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Armenian version of the Nicene creed


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#1 Kris

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Posted 17 December 2008 - 09:26 PM

I was wondering if someone could tell me why the Nicene Creed of the Armenian Apostolic Church is so different from the version used by all other Christian confessions. It would seem their version is very ancient, so it would be interesting to learn something about its development.

Here is the English translation of the Armenian Creed (with differences highlighted):

We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of God the Father, only-begotten, that is of the substance of the Father.

God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten and not made; of the same nature of the Father, by whom all things came into being in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible;

Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, took body, became man, was born perfectly of the holy Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.

By whom he took body, soul and mind and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance.

He suffered and was crucified and was buried and rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven with the same body and sat at the right hand of the Father.

He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there is no end.

We believe also in the Holy Spirit, the uncreated and the perfect; who spoke through the Law and through the Prophets and through the Gospels;

Who came down upon the Jordan, preached through the apostles and dwelled in the saints.

We believe also in only one catholic and apostolic holy Church;

In one baptism with repentance for the remission and forgiveness of sins;

In the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgment of souls and bodies, in the kingdom of heaven and in the life eternal.


The "God from God" is found also in the Latin version of the Creed, and might be the result of Catholic influence, but the other parts are all unique to the Armenian version. Any thoughts?

#2 Deacon Jonathan

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 02:06 AM

Interesting.

The "in heaven and earth" part in the third line seems a bit redundant given that it is also said in the first line (or either Creed). Whether this means it is an addition, or that later versions of the Creed dropped it for said redunancy, I couldn't say.

The differences in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th (also possibly the 4th) lines seem to be very explicitly affirming the Orthodox teachings on the Holy Trinity, and the divinity of Christ. Again, I don't know whether these are additions or whether it is other versions of the Creed that dropped them. If it is the latter, then it is most probably because these lines are largely redundant, and are in any case proclaimed elsewhere within the Orthodox Faith; I, for one, certainly don't believe any of these Armenian statements contradict Orthodoxy.

Whether the differences are additions or retentions, the reason for them still being there may be that the Armenian church was attacked by Christological heresies denying he divinity of Jesus or the Holy Trinity during its formatative years. Otherwise it might be that the additions were inserted later in order to try to reunite the Armenians with the Orthodox (or perhaps the Roman Catholic) churches.

These are all just idle speculations. But from these we could see which of them fit with historical fact. The first thing would be to ascertain whether the differeces are additions of retentions. My knowledge of this history is woefully poor, but I hope to lear more from others.

#3 Vasiliki D.

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Posted 25 December 2008 - 10:57 AM

The difference in the Creeds is very important and can mean a totally different dogma with what you read as compared to the Eastern Orthodox Church Creed.

The Armenian Apostolic church, also known as the Church of Armenia (See http://www.orthodoxw...urch_of_Armenia) is in communion with the Oriental Orthodox church ... not with the Eastern Orthodox Church. This schism took place in AD 506, after the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451).

So, you see, their Creed would have been ammended to reflect their dogma and these are considered heretical by the Orthodox church.

Take some time to read OrthodoxWiki to see what these differences are before you continue the discussion in this thread because the differences are complex and often very hard to understand ...

God Bless.

#4 Hieromonk Ambrose

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 03:35 AM

The "God from God" is found also in the Latin version of the Creed, and might be the result of Catholic influence...?


"God from God" is actually in the Nicene Creed.

BUT it was later dropped by the Council Fathers at Constantinople when they expanded the Creed and gave us its definitive form.

#5 Kris

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 05:42 PM

The difference in the Creeds is very important and can mean a totally different dogma with what you read as compared to the Eastern Orthodox Church Creed.

The Armenian Apostolic church, also known as the Church of Armenia (See http://www.orthodoxw...urch_of_Armenia) is in communion with the Oriental Orthodox church ... not with the Eastern Orthodox Church. This schism took place in AD 506, after the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451).

So, you see, their Creed would have been ammended to reflect their dogma and these are considered heretical by the Orthodox church.

Take some time to read OrthodoxWiki to see what these differences are before you continue the discussion in this thread because the differences are complex and often very hard to understand ...

God Bless.


The Creed of all the other Oriental Orthodox churches are identical to that of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The Armenian version is unique to that particular local church. Moreover, the differences do not touch on the Christological points over which they severed communion with us, issues which have been discussed before on this discussion forum.

