, that there is Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit.” [16:24]
“[The Holy Spirit] together with the Father and the Son is honoured, and at the observance of Holy Baptism is included with them in the Holy Trinity. For the Only-begotten Son of God said plainly to the Apostles, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.34 Our hope is in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We preach not three gods…but we preach One God, by One Son, with the Holy Spirit. The Faith is indivisible; religious worship undistracted. We neither divide the Holy Trinity, like some; nor do we…introduce confusion.” [16:4]
Who spake by the prophets.
“The Holy Spirit Himself spoke the Scriptures; He has also spoken concerning Himself as much as He pleased...[He] through the Prophets preached of Christ, and when Christ was come, descended, and manifested Him.” [16:2-3]
In One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
“Now it is called Catholic35 because it is throughout the world, from one end of the earth to the other; and because it teaches catholically and completely one and all the doctrines which ought to come to men’s knowledge, concerning both visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly; and because it subjugates in order to godliness every class of men, governors and governed, learned and unlearned; and because it catholically treats and heals every sort of sins, which are committed by soul or body, and possesses in itself every form of virtue which is named, both in deeds and words, and in every kind of spiritual gift. And it is rightly named Church,36 because it calls forth and assembles together all men.” [18:23-24]
“Of old the Psalmist sung, Bless God in the Church, the Lord from Israel’s fountains.37 But since the Jews for their evil designs against the Saviour have been cast away from grace, the Saviour has built out of the Gentiles a second Holy Church, the Church of us Christians…For now that the one Church in Judaea is cast off, the Churches of Christ are increased throughout the world…Concerning this Holy Catholic Church Paul writes to Timothy, That you may know how one ought to be conducting oneself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, pillar and ground of the truth.38 But since the word ‘church’ or ‘assembly’ is applied to different things…and since one might properly and truly say that there is a church of the evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics…the faith has delivered to you by way of security the article, ‘And in One, Holy, Catholic Church;’ that you may avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which you were regenerated. And if you ever come to any city, inquire not simply where the ‘Lord’s House’ is, (for the sects of the profane also make an attempt to call their own dens, the houses of the Lord,) nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Body, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only- begotten Son of God.” [18:25-26]
I confess one Baptism
“The bath of Baptism we may not receive twice or thrice; otherwise, it might be said, ‘Though I fail once, I shall go right next time: whereas if you fail once, there is no setting things right, for there is One Lord, and One Faith, and One Baptism: none but the heretics are re-baptised, since their former baptism was not baptism.” [Procatechesis 7]
for the forgiveness of sins;
“Jesus sanctified baptism, being Himself baptised. Since the Son of God was baptised, what religious man can despise Baptism? He, however, was baptised, not to receive forgiveness of sins, for He was sinless: but being sinless, to grant divine grace and dignity to the baptised.” [3:11] “Great indeed is the Baptism which is offered you. It is a ransom to captives; the remission of offences; the death of sin; the regeneration of the soul; the garment of light; the holy seal indissoluble; the chariot of heaven; the luxury of paradise; a procuring of the kingdom; the gift of adoption.” [Procatechesis 16] “The grace of God which is given through Christ at the new birth of the Holy Bath is a new birth not of bodies, but the spiritual new birth of the soul. For our bodies are born by means of parents who are seen, but our souls are born again by means of faith.” [1:2] “Regard the Sacred Laver not as simple water; regard rather the spiritual grace given with the water. For as the sacrifices of the pagan altars, being by nature without meaning, by invocation of the idols become polluted, so contrariwise, plain water, after the invocation of the Holy Spirit, and of Christ, and of the Father, gains a sanctifying power. For whereas man’s nature is twofold, soul and body, twofold also is his cleansing; the spiritual for the spiritual, the material for the body. The water cleanses his body, the Spirit seals his soul: that by the Spirit our hearts having been sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our body having been washed with pure water,39 we may draw near to God…Consider not the bare element; look for its saving power by the operation of the Holy Spirit; for without the two you cannot be made perfect. This is not my word, but the Lord Jesus Christ’s…He says, Unless one should be born of water and of the Spirit, he is not able to enter the kingdom of God.40 Neither he who is baptised in water, without the privilege of the Spirit, has the entire gift; nor be he ever so virtuous in his deeds, shall he enter into the kingdom of heaven, except with the seal vouchsafed through water.” [3:3-4]
I look to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come.
“The root of all good works is the hope of the Resurrection; for the expectation of recompense nerves the soul to good works. He who believes that his body shall remain to be raised again, is careful of his robe, and defiles it not with fornication; but he who disbelieves in the Resurrection, gives himself to fornication, and misuses his own body, as though it were not his own. Faith therefore in the Resurrection of the dead, is a great doctrine and lesson of the Holy Catholic Church.” [18:1] “Endure not any of those who say, that the body belongs not to God: for they who hold this, and that the soul dwells in it as in a vessel which belongs not to itself, readily abuse it to fornication…Be tender, I beseech you, of this body; and know that you shall arise from the dead, to be judged with this body…But though the resurrection is common to all men, it is not alike to all; for we all indeed receive everlasting bodies, but not all the same bodies. For the just receive them, that trough eternity, they may join the Choirs of Angels; but the sinners, that they may undergo for everlasting the torment of their sins.” [4:22,30-31]
“Then, after completing the prayer, you say, Amen; by this Amen, which means, ‘So be it,’ setting your seal to its petitions.” [23:18]
1. i.e. pagans
2. 1 John 2:23
4. ὁ ἰωμενος
5. John 4:24
6. John 8:56
8. John 17:5
10. 1 corinthians 11:3
11. cf. 1 Corinthians 11:3
12. John 20:17
13. John 14:11
14. John 10:30
15. Genesis 1:26
16. Psalm 148:5
17. Matthew 1:24
18. Genesis 29:21
19. cf. Luke 1:35
20. cf. John 1:3
21. 'Birth-giver of God'
22. Galations 6:14
23. John 10:18
24. Luke 10:18
25. Colossians 1:20
26. 1 Peter 2:24
27. Psalm 87:5
28. Matthew 11:3
29. 1 Corinthians 15:55
30. Psalm 103:2
31. Hebrews 12:2
32. Matthew 24:5-15
33. Daniel 7:27
34. Matthew 28:19
35. From the Greek ‘καθ’ὅλον’ – ’according to the whole.’
36. ἐκκλησία from ‘ἐκ καλέω’ – ‘to call out.’
37. Pslalm 67:26
38. 1 Timothy 3:15
39. Hebrews 10:22
40. John 3:5