An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Nicene Creed

It was first issued by the Council of Nicaea in 325, but in the form used today it is frequently thought to have been perfected at the Council of Constantinople in 381. There is no doubt that it was passed on to the church through the Council of Chalcedon in 451. It is commonly held to be based on the baptismal creed of Jerusalem, and it is often referred to as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. It states the full divinity of the Son, the second Person of the Trinity, in opposition to Arius. It also states the full divinity of the Holy Spirit, as denied by Macedonius. The use of the Nicene Creed in the eucharist (right after the gospel), in contrast to the use of the Apostles' Creed in baptism, began in the fifth century in Antioch and became the universal practice in the church. The Nicene Creed is expressed in its original form of “We believe” in the Rite 2 eucharistic liturgy of the 1979 BCP, and this communal expression of faith is also presented as the first option in the Rite 1 eucharistic liturgy. The Rite 1 eucharistic liturgy also offers the “I believe” form as a second option (see BCP, pp. 326-327, 358).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.