#6 Seda S.

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 12:06 PM

I was wondering if someone could tell me why the Nicene Creed of the Armenian Apostolic Church is so different from the version used by all other Christian confessions. It would seem their version is very ancient, so it would be interesting to learn something about its development.

Here is the English translation of the Armenian Creed (with differences highlighted):


The "God from God" is found also in the Latin version of the Creed, and might be the result of Catholic influence, but the other parts are all unique to the Armenian version. Any thoughts?


Hi, Kris

Unfortunately, we also don't know the source of our Creed. I can add that the Chaldean Church also doesn't use the Nicea-Constantinopolean Creed but some other variant of the Nicene Creed. This mustn't be strange, as there were different versions of the Nicene Creed in old times (of St Epiphanius, of the 12 Apostles, Athanasian etc).

I can also add that the Creed of the Armenian Church is still followed by the anathemas of the Nicene Council. They are pronounced both in the Divine Liturgy, and the prayer office of the 9th hour, immediately after the Creed:



As for those who say there was a time when the Son was not, or there was a time when the Holy Spirit was not or that they came into being out of nothing; or who say that the Son of God or the Holy Spirit are of a different substance and that they are changeable or alterable, such do the catholic and apostolic holy Church anathematize.



With love,


S.



#7 Seda S.

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 03:12 PM

Dear Kris

We believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of things visible and invisible.


And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of God the Father, only-begotten, that is of the substance of the Father.

God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten and not made; of the same nature of the Father, by whom all things came into being in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible;

Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, took body, became man, was born perfectly of the holy Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit.

By whom he took body, soul and mind and everything that is in man, truly and not in semblance.

He suffered and was crucified and was buried and rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven with the same body and sat at the right hand of the Father.

He is to come with the same body and with the glory of the Father to judge the living and the dead; of His kingdom there is no end.

We believe also in the Holy Spirit, the uncreated and the perfect; who spoke through the Law and through the Prophets and through the Gospels;

Who came down upon the Jordan, preached through the apostles and dwelled in the saints.

We believe also in only one catholic and apostolic holy Church;

In one baptism with repentance for the remission and forgiveness of sins;

In the resurrection of the dead, In the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgment of souls and bodies, in the kingdom of heaven and in the life eternalin the life eternal.



You may find most of those differences you have highlighted in the Creed of the Armenian Church also in the Creed of St Epiphanius.


SCHAFF / WACE TRANSLATION (NPNF-2, Vol. XIV, pp. 164-165. The Creed Found in Epiphanius’s Ancoratus (Cap. cxx.)



“And this faith was delivered from the Holy Apostles and in the Church, the Holy City, from all the Holy Bishops together more than three hundred and ten in number.”
“In our generation, that is in the times of Valentinus and Valens, and the ninetieth year from the succession of Diocletian the tyrant, (209 This would be the year 374, that is to say seven years before this Second Ecumenical Council which was held at Constantinople in 381.) you and we and all the orthodox bishops of the whole Catholic Church together, make this address to those who come to baptism, in order that they may proclaim and say as follows:”


Epiphanius then gives this creed:


We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things, invisible and visible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, begotten of God the Father, only begotten, that is of the substance of the Father, 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, both which be in heaven and in earth, whether they be visible or invisible. Who for us men and for our salvation came down, and was incarnate, that is to say was conceived perfectly through the Holy Ghost of the holy ever-virgin Mary, and was made man, that is to say a perfect man, receiving a soul, and body, and intellect, and all that make up a man, but without sin, not from human seed, nor [that he dwelt] in a man, but taking flesh to himself into one holy entity; not as he inspired the prophets and spake and worked [in them], but was perfectly made man, for the Word was made flesh; neither did he experience any change, nor did he convert his divine nature into the nature of man, but united it to his one holy perfection and Divinity. For there is one Lord Jesus Christ, not two, the same is God, the same is Lord, the same is King. He suffered in the flesh, and rose again, and ascended into heaven in the same body, and with glory he sat down at the right hand of the Father, and in the same body he will come in glory to judge both the quick and the dead, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
And we believe in the Holy Ghost, who spake in the Law, and preached in the Prophets, and descended at Jordan, and spake in the Apostles, and indwells the Saints. And thus we believe in him, that he is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the perfect Spirit, the Spirit the Comforter, uncreate, who proceedeth from the Father, receiving of the Son, and believed on.
[We believe] in one Catholic and Apostolic Church. And in one baptism of penitence, and in the resurrection of the dead, and the just judgment of souls and bodies, and in the Kingdom of heaven and in life everlasting.


