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Nicene Creed

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The Nicene Creed is one of the most widely accepted statements of Christian belief. It is often used as part of the liturgy of church services. It was agreed upon at the Council of Constantinople in the year 381[1], and continues to be accepted by most major Christian denominations, including Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism and the Orthodox Church.

A version of the Nicene Creed used in Anglican services is:

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,
only begotten Son of God,
begotten of His Father before all worlds
God of God, light of light
very God of very God.
Begotten not made,
being of one substance
with the Father by whom all things were made.
Who for us men and for our salvation
came down from Heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary.
And was made man,
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried,
and on the third day he rose again,
according to the scriptures.
He ascended into Heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead,
whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the giver of life
who proceedeth from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified;
who spake by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic church;
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;
and I look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come.

Some parts of this creed are present in answer to particular heresies of the time. For example, the statement that God is the "maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible" is a response to the gnostic belief that souls were created by the true God, but that a fallen angel known as the demiurge (sometimes named Sammael, Saklas, or Yaldabaoth) created a corrupt material world and trapped souls in it, and that salvation meant escape from the material world, while the unsaved were doomed to be reincarnated.

One enduring dispute connected to the Nicene Creed relates to the Filioque clause: The version of the Nicene Creed adopted by the Council of Nicaea/First Ecumenical Council in 325 AD ended with the phrase "And I believe in the Holy Ghost" and was also shorter in some other respects, and the remaining portion of the Creed was added later, at the First Council of Constantinople/Second Ecumenical Council in 381 AD, except for the phrase "and from the son." This later, corresponding to the single Latin word "Filioque," is first attested in use (and may have originated) at the Third Council of Toledo in 589 AD, which was not an ecumenical council. Although it was generally accepted by Western Christians, it was never widely accepted in the East, and was declared heretical by the Patriarch of Constantinople in 867. The dispute over the use of the Filioque clause was one of the major theological issues involved in the Great Schism. Today, the Roman Catholic Church maintains that the additional of the clause is theologically correct in Latin, but not in Greek, due to the slightly meaning of the verbs used in the two languages, while the Eastern Orthodox maintain that it is inappropriate in either language.


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