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“This faith,” Epiphanius adds,“ was delivered by the holy apostles, and in the Church in the holy city, by all the holy bishops, above three hundred and ten in number." These last words indicate that the Nicene Council is intended, the traditional number of bishops present there being three hundred and eighteen. But it may be doubted whether Epiphanius meant to make the Council responsible for the exact words, any more than the apostles. He cannot possibly have imagined that this particular form of words was really drawn up by the apostles; and probably he is not to be understood as meaning that the creed was word for word that which came from Nicæa. It was the Nicene Creed, only in a revised and enlarged form. That the Church of the fourth century did not consider itself bound to the very words of the Creed put forth at Nicæa, except in so far as the crucial terms on the nature of the pre-incarnate Son were concerned, is shown by the fact that other versions of the Creed exist claiming, like that of Epiphanius, to be “Nicene.” 1
Moreover, Epiphanius himself, in the very next para
και διά την ημετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα εκ των ουρανών και σαρκωθέντα εκ τνεύματος αγίου και Μαρίας της παρθένου και ενανθρωπήσαντα, σταυρωθέντα τε υπέρ ημών επί Ποντίου Πιλάτου, και παθόντα και ταφέντα, και αναστάντα τη τρίτη ημέρα κατά τας γραφάς και ανελθόντα εις τους ουρανούς και καθεζόμενον εκ δεξιών του πατρός και πάλιν ερχόμενον μετά δόξης κρίναι ζώντας και νεκρούς· ου της βασιλείας ουκ έσται τέλος. Και εις το πνεύμα το άγιον, κύριον και ζωοποιόν, το εκ του πατρός εκπορευόμενον, το συν πατρί και υιώ συνπροσ. κυνούμενος και συνδοξαζόμενον, το λαλήσαν δια των προφητών. εις μίαν αγίαν καθολικήν και αποστολικήν εκκλησιάν. ομολογούμεν εν βάπτισμα εις άφεσιν αμαρτιών, προσδοκώμεν ανάστασιν νεκρών και ζωήν του μέλλοντος αιώνος. αμήν. Epiphanius, Ancoratus, 8 118. Epiphanius Appends to this the anathemas of the Nicene Creed.
1 The Syriac Creed of Mesopotamia now used by the Nestorian Churches, and the Cappadocian Creed now used by the Armenian Churches, both claim to be “Nicene,” though differing widely from the original creed. See Hort's Two Dissertations, p. 110, and of. p. 149 seq., where these two creeds aro given in full
graph of the Ancoratus, gives another enlarged form of the same creed, expanded in order to meet more fully the heresies of the Apollinarians and Macedonians, which he tells us had sprung up from the time of the Emperors Valentinian and Valens. This enables us to fix the date of the additional clauses in our own creed with some degree of certainty. The version is evidently given by Epiphanius, as that which was current before the date of Valentinian and Valens, who succeeded to the Empire in 364.
(2) Another consideration also points to the middle of the fourth century as the date of the additions. The expansion of the article on the Holy Ghost by the addition of the words, “ the Lord and the life-giver; who proceedeth from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spake by the prophets," indicates that the Macedonian heresy had already begun to attract attention; while the addition of the clause "whose kingdom shall have no end," must have been due to the heresy of Marcellus of Ancyra, who, in opposing Arianism, had become practically involved in a form of Sabellianism, and had been led to the denial of the eternity of Christ's kingdom. Now S. Cyril of Jerusalem read the last mentioned clause in the creed, which he expounded in his Catechetical Lectures in the year 347 or 348, and insisted on its importance, because of the heresy “lately sprung up in Galatia,” for “a certain one has dared to affirm that after the end of the world Christ shall reign no longer; and he has dared to say that the Word which came forth from the Father shall be again absorbed into the Father, and shall be no more." ? Thus the existence of these clauses against Marcellus and the Macedonians points to a date not much earlier than 360, while the lack of additions, expressly directed against Apollinarianism, makes it tolerably certain that the form dates from a period prior to that in which Apollinaris had formulated the heresy associated with his name. It cannot, therefore, be much later than the middle of the century.
1 Ancoratus, & 119. Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. IV. 27; cf. iv. 15: "Be sure to settle
belief in this point also, since there are many who say that Christ's kingdom has an end.”
Thus all the evidence points to 360, or thereabouts, as the date of the enlarged Creed, which we now term Nicene.
The place at which the development of the Creed first took place must be a matter of conjecture. No positive evidence is forthcoming. But from the great similarity which the enlarged creed bears to the Creed of S. Cyril's Catechetical Lectures, it has been conjectured with much probability that the expansion must be traced to the Church of Jerusalem.
