During the first few centuries anno Domini, various creeds were used in various places as statements of Christian faith. Of these, three are still in use today: the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Of these, the second is probably most-used, and has also been the source of the most controversy.

The Nicene Creed, or more properly the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, was promulgated at Ecumenical Councils in Nicea (325 AD) and Constantinople (381). It is the most concise—yet complete—statement of orthodox Christian faith, and acceptance of its precepts is generally considered to prerequisite for being a "Christian."

Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, and some other Christians (notably, not the Eastern Orthodox) who use this creed generally insert "and the Son"—filioque in Latin—after the clause "who proceeds from the Father." This phrasing, however, was not that promulgated by the Councils; it was inserted several centuries later by a local council in Spain, later spreading to the rest of western Christendom.

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