THE APOSTLE'S CREED has been handed down to us from the Apostles themselves, hence the name. It is the shortest of the three creeds, and undoubtedly the best known, as it is the simplest profession of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith. The Apostle's Creed contains all the articles the other ones have, though in a very simplified form. This is the Creed which forms the basis for our Catechisms.I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
THE CREED OF NICAEA (325) This was the original Nicene Creed. It was revised and finalized at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD.
We believe in one God the Father All-sovereign, maker of all things. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only-begotten, that is, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made, things in heaven and things on the earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, and became man, suffered, and rose on the third day, ascended into the heavens, and is coming to judge living and dead. And in the Holy Spirit. And those that say 'There was when he was not,' and, 'Before he was begotten he was not,' and that, 'He came into being from what-is-not,' or those that allege, that the son of God is 'Of another substance or essence' or 'created,' or 'changeable' or 'alterable,' these the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes.
THE NICENE CREED (more properly called the Nicene-Constantinople Creed), came to us in its final form from the great Council of Constantinople in 381. This is the Creed which Catholics recite at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
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 in 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.
THE ATHANASIAN CREED dates from the late fourth century, and is attributed to St. Athanasius (296-373), the great defender of Catholic Truth. Those who held to the Arian heresy, which ravaged the Church at that time, denied the divinity of Christ. As a result, Athanasius composed this creed which includes lengthy explanations of the Trinity and the Hypostatic Union (the Human and Divine natures of Christ forming one Person).
Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Which Faith, except a man keep whole and integral, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. Now the Catholic Faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance. For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. For such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, the Holy Ghost uncreate; the Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible; the Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet, there are not three eternals, but one eternal. As also there are not three uncreated, nor three incomprehensibles; but one uncreated, and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet there are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet there are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise, the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, and the Holy Ghost is Lord. And yet there are not three Lords, but one Lord. For, as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord; so we are forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there be three Gods or three Lords. The Father is made by none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father, and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before or after the other. None is greater or less than another, but the whole three Persons are co-equal and co-eternal together. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped. He therefore that will be saved, must thus think of the Trinity. Furthermore it is necessary unto eternal salvation that he believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ is God and man. God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the world; and Man of the substance of His Mother, born into the world. Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Godhead as touching His Manhood. Who, although He be God, and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ. Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead. He ascended into heaven; He sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their works. And they that have done good shall go into everlasting life, and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire. This, then, is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.