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On the importance of the Creed

ієрод. Никодим

001During each Divine Liturgy in Orthodox churches, and, moreover, at monasteries in the evening, the Creed of Faith is proclaimed. The must known essence one needs to believe and thus to acquire the necessary condition of salvation has been outlined by the Holy Church in brief. In the Nicene-Constantinopolitan statement of faith (named after the first two Ecumenical Councils), there is no single odd word, and even a letter has a meaning. From the times of the so-called golden age of theology, the Holy Church has carefully been preserving this dogmatic presentation of the Creed. This does not mean that before the 4th century there was some other doctrine or that the Holy Apostles did not comprehensively explain the Gospel teaching in the books of the New Testament. Rather, on the day of Pentecost, fifty days after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church was created and obtained the entirety of the Divine Teaching. The truth of the Gospel does not change with time, but is enclosed in forms which most accurately express its sense.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13), the Lord Himself bequeathed to the Holy Apostles. Up to the present day, the Holy Spirit acts and guides the Church of Christ, the living and nevertheless inherently invariable organism, in which “…in Christ we, though many, form one body” (Rom. 12:5).

What does unalterably serve in the Church as its foundation and at the same time make the Christian Teaching alive and active at every moment of time until the very Second Coming of Christ?

The Church is based on the firm, unshakable rock of faith, on the foundation of the confession of Apostle Peter addressed to the Lord Jesus: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

If there were no discord among the Christians referred to the basic dogmas, if extraneous elements from other religions and the pagan culture did not try to steal in and distort the coherent true teaching of Christ, for all of us these and other brief words of the apostolic confession about the God-Man would be enough for the salvation.

Besides, Saint Apostle Thomas acquired a steadfast saving faith when he saw the Risen Christ, and exclaimed from the bottom of his heart: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). This sincere statement of faith to the Divine Teacher accompanied him in his apostolic efforts until his martyrdom.

A man opened for the Divine effect of the Holy Spirit, who simply and imperturbably believes in what is written in the Holy Gospel, the Apostolic Epistles, actually doesn’t need to be skilful in the dogmatic provisions of the Christianity in more detail.

The Church is however a living and active organism which does not function separately from society and is affected by it. It is the influence from outside that urges us to react and determine the clear scope of the original Apostolic Teaching with precise wordings for the external world.

Thus, dear brothers and sisters, every time we read or hear the important words of the Orthodox Creed, let us not ignore their meaning, nor treat them as something trivial, let us not pronounce the Creed haphazard without reflection. Let us pay augmented attention to everything said therein about the Holy Trinity, about everything the God-Man did for our redemption, about the action of the Holy Spirit Whose main salutary fruit for us is the Church of Christ. If, however, zeal of God prompts us to delve even more into the doctrine, then let us trust what has been verified and approved by the Church Tradition for a long time (or at least does not contradict it) rather than our own assumptions.

Let us trust the interpretations of the holy fathers, who explained everything what might seem unclear to us: they answered in advance all possible questions. Let us, to the best of our ability, also live in compliance with our immaculate faith. Gradually strengthening ourselves, with God’s help, we will be able to withstand various storms with patience and reflection, which in the end will only establish a building based on a solid foundation. Then we will resemble a wise man “… who built his house on the rock …” (Matt. 7:24), and not on sand. We will resist all adversities in order to keep our immortal soul unharmed for the Kingdom of Heaven under the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos and the prayers of our Heavenly intercessors!

by hierodeacon Nicodim (Sementsov)

The photographs of the murals of the Trinity Gate Church and the Dormition Cathedral of the Kyiv-Caves Lavra were used

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