The Nicene Creed in the First Seven Councils

First Council of Constantinople (381)

The Exposition of the 150 Fathers
I 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, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made. Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Council of Chalcedon (451)

Definition of the Faith
We decree that:

  • pre-eminence belongs to the exposition of the right and spotless creed of the 318 saintly and blessed fathers who were assembled at Nicaea when Constantine of pious memory was emperor: and that…
  • those decrees also remain in force which were issued in Constantinople by the 150 holy fathers in order to destroy the heresies then rife and to confirm this same catholic and apostolic creed. The creed of the 318 fathers at Nicaea.
  • And the same of the 150 saintly fathers assembled in Constantinople. This wise and saving creed, the gift of divine grace, was sufficient for a perfect understanding and establishment of religion. For its teaching about the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is complete, and it sets out the Lord’s becoming human to those who faithfully accept it.
  • Therefore this sacred and great and universal synod, now in session, in its desire to exclude all their tricks against the truth, and teaching what has been unshakeable in the proclamation from the beginning,
  • decrees that the creed of the 318 fathers is, above all else, to remain inviolate. And because of those who oppose the Holy Spirit, it…
  • ratifies the teaching about the being of the Holy Spirit handed down by the 150 saintly fathers who met some time later in the imperial city…
  • the teaching they made known to all,
  • not introducing anything left out by their predecessors, but clarifying their ideas about the Holy Spirit by the use of scriptural testimonies against those who were trying to do away with his sovereignty.

Since we have formulated these things with all possible accuracy and attention, the sacred and universal synod decreed that no one is permitted to produce, or even to write down or compose, any other creed or to think or teach otherwise. As for those who dare either to compose another creed or even to promulgate or teach or hand down another creed for those who wish to convert to a recognition of the truth from Hellenism or from Judaism, or from any kind of heresy at all: if they be bishops or clerics, the bishops are to be deposed from the episcopacy and the clerics from the clergy; if they be monks or layfolk, they are to be anathematised.

Second Council of Constantinople (553)

We confessed that we believe, protect and preach to the holy churches that confession of faith which was set out at greater length by the 318 holy fathers who met in council at Nicaea and handed down the holy doctrine or creed. The 150 who met in council at Constantinople also set out the same faith and made a confession of it and explained it. The 200 holy fathers who met in the first council of Ephesus agreed to the same faith. We follow also the definitions of the 630 who met in council at Chalcedon, regarding the same faith which they both followed and preached.

We gathered from these authorities that nothing which has been written by anyone ought to be accepted unless it has been shown conclusively that it is in accord with the true faith of the holy fathers. Therefore we broke off from our deliberations so as to reiterate in a formal declaration the definition of faith which was promulgated by the holy council of Chalcedon. We compared what was written in the letter with this official statement. When this comparison was made, it was quite apparent that the contents of the letter were quite contradictory to those of the definition of faith. The definition was in accord with the unique, permanent faith set out by the 318 holy fathers, and by the 150, and by those who gathered for the first council at Ephesus.

Third Council of Constantinople (680-681)

Exposition of Faith
Reaffirming the divine tenets of piety in all respects unaltered, and banishing the profane teachings of impiety, this holy and universal synod of ours has also, in its turn, under God’s inspiration, set its seal on the creed which was made out by the 318 fathers and confirmed again with godly prudence by the 150 and which the other holy synods too accepted gladly and ratified for the elimination of all soul-corrupting heresy

We believe in one God … [Creed of Nicaea and of Constantinople I]

The holy and universal synod said:

This pious and orthodox creed of the divine favour was enough for a complete knowledge of the orthodox faith and a complete assurance therein.