History of The Apostles' Creed
The Rule of Faith
Early church father Irenaeus (130-202) in his book Against Heresies cited a possible precursor to the Apostles’ Creed called the “rule of faith.”
The Old Roman Creed
North African Latin church father Tertullian (160-220) quoted an “old Roman creed,” used in baptismal services, that is similar in wording to Irenaeus’ “rule of faith.”
Creed in Greek
Marcellus (285-374), bishop of Ancyra (in modern-day Turkey), recorded a creed in Greek similar to the Apostles’ Creed.
Creed of the Apostles
A letter from the Council of Milan speaks of the “creed of the apostles,” which could possibly refer to the Apostles’ Creed.
Addition of a Phrase
Rufinus (344-411), a monk who translated many early Greek writings of church fathers into Latin, added the phrase “he descended into hell,” which was the first appearance of this phrase in the Creed up to this point in church history. The phrase only appears again in a form of the Creed recorded in 650.
Earliest Form of the Apostles' Creed
The earliest appearance in written form of what we commonly call the Apostles’ Creed appeared in the writings of the monk Pirminius (670-763).
Charlemagne, first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, began to use the Creed throughout his kingdom; over the following centuries the Creed continued to spread throughout western Christendom.
Hymn Inspired by the Creed
Martin Luther (1483-1549), father of the Protestant Reformation, composed a German hymn that paraphrased the Apostles’ Creed.
Catholics Affirm the Creed
The Catechism of the Council of Trent affirmed the use of the Apostles’ Creed in Roman Catholic churches.
Protestants Affirm the Creed
The Church of England (Anglicanism) officially adopted the Creed in its Book of Common Prayer.
The Roman Catholic Church published an updated English version of the Creed