AskDefine | Define credo

Dictionary Definition

credo n : any system of principles or beliefs [syn: creed]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. creed


  1. Credo. — “I believe”



  1. In the context of "with accusative or dative": believe


Extensive Definition

The credo (Latin for "I Believe"; ) is a statement of religious belief, such as the Nicene Creed (or, less often, another creed, such as the Apostles' Creed). It especially refers to the use of the creed in the Catholic Mass, either as text, Gregorian chant, or other musical settings of the mass.


After the formulation of the Nicene Creed, its initial liturgical use was in baptism, which explains why the text uses the singular "I believe" instead of "we believe." The text was gradually incorporated into the liturgies, first in the east and in Spain, and gradually into the north, from the sixth to the ninth century. In 1014 it was accepted by the Church of Rome as a legitimate part of the service.
Probably because of its late adoption, and the length of the text (the longest in the Ordinary of the Mass), there are relatively few chant settings of it. What is identified as "Credo I" in the Liber Usualis was apparently widely considered the only authentic credo, and it is the element of the ordinary that was most strongly associated with a single melody. The Liber Usualis contains only two other settings, designated as "Credo V" and "Credo VI," which is far fewer than for other settings of the Ordinary.
In musical settings of the credo, as in the Gloria, the first line is intoned by the celebrant alone ("Credo in unum Deum"), or by a soloist, while the choir or congregation joins in with the second line. This tradition continued through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and is even followed in more recent settings. In Stravinsky's Mass, for example, a soloist intones the first line, which is from the plainchant Credo I. In mass settings of the Classical and Romantic period (for example the later masses of Haydn, and the Missa Solemnis of Beethoven) the Credo line is usually set for whole choir.
The melody of Credo I first appears in eleventh-century manuscripts, but it is believed to be much older, and perhaps Greek in origin. It is almost entirely syllabic, probably because of the length of the text, and consists of a great deal of repetition of melodic formulas.
In polyphonic settings of the Mass, the Credo is usually the longest movement, but is usually set more homophonically than other movements, probably because the length of the text demanded a more syllabic approach, as was seen with chant as well. A few composers have set a Credo individually, but it is generally part of a Mass.


This is the Latin version used in chants and most modern settings of the Mass. For other translations, see Nicene Creed.
Credo in unum Deo, Patrem omnipoténtem, factórem cæli et terræ, visibílium ómnium et invisibílium;
Et in unum Dóminum Iesum Christum, Fílium Dei unigénitum, et ex Patre natum ante ómnia sæcula: Deum de Deo, lumen de lúmine, Deum verum de Deo vero, génitum non factum, consubstantiálem Patri, per quem ómnia facta sunt; qui propter nos hómines et propter nostram salútem descéndit de cælis; et incarnátus est de Spíritu Sancto ex María Vírgine et homo factus est; crucifíxus étiam pro nobis sub Póntio Piláto, passus et sepúltus est; et resurréxit tértia die secúndum Scriptúras; et ascéndit in cælum, sedet ad déxteram Patris; et íterum ventúrus est cum glória iudicáre vivos et mórtuos; cuius regni non erit finis;
Et in Spíritum Sanctum, Dóminum et vivificántem: qui ex Patre Filióque procédit; qui cum Patre et Fílio simul adorátur et conglorificátur; qui locútus est per Prophétas;
Et in unam sanctam cathólicam et apostólicam Ecclésiam.
Confíteor unum baptísma in remissiónem peccatorum; et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam ventúri sæculi. Amen.

Personal belief

In some religions, especially those having no formal creed such as Unitarian Universalism, a credo can be a statement of personal belief.


  • Hoppin, Richard. Medieval Music. New York: Norton, 1978. Pages 136-138.

See also

credo in Czech: Credo
credo in German: Credo
credo in Estonian: Credo
credo in Modern Greek (1453-): Σύμβολο της Πίστεως

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Agnus Dei, Alleluia, Anamnesis, Blessing, Canon, Collect, Communion, Consecration, Dismissal, Epistle, Fraction, Gloria, Gospel, Gradual, Introit, Kyrie, Kyrie Eleison, Last Gospel, Lavabo, Offertory, Paternoster, Pax, Post-Communion, Preface, Sanctus, Secreta, Tersanctus, TractAthanasian Creed, Catechism, Nicene Creed, Weltanschauung, articles of faith, articles of religion, belief, catechism, credenda, creed, cult, doctrinal statement, doctrine, dogma, faith, formulated belief, gospel, ideology, ism, orthodoxy, political faith, political philosophy, religion, religious belief, religious faith, school, system of belief, system of beliefs, teaching, theology, tradition, weltanschauung, world view
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