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A History Of The Mass And Its Ceremonies In The Eastern And Western Church -Rev John O'Brien A.M.

At the end of the Missal of St. Columbanus (an Irish saint of the sixth century) there is a very curious tract on the Creed, which, among other things, assigns the portion composed by each of the twelve Apostles. The order is as follows:

1st,              St. Peter—I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

2d,              St. John—And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

3d,              St. James—Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.

4th,              St. Andrew—Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.

5th,              St. Philip—He descended into hell.

6th,              St. Thomas—The third day he arose again from the dead.

7th,              St. Bartholomew—He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

8th,              St. Matthew—From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.

9th,              St. James, son of Alphæus—I believe in the Holy Ghost.

10th,              St. Simon Zelotes—The Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints.

11th,              St. Thaddeus—The forgiveness of sins.

12th,              St. Matthias—The resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

According to Ferraris, this analysis of the symbol was worked out by Duns Scotus, familiarly known as the “Subtile Doctor” on account of his keen intellect; but as the Missal of St. Columbanus was composed long before the thirteenth century, when Scotus flourished, it is not easy to see how he could be accredited with this work.

As the Creed was one of the public prayers of the Church which the catechumens were not allowed to hear, it was not recited until they had left the house of God, and prior to the Council of Nicæa it was never committed to writing, but only confided by word of mouth. This we clearly learn from St. Cyril among others, who in his catechetical instructions (v. 1–12, pp. 77, 78) thus addresses his pupils: “This [i.e., the Creed] I wish you to remember in the very phraseology, and to rehearse it with all diligence amongst yourselves, not writing it on paper, but graving it by memory on your hearts, being on your guard in your exercise lest a catechumen should overhear the things delivered to you.” St. Ambrose speaks to the same effect: “This warning I give you,” says he, “that the symbol ought not to be written” (Explanatio Symb. ad Initiandos).

According to several authors of note, the Apostles’ Creed was used in the Mass up to the year 325, when that framed by the Fathers of the Council of Nicæa superseded it, as being more explicit and complete on the dogmas of our holy faith (Gavantus, Thesaur. Sacr. Rit., p. 86).








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