Sunday, December 21, 2014

Church of the East

The Church of the East is the oldest of the Middle Eastern Churches. They are Nestorian. They are kept out of the Middle East Council of Churches by the Copts who veto their inclusion every time it comes up. They believe in and emphasise the dual nature of Christ - human and divine - but in essence their heresy is that they do not believe Mary to be the "Mother of God". Their creed is in Aramaic, just as they wrote it down more than a thousand years ago. Bihop Mar Ishack gave me this translation into English - it is similar to the Western creed . . . but different . . . and poignantly beautiful in its differences. It goes:

We believe in one God, the Father almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible

and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, the first-born of all creatures, who was begotten of his Father before all worlds and not made, true God of true God, consubstantial with his Father, by whom the worlds were fashioned and everything was made, who for us men and for our salvation descended from heaven and became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and was made man; and he was conceived and born of the Virgin Mary, and suffered and was crucified in the days of Pontius Pilate, and was buried and rose on the third day, as it is written, and ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of his Father; and he is prepared to come in order to judge the dead and the living

and in one Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, the life-giving Spirit;

and in one holy, apostolic, and catholic church; and we confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins, and the resurrection of our bodies, and life forever and ever. Amen

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