Of the three creeds, the Apostles’ is the oldest. It is not likely to be the work of the Apostles themselves, despite the legend that each of the twelve contributed a phrase; its origins are more likely in the baptismal liturgy of the Early Church, first appearing in surviving text from Milan in 390. There it was called a “symbol of the faith”, refering to its role as a token or collection of the Christian faith into a single statement.
Its liturgical use has not been consistent throughout history; it was primarily a document for teaching and memorization, as many catechisms ancient and modern attest. Cranmer’s Prayer Books did not use this creed in the Daily Office, only the Athanasian Creed was appointed for certain feast days in Morning Prayer. The Apostles’ Creed was introduced to Morning and Evening Prayer in the Elizabethan Prayer Book of 1559, where it has remained ever since, though still replaced by the Athanasian Creed on certain feast days, or by the Nicene Creed (in the first three American Prayer Books).
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