Sunday, 14 July 2013

Latin prayer of the week: the Apostles' Creed

These days, it seems, not even seminarians and novices (and Popes?!) are expected to know basic prayers in Latin.

That should not, however, stop us from acquiring at least a basic store of the common prayers in Latin.

So today, a brief look at the Apostles' Creed.

The Apostles' Creed

Traditionally the Apostles' Creed was generally used liturgically only at baptisms, in interrogative form.

In 2002, however, it became an option to use in the (Novus Ordo) Mass in place of the Nicene Creed, and in my own diocese has now pretty much supplanted that longer form, seemingly in an effort to avoid the Congregation actually having to say words like 'consubstantial'.

There are several obvious problems with this displacement, not least that in these times when Arianism is rife, the Apostles' Creed places less emphasis on the divinity of Christ.  Nonetheless, this shorter form of the Creed has long an important part of the Church's tradition, used for example in the rosary, and so it is one we should know in Latin.

The origins of the Apostles' Creed are much debated: it has twelve statements of belief, each believed to have been contributed by one of the Apostles.  Early versions of it can be found in baptismal liturgies dating from around 200 AD, however, the earliest explicit reference to it as the Apostles' Creed dates from St Ambrose in 390, and its current form dates perhaps from the fifth century (though the oldest full surviving text is from the eighth).

Symbolum Apostolorum

1. Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae,
2. et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum,
3. qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine,
4. passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,
5. descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,
6. ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Patris omnipotentis,
7. inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.
8. Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,
9. sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem,
10. remissionem peccatorum,
11. carnis resurrectionem,
12. vitam aeternam.

You can hear it read aloud in Latin here.

And here is the English as currently used in the Mass:

1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth,
2. and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
3. who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
4. suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried;
5. he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead;
6. he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
7. from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and life everlasting.

1 comment:

Gervase Crouchback said...

When I was growing up in the Churches of Christ-the foundation to my Faith- we use to have two readings in Communion service-Lord's Table it was called. Old and New Testaments either a Gospel or an Epistle and during a prophetic conference weekend Revelations-Apocalypse.
Invariably in the 60's the congregation were asked to read alternate verses from the predominant KJV ,but as the years progressed it had to stop as people began to read from KJV,NIV,RSV NRSV or ASV . I read out of the Catholic edition of I think The GOOD NEWS BIBLE .
Latin unites worshippers -as one General said to a private as they were going up to receive the Host, and the private went to give way to the Higher ranked officer,"We are all equal here ">