Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Athanasian Creed

Yes, today is Trinity Sunday, the day on which many Lutheran parishes recite the Athanasian Creed in the Mass. There is much to say about the liturgical use of this creed, and about the peculiar character of Trinity Sunday. For now, though, let me just say that the Athanasian Creed need not go away so quickly for another year of hibernation. It is worthy of prayer, study, and memorization. What you see below is the Creed attributed to Saint Athanasius, in its venerable Latin form, and then in English. If you are a student, whether grade school or university or seminary, study this creed hard. By the end of summer you could have it memorized. If you are the parent of such a student, this could be a good resource for you.

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 Trinitatem in unitate veneremur.

Neque confundentes personas, * neque substantiam seperantes.

Alia est enim persona Patris, alia Filii, * alia Spiritus Sancti:

Sed Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti una est divinitas, * aequalis Gloria, coaeterna maiestas.

Qualis Pater, talis Filius, * talis Spiritus Sanctus.

Increatus Pater, increatus Filius, * increatus Spiritus Sanctus.

Immensus Pater, immensus Filius, * immensus Spiritus Sanctus.

Aeternus Pater, aeternus Filius, * aeternus Spiritus Sanctus.

Et tamen non tres aeterni, * sed aeternus.

Sicut non tres increati, nec tres immensi, * Sed unus increatus, et unus immensus.

Similiter omnipotens Pater, omnipotens Filius, * omnipotens Spiritus Sanctus.

Et tamen non tres omnipotens, * sed unus omnipotens.

Ita Deus Pater, Deus Filius, Deus Spiritus Sanctus. * et tamen non tres Dii, sed unus est Deus.

Ita Dominus Pater, Dominus Filius, Dominus 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 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 et homo est.

Deus est ex substantia Patris * ante saecula genitus,

et homo est es 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 Christua.

Qui passus est pro salute nostra: descendit ad inferos, * tertia die resurrexit a mortuis.

Ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis, * inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.

Ad cuius adventum omnes hominess 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 crediterit, * salvus esse non poterit.

Gloria Patri, &c.

Whosoever will be saved, * Before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith.

Which faith except everyone 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 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 coeternal.

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, * And such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, * And the Holy Ghost uncreate.

The Father incomprehensible, the Son Incomprehensible, * And the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.

The Father eternal, the Son eternal, * And the Holy Ghost eternal.

And yet they are not three Eternals, * but one Eternal.

As 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 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 we are forbidden by the catholic religion to say, there be 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 other, * none is greater or less than another.

But the whole three Persons are coeternal Together and coequal, * so that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped.

He, therefore, that will be saved * must 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 substance of the Father, * begotten before the worlds;

and Man of the substance 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 be God and Man, * yet He is not two, but one Christ.

One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh,* but by taking the manhood into God.

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 on the right hand of the Father, God almighty; * from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies * and shall give an account of 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 faithfully and firmly, * he cannot be saved.

Glory be &c.

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