The Apostles' Creed

The Apostles’ Creed, known in Latin as Symbolum Apostolicum, is historically believed to have been jointly created by the Apostles, with each of the twelve contributing one of twelve articles.  The earliest known formula is found within Testamentum in Galilaca D[ominus]. N[oster]. I[esu]. Christi written between 150 and 180. This formula states: “[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.”  The ecclesiastical use of Latin symbolum for “creed”—in the sense of “a distinctive mark of Christians”, from the sense of Greek σύμβολον, “a sign or token used for identification”—first occurs around the middle of the 3rd century, in the correspondence of St. Cyprian and St. Firmilian, the latter in particular speaking of the trinitarian formula as the “Symbol of the Trinity”, and recognizing it as an integral part of the rite of baptism.  The term Symbolum Apostolicum appears for the first time in a letter, probably written by Ambrose, from a Council in Milan to Pope Siricius in about AD 390 “Let them give credit to the Symbol of the Apostles, which the Roman Church has always kept and preserved undefiled” (Ambrose of Milan Letter 42:5).  Ambrose’s term is here referring to the Old Roman Creed, the immediate predecessor of what is now known as the Apostles’ Creed.  A creed that is virtually identical to the current one is recorded by Faustus of Riez circa 450 A.D.

The Apostles' Creed:

Latin Text:

English Translation:

1. Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae,

I believe in God the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,

2. et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum,

and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

3. qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine,

who was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary,

4. passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,

who suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried,

5. descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,

descended into hell, rose again from the dead on the third day,

6. ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis,

ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty,

7. inde venturus est
iudicare vivos et mortuos.

who will come again
to judge the living and the dead.

8. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

9. sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam,
sanctorum communionem,

the holy, catholic Church,
the communion of saints,

10. remissionem peccatorum,

the forgiveness of sins,

11. carnis resurrectionem,

the resurrection of the body,

12. vitam aeternam. Amen.

and the life everlasting. Amen.