The Athanasian Creed (Quicumque vult) is a Christian statement of belief, focusing on Trinitarian doctrine and Christology. The Latin name of the creed, Quicumque vult, is taken from the opening word, “Whosoever wishes . . .” The Athanasian Creed has been used by Christian churches since the sixth century, C.E. It is the first creed in which the equality of the three persons of the Christian Trinity is explicitly stated, and differs from the Nicene-Constantinopolitan and Apostles’ Creeds in the inclusion of the “anathemas,” or condemnations, of those who disagree with the creed (like the Nicene Creed). Widely accepted among Western Christians, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Church and most liturgical Protestant denominations, the Athanasian Creed has been used in public worship less and less frequently. The creed has never gained much acceptance in liturgy among Eastern Christians.
A medieval account credited Athanasius of Alexandria, the famous defender of Nicene theology, as the author of the Creed. According to this account, Athanasius composed it during his exile in Rome, and presented it to Pope Julius I as a witness to his orthodoxy. This traditional attribution of the Creed to Athanasius was first called into question in 1642 by Dutch Protestant theologian G.J. Voss, and it has since been widely accepted by modern scholars that the creed was not authored by Athanasius. Athanasius’ name seems to have become attached to the creed as a sign of its strong declaration of Trinitarian faith. The reasoning for rejecting Athanasius as the author usually relies on a combination of the following: