Back to Creeds of the Fourth Century

Date 357
Council Sirmium
CPG 8578
Greek Text Hahn, Bibliothek der Symbole und Glaubensregeln der Alten Kirche (Breslau: E. Morgenstern, 1897), 199-201.
Ancient Source Athanasius, De Synodis, 28; Hilary, De Synodis, 11; Socrates, HE 2.30.31-41.
Note This formula is also occasionally referred to as the Anomoean Creed. This is in reference to the fact that the document contains neither the word homoousios (“of the same substance”) nor homoiousios (“of like substance”). Rather, the Anomoeans believed that the Son was “unlike” the Father (anomoios).

It is held for certain that there is one God, the Father Almighty, as also is preached in all the world.

And His one only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, generated from Him before the ages; and that we may not speak of two Gods, since the Lord Himself has said, ‘I go to my Father and your Father, and my God and your God’ (John 20:17). On this account He is God of all, as also the Apostle taught: ‘Is He God of the Jews only, is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes of the Gentiles also; since there is one God who shall justify the circumcision from faith, and the uncircumcision through faith’ (Romans 3:29, 30). And everything else agrees, and has no ambiguity.

But since many persons are disturbed by questions concerning what is called in Latin substantia, but in Greek ousia, that is, to make it understood more exactly, as to ‘coessential,’ or what is called, ‘like-in-essence,’ there ought to be no mention of any of these at all, nor exposition of them in the Church, for this reason and for this consideration, that in divine Scripture nothing is written about them, and that they are above men’s knowledge and above men’s understanding; and because no one can declare the Son’s generation, as it is written, ‘Who shall declare His generation?’ (Isaiah 53:8) For it is plain that the Father only knows how He generated the Son, and again the Son how He has been generated by the Father. And to none can it be a question that the Father is greater. For no one can doubt that the Father is greater in honor and dignity and Godhead, and in the very name of Father, the Son Himself testifying, ‘The Father that sent me is greater than I’ (John 10:29, 14:28) And no one is ignorant, that it is catholic doctrine, that there are two persons of Father and Son, and that the Father is greater, and the Son subordinated to the Father together with all things which the Father has subordinated to Him, and that the Father has no beginning, and is invisible, and immortal, and impassible; but that the Son has been generated from the Father, God from God, light from light, and that His origin, as aforesaid, no one knows, but the Father only. And that the Son Himself and our Lord and God, took flesh, that is, a body, that is, man, from Mary the virgin, as the Angel preached beforehand; and as all the Scriptures teach, and especially the apostle himself, the doctor of the Gentiles, Christ took man of Mary the virgin, through which he has suffered.

And the whole faith is summed up, and secured in this, that a Trinity should ever be preserved, as we read in the Gospel, ‘Go and baptize all the nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost’ (Matthew 28:19). And entire and perfect is the number of the Trinity; but the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, sent forth through the Son, came according to the promise, that He might teach and sanctify the Apostles and all believers.

Translation from Athanasius, De Synodis 28 (NPNF2 vol. 4, p. 466)

Adapted by SMT

Last updated: 2-22-2012

No Responses yet