S. Cyril's Creed, as collected from his lectures, runs as follows:
“We believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
“And in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, who was begotten of the Father, Very God, before all worlds; by whom all things were made; who
This is very clearly seen by a comparison with the second of the Epiphanian Creeds, where the clauses on the Incarnation are expanded so as to insist on the perfect humanity of our Lord. Tdy di quâs Tous ανθρώπους και διά την ημετέραν σωτηρίαν κατελθόντα και σαρκωθέντα, τουτέστι γεννηθέντα τελείως εκ της αγίας Μαρίας της αειπαρθένου διά πνεύματος αγίου, ενανθρωπήσαντα, τουτέστι τέλειος άνθρωπον λαβόντα, ψυχήν και σώμα και νούν και πάντα, ει τι εστιν άνθρωπος κ.τ.λ. Both forms are given in Hahn, p. 134 seq., and in Heurtley, De Fide et Symbolo, p. 11. It is possible that (as was asserted by Diogenes of Cyzicus, at Chalcedon) the words "He was incarnate of the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary," were added
to guard against Apollinarianism (see, however, Hort's Two Dis. sertations, p.
20). But had the heresy been formidable, much more would seem to havo heet.
necessary, judging by the later form just cited.
was incarnate, and was made man; was crucified, and buried; rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father, and is coming in glory to judge the quick and dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.
“And in One Holy Ghost, the Comforter, who spake in the prophets; and in one baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, and in one holy Catholic Church, and in the resurrection of the flesh, and in the life everlasting.” 1
If this be compared with the enlarged creed as given by Epiphanius, it will be seen that all the clauses which we have here put in italics, though wanting in the original Nicene Creed, are contained in the revised form of it. It would seem, then, highly probable that the said revised form is the result of a fusion of the original Nicene Creed with the local creed of the Church of Jerusalem, and (in accordance with what has been already said), that this fusion must have taken place about the middle of the fourth century. This is perhaps
1 Πιστεύομεν εις ένα θεόν, πατέρα παντοκράτορα, ποιητήν ουρανού και γης, ορατών τε πάντων και αοράτων. Και εις ένα κύριον Ιησούν Χριστόν τον υιόν του θεού τον μονογενή τον εκ του πατρός γεννήθεντα θεον αληθινόν προ τάντων των αιώνων, δι' ου τα πάντα εγένετο σαρκωθέντα και ενανθρωπήσαντα, σταυρωθέντα και ταφέντα, αναστάντα τη τρίτη ημέρα και ανελθόντα εις τους ουρανούς, και καθίσαντα εκ δεξιών του πατρός και ερχόμενον εν δόξη κρίναι ζώντας και νεκρούς: ου της βασιλείας ουκ έσται τέλος. Και εις έν άγιον τνεύμα, τον παράκλητον, το λαλήσαν εν τοις προφήταις, και εις έν βάπτισμα μετανοίας εις άφεσιν αμαρτιών, και εις μίαν αγίαν καθολικήν εκκλησίαν, και είς σαρκός ανάστασιν, και εις ζωήν αιώνιον. Hahn, p. 132. Heurtley (Do Fide a Symbolo, p. 9) reads, ενανθρωπήσαντα εκ παρθένου και πνεύματος dylou. But where these words appear in Cat. iv. 9 and xii. 3, they probably form part of S. Cyril's comment and not of the actual creed ; cf., however, Touttée's edition of S. Cyril, p. 84.
See further the second of Hort's Two Dissertations, namely, that "on the Constantinopolitan Creed, and other Eastern creeds of the fourth century.” Hort's view is that the creed is actually the local creed of Jerusalem, with an insertion from the Creed of Nicæa of the crucial passage on the nature of the pre-incarnate Son. “Light of Light, Very God of Very God, etc."
as far as we can go in tracing its origin. But, whatever may be thought of its connection with Jerusalem, the fact that it appears almost word for word as we have it, in the Ancoratus of Epiphanius, in the year 373 or 374, is proof positive that the additions cannot have been “made” (as the common account states), at the Council of Constantinople in the year 381. This brings us to the question, Is the Council of Constantinople in any way responsible for the creed?
Grave doubts have been recently thrown on this responsibility by the following facts :
1. None of the three early ecclesiastical historians, who relate the history of the Council -Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret — give any such creed as set forth
2. Socrates and Sozomen both expressly state that the Fathers decided that the faith of the Council of Nicæa should remain in violate.1
3. The first canon passed by the Council lays down in distinct terms that “the creed of the three hundred and eighteen bishops assembled at Nicæa shall not be made void, but remain firm"; and the synodical letter of the Fathers speaks in similar terms.
4. At the Council of Ephesus in 431 no notice whatever was taken of the enlarged creed, but the genuine Creed of Nicæa was once more ratified and continued.
On the other hand, there is to be set against this the fact that at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 the enlarged creed was quoted as emanating from the Council of Constantinople, by those who themselves came from that city or its neighbourhood, and would therefore
1 See Socrates, H. E. V. viii. ; Sozomen, H. E. VII. ix.
See Theodoret, H. E. V. ix. • See the seventh canon of this Council, quoted above, p. 225,