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Friday, December 14, 2012


Every morning as we begin the Office of Matins all pray privately the Apostles' Creed. 
Similarly every Rosary begins with the same Creed or Symbol of Faith.

The Nicene and Apostles Creeds are both well-known formulas
which we recite often but few of us pause to reflect upon their tremendous value.

In this Year of Faith, Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, 
in his Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei, has ordered that:

“Religious communities as well as parish communities, and all ecclesial bodies old and new, are to find a way, during this Year, to make a public profession of the Credo [...] Not without reason, Christians in the early centuries were required to learn the creed from memory. It served them as a daily prayer not to forget the commitment they had undertaken in baptism.”

“With words rich in meaning, St Augustine speaks of this in a homily on the redditio symboli, the handing over of the Creed: ‘the Symbol of the holy mystery that you have all received together and that today you have recited one by one, are the words on which the faith of Mother Church is firmly built above the stable foundation that is Christ the Lord. You have received it and recited it, but in your minds and hearts you must keep it ever present, you must repeat it in your beds, recall it in the public squares and not forget it during meals: even when your body is asleep, you must watch over it with your hearts.’”

Today, 14 December, we celebrate the feast of 
Saint Spiridion the Wonderworker,
 Bishop of Tremithus in Cyprus, who died in 344.
 Of his many wondrous deeds
 the one that concerns us is that which took place at the
 Holy Ecumenical Council convened in Nicaea in AD 325 -
 the Council which would form the magnificent Creed chanted at Mass.

The image below shows the first part of the Creed in Greek
 held in the hands of the Holy Fathers of the Council.

"A total of 318 Holy Fathers arrived there from the remotest parts of the Christian world. All these venerable men had survived the prisons and the torments of their persecutors. The Arian heresy had also gathered together its own followers. Arius had called to Nicaea a whole crowd of sophists, even pagan ones, to defend his cause. Philosophers quickly came forward for the pleasure of debating against these old men whom they thought unacquainted with the art of logic and metaphysical speculation.

"One of these philosophers boasted before all the Fathers that he would be able to refute and silence anyone who wanted to defend the divinity of Christ in front of him. It was St Spiridion who took up the challenge. The Fathers momentarily took fright because the old man, whose knowledge of the Greek language was poor, had never studied dialectical argumentation.

"Spiridion, with the inspired tone of a prophet told the philosopher that Christ and the apostles did not teach dialectics, but the truth, which is fostered by faith and good works. He then made a simple profession of  faith - the Apostles Creed. He told the philosopher that that was all that he needed to believe and rebuked him for seeking vain explanations. 

"Spiridion then asked whether he believed in what he had just said. The philosopher who was all set to reply to arguments of reason with his own subtle arguments was struck dumb by the simplicity of the prelate’s words and recognised in them the Word of God. He confessed that he indeed believed and urged the other philosophers to believe in Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and to follow the holy old man. St Spiridion shortly afterwards baptised him. The Roman Martyrology mentions this remarkable conversion."

St Spiridion's Profession

I believe, O Lord. Help Thou my unbelief!

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