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“He Rose According to the Scriptures” does the Indian Orthodox recite “He Rose According to His Will”?

The Nicene Creed is a statement of faith accepted by the Orthodox (both Eastern and Oriental), Roman Catholic, Anglican, and major Protestant churches. It gets its name from the First Council of Nicaea (325), at which it was adopted and from the First Council of Constantinople (381), at which a revised version was accepted. Thus it may be referred to specifically as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed to distinguish it from both the 325 version and later versions that include the filioque clause. There is also an Armenian version of the Creed.

In modern times there are many variations to the Nicene Creed – but what we recite today in the Indian Orthodox Church has not deviated from the Faith of the Fathers. Given below are the Greek (original and transliteration), Syriac (transliteration) and Latin form of the Creed along with the translation. We see that in the Syriac – the word “w’meet” – “and died” is added in between “and suffered and was buried”. This in no way deviates from the Faith but it is just a variation. In the same way if you pay attention to the last part of the Syriac transliteration – the words “akh dasbo” – “according to His will” is what is recited in the Syriac Orthodox Church today. This is not a practice that crept into the Syriac Orthodox Church in the recent past, but something that has been handed down over centuries.

Always bear in mind that when the Creed was formed in Greek, there were people who followed the Faith and who did not know Greek and so several translations needed to be made into other languages such as Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, Latin, Syriac – all these translations kept the core of the Faith and might have added a few words of which “w’meet” is one. Some Fathers might have thought that it is just not enough to say, “he rose according to the Scriptures”, but to emphasize, “his resurrection was in accordance with His Will”. For Christ, the will of the Father signified, exclusively, one specific thing, and it was that one thing that he had come to the earth to perform. “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me”. (John 6:38). The “akh dasbo” emphasizes the will of Christ in accordance with the will of the Father.

Secondly, in the early days – when texts were copied on scrolls and a scribe translates a text from another language to Syriac – there is a possibility of word corruption. Originally it could have been “akh ketbo qadisho” or just “akh ketbo” (I am sure there is a word for Scriptures that is very similar to “dasbo” (will) in Syriac, but it skips my mind). So when the scribe copied from one manuscript to another, he misread the text and wrote the word “dasbo” instead of the word for “scriptures”. Both words look very similar in Syriac script and so the word “dasbo” stuck. This happens often in ancient manuscript copying. Please bear in mind that this reason is just a thought, but not a confirmed thesis as to why we use “akh dasbo”. However, the change “according to His Will” in the Creed from the original in no way deviates from the Faith of our Fathers. It only goes on to show that there are many variations of the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

kai pathonta kai tafenta kai anastanta ti triti imera kata tas graphas (Greek transliteration) and suffered, and was buried, and rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures

Hash w’meeth w’etheqbar w’qom latlotho yawmeen akh dasbo (Syriac transliteration) suffered and died and was buried and rose on the third day according to His will

Passus, et sepúltus est, Et resurréxit tértia die, secúndum Scriptúras (Latin) suffered and was buried, and rose on the third day, according to the Scriptures