The Apostles' Creed is a statement of Christian belief that is widely used in Western churches. The words of the creed are a simple confirmation of Christian beliefs, and legends state that the creed may have been composed by the Apostles after the death of Jesus. The Orthodox Church developed from the Christianity practiced by the Eastern Roman Empire and uses the Nicene Creed as its statement of belief, as approved by the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in the 4th Century.

History of the Apostles' Creed

The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia states that the Apostles' Creed might not have originated until the second half of the 5th Century. The encyclopedia does acknowledge, however, that the creed may have been written by the Apostles themselves and states that church traditions ruled that the creed was to be learned by heart and should not be written down. The evidence of an earlier origin of the Apostles' Creed may be found in a document that was in the possession of the Eastern churches in the 4th Century and contained a crude version of the creed. This creed may have been delivered to the early Roman Christians by St. Peter and St. Paul and their successors.

Orthodox Church

Interior of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople

The Orthodox Church developed during Roman times and is often termed "Byzantine Christianity." The church developed from the Christianity practiced in the Eastern Roman Empire and has cultural ties to Greece, the Middle East, Russia and the Slavic nations. The Orthodox Church convened a number of theological debates and councils and adopted the Nicene Creed from the year 325 AD. The Nicene Creed confirms the deification of Jesus Christ.

Use of the Apostles' Creed

The Apostles' Creed is widely used by many Western churches, particularly for baptisms. The creed is a simpler declaration than the Nicene Creed and has no reference to the divinity of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. In this respect, the Apostles' Creed does not fully reflect the Christian belief in the Holy Trinity. The Apostles' Creed is never used by the Orthodox Church, which accepts only the Nicene Creed. In 2002, the Roman Catholic Church confirmed that the Apostles' Creed could be used in place of the Nicene Creed, particularly for services aimed at children.

The Apostles' Creed and the Orthodox Church

Ornate interior of cathedral, Moscow, Russia

In many respects, the wording of the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed is very similar. The Apostles' Creed is a slightly more basic statement of Christian faith, however. One of the major reasons the Orthodox Church does not accept the authority of the Apostles' Creed is that it does not have the approval of a major ecumenical council.