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

We have just seen how Arius was condemned at Nicæa for denying the divinity of our Lord. Another great heretic now started up, Macedonius by name, denying the divinity of the Holy Ghost, for which he was condemned at the second general council—viz., that of Constantinople, held in the year 381. This council was entirely Oriental in its nature, and only became general, or œcumenical, by a subsequent decree of the Roman Pontiff, or, as theologians say, ex post facto. In the condemnation of Macedonius were included also Apollinaris, Bishop of Laodicea, and Eunomius, of whom we have spoken already.

As the Symbol of Faith received an additional accretion at this Council, and as it was considered a very important one at that period of the Church’s existence, it was deemed advisable to construct a new Creed on the basis of the Nicene, in which the distinctive prerogatives of each of the three Persons of the Adorable Trinity would be fully set forth. The opinion is almost universal that the composition of this Creed was the work of St. Gregory Nazianzen. After this had been drawn up and submitted to the council for inspection it is said that all the Fathers cried out with one acclaim: “This is the faith of all; this is the orthodox faith; this we all believe” (St. Liguori, History of Heresies, i. 84).

This Creed is more specific, too, than the Nicene on the incarnation, death, and resurrection of our Saviour; for it inserts the clauses in italics of “born of the Virgin Mary,” “suffered under Pontius Pilate,” “rose on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

In its Latin form the Creed of Nicæa contains in all ninety-five words, whilst that of Constantinople has as many as one hundred and sixty-seven. The two are frequently confounded; and even to-day it is believed by many that the Creed we use in the Mass is that which was framed at Nicæa. Strictly speaking, it is neither the Nicene nor Constantinopolitan, but the one which was prepared by the Fathers of the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century. Of course we must not be understood as saying that this council added anything new to the Creed in the way of a dogma. The changes that it made wholly respected its grammatical construction (see Ferraris, Bibliotheca, art. “Symb.”)








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