Any recommendations for a book about the churches the apostles started?

Can anyone recommend a book/books that discusses the history of the churches that the apostles started? I know of only one book about this topic which was authored by Raymond Brown: The Churches The Apostles Left Behind. Has anyone read this book? If so, can you also share your thoughts regarding it?

Eusebius - The History of the Church.

It is generally believed that all the Apostles but St John were martyred, and although there are countless legends about their missionary activities and deaths, there are precious few hard facts. Most Lives of the Saints give the majority of the known facts; Pope Benedict’s Apostles is a good, short summary, but has less info than Butler’s and other Lives of the Saints.
I concur with the recommendation of Eusebius’ History, which is the earliest known historical (?) publication, soon after the Church was first legalized.
Also, I recommend the Golden Legend by Jacobis (c1000), but much is indeed legend. At a local Catholic college you can probably find access to the Belgian Bollandist Order, who are believed to have accumulated the greatest collection of records about Saints outside of Rome–I think more than 100 volumes.
I’m told most midEastern Churches and monasteries have legends and/or relics of the early Saints and Fathers who passed in their vicinity, but I don’t know how to find these stories. I’ve listened to Christian immigrants from India describe the travels and events of St Thomas’ mission in India, according to their records/legends.

Are you after information about particular church buildings and worship sites or are you looking for historical proofs of other churches being founded by various Apostles in opposition to that which God started under Christ with Peter as it’s head. Some Protestants try to find historical information to create a history for their particular denomination that goes back to the days of the early Church which doesn’t really exist. So what exactly are you looking for? Can you be more specific?


You are right about John, although he is counted among the martrys for the pains he endured. He was poisoned with wine at one point and in another he was dipped in boiling oil (unimaginable pain). He survived both. On his feast day, we still bring wine to Mass for a blessing, although this has fallen out of practice in many areas.

Thank you all for the replies. I’d go check Eusebius’ book.

Hi Glenda, I’m looking for a book that discusses the historicity of the specific churches the 12 Apostles founded when they went on their missionary journeys. Like St. Peter founded the church in Antioch where the followers of Christ were first called Christians; how did the Antiochian church developed and who succeeded in the episcopacy of that church in the first hundred or so years of its existence. My intention is to study these churches because some protestants claim to be authentic and that their teachings and beliefs are in accordance to what the apostles taught but if they really are authentic then they would believe our doctrines or at least they would have held on to the doctrines and practices of Eastern Orthodoxy. I want to study the history of the first churches founded by the apostles to clearly prove that they have gone so far away from the true faith and in essence have totally split themselves to form a new church entirely different from the original church founded by the Lord.

Hello Kingsan.

Thanks for the reply. I understand now. You could start with any solid history book of the Church and the early Church Fathers just to get the basics and the bibliography in the back can point to further sources for deeper and credible study. You definutely need a copy of both Eusebius and Josephus and I’d recommend a book by J. Stevenson called Creeds, Councils and Controversies. That could get you very started. Good luck.


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