Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 160 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Athanasian Creed - Rector's Rambling for May 26, 2024

     Today we get to recite one of the great statements of belief.  In addition to the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed, there is the Athanasian Creed, also known as the Quicunque Vult (the opening phrase in Latin).

Ultimately, the great mystery of God is unknowable on this side of heaven.  We will only fully understand Him in eternal life.  But God has revealed what we need to know about Himself to us through the Scriptures, particularly in the teachings of Jesus (second person of the Trinity).  By the guidance of the Holy Ghost (third person of the Trinity) the scriptures were written and compiled for us, and the Church, meeting in Councils, have “separated the wheat from the chaff” when it comes to the teachings of who God is in Trinity.

We have three creeds because each successive one (Apostles, then Nicene, then Athanasian) were compiled to answer questions arising from previous creeds, or from honest inquiry by the Church.  While the Apostles Creed (also known as the Baptismal Creed) is recited during Morning and Evening Prayer, and the Nicene Creed during celebrations of The Holy Communion, the Athanasian Creed has generally been reserved for public recitation on major Holy Days.

Interestingly, the Episcopal Church is the only branch of our world-wide Anglican Communion that has not included the Athanasian Creed in our locally adapted version of the 39 Articles of Religion, or Prayer Books until 1979.  But as members of the “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church” in Communion with Anglicans worldwide, we recite it today with thanksgiving for the gift of this knowledge of God in Trinity!