Session III - Celebrated on the fourth day of February, 1546 under Pope Paul III
Decree Concerning The Symbol Of Faith

In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

This holy, ecumenical and general Council of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same three legates of the Apostolic See presiding, considering the magnitude of the matters to be dealt with, especially those comprised under the two heads, the extirpation of heresies and the reform of morals, for which purposes it was chiefly assembled, and recognizing with the Apostle that its wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the spirits of wickedness in high places,[1] exhorts with the same Apostle each and all above all things to be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power, in all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith they may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one, and to take the helmet of the hope of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.[2]

Wherefore, that this pious solicitude [of the council] may begin and continue by the grace of God, it ordains and decrees that before all else a confession of faith be set forth; following herein the examples of the Fathers, who in the more outstanding councils were accustomed at the beginning of their work to use this shield against heresies, with which alone they have at times drawn unbelievers to the faith, overcome heretics and confirmed the faithful.

For this reason it has thought it well that the symbol of faith which the holy Roman Church uses as the cardinal principle wherein all who profess the faith of Christ necessarily agree and as the firm and sole foundation against which the gates of hell shall never prevail,[3] be expressed in the same words in which it is read in all the churches, which is as follows:

I believe in one God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God and born of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation descended from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, he suffered and was buried; and he arose on the third day according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father; and again he will come with glory to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end; and in the Holy Ghost the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is adored and glorified; who spoke by the prophets; and in one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

I confess one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.


Announcement Of The Next Session

The same holy, ecumenical and general Council of Trent, lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the same three legates of the Apostolic See presiding, understanding that many prelates in various localities are girded for their journey, and that some also are on their way here; and considering that the greater the attendance of Fathers in sanctioning and confirming all that will be decreed by the holy council, in so much greater esteem and respect will those decrees be held among all men, has ordained and decreed that the next session after the present one be held on the Thursday following the next Laetare Sunday.

In the meantime, however, the discussion and examination of those things which the council shall deem necessary to discuss and examine, shall not be deferred.


1. Eph. 6:12.

2. Ibid., 6:10, 16 f.

3. Matt. 16:18.

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