Athanasian Creed

Athanasian Creed

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The Athanasian Creed is a Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 statement of belief
Creed
A creed is a statement of belief—usually a statement of faith that describes the beliefs shared by a religious community—and is often recited as part of a religious service. When the statement of faith is longer and polemical, as well as didactic, it is not called a creed but a Confession of faith...

, focusing on Trinitarian
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

 doctrine and Christology
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

. The Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 name of the creed, Quicumque vult, is taken from the opening words
Incipit
Incipit is a Latin word meaning "it begins". The incipit of a text, such as a poem, song, or book, is the first few words of its opening line. In music, it can also refer to the opening notes of a composition. Before the development of titles, texts were often referred to by their incipits...

, "Whosoever wishes." The Athanasian Creed has been used by Christian churches since the sixth century. It is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Trinity is explicitly stated, and differs from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

 and Apostles' Creed
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

s in the inclusion of anathema
Anathema
Anathema originally meant something lifted up as an offering to the gods; it later evolved to mean:...

s, or condemnations of those who disagree with the Creed (like the original Nicene Creed).

Widely accepted among Western Christians
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

, including the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

, the Lutheran Church and most liturgical Protestant denominations, the Athanasian Creed has been used in public worship less and less frequently. The creed has never gained much acceptance in liturgy among Eastern Christians
Eastern Christianity
Eastern Christianity comprises the Christian traditions and churches that developed in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Middle East, Northeastern Africa, India and parts of the Far East over several centuries of religious antiquity. The term is generally used in Western Christianity to...

.

Origin



A medieval account credited Athanasius of Alexandria
Athanasius of Alexandria
Athanasius of Alexandria [b. ca. – d. 2 May 373] is also given the titles St. Athanasius the Great, St. Athanasius I of Alexandria, St Athanasius the Confessor and St Athanasius the Apostolic. He was the 20th bishop of Alexandria. His long episcopate lasted 45 years Athanasius of Alexandria [b....

, the famous defender of Nicene theology
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

, as the author of the Creed. According to this account, Athanasius composed it during his exile in Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

, and presented it to Pope Julius I
Pope Julius I
Pope Saint Julius I, was pope from February 6, 337 to April 12, 352.He was a native of Rome and was chosen as successor of Mark after the Roman seat had been vacant for four months. He is chiefly known by the part he took in the Arian controversy...

 as a witness to his orthodoxy. This traditional attribution of the Creed to Athanasius was first called into question in 1642 by Dutch Protestant theologian G.J. Voss
Gerhard Johann Vossius
thumb|180px|Gerrit Johan VossiusGerrit Janszoon Vos , often known by his Latin name Gerardus Vossius, was a Dutch classical scholar and theologian.-Life:...

, and it has since been widely accepted by modern scholars that the creed was not authored by Athanasius. Athanasius' name seems to have become attached to the creed as a sign of its strong declaration of Trinitarian faith. The reasoning for rejecting Athanasius as the author usually relies on a combination of the following:
  1. The creed originally was most likely written in Latin, while Athanasius composed in Greek.
  2. Neither Athanasius nor his contemporaries ever mention the Creed.
  3. It is not mentioned in any records of the ecumenical councils.
  4. It appears to address theological concerns that developed after Athanasius died (including the filioque).
  5. It was most widely circulated among Western Christians
    Western Christianity
    Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

    .


The use of the Creed in a sermon by Caesarius of Arles, as well as a theological resemblance to works by Vincent of Lérins
Vincent of Lérins
Saint Vincent of Lérins was a Gallic author of early Christian writings.In earlier life he had been engaged in secular pursuits, whether civil or military is not clear, though the term he uses, "secularis militia," might possibly imply the latter...

, point to Southern Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 as its origin. The most likely time frame is in the late fifth or early sixth century AD – at least 100 years after Athanasius. The theology
Christian theology
- Divisions of Christian theology :There are many methods of categorizing different approaches to Christian theology. For a historical analysis, see the main article on the History of Christian theology.- Sub-disciplines :...

 of the creed is firmly rooted in the Augustinian tradition
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

, using exact terminology of Augustine's On the Trinity (published 415 AD). In the late 19th century, there was a great deal of speculation about who might have authored the creed, with suggestions including Ambrose of Milan, Venantius Fortunatus
Venantius Fortunatus
Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus was a Latin poet and hymnodist in the Merovingian Court, and a Bishop of the early Catholic Church. He was never canonised but was venerated as Saint Venantius Fortunatus during the Middle Ages.-Life:Venantius Fortunatus was born between 530 and 540 A.D....

