History of Early Church from 70 AD to Council of Nicaea?

My buddy tells me that Paul’s writings were mostly from the 60s AD, which I was aware of. And he brings up the burning of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD and then there was no more letters from Paul (which I had really never considered). So what are some key elements that happened to the Church during this time period?

God’s peace be with you all!!


That is quite a broad question.What history specifically. If you are interested in the history of orthodoxy, The Faith of the Early Fathers by William A Jurgens. If you are interested in the history of the liturgy, The Shape of the Liturgy by Dom Gregory Dix. If you are interested in ecclesiology, possibly The Church by Richard P McBrien.

…That Paul was martyred in Rome in 67 AD…?


There’s a good book just published by Catholic Answers called “Handed On” that tells a lot about this time period.

But the main things that happened are the planting and building of Catholic Church communities through that part of the world, with the bishops and priests handing on teachings. There were also many struggles for orthodox teaching in the Church with people breaking off with false ideas. The Council of Nicaea was called to deal with a big problem like that - Arianism. Also, the other huge thing happening was the persecution of Catholics. It was a time of many martyrs and many heroes of the Faith.
You can learn about key individuals of that time: St Clement of Rome, St. Cyprian of Carthage. St. Ignatius of Antioch. St. Irenaeus of Lyon. Tertullian … and many more great teachers who came before Nicaea.

There were no more letters from Paul because he was dead.

Quite a bit happened in this period that we know about. I would suggest the latter 1/3 of the volume 1 of “The History of Christendom: the Founding of Christendom” by William Carroll.


Here are some free books to take a look at and browse through if you’d like. I haven’t read any of them, but I’d like to. :slight_smile:


“Eusebius: The Church History” with commentary by Paul L. Maier is an excellent resource. You can get if from Amazon.

Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, who took part in the Council of Nicaea, compiled a history of the Church during the first centuries after the ascension. He used documents from various locations, some of which still exist and can be verified, and some of which seem to be lost. Paul Maier provides excellent context.

You may like “Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words” by Rod Bennett.

I found it very readable and actually pretty in depth historically during that time period using historical writings.

Here’s a condensed history of the first 400 years. All internal inks operational

The Church has been Catholic from the 1st century. The English word Catholic is a transliteration of the Greek katholikos which is a compound word from kata, which means according to, and holos, which means whole or universal. catholic.com/tracts/what-catholic-means

So one THEN can ask, where does kata holos appear in scripture and particularly kata holos ekklesia ?

Acts 9:31 the church throughout all ἐκκλησία,καθ’,ὅλης ,τῆς ,Judea and Galilee and Sama’ria…" = the Kataholos Church.

Ignatius, Martyr and Bishop of Antioch from ~69 a.d. to ~107 a.d. He was ordained by the apostles, and was a direct disciple of St John. It was in Antioch where the disciples were first called Christian Acts 11:26 . And Ignatius in his writings uses both “Christian” and “Catholic Church” in his letters.

]St Ignatius, uses Christian in (ch 2) and Catholic Church in (ch 8) Epistle to the Smyrnæans of which schismatics won’t be going to heaven. *:bigyikes: Epistle to the Philadelphians (ch 3) . As an aside, where would Ignatius learn to teach that warning and corresponding consequence for one’s soul, for commiting and remaining in the sin of schism / division from the Catholic Church? Paul condemned division / dissention διχοστασίαι, ] from the Church. That Greek word is used in both Romans 16:17-20 , & Galatians 5:19-21 and that came from Jesus who does NOT approve of division in His Church John 17:20-23 , and since the HS only teaches what comes from Jesus John 16:12-15 no one can say the HS inspired all the division we see today in Christianity. :tsktsk:There is no expiration date to that warning and condemnation. That is a huge warning and consequence that has been there from the beginning.

*]St Polycarp, Bp Smyrna, disciple of St John called the Church the “Catholic Church” The Martyrdom of Polycarp
*]Muratorian canon earlychristianwritings.co…uratoria n.html uses authority of “Catholic Church” in determining the canon of scripture
*]Irenaeus ~180 a.d. wrote “Against Heresies” called the Church the “Catholic Church” Adversus haereses [Bk 1 [URL=“http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103110.htm”]Chapter 10 v 3], and also Irenaeus who was taught by Polycarp, teaches all must agree with Rome [Bk 3, [URL=“http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103303.htm”]Chapter 3, v 2-3]. He also gives all the bishops (by name) from Peter in Rome, down to his day. Showing not only apostolic succession, but succession to Peter is recognized from the beginning as necessary for Church authority.
*]Cyprian~250 a.d. calls the Church the Catholic Church Epistle 54
*]The Nicene Creed, 325 a.d., it’s a matter of faith in the creed to believe in the “One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church”
*]Augustine ~395 There are many other things that most justly keep me in her * bosom. . . . The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental (ch 5 v6)
The same Church Pope Francis is over today, 266th successor to St Peter.

As an aside, these links explain where the following teaching comes from

from the links above, and particularly from Paul, which ultimately came from Jesus, we see division from the Catholic Church is condemned as are those who do it and remain in it, and for 2000 years, division from the Catholic Church has been condemned. Therefore, It’s not some new idea, nor made up by the Catholic Church. This goes back to apostolic teaching. It’s also important to say, There is no expiration date to that warning and consequence.*

good info; thanks to all.

i especially enjoy the ones from archive.org.

they can be read on a kindle or other reader.

it is a bonus that they’re free.

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