Singing the Symbol of Faith

After the Great Entrance procession of the Divine Liturgy, in which the gifts of bread and wine are taken solemnly from the table of preparation to the holy table accompanied by the singing of the Cherubic Hymn, the clergy exchange the kiss of peace, and sing the Symbol of Faith (the Creed) together with the faithful. This article explains how to lead the singing of this part of the Divine Liturgy, and covers pages 49-54 of our Divine Liturgies book.

The Kiss of Peace

Our Lord Jesus Christ reminded us that we should approach God to offer sacrifice in a humble fashion, and in a spirit of true charity, bearing no ill-will toward anyone. So the Great Entrance is immediately followed by a litany in which the priest prays that we may worthily present ourselves before God. The responses for this litany are the usual ones; see the article on Litany responses for details.

The priest exclaims, "Peace be to all!", and the cantor and faithful respond, as usual:

And to your spirit

Then the deacon calls us to be reconciled with one another:

Let us love one another that with one mind we may profess:

and the cantor and faithful respond with the briefest possible summary of the Christian faith (listen):

Before the Creed

(Note that this is the first response based on the "long amen" that goes up to sol. This is a musical marker that we are moving deeper into the Liturgy.)

This response should always be sung solemnly, but with a priest or priest and deacon only, it does not need to be sung slowly. On the other hand, if there are a number of concelebrating clergy, the singing of "The Father and the Son" should be drawn out somewhat (without dragging!) to accompany the exchange of the kiss of peace among the clergy.

Sing the response once only, and wait for the deacon's next announcement: "[The doors! The doors!] In wisdom let us be attentive!"

The Symbol of Faith (Creed)

Once we have committed ourselves to love one another and to profess the Christian faith, we do so by singing the Symbol of Faith, for which two musical settings are provided in the Divine Liturgies book.

The A setting of the Symbol of Faith (DL 51-52) uses a simple recitative melody from the Rusyn tradition; the same melody is used for the Our Father on page 75.

The Symbol of Faith A

Pay careful attention to pitch and breathing, since the reciting pitches are mi and re, and it is easy to go flat. Light harmonization by other cantors or members of the congregation can help maintain the pitch. (Note that the main cantor should never harmonize, but always sing the melody!)

The B setting of the Symbol of Faith (DL 53-54) uses a festive melody from the Galician (western Ukrainian) tradition.

The Symbol of Faith B


When singing a single pitch, you can speed up or slow down slightly to match the rhythm of the text; but it is important NEVER to rush the words, or slow down inordinately at the ends of phrases. The entire creed should be a clear statement of the Christian faith, which can be followed by anyone hearing it.

Having declared our faith, we are ready to begin the Eucharistic prayer, or Anaphora. The singing for this part of the service will differ depending on which form of the Divine Liturgy is being celebrated.