, and Hilary of Poitiers
Hilary of Poitiers
Hilary of Poitiers was Bishop of Poitiers and is a Doctor of the Church. He was sometimes referred to as the "Hammer of the Arians" and the "Athanasius of the West." His name comes from the Latin word for happy or cheerful. His optional memorial in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints is 13...

, among others. The 1940 discovery of a lost work by Vincent of Lérins
Vincent of Lérins
Saint Vincent of Lérins was a Gallic author of early Christian writings.In earlier life he had been engaged in secular pursuits, whether civil or military is not clear, though the term he uses, "secularis militia," might possibly imply the latter...

, which bears a striking similarity to much of the language of the Athanasian Creed, have led many to conclude that the creed originated either with Vincent or with his students. For example, in the authoritative modern monograph about the creed, J.N.D. Kelly asserts that Vincent of Lérin was not its author, but that it may have come from the same milieu, namely the area of Lérins in southern Gaul. The oldest surviving manuscripts of the Athanasian Creed date from the late 8th century.

Content


The Athanasian Creed is usually divided into two sections: lines 1–28 addressing the doctrine of the Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

, and lines 29–44 addressing the doctrine of Christology
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

. Enumerating the three persons of the Trinity (i.e., Father, the Son
Christian views of Jesus
Christian views of Jesus are based on the teachings and beliefs outlined in the Canonical gospels, New Testament letters, and the Christian creeds. These outline the key beliefs held by Christian about Jesus, including his divinity, humanity, and earthly life. Generally speaking, adhering to the...

, and the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

), the first section of the creed ascribes the divine attributes to each individually. Thus, each person of the Trinity is described as uncreated (increatus), limitless (Immensus), eternal (æternus), and omnipotent (omnipotens). While ascribing the divine attributes and divinity to each person of the Trinity, thus avoiding subordinationism
Subordinationism
Subordinationism is a doctrine in Christian theology which holds that the Son and the Holy Spirit are subordinate to God the Father in nature and being...

, the first half of the Athanasian Creed also stresses the unity of the three persons in the one Godhead, thus avoiding a theology of tritheism
Tritheism
Tritheism is the belief that there are three distinct, powerful gods, who form a triad. Generally three gods are envisaged as having separate powers and separate supreme beings or spheres of influence but working together...

. Furthermore, although one God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct from each other. For the Father is neither made nor begotten; the Son is not made but is begotten from the Father; the Holy Spirit is neither made nor begotten but proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque).

The text of the Athanasian Creed is as follows:
in Latin English translation

Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem: Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternum peribit. Fides autem catholica haec est: ut unum Deum in Trinitate, et Trinitatem in unitate veneremur. Neque confundentes personas, neque substantiam separantes. Alia est enim persona Patris alia Filii, alia Spiritus Sancti: Sed Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti una est divinitas, aequalis gloria, coeterna maiestas. Qualis Pater, talis Filius, talis [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Increatus Pater, increatus Filius, increatus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, immensus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Aeternus Pater, aeternus Filius, aeternus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres aeterni, sed unus aeternus. Sicut non tres increati, nec tres immensi, sed unus increatus, et unus immensus. Similiter omnipotens Pater, omnipotens Filius, omnipotens [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres omnipotentes, sed unus omnipotens. Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres dii, sed unus est Deus. Ita Dominus Pater, Dominus Filius, Dominus [et] Spiritus Sanctus. Et tamen non tres Domini, sed unus [est] Dominus. Quia, sicut singillatim unamquamque personam Deum ac Dominum confiteri christiana veritate compellimur: Ita tres Deos aut [tres] Dominos dicere catholica religione prohibemur. Pater a nullo est factus: nec creatus, nec genitus. Filius a Patre solo est: non factus, nec creatus, sed genitus. Spiritus Sanctus a Patre et Filio: non factus, nec creatus, nec genitus, sed procedens. Unus ergo Pater, non tres Patres: unus Filius, non tres Filii: unus Spiritus Sanctus, non tres Spiritus Sancti. Et in hac Trinitate nihil prius aut posterius, nihil maius aut minus: Sed totae tres personae coaeternae sibi sunt et coaequales. Ita, ut per omnia, sicut iam supra dictum est, et unitas in Trinitate, et Trinitas in unitate veneranda sit. Qui vult ergo salvus esse, ita de Trinitate sentiat.

Sed necessarium est ad aeternam salutem, ut incarnationem quoque Domini nostri Iesu Christi fideliter credat. Est ergo fides recta ut credamus et confiteamur, quia Dominus noster Iesus Christus, Dei Filius, Deus [pariter] et homo est. Deus [est] ex substantia Patris ante saecula genitus: et homo est ex substantia matris in saeculo natus. Perfectus Deus, perfectus homo: ex anima rationali et humana carne subsistens. Aequalis Patri secundum divinitatem: minor Patre secundum humanitatem. Qui licet Deus sit et homo, non duo tamen, sed unus est Christus. Unus autem non conversione divinitatis in carnem, sed assumptione humanitatis in Deum. Unus omnino, non confusione substantiae, sed unitate personae. Nam sicut anima rationalis et caro unus est homo: ita Deus et homo unus est Christus. Qui passus est pro salute nostra: descendit ad inferos: tertia die resurrexit a mortuis. Ascendit ad [in] caelos, sedet ad dexteram [Dei] Patris [omnipotentis]. Inde venturus [est] judicare vivos et mortuos. Ad cujus adventum omnes homines resurgere habent cum corporibus suis; Et reddituri sunt de factis propriis rationem. Et qui bona egerunt, ibunt in vitam aeternam: qui vero mala, in ignem aeternum. Haec est fides catholica, quam nisi quisque fideliter firmiterque crediderit, salvus esse non poterit.

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled; without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons; nor dividing the Essence.
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 coeternal.
Such as the Father is; such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreated; the Son uncreated; and the Holy Ghost uncreated.
The Father unlimited; the Son unlimited; and the Holy Ghost unlimited.
The Father eternal; the Son eternal; and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals; but one eternal.
As also there are not three uncreated; nor three infinites, but one uncreated; and one infinite.
So likewise the Father is Almighty; the Son Almighty; and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties; but one Almighty.
So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods; but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord; the Son Lord; and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords; but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord;
So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none; neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone; 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 another; none is greater, or less than another.
But the whole three Persons are coeternal, and coequal.
So that in all things, as aforesaid; the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, is to be worshipped.
He therefore that will be saved, let him thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore it is necessary to everlasting salvation; that he also believe faithfully the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess; that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man;
God, of the Essence of the Father; begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Essence of his Mother, born in 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 Father as touching his Manhood.
Who although he is God and Man; yet he is not two, but one Christ.
One; not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh; but by assumption of the Manhood into God.
One altogether; not by confusion of Essence; 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 on the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead.
At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies; And shall give account for their own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.
This is the Catholic Faith; which except a man believe truly and firmly, he cannot be saved.


Didactic as its content appears to contemporary readers, its opening sets out the essential principle that the Catholic faith does not consist in the first place in assent to propositions, but 'that we worship One God in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity'. All else flows from that orientation.

The Christology of the second section is more detailed than that of the Nicene Creed, and reflects the teaching of the First Council of Ephesus (431) and the definition of the Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon , on the Asian side of the Bosporus. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th...

 (451). The 'Athanasian' Creed boldly uses the key Nicene term homoousios ('one substance', 'one in Being') not only with respect to the relation of the Son to the Father according to his divine nature, but that the Son is homoousios with his mother Mary, according to his human nature.

The Creed's wording thus excludes not only Sabellianism
Sabellianism
In Christianity, Sabellianism, is the nontrinitarian belief that the Heavenly Father, Resurrected Son and Holy Spirit are different modes or aspects of one God, as perceived by the believer, rather than three distinct persons in God Himself.The term Sabellianism comes from...

 and Arianism
Arianism
Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

, but the Christological heresies of Nestorianism
Nestorianism
Nestorianism is a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431. The doctrine, which was informed by Nestorius's studies under Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch, emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus...

 and Eutychianism
Eutychianism
Eutychianism refers to a set of Christian theological doctrines derived from the ideas of Eutyches of Constantinople . Eutychianism is a specific understanding of how the human and divine relate within the person of Jesus Christ .At various times, Eutyches taught that the human nature of Christ was...

. A need for a clear confession against Arianism arose in western Europe when the Ostrogoths and Visigoths, who had Arian beliefs, invaded at the beginning of the 5th century.

The final section of this Creed also moved beyond the Nicene (and Apostles') Creeds in making negative statements about the people's fate: "They that have done good shall go into life everlasting: and they that have done evil into everlasting fire." This caused considerable debate in England in the mid-nineteenth century, centred around the teaching of Frederick Denison Maurice.

