So, I was working out a UML diagram to expose holes in every attempt to analogize the Trinity, and I came to:

adored and glorified

(formerly, worshiped and glorified)

everything else in the Creed are things that "I believe" what is the difference between saying, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified and saying who with the Father and the Son I adore and glorify?

I'm pretty much asking, who is the subject of the predicate of sentence, is it still me, or us, or the Church Triumphant? To put it another way, complete this sentence, "who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified by ..."

I'd prefer a Catholic answer, and not one that challenges my premises either!

  • 2
    Oo! Can we see the diagram? (Will you be posting it in the Trinity chatroom?) – svidgen Jul 29 '13 at 17:43
  • @svidgen technically the UML diagram exists only in my mind so far (hard to draw those sorts of things on the beltline) – Peter Turner Jul 29 '13 at 17:54
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    2 good contradictory answers within 3 minutes of each other, awesome! – Peter Turner Jul 29 '13 at 17:57
  • Maybe not as contradictory as it seems ... see my edit. – svidgen Jul 29 '13 at 18:17
  • @svidgen, I've read enough Chesterton to be perfectly willing to accept contradictory answers when both are true! – Peter Turner Jul 30 '13 at 1:41

It appears to be an issue directly related to the Latin. As we see in the original Latin that was brought out of the Council of Nicea the line:

Qui cum Patre et Fílio simul adorátur et conglorificátur

Roughly translated to English, we see it translated to "Who with the Father and to the Son, He is worshiped and glorified". (We'll ignore the literal translation of worship for now).

I would gather that the original Council meant to have it taken that at this point of the creed we have already announced what we as individuals mean (I believe) and are now at the point where we talk about what the Church believes and holds true. Thus the Church Triumpant is the predicate of the sentence and no longer we as individuals.

  • Oh, ok, I had to reread your answer. That's interesting! – Peter Turner Jul 29 '13 at 17:56
  • I would have taken such to mean "He is [rightly] worshiped and glorified" (closer to svidgen's "who ... is to be adored and glorified"), an indication/affirmation of full Divinity (not of the obedience of any particular creatures — though unfallen angels and the Church Triumphant are revealed to display this obedience — nor a declaration of intent of the speaker). I would answer the question with "by all right-hearted creatures". (@PeterTurner you might find this interesting even though it is not enough for an actual answer — perhaps someone could use it to start an answer.) – Paul A. Clayton Jul 29 '13 at 23:19
  • @PaulA.Clayton I think the Angels are part of the Church Triumphant in Catholic Theology (I remember looking it up for another question here). But why is it just those in Heaven and not us bums as well? – Peter Turner Jul 30 '13 at 1:37
  • @PeterTurner As I noted, my view is that the phrase is not about who — even the voiceless parts of creation glorify God — but about the full Divinity of the Holy Spirit (and the unity of God, e.g., one cannot glorify the Father without glorifying the Son). The redeemed here below do worship and glorify God, but the creed is not (I believe) concerned here with who is obedient but with the Holy Spirit being equally worthy — God deserves, demands, and ordains worship and glory (and the Holy Spirit is God). Is that clearer? – Paul A. Clayton Jul 30 '13 at 2:00
  • @PaulA.Clayton yes, very much so (and that helps with the diagramming to since you don't have to add another entity) – Peter Turner Jul 30 '13 at 2:21

The portion of the Nicene Creed as translated in the Catholic Encyclopedia online:

And (I believe) in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father (and the Son), who together with the Father and the Son is to be adored and glorified, who spoke by the Prophets. (Catholic Encyclopedia - The Nicene Creed)

The original translation uses "we" instead of the "I" from the Western liturgical form. And the words in brackets are added for Western Liturgical use. Regardless of whether this is confessed it the "we" or "I" form, the slightly varied translation in context of the whole creed suggests that the professing believer(s) (Christians, anyone who adores and glorifies the Father and Son) ought to, will, and do adore and glorify the Holy Ghost as co-equal with the Father and Son.

As is obvious, the creed is a set of beliefs that the speaker(s) hold. The statement in question, in the most literal sense, suggests that anyone who adores and glorifies the Father and the Son should/will also glorify the Holy Ghost. So, it applies both to the Church Triumphant and the speaker(s).

And to a large extent, if you skew the statement in either direction, toward the professor or those in heaven, and you still sort of end up with a statement about both the speaker and the Church Triumphant since the Church Triumphant is the speaker's intended "destination" anyway.


The Creed as promulgated at the Council of Nicaea was actually very short, and didn't include the "worshipped and glorified" phrase:

We believe in one God the Father all powerful, maker of all things both seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten begotten from the Father, that is from the substance [Gr. ousias, Lat. substantia] of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten [Gr. gennethenta, Lat. natum] not made [Gr. poethenta, Lat. factum], consubstantial [Gr. homoousion, Lat. unius substantiae (quod Graeci dicunt homousion)] with the Father, through whom all things came to be, both those in heaven and those in earth; for us humans and for our salvation he came down and became incarnate, became human, suffered and rose up on the third day, went up into the heavens, is coming to judge the living and the dead. And in the holy Spirit.

What we commonly know as the Nicene Creed was included in the record of the Council of Chalcedon (AD 451) as having been promulgated at the First Council of Constantinople (AD 381). It's also known as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed:

We believe in one God the Father all-powerful, maker of heaven and of earth, and of all things both seen and unseen. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten from the Father before all the ages, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father, through whom all things came to be; for us humans and for our salvation he came down from the heavens and became incarnate from the holy Spirit and the virgin Mary, became human and was crucified on our behalf under Pontius Pilate; he suffered and was buried and rose up on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; and he went up into the heavens and is seated at the Father's right hand; he is coming again with glory to judge the living and the dead; his kingdom will have no end. And in the Spirit, the holy, the lordly and life-giving one, proceeding forth from the Father, co-worshipped and co-glorified with Father and Son, the one who spoke through the prophets; in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. We confess one baptism for the forgiving of sins. We look forward to a resurrection of the dead and life in the age to come. Amen.

The Greek phrase in question is τὸ σὺν πατρὶ καὶ υἱῷ συμπροσκυνούμενον καὶ συνδοξαζόμενον (to syn patri kai yio symproskunoumenon kai syndoxazomenon). It's the sym-/syn- prefix which is translated as co- in the version above. -μενον appears as the suffix for the present participle passive form for verbs that have infinitives ending in -ειν. Thus συμπροσκυνούμενον means "is being worshipped together".

Because it's a passive form, there is no defined subject — that's what the passive voice is used for, even in English. It's the current state [of being worshipped and glorified] which is important, not who is doing that.

If I were pressed, I would posit that it is the whole Church — militant, expectant and triumphant — which is doing the worshipping and glorifying.

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