The Symbolum Nicaenum, or Nicene Creed, has a complex history. It was first promulgated at the Council of Nicea (325), though in an abbreviated form from what we have below. St. Athanasius attributes its composition to the Papal Legate to the Council, Hossius of Cordova. The Creed is also sometimes called the Nicene-Constantinoplian Creed since it appears in the Acts of the Council of Constantinople (381), but it is clear that this Council is not the source of that composition for it appears in complete form in the Ancoratus of Epiphanius of Salamis some seven years earlier in 374. In any case, it was this text that appears in the Acts of the Council of Constantinople that was formally promulgated at Chalcedon in 451 and has come down to us as our present Nicene Creed.
It was at the councils of Nicea and Constantinople that the true nature of Jesus was defended against two heresies that had sprung up. The Arians denied Christ's divinity and the Monophysites denied Christ's humanity. The councils, drawing upon the traditions handed down to them from the Apostles, condemned both heresies and declared that Jesus was indeed both true God and true man. In the 11th century this creed became part of the Mass. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who recite the Symbolum Nicaenum.
|CREDO in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.||I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.|
|Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri; per quem omnia facta sunt.||And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being with the Father; through Whom all things were made.|
|Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est.||Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven. He was made flesh by the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.|
|Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris.||He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate; suffered, and was buried. On the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.|
|Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis.||He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.|
|Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.||And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son.|
|Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas.||Who, with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified: Who has spoken through the Prophets.|
|Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.||And I believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic Church.|
|Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.||I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. And I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the age to come. Amen.|