In June of the year 325 A.D. a council was called in the city of Nicaea for the delegates of the relatively new Christian religion to codify in writing the core dogmatic tenets of the Christian faith. The need for this was due to an arising controversy created by Arius, a Libyan preacher, who had declared that Christ was indeed divine, but that God had actually created him and as such “there was when he was not”.
This constituted Jesus as being less than the Father and therefore was contradictory to the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. As the Arian teaching was becoming more wide-spread, the early church formed the council of Nicaea in order to emphatically state what constituted actual doctrines of the Christian faith as passed down through Holy tradition and teachings that originated from Christ himself and his apostles.
The result of this council that was convened to rebuke these heretical teachings was the Nicene Creed. It is a profession of faith that is used to this very day in the Roman Catholic Church Masses on Sundays and various solemnities. Further, this ancient statement of faith is also recognized as expressing the core doctrine and dogmas of not only the Catholic faith, but also that of the Lutheran, Anglican, and Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches.
Note that within the Nicene Creed is the phrase, “We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.” Also note that the word “catholic” is not capitalized here. This is because it is not referring to the specific denomination of Catholicism, but rather refers to the meaning of universalism that the word originally denoted, as the catholic church was indeed the true universal Christian Church and remained the only one up until the 16th Century. It was at that time that Martin Luther began the Protestant reformation which ultimately resulted in the removal of seven of the books from the canon of the Bible, hence the differences between the original catholic Bible and those used by Protestant denominations to this day.
Following is the current translation of the Nicene Creed from the Catholic Missal used in Masses today:
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered, died, and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in fulfillment of the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.