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Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum

The Enchiridion is a compendium of all the basic texts on Catholic dogma and morality since the Apostolic Age. Commissioned by Pope Pius IX, it has been in use since 1854, and has been regularly updated since.



The name Enchiridion (from Greek cheir, "hand") means "handbook." Originally published as "Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitionum", it is today published as "Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum" (meaning “Handbook of creeds, definitions, and declarations on matters of faith and morals.”)

The Enchiridion is sometimes referred to as Denzinger, after its first editor, Heinrich Joseph Dominicus Denzinger. It is commonly abbreviated 'Dz' in early editions and 'DS'[1] in editions edited by Adolf Schönmetzer due to a revision in numbering.


By including all basic texts of Catholic teachings, the Enchiridion serves as a compendium of faith through the centuries. It is also a research instrument for theologians, historians, and individuals with an interest in the study of Christianity. The latest updates extend to the teachings of Pope John Paul II; it can thus be used for research on contemporary issues, such as the social teachings of the Church, subsidiarity, poverty, social justice, death penalty, birth control or the ordination of women.

In 2012, Ignatius Press published a bilingual Latin-English version of the 43rd edition (2010) of Denzinger-Hünermann, with entries up to 2008. This English edition was edited by Robert Fastiggi and Anne Englund Nash.


The Enchiridion is chronologically ordered, starting with the Symbolum Apostolicum. It includes the teachings of popes and ecumenical councils since. It does not repeat all the full texts, but only those central parts which are relevant to dogmatic or moral theology. All texts in Denzinger-Schönmetzer are listed in Latin.

Since the 37th edition of Denzinger-Hünermann (1991), the original language (mostly Latin) is put in the left-hand column with a corresponding vernacular translation in the right-hand column. In addition to the 2012 English edition of Denzinger-Hünermann, there are also editions in French, Italian, Spanish, and other languages (as well as the original German).

In addition to the texts, the Enchiridion supplies certain indices:

  • Index scripturisticus, on the uses of scripture in various dogmas
  • Index systematicus of dogmatic and moral Church teachings
  • Index alphabeticus of names and subjects



  • Denzinger, Heinrich, and Adolf Schönmetzer. Enchiridion symbolorum definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum. Freiburg, Basel, Rome & Vienna: Herder, 1997.
  • Denzinger, Heinrich, and Peter Hünermann. Compendium of Creeds, Definitions, and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals 43rd ed. San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 2012.
  • Heinrich Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma

The following CD-Rom includes all documents up to 1950.

  • Welcome to the Catholic Church. Gervais: Harmony Media, n.d. (Welcome reproduces this print version: Denzinger, Henry. The Sources of Catholic Dogma. Trans. Roy J. Deferrari. St. Louis and London: Herder, 1957. This in turn is translated from: Denzinger, Heinrich, ed. Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitionum. Rev. Karl Rahner. 30th ed. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder, 1954.)

The following CD-Rom includes all documents up to 1995.

  • CD-Rom for Windows and Macintosh in Latin, Greek and German: Enchiridion symbolorum definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum : Griechisch/Lateinisch - Deutsch = Kompendium der Glaubensbekenntnisse und kirchlichen Lehrentscheidungen [Computerdatei] / Heinrich Denzinger. Verb., erw., ins Deutsche übertragen und unter Mitarb. von Helmut Hoping hrsg. von Peter Hünermann. - Freiburg [u.a.] : Herder, 1997. - CD-ROM for Windows and Macintosh—ISBN 3-451-31503-3 [4677]

External linksEdit

The online sources are based on various earlier editions. The latest editions are not available online.


  1. ^ "General Directory for Catechesis". Retrieved 2009-05-27.