This fifth and final volume in the Ancient Christian Doctrines series explains the final clauses of the Nicene Creed outlining commonly held beliefs and doctrines within the church from Christianity's earliest and most influential thinkers. Here, Angelo Di Berardino assembles a wide range of texts and teachers to help enrich our understanding on the meaning of "one holy catholic and apostolic" as spoken from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. In addition, Di Berardino offers a final commentary on the sacrament of baptism along with the church's expectation of "the resurrection of the dead" and "the life of the world to come" as concluded in the Creed. A solid and trustworthy resource for those seeking a deeper understanding of the doctrines formulated during the early church period.
When was the church founded? Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God and not of a religious organization subsequently called church. We don't find in the Gospels expressions which make reference to the foundation of a new religious community, a new and distinct community of followers of Jesus. But after the resurrection of Jesus, his followers, as a result of his express command, gather together not only those from the people of Israel but men and women of all nations. The final clauses of the Nicene Creed spell out, briefly and to the point, the church's self-understanding in these early centuries. Angelo Di Berardino assembles a wide range of texts and teachers of the church during these years to enrich our understanding and deepen our faith in the great mysteries expressed here. The Creed quickly hits the four marks of the church--that it is "one holy catholic and apostolic." What do we mean by professing each of these? Di Berardino helps us to give an answer with the help of the fathers of the church. The volume closes, as does the Creed, with a consideration of baptism (the traditional entrance for people into the church) and two central features of the church in the future--the expectation that all of God's people will enjoy the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
Angelo Di Berardino is past president and current professor of patrology at the Augustinian Patristic Institute (Augustinianum) in Rome. He is the editor or author of authoritative works on the early church, including (recently updated and expanded in Italian as ) and He also serves as the Italian-language editor for the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture.