The Athanasian Creed

St. Athanasius

The Athanasian Creed was not written by St. Athanasius, the defender of the doctrine of the Trinity at the Council of Nicaea (AD 325). It seems to have been written about a hundred years later. This creed expands the teaching of the Trinity, and seems to draw from a work by St. Augustine, On the Trinity, from AD 415. The oldest surviving manuscripts of the Athanasian Creed date from the late 8th century. One scholar commented that it reads like the minutes of the Council of Nicaea, with the arguments for the Trinity being presented, and the arguments against it (some repetitive and petulant) being refuted.

The use of the word catholic (note the small c) is referring to the universal Christian faith taught in the scriptures and believed by the Christian faithful.

Traditionally the Athanasian Creed was used in the early morning office of Prime in place of the psalm during the Sundays after Epiphany and Sundays after Pentecost, including Trinity Sunday. Today the Athanasian Creed is sometimes used on Trinity Sunday.

1 Whoever wants to be saved should above all cling to the catholic faith.

2 Whoever does not guard it whole and inviolable will doubtless perish eternally.

3 Now this is the catholic faith:

4 We worship one God in trinity and the Trinity in unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the divine being.

5 For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Spirit is still another.

6 But the deity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one, equal in glory, coeternal in majesty.

7 What the Father is, the Son is, and so is the Holy Spirit.

8 Uncreated is the Father; uncreated is the Son; uncreated is the Spirit.

9 The Father is infinite; the Son is infinite; the Holy Spirit is infinite.

10 Eternal is the Father; eternal is the Son; eternal is the Spirit.

11 And yet there are not three eternal beings, but one who is eternal;

12 as there are not three uncreated and unlimited beings, but one who is uncreated and unlimited.

13 Almighty is the Father; almighty is the Son; almighty is the Spirit:

14 And yet there are not three almighty beings, but one who is almighty.

15 Thus the Father is God; the Son is God; the Holy Spirit is God:

16 And yet there are not three gods, but one God.

17 Thus the Father is Lord; the Son is Lord; the Holy Spirit is Lord:

18 And yet there are not three lords, but one Lord.

19 As Christian truth compels us to acknowledge each distinct person as God and Lord, so catholic religion forbids us to say that there are three gods or lords.

20 The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten;

21 the Son was neither made nor created, but was alone begotten of the Father;

22 the Spirit was neither made nor created, but is proceeding from the Father and the Son.

23 Thus there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three spirits.

24 And in this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other;

25 but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons.

26 Whoever wants to be saved should think thus about the Trinity.

__________

27 It is necessary for eternal salvation that one also faithfully believe that our Lord Jesus Christ became flesh.

28 For this is the true faith that we believe and confess: That our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, is both God and man.

29 He is God, begotten before all worlds from the being of the Father, and he is man, born in the world from the being of his mother —

30 existing fully as God, and fully as man with a rational soul and a human body;

31 equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity.

32 Although he is God and man, he is not divided, but is one Christ.

33 He is united because God has taken humanity into himself; he does not transform deity into humanity

34 He is completely one in the unity of his person, without confusing his natures.

35 For as the rational soul and body are one person, so the one Christ is God and man.

36 He suffered death for our salvation.
He descended into hell and rose again from the dead.

37 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.

38 At his coming all people shall rise bodily to give an account of their own deeds.

39 Those who have done good will enter eternal life,
those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.

40 This is the catholic faith.
One cannot be saved without believing this firmly and faithfully.

Source: This translation is from Christianity Knowledge Base at Fandom.com, and appears to be based on the English translation in the Book of Common Prayer.

Original in Latin:

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.

Prayer for Ascension

Almighty and eternal God,
bless us as we celebrate this day’s festival
and direct our eyes heavenward
where in human flesh, your only Son is with you;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Source: Leonine Sacramentary, Ascension, Fifth Century

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Early Church, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1953

 

AncientCollectsAd

For Light to Follow You

O Lord,
direct our steps this day
into the way of peace,
and strengthen our hearts
to obey your commandments.
May the Dayspring visit us from on high,
and give light
to those who sit in darkness
and the shadow of death,
that they may adore you for your mercy,
follow you for your truth,
desire you for your sweetness,
for you are the blessed Lord God of Israel,
now and forever. Amen.

Source: An ancient Collect, A. D. 440
Source of this version: Freely modified from Service and Prayers for Church and Home, Ed. Wilbur Patterson Thirkield, Methodist Book Concern, 1918

 

Version in traditional English:

DIRECT our steps this day, O Lord, into the way of peace, and strengthen our hearts to obey thy commandments; may the Dayspring visit us from on high, and give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, that they may adore thee for thy mercy, follow thee for thy truth, desire thee for thy sweetness, who art the blessed Lord God of Israel, both now and evermore. Amen.