Uses



Composed of 44 rhythmic lines, the Athanasian Creed appears to have been intended as a liturgical document – that is, the original purpose of the creed was to be spoken or sung as a part of worship. The creed itself uses the language of public worship, speaking of the worship of God rather than the language of belief ("Now this is the catholic faith: We worship one God"). In the Catholic Church in medieval times, this creed was recited following the Sunday sermon or at the Sunday Office of Prime
Prime (liturgy)
Prime, or the First Hour, is a fixed time of prayer of the traditional Divine Office , said at the first hour of daylight , between the morning Hour of Lauds and the 9 a.m. Hour of Terce. It is part of the Christian liturgies of Eastern Christianity, but in the Latin Rite it was suppressed by the...

. The creed was often set to music and used in the place of a Psalm.

Early Protestants inherited the late medieval devotion to the Athanasian Creed, and it was considered to be authoritative in many Protestant churches. The statements of Protestant belief (confessional documents) of various Reformers commend the Athanasian Creed to their followers, including the Augsburg Confession
Augsburg Confession
The Augsburg Confession, also known as the "Augustana" from its Latin name, Confessio Augustana, is the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church and one of the most important documents of the Lutheran reformation...

, the Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord
Formula of Concord is an authoritative Lutheran statement of faith that, in its two parts , makes up the final section of the Lutheran Corpus Doctrinae or Body of Doctrine, known as...

, the Second Helvetic Confession, the Belgic Confession
Belgic Confession
The Confession of Faith, popularly known as the Belgic Confession, is a doctrinal standard document to which many of the Reformed churches subscribe. The Confession forms part of the Reformed Three Forms of Unity...

, the Bohemian Confession and the Thirty-nine Articles
Thirty-Nine Articles
The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are the historically defining statements of doctrines of the Anglican church with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation. First established in 1563, the articles served to define the doctrine of the nascent Church of England as it related to...

. Among modern Lutheran and Reformed churches adherence to the Athanasian Creed is prescribed by the earlier confessional documents, but the creed does not receive much attention outside of occasional use – especially on Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the Sunday of Pentecost in Eastern Christianity...

.

In Reformed circles, it is included (for example) in the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia's Book of Forms (publ. 1991). That said, it is rarely recited in public worship.

In the successive Books of Common Prayer of the reformed Church of England from 1549 to 1662, its recitation was provided for on 19 occasions each year, a practice which continued until the nineteenth century, when vigorous controversy regarding its statement about 'eternal damnation' saw its use gradually decline. It remains one of the three Creeds approved in the Thirty-Nine Articles, and is printed in several current Anglican prayer books (e.g. A Prayer Book for Australia (1995)). As with Roman Catholic practice, its use is now generally only on Trinity Sunday or its octave.

In Roman Catholic churches, it was traditionally said at Prime
Prime (liturgy)
Prime, or the First Hour, is a fixed time of prayer of the traditional Divine Office , said at the first hour of daylight , between the morning Hour of Lauds and the 9 a.m. Hour of Terce. It is part of the Christian liturgies of Eastern Christianity, but in the Latin Rite it was suppressed by the...

 on Sundays after Epiphany and Pentecost, except when a Double feast or day within an octave occurred, and on Trinity Sunday. In the 1960 reforms, it was reduced to once a year on Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the Sunday of Pentecost in Eastern Christianity...

. It has been effectively dropped from the Catholic liturgy since the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

. It is however maintained in the Forma Extraordinaria, per the decree Summorum Pontificum
Summorum Pontificum
Summorum Pontificum is an Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, issued "motu proprio" . The document specified the rules, for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, for celebrating Mass according to the "Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962" , and for administering most of the sacraments in...

, and also in the rite of exorcism, both in the Forma Ordinaria and the Forma Extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.

In Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, the Athanasian Creed is—along with the Apostles'
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

 and Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

s—one of the three ecumenical creeds
Ecumenical creeds
Ecumenical creeds is an umbrella term used in the western church to refer to the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. The ecumenical creeds are also known as the universal creeds. These creeds are accepted by almost all mainstream Christian denominations in the western...

 placed at the beginning of the 1580 Book of Concord
Book of Concord
The Book of Concord or Concordia is the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century...

, the historic collection of authoritative doctrinal statements (confessions) of the Lutheran Church. It is still used in the liturgy on Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday
Trinity Sunday is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar, and the Sunday of Pentecost in Eastern Christianity...

.

A common visualisation of the first half of the Creed is the Shield of the Trinity
Shield of the Trinity
The Shield of the Trinity or Scutum Fidei is a traditional Christian visual symbol which expresses many aspects of the doctrine of the Trinity, summarizing the first part of the Athanasian Creed in a compact diagram...

.

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