The Enchiridion is a compendium of all basic texts of Catholic dogma and morality since the apostles. Commissioned by Pope Pius IX, it has been in use since 1854, and has been updated since. Enchiridion (from Greek cheir, "hand") means "handbook."


The Enchiridion is sometimes referred to as Denzinger, after its first editor, Heinrich Joseph Dominicus Denzinger, and is abbreviated DS in catechetics.[1] By including all basic texts of Catholic teachings, it is a compendium of faith through the centuries. It is also a search instrument for theologians, historians and anybody interested in Christianity. The latest updates extend to the teachings of Pope John Paul II. The Enchiridion 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. The Enchiridion, published originally as "Enchiridion Symbolorum et Definitionum" is today published as "Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum".


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 are listed in Latin, though the Enchiridion has often been translated into modern languages.

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

Quote of Cardinal Gibbons

James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore, co-author and driving force behind the Baltimore Catechism stated, that every theologian should have always two books at hand, the Holy Bible and this Enchiridion.

  • Optandum est, ut quilebet Theologiae lector semper duo volumina praemanibus habeat: Bibliam Sacram et hoc Enchiridion: ita ut, si omnibus non licet omnia catolicae traditionis monumenta consulere, ea saltem, quae maxima authentica sunt et quasi medullam aliorum continent, frequenter adire possint. [2]


  • Denzinger, Heinrich, and Adolf Schönmetzer. Enchiridion symbolorum definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum. Freiburg, Basel, Rome & Vienna: Herder, 1997.

online sources, CD-Roms

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

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]


  1. "Gemeral Directory for Catechesis". Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  2. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum et definitionum Herder Freiburg, 1932, Cover Page
cs:Enchiridion symbolorum

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