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The Athanasian Creed

Here is a wonderful example of a chanted Athanasian Creed:


Introduction

Once a year Trinity Sunday comes around to mark the beginning of Trinitytide, that long chunk of time where green is worn and the work of the Holy Spirit in the growth of the church is celebrated which stretches all the way until Advent. On this Sunday there is a unique liturgical change. The creed changes from something short and pithy to a long and complicated creed filled with complicated terms and harsh phrases. This "new creed" is called the Quicunque Vult, or "Athanasian Creed."

This creed has a long history within the Anglican Liturgical and theological heritage. Traditionally, Anglicans recited this creed not just once a year on Trinity Sunday, but we recited it 19 times in Morning Prayer and the Eucharistic Liturgy. Further, in the Roman church, there was the practice, before the revisions of Pope Pius X in 1911, of reciting the Creed every Sunday at the canonical hour of Prime.

Today, unfortunately, the creed is little known and little used. It truly is a hidden gem of Trinitarian and Incarnational theology. So, to aid in your reflection on this ancient creed of the church this Trinity Sunday (and Lord-willing to spur you to a greater use of it) I will here provide an explanation of it that I pray will be helpful to all. This will be useful not only for Anglicans reciting the Athanasian Creed this Trinity Sunday, but it will be an aid to all those wishing to dip their toes into the water of Trinitarian and Incarnational doctrine.


The Athanasian Creed

1) Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith;

(2) Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish

everlastingly.


(3) And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity;

(4) Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.

(5) For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son and another of the Holy Spirit.

(6) But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.

(7) Such as the Father is, such is the Son and such is the Holy Spirit.

(8) The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Spirit uncreate.

(9) The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

(10) The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.

(11) And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.

(12) As also there are not three uncreated nor three incomprehensibles, but one uncreated and one incomprehensible.

(13) So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty;

(14) And yet they are not three almighties, but one almighty.

(15) So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God;

(16) And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.

(17) So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord;

(18) And yet they are