Icon of the Apostles Creed

Iconography is a sacred art form that is said to be “written”, not painted; icons depicting Scriptural events reveal what is “written” in the Word of God. While browsing the Web Gallery of Art, I came across an iconographic panel by an Italian artist, Giovanni da Rimini, c. 1305. As I looked at the events of the Lord’s life from left to right, row by row, I realized I was “reading” the core of the Apostles Creed…

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit…

Life of Christ, Apostles Creed

…from where He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.



Unity of Faith in the Church Throughout the World

“Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven and said…Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are. I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You have sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me (John 17:1, 11, 23).”

Saint Irenaeus of LyonsSt. Irenaeus of Lyons: “The Church, though dispersed throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: She believes in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, Who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, Who proclaimed through the prophets the dispensations* of God, and the advents, and the birth from a virgin (Isa. 7:14), and the passion (Ps. 22, Isa. 53:3), and the resurrection from the dead (Ps. 16:10, Dan 12:2), and the ascension into heaven in the flesh of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord (Ps. 68:18) and His [future] manifestation from heaven in the glory of the Father (Dan. 7:13) “to gather all things in one (Eph. 1:10),” and to raise up anew all flesh of the whole human race, in order that to Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father, “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess (Phil. 2:10-11)” to Him. Also that, “He should execute just judgment towards all (John 5:27-29); that He may send “spiritual wickednesses (Eph. 6:12),” and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane among men, into everlasting fire (Matt. 25:41); but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous and holy, and those who have kept His commandments (John 14:15ff), and have persevered in His love (John 15:9ff), some from the beginning, and others from their repentance [conversion], and may surround them with everlasting glory (1 Pet. 1:4, 5:4).

“As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. She also believes these points of doctrine just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down, with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth [deposit of faith]. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the Churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth. Nor will any one of the rulers in the Churches, however highly gifted he may be in point of eloquence, teach doctrines different from these, for no one is greater than the Master; nor, on the other hand, will he who is deficient in power of expression inflict injury on the tradition. For the faith being ever one and the same, neither does one who is able at great length to discourse regarding it, make any addition to it, nor does one, who can say but little diminish it. …the Catholic Church possesses one and the same faith throughout the whole world, as we have already said.” (St. Irenaeus (120-202 A.D) Bishop of Lyons, France (177-202). Against heresies, (182-188 A.D) , book 1, ch. 10)

+ St. Irenaeus, pray for us +

* dispensations: a divinely ordained order prevailing at a particular period of history