Church of Antioch, why were they called Christians?

So why were believers in Antioch called Christians? I have heard once it was because of confirmation/chrismation, that we are anointed just as Christ was hence they were called Christians (anointed ones). However I have not found any sources supporting this from what I could find.

The usual explanation, I believe, is that they proclaimed Jesus as the “Christos”, meaning anointed, from the verb chrio (χριω), to anoint. They were translating the Hebrew word “Messiah”, anointed, from the verb mashach (משח), to anoint. Is this the explanation you are now challenging?

I “heard” somewhere that Paul was the instigator of the use of “Christians.” Has anyone else heard this?


It is certain that St Peter founded the Church in Antioch. As to his founding a Church in Rome it is tradition, and indeed a very strong tradition, but maybe not demonstrated historically?

If you don’t consider just about every early church father historic then :shrug:?

So does anyone else have anything else to add to this question then? Especially if my original thought is incorrect (regarding confirmation/chrism being the reason for the name?).

Honestly anything you get is going to be speculation…

An even greater thing to look up is the term Catholic and why that started being used in the form it was used in. It was too extremely early (almost as early as the term Christian! By a Bishop of Antioch no less) and not in the universal definition but in a term as we use it today to identify the church in union with Rome and the Pope. It was used in the same way 1900 years ago in letters to the different communities.

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