 

AncientCollectsAd

Christian Prayer, Banner

Who Has Anything but What You Have Given

220px-sandro_botticelli_050

O Lord my God, most merciful,
most secret, most present,
most constant, yet changing all things,
never new, and never old,
always in action, yet always quiet,
creating, upholding, and perfecting all,
who has anything but what you have given?
or what can any man say when he speaks about you?
Yet have mercy on us, O Lord,
that we may speak to you, and praise your Name.

Source: Jeremy Taylor, 1613–67 (from St Augustine) in in Daily Prayer.

Taylor’s version, in traditional English:

O LORD my God, most merciful,
Most secret, most present,
Most constant, yet changing all things,
Never new, and never old,
Ever in action, yet ever quiet,
Creating, upholding, and perfecting all,
Who hath anything but of thy gift?
Or what can any man say when he speaketh of thee?
Yet have mercy upon us, O Lord,
that we may speak unto thee, and praise thy Name.

 

AncientCollectsAd

For Grace

O our Lord and God,
do not look on our many sins,
and do not turn away
because of the seriousness of our iniquities.
In your unspeakable grace
sanctify your servants,
forget our many sins,
and be merciful when you will appear at the end of time,
in the Man whom you have appointed to be our judge,
that we may receive your grace and mercy,
and praise you with all your holy ones. Amen.

Source: Liturgy of the Blessed Apostles

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Early Church, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1953

“In your unspeakable grace …” Original: “through Thine unspeakable grace sanctify this sacrifice of Thine, and grant through it power and capability, so that Thou mayest forget our many sins…”

 

AncientCollectsAd

St. Patrick’s Evensong

May your holy angels, O Christ, Son of living God,
Guard our sleep, our rest, our shining bed.

Let them reveal true visions to us in our sleep,
O High Prince of the universe, O great King of the mysteries!

May no demons, no ill, no calamity or terrifying dreams
Disturb our rest, our willing, prompt repose.

May our watch be holy, our work, our task,
Our sleep, our rest without stop, without break.

Source: St. Patrick’s Evensong, translated as prose by Kuno Meyer in Selections from Ancient Irish Poetry, New York, 1911.

Source of this version: Prayers from the Ancient Celtic Church, © 2018, Paul C. Stratman

Version in verse:

Jesus, Son of God most high,
May your holy angels keep
Watch around us as we lie
In our shining beds asleep.

Time’s hid veil with truth to pierce
Let them teach our dreaming eyes,
High King of the Universe,
High Priest of the Mysteries.

May no demon of the air,
May no malice of our foes,
Evil dream or haunting care
Mar our willing, prompt repose!

May our vigils hallowed be
By the tasks we undertake!
May our sleep be fresh and free,
Without stop and without break.

St. Patrick’s Evensong, translated as poetry, from A Celtic PsalteryNew York, 1917.

 

AncientCelticChAd

Christian Prayer, Banner

 

Evensong

Jesus, Son of God most high,
May your holy angels keep
Watch around us as we lie
In our shining beds asleep.

Time’s hid veil with truth to pierce
Let them teach our dreaming eyes,
High King of the Universe,
High Priest of the Mysteries.

May no demon of the air,
May no malice of our foes,
Evil dream or haunting care
Mar our willing, prompt repose!

May our vigils hallowed be
By the tasks we undertake!
May our sleep be fresh and free,
Without stop and without break.

Source: St. Patrick’s Evensong, from A Celtic Psaltery, New York, 1917.

 

AncientCelticChAd

Purify Our Souls and Bodies

O God,
in your deep counsel
and foresight for humanity,
you sent your Son to heal the hearts of the weak[1]
and purify our souls and bodies.
You are the Savior of body and soul.
You are the loving bestower of eternal happiness!
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Gelasian Sacramentary, fifth century

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Early Church, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1953, also in The New Ancient Collects, #100.

[1] “sent your Son…” Original translation: “…hast appointed holy fasts, whereby the hearts of the weak might receive salutary healing…”

 

AncientCollectsAd

For Light

O Lord,
incline your merciful ears to our prayers
and enlighten the darkness of our hearts
by the light of your visitation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Gelasian Sacramentary, fifth century, Advent 3.

Source of this version: Freely modified from Prayers of the Early Church, edited by J. Manning Potts, 1953, also in The New Ancient Collects, #48.

 

AncientCollectsAd