And those who say that there was a time when the Son was not, or when the Holy Ghost was not, or that either was made of that which previously had no being, or that he is of a different nature or substance, and affirm that the Son of God and the Holy Spirit are subject to change and mutation; all such the Catholic and Apostolic Church, the mother both of you and of us, anathematizes. And further we anathematize such as do not confess the resurrection of the dead, as well as all heresies which are not in accord with the true faith.


And as I have already written, we also add the anathema of the Council of Nicea, but not as it is seen in the variant of St Epiphanius but just as it is concidered to be the authentic anathema of Nicea.


I hope, the Creed of Epiphanius helps to understand the source of the Armenian Creed, that is, that it is some Jerusalemian variant of the Nicene Creed.


With love,
S.



#8 Christophoros

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 03:59 PM

"God from God" is actually in the Nicene Creed.

BUT it was later dropped by the Council Fathers at Constantinople when they expanded the Creed and gave us its definitive form.


If this is the case, why does the Roman Catholic Church retain the Armenian reading? "Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero..." - "God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God..."

#9 Christopher Dombrowski

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Posted 28 April 2009 - 07:55 PM

So, you see, their Creed would have been ammended to reflect their dogma and these are considered heretical by the Orthodox church.


That's really not a universally agreed upon notion in the EOC. At least not anymore.

#10 Christopher Dombrowski

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 05:46 AM

If this is the case, why does the Roman Catholic Church retain the Armenian reading? "Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero..." - "God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God..."


Perhaps neither church ever stopped using the phrase from the 325 Creed.

#11 Seda S.

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Posted 29 April 2009 - 01:00 PM

If this is the case, why does the Roman Catholic Church retain the Armenian reading? "Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero..." - "God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God..."


Dear Christophoros

If Hieromonk Ambrose says that "God from God" is in the Nicene Creed, this doesn't mean that "God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God" isn't in the Nicene Creed. All those words are in the Nicene Creed. So the Roman Catholic Church didn't and doesn't need to 'retain' any 'Armenian reading' which is actually not 'Armenian' at all.

#12 Christophoros

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 12:26 PM

Dear Christophoros

If Hieromonk Ambrose says that "God from God" is in the Nicene Creed, this doesn't mean that "God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God" isn't in the Nicene Creed. All those words are in the Nicene Creed. So the Roman Catholic Church didn't and doesn't need to 'retain' any 'Armenian reading' which is actually not 'Armenian' at all.


My point was this:

The Orthodox Nicene Creed says "Light of Light, true God of true God..."

The Armenian Nicene Creed says "God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God..."

The Roman Catholic Church uses the same as the Armenian

Fr. Ambrose says the phrase "God of God" was removed by an ecumenical council that is recognized by both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church. My question was this: if this is so, why does the Roman Catholic Church retain the phrase "God of God"?

#13 Seda S.

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 01:43 PM

My point was this:

The Orthodox Nicene Creed says "Light of Light, true God of true God..."

The Armenian Nicene Creed says "God of God, Light of Light, true God of true God..."

The Roman Catholic Church uses the same as the Armenian

Fr. Ambrose says the phrase "God of God" was removed by an ecumenical council that is recognized by both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church. My question was this: if this is so, why does the Roman Catholic Church retain the phrase "God of God"?


Dear Christophoros

Unfortunately, I don't know most of the rules and canons of the EO and RC Churches. Is there any canon of a holy council, unbrakeable, that says that the Creed must be just in this and not any other form? And those who use the Creed in another form, even if the meanings are not changed at all, let be anathema to them.

1) If there is such a canon, then you may say, the Catholics have broken this holy canon by preserving or bringing back the words 'God of God' in their Creed.

2) If there is not such a canon, then what's the problem? The Catholics liked that sentence with 'God of God' and decided to use their Creed with those words.

With love,
S.

Edited by Seda S., 30 April 2009 - 02:02 PM.





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