The Nicene Creed professed during the Sunday mass contain these words :

For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered, died, and was buried.

Over the centuries, the Nicene Creed underwent certain changes, one of them being the addition of the word “died”. When the word "crucified” itself implies death , one wonders why there was a need to add that the Lord died . My question therefore is: How does the Catholic Church explain the addition of the word “died” in the Nicene Creed which is professed during the Sunday Mass?

  • 2
    Which translation do you mean? There are many: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_versions_of_the_Nicene_Creed - One version with your wording was replaced in the US-Missal in 2011 with "he suffered death and was buried".
    – K-HB
    Jul 8, 2020 at 6:30
  • I don't understand the question. The sufferings of Christ prior to death were regarding sins. He bear our sins in his body on the tree. The death of Christ regarded sin itself - the sin of the world - and sin, itself, was eradicated in the death of his humanity. 'Crucify' means only to hang someone on a cross. So the wording, to me, of the creed seems perfectly logical. And the addition seems perfectly understandable.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 8, 2020 at 7:12
  • Crucifixion was a capital punishment, which no one was supposed to survive. See John 19: 31-33: Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Jul 8, 2020 at 9:43
  • By your reasoning the word suffered is also unnecessary since no one could be crucified without suffering also. I suppose 'died' was added to correct the heretical teaching that Jesus did not really die bodily. Jul 8, 2020 at 12:13
  • 1
    The official version does not have the (stylistic) addition.
    – user46876
    Jul 8, 2020 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


the word "crucified” itself implies death

Not necessarily.

"Died" is in the creed to show that not only did He suffer the pains of crucifixion (a form of torture), but He also died from crucifixion.

The Catechism of the Council of Trent (Roman Catechism), "Article 4: Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried," explains this part of the creed thus:

Christ Really Died

The pastor should explain that these words present for our belief that Jesus Christ, after He was crucified, really died and was buried. It is not without just reason that this is proposed to the faithful as a separate object of belief, since there were some who denied His death upon the cross.3 The Apostles, therefore, were justly of opinion that to such an error should be opposed the doctrine of faith contained in this Article, the truth of which is placed beyond the possibility of doubt by the united testimony of all the Evangelists, who record that Jesus yielded up the ghost. (Matt. 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30).

Moreover as Christ was true and perfect man, He of course was capable of dying. Now man dies when the soul is separated from the body. When, therefore, we say that Jesus died, we mean that His soul was disunited from His body. We do not admit, however, that the Divinity was separated from His body. On the contrary, we firmly believe and profess that when His soul was dissociated from His body, His Divinity continued always united both to His body in the sepulchre and to His soul in limbo. It became the Son of God to die, that, through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death that is the devil, and might deliver them, who through the fear of death were all their lifetime subject to servitude. (Heb. 2:10, 14, 15).

Christ Died Freely

It was the peculiar privilege of Christ the Lord to have died when He Himself decreed to die, and to have died not so much by external violence as by internal assent. Not only His death, but also its time and place, were ordained by Him. For thus Isaias wrote: He was offered because it was his own will. (Is. 53:7). The Lord before His Passion, declared the same of Himself: I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it away from me: but I lay it down of myself, and I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again. (John 10:17–18). As to the time and place of His death, He said, when Herod insidiously sought His life: Go and tell that fox: Behold I cast out devils, and do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I am consummated. Nevertheless I must walk today and tomorrow, and the day following, because it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. (Luke 13:32–33). He therefore offered Himself not involuntarily or by compulsion but of His own free will. Going to meet His enemies He said: I am he (John 18:5); and all the punishments which injustice and cruelty inflicted on Him He endured voluntarily.

  • Excellent answer. There certainly are people who maintain that Christ did not die on the cross. Jul 8, 2020 at 20:14
  • @DJClayworth do you mean like trinitarians, who say he only 1/2 died?
    – steveowen
    Jul 9, 2020 at 3:15
  • @user48152 No. Trinitarians do not believe that. I meant more like Muslims. Jul 9, 2020 at 14:00
  • @DJClayworth pore over this site to see numerous declarations of, 'the Eternal Son did not die', and 'just the humanity of the Son died'. That sounds 1/2 dead to me.
    – steveowen
    Jul 9, 2020 at 14:11
  • Well, you would be wrong. But anyway, that wasn't what I meant and I'm not going to argue with you in comments. Jul 9, 2020 at 14:21

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