Sunday School: The Creed
Most of the systematic explanations of the Orthodox faith are based on the Nicene Creed, which is the ultimate expression and synthesis of the dogma of Orthodoxy and the basis of its teaching and sacramental life.
The Creed was adopted between 325 and 381 A.D., shortly after Christianity was no longer persecuted in the Roman Empire. The adoption took place at an Ecumenical Council (Vselenski Subor), which is the only form, recognized by the Orthodox Church even until nowadays for the highest church authority. In this respect it differs very much from Rome, which historically has concentrated much spiritual power in
the person of the Bishop of Rome, e.g. the Pope. The Orthodox Church recognizes 7 Ecumenical Councils in its entire history.
Originally the Creed was used by the Early Church at baptismal services, when the person who was to be baptized, had to acknowledge his true Christian faith. This baptismal formula, however, later developed into a short, but extremely profound in its theological meaning statement of faith, which has ever since been used as a „testing paper“ for any new teaching; in the Creed, it is often said, one can find the whole Bible condensed. In nowadays the Creed is recited (or sung) at every Liturgy, at the moment of the consecration of the bread and the wine.
Here is the complete text of the Creed. (Our next topics will deal with the truths of faith revealed in each of its sections.)
1. I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
2. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages:
3. Light of light, true God of true God, begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made:
4. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
5. And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; and suffered and was burried;
6. The third day He rose again according to the Scriptures;
7. And ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father;
8. And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end.
9. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, Who proceeds from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spoke by the prophets.
10. I believe in One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
11. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead and the Life of the world to come.
Veruju vo edinago Boga Otca, Vsederzhitelja, Tvorca nebu i zemli, vidimim zhe vsem i nevidimim. I vo edinago Gospoda Iisusa Hrista, Sina Bozhija edinorodnago, izhe ot Otca rozhdennago prezhde vseh vek: sveta ot sveta, Boga
istinna ot Boga istinna, rozhdenna, ne sotvorenna, edinosushtna Otcu, imzhe vsja bisha. Nas radi chelovek i nashego radi spasenija shedshago s nebes, i voplotivshegosja ot Duha Svjata i Marii Devi, i vochelovechshasja. Razpjatago
zhe za ni pri Pontijstem Pilate, i stradavsha, i pogrebena. I vozkresshago v tretij den po pisaniem. I vozshedshego na nebesa i sedjashta otdesnuju Otca. I paki grjadushtago so slavoju, suditi zhivim i mertvim, ego zhe carstvie ne budet
konca. I v Duha Svetago, Gospoda, zhivotvorjashtago, izhe ot Otca izhodjashtago, izhe so Otcem i Sinom spoklonjaema i sslavima, glagolavshago proroki. Vo edinu svjatuju, sobornuju i apostolskoju Cerkov. Izpoveduju edino kreshtenie
vo ostavlenie grehov. Chaju voskresenija mertvih i zhizni budushtago veka. Amin.
In the next days we will examine (very briefly) the meaning of all these somewhat extravagantly sounding sentences. Believe me, it is not as simple as it looks!