The Council of
Nicaea and the Nicene Creed
Four centuries after the death of the Christ religious leaders quarreled about the meaning of Christianity. A Bishop Arius believed that the Christ had two separate natures, one divine and the other human. The Christ, as Son, was subordinate to the Father, a relationship which he believed mirrored the structure of society. Arius converted many people, including many Germanic peoples, his theological position began to reveal divisions with more traditional views of the religion. The Emperor Constantine summoned the first general council (or "ecumenical") of the Christian Church, the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., to promote religious peace within the empire. One result was the Nicaean Creed, written by Athanasius of Alexandria, which served to define the most basic beliefs of Latin Christianity. The Pope, Silvester, did not attend the Council. Constantine invited all the bishops of the Empire to attend. Very few Western bishops came. Constantine confirmed the legislation of the Council.
Canons of the Council
Return to Topic One
THE NICENE CREED
The Synod at Nicaea set forth this Creed.
(The generally accepted Catholic translation on the left; The translation on the right was by a ecumenical commission. Are the differences important?)
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: by the power of the Holy Spirit 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. With the Father and the Son he 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
believe in one God,
We believe in
one Lord, Jesus Christ,
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,