Understanding the Nicene Creed

The Creed we sing every Sunday is not simply another hymn in the Liturgy. It is more than that: it is a door. That door leads back through our Church’s exciting and tumultuous history to a time of heresy and danger, a time of councils and counter-councils, of great battles fought long and hard to preserve timeless truth. The result of all that warfare is our present Creed—a confession stained with the tears and the blood of saints, and given to the Church ever after as a saving standard and a glorious banner. In this series of essays, Fr. Lawrence Farley, author of numerous books on topics ranging from Scripture to the Liturgy, introduces readers to the history and meaning of the Creed—and, by extension, the fundamental teachings of Orthodox Christianity.

Pre-Nicene Creeds

The confession of faith which we Orthodox chant or sing every Sunday at our Divine Liturgy has a long and complicated history, and examining its history…

Jul 25, 2014

Nicea and Afterward

The Church had always confessed the divinity of Christ. The New Testament had proclaimed Jesus as the divine Son of God, and the phrase “Christ our God”…

Jul 24, 2014

I Believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth

To us today, it sounds a little odd to begin a creed with anything so obvious as the fact that there exists but one God, and that this almighty Father…

Jul 23, 2014

And of all things, visible and invisible

The Creed not only confesses that our God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, is the creator of heaven and earth. It also adds the phrase that He is…

Jul 22, 2014

The Full Divinity of Jesus

As mentioned in a previous article on the history of the Nicene Creed, a controversy erupted in the church of the fourth century through the teachings…

Jul 21, 2014

The Mighty Acts of Jesus

In our present version of the Creed, after a bold assertion of Christ’s full divinity comes a recitation of His mighty acts. “For us men and for our…

Jul 20, 2014

The Holy Spirit

The third main section of the present Creed concerns the Holy Spirit and His work in the holy Church. We note that the Holy Spirit and the Church are paired…

Jul 19, 2014

The Church as Object of Faith

As mentioned before, the third main section of the present Creed concerns the Holy Spirit and His work in the holy Church, and we note that the Holy Spirit…

Jul 18, 2014

The Church as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic

We saw previously that the Creed confesses the Church as an object of faith to show how, despite all its historical liturgical diversity (especially in…

Jul 17, 2014

I Acknowledge One Baptism

Another part of the third main section of the present Creed focusing upon the Holy Spirit and His work in the holy Church concerns holy baptism. The phrase…

Jul 16, 2014

I look for the Resurrection of the Dead, and the Life of the Age to Come

The last part of the third main section of the present Creed says, “I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the age to come.”  Though…

Jul 15, 2014

Conclusion: “The Doors! The Doors! In Wisdom Let Us Attend”

In our modern Orthodox Liturgy, the Creed is prefaced by a diaconal word of command. That is, just before the Creed is chanted or sung, the deacon cries…

Jul 14, 2014