The Catholic bishops of Mexico have announced that, following a conference of dedicated to evangelization and liturgy, they have produced a draft version of the Apostles Creed, which is used throughout the worldwide Catholic Church and by other Christian denominations. The purpose of the March 4-6 conference was to make progress on translating the Bible and Catholic liturgy into Nahuatl, the most widely spoken Native American language in Mexico. This was the language of the Aztecs who were found by the Spanish conquistadores in the early 1500s and then subjugated and converted to the Christian religion.
Delegates from eight dioceses, including Puebla, Tehuacán, and Tulancingo, participated, along with represented of Catholic religious orders the the Conference of Latin American Catholic Bishops (CELAM). The creed, or Credo, will be introduced to native-speaking Nahuatl communities in advance of a June 17-20 conference that will be held in the state of Puebla in central Mexico. It is there that the community’s reactions will be measured.
This month’s conference was held at the headquarters of the Mexican Bishops Pontifical Missionary Works as part of the organization’s charter to promote evangelization in Mexico among the nations originally inhabiting Mexico.
Here follows a version of the Creed in Nahautl along with its English equivalents.
1. NIKNELTOKA SAN SE TEOTZIN,
I believe in one God,
2. TOTAHTZIN NOCHIHUELITINI,
the Father almighty,
3. AKIN (O)KICHIH ILHUIKAK IHUAN TLALTIKPAK,
Creator of heaven and earth,
4. NOCHI TLEN MOITTA IHUAN TLEN AMO MOITTA.
of all things seen and unseen.
5. NIKNELTOKA SAN SE TOTEKOTZIN, JESUCRISTO,
I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
6. ISELPILTZIN* IYOHPILTZIN* TEOTZIN,
Only Son of God,
7. SEMIHKAK YOLTOK ITECH TOTAHTZIN:
born of the Father before all ages:
8. TEOTZIN YEN TEOTZIN, TLANESTLI YEN TLANESTLI, NELTEOTZIN YEN NELTEOTZIN,
God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God,
9. (O)MOTLAKATILIH , AMO (O)KICHIHKEH, KEN ISENKISKAYOTL ITAHTZIN, (I)PAMPA AKIN NOCHI (O)(TLA)MOCHIH;
begotten, not made, of one being with the Father, from whom all things were made;
10. AKIN TOPAMPA IHUAN IPAMPA TOTEMAKIXTILIS (O)ILHUIKATEMOK,
For us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven,
11. IHUAN IKA ITLACHIHUALIS TEOIHYOTZIN (O)MONAKAYOTIH ITECH MARÍA, ICHPOKATZIN, IHUAN (O)MOTLAKACHIH;
and by the work of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;
12. IHUAN TOPAMPA (O)KITZIKOHKEH* (O)KITEPOSSOSOHKEH* ITECH CRUZ IHKUAK (O)TLANAHUATIAYA PONCIO PILATO;
And for our sake he was crucified in the time of Pontius Pilate;
13. (O)TLAHYOHUIH IHUAN (O)KITOKAKEH, IHUAN HUIKTLATIPA (O)MOYOLITIH* (O)MOYOLKUIK*, KEN KIHTOHUA TEOTLAHKUILOLLI,
He suffered, died, and was buried on the third day, according to the Scriptures ,
14. IHUAN OTLEHKOH ILHUIKAK, IHUAN MOTLALIHTOK IYEKMAPA TOTAHTZIN;
and ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father;
15. IHUAN OKSEPA HUALLAS IKA MAHUISTILISTLI KINYOLTLAPEHPENIKI* KINYOLTLATENTOKAKI* AKIN YOLTOKEH IHUAN MIKTOKEH, IHUAN ITLANAHUATILKAYO AMO KEMAN TLAMIS.
and he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
16. NIKNELTOKA YEN TEOIHYOTZIN, TEKOTZIN IHUAN YOLISTEMAKANI,
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life,
17. AKIN HUALEHUATOK* NELHUAYOLTOK* ITECH TOTAHTZIN IHUAN IPILTZIN
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
18. AKIN IHUAN TOTAHTZIN IHUAN IPILTZIN KISEPANSELIA TEOTILISTLI IHUAN MAHUISTILISTLI, IHUAN AKIN (O)TLAHTOH IKA* IPAMPA* TEOTLAHTOANIMEH* TEOTLAHCHIANIMEH*.
who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets.
19. NIKNELTOKA SAN SE TEOALTEPETL* TEONECHIKOLISTLI*, YOLCHIPAHUAK, SENTIKTLANELTOKANILIS(OH)(YOH)* IHUAN TEOTLATITLANILIS(OH) (YOH)*.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.
20. NIKYOLTENKIXTIA ONKA SAN SE TLAKUAATEKILISTLI TLEN TETLAHTLAKOLPOHPOLOHUA.
I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
21. NIKCHIA INYOLITILIS MIKEMEH IHUAN ILHUIKATLALPAN TLEN HUALLAS. AMEN.
I expect the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
* There are two valid versions, which are said according to the appropriate region of Mexico.
Early Spanish missionaries translated catechisms and composed hymns into Nahuatl in the decades after the Conquest of Mexico. This was echoed in other places in the Americas. The Jesuit missionaries in North America, for instance, produced catechism, hymns and translations of prayers into native languages such as Algonquin, while their colleagues in Paraguay did much the same for the speakers of Guaraní.