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13 Creeds of the Catholic Church

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Most know of the Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian Creed, yet, the Catholic church has produced many more. Here are the 13 most important Creeds of the Catholic Church.

The first Creed, the foundation of all future creeds is the Apostle’s Creed. The most ancient form of the Creed, written around 150, read “[I believe] in the Father almighty,—and in Jesus Christ, our Savior;—and in the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, in the holy Church, and in the remission of sins.” There are similar Creeds listed by St. Justin Martyr, St. Ireneaus, St. Hippolytus, Tertullian, and Origen.

The second Creed is the Nicene Creed, which builds off the Apostles Creed. The Original form stops at “and the Holy Ghost…” The last third was developed during the period between the Nicene and Constantinopolitan councils. Similar to the Apostles Creed, there was also a variety of “Nicene Creeds” before taking a more definite form.

The third Creed is the Athanasian Creed. There is no Greek original, but this is easily explained by the fact that St. Athanasius traveled to Rome in 338 and lived there for six years. It expands upon the contents of earlier Creeds and gives a technical expression to the church’s teaching on the Trinity and the Incarnation.

The fourth Creed is the Creed of Toledo. It was published by the sixth council of Toledo in 675. It supplements the fulness of St. Augustine’s teaching of the Trinity to the Athanasian Creed.

The fifth Creed is the Symbol of Leo IX. It is an elaboration upon the Nicene Creed, with added material to combat the errors of the Manicheans and Pelagians. In the Old Pontifical, it was used for the consecration of Bishops.

The Sixth Creed is the Creed of the Fourth Lateran Council, under Innocent III, called the Firmiter Credimus. It develops the teaching of the church concerning the sacraments and completed the church’s teaching on the Trinity. St. Thomas wrote a commentary.

The Seventh Creed is the Creed of Innocent III. This was meant to oppose the Waldenses and added material concerning the sacraments and morals.

The Eighth Creed is the Confession of Michael Palæologus in the Second Council of Lyons, 1274, accepted by Pope Gregory X. It is based on the Symbol of Leo IX. It adds material on the four last things, the sacraments, and ecclesiology.

After the Council of Trent, there were three more Creeds issued. The first was the Tridentine Profession of Faith by Pius IV. It was meant for converts from Protestantism, adding in various doctrines that were defined in the Council.

The second was the Profession of Faith which was prescribed by Gregory XIII. This was meant to reiterate the doctrines defined by the Council of Florence, especially, the Trinity, Eschatology, and Ecclesiology. This was meant to be used for the reception of the Greeks.

The third was the Profession of Faith for the Easterns, prescribed by Urban VIII. It contains content from the Councils of Florence and Trent. It also summarizes the first eight ecumenical councils. It is the most complete of the older Creeds.

Next, after Vatican I, was the Oath against Modernism by Pope St. Pius X. This is not as universal in scope as the other Creeds, but contains important material on fundamental theology.

Lastly, after Vatican II, was the Credo of the People of God by Pope St. Paul VI. In it, the teaching of Vatican II is added, covering almost every area of the faith.


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