The word creed comes from the Latin word credo, which means “I believe.” The Church composed creeds to clarify right belief, or orthodoxy, in response to the emergence of wrong belief, or heresy.
The Church uses two ancient creeds in worship: The Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. The Apostles’ Creed is the earlier of the two. Though it did not reach its final form until the A.D. 400’s, some form of the Apostles’ Creed was likely in use in the 2nd Century (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The Nicene Creed is the product of two ecumenical councils: Nicea in A.D. 325 and Constantinople in A.D. 381. A third creed, The Athanasian Creed, is named after the Church father St. Athanasius, though it probably was not written by him. It was once required to be read on certain feast days, but has fallen into disuse. However, it remains an authorized statement of right belief, especially regarding the Trinity and the divinity and humanity of Jesus.