Is Catholicism the Oldest Christian Religion?

Since Christianity itself is divided into three main branches, which are Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism…

Hah, Protestantism sure ain’t the oldest, that’s for sure…

Both Catholicism and Orthodoxy are the oldest, since both were part of the original One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church which Christ founded, and both continue to nurture the traditions that were given to them by the Apostolic Fathers.

Of course, this presumes that both are the Church of Christ, and I’m sure some people in both camps might disagree with that, but that argument is for another day, another thread. :slight_smile:

Protestantism, however, began only five hundred years ago. As much as they may claim to be the true Christian Church, they are a relatively new movement.

The tragic schism solidified in 1204 (I believe . . . 1054 was, for the most part, a non-event) AD sundered in two the ancient Church.

As such, both can be seen as apostolic in origin and identity, but one can be called more correct than the other. This is neither the time nor place for that debate, which has been waged in some form now for centuries.

It would be wise not to lump all Protestants together. Since there is among them little cohesion of culture, identity, or doctrine, each group must be dealt with individually, as each, if you will, speaks a different language, much like Catholic and Orthodox Christians have different languages from each other. Language meaning mode and terms of theological expression.

There is no Christian religion other than Catholicism. By this, I mean Rome plus the Eastern Catholic brethren who are united to us. The Christian Religion is Catholicism. Catholicism is the Christian Religion. To say there are other religions of Christ is to say that there are many churches, and thus many gods - but the One God said the Church is His Body!

Our early Fathers in the faith referred to the Christian Church as “the Catholic Church” in its universal quality. There are no older or younger Christian “religions”. There is the true Christian religion centered on Peter, that blessed apostle. To the extent that Christians recognise this crucial fact, they recognise the Christian Church.

The fact that this question is asked at all shows how wrong it is to separate between “Catholics” (usually meant to mean Romans) and “Christians” (usually meant to mean non-denominationals, pentecostals, and non-magisterial Protestants). Our whole culture doesn’t even realise there are Orthodox, let alone Eastern Catholics.

One must remember, Ambrosian (from the baptizer of St Augustine?) that just because the Fathers called the Church the Catholic Church and the Western part of the schism calls itself by that same name, that does not mean that the Western post-schism body is the rightful holder of said title. The Orthodox Church, for example, has the complete title of the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church. Both East and West claim ‘Catholic’, though one is associated with the word in popular parlance. The argument, it seems, remains … unmoved.

Now, there is ONE Church, and there are schismatics and heretics and idolaters. And further, there are those who, though believing sincerely in Christ, retain doubt or even hostility in the doctrines of the Church which the Christ established.

Rome is not, by default, correct. On the same token, Orthodoxy is not, by default, correct. But one of them is. Declaring one over the other will not solve the issue. Well, there is also the option of both of them being partly correct but not totally, as well as both being incorrect without the other.

ANYway, the answer of both what is recognized commonly today as the Catholic Church and what is commonly today recognized as the Orthodox Church as being the Original Church (notice the singular, as both were once one, now divided) should suffice as an accurate answer to the OP.

In terms of which See within the Apostolic Churches is the oldest, The Ancient Apostolic See of Jerusalem would be the oldest, founded by the Apostles (with St James as it’s Bishop) in 33AD.

However that wasn’t your question, The One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is the oldest, and this encompasses: The Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, Assyrian Orthodox Church of the East, Russian Orthodox, if I missed anyone out I’m sorry!

I believe the first persons whom Our Lord Jesus Christ preached and taught through were the Brahman Buddhists, during His Lost years, before His return to Israel…from the age of 13 to approx. 26, Jesus Christ (Christos) was in India and in the Monastaries of Brahman Buddhist Lama Monks, in the Himilayas…there are written ancient manuscripts describing His life while among them, learning, teaching, preaching, practice of guru (Teacher status) including levitation, healing, and all the Mysteries of the Wise Religion and the Science of GOD…far, far older…

I’m sorry but I haven’t heard this before, would you mind citing a source?

The Catholic Church was established by Jesus. Jesus Christ gave the Keys of Heaven to St. Peter, and there is a lineage of Popes all the way up to the present Pope. Jesus established only one church, the one He founded on Peter, the rock. He also told Peter that he will be with this Church till the end of the age and even the gates of hell will not prevail against it. None of the other churches recognize the Papacy. St. Augustine, when speaking about the Church of Christ, calls it the Catholic Church 240 times in his writings.

Saint Peter, the first Pope, appointed St. Ignatius to be the Bishop of Antioch. St. Ignatius used the Greek word “Katholicos,” which means “universal,” to describe the Church of Christ. It is in his writings that we find the word Catholic used for the first time.

Catholic bishops can have their lineage of predecessors traced back to the time of the apostles.The Catholic Church teaches the doctrines of Christ and the apostles have been preserved through an unbroken line of Catholic bishops. The Orthodox Church also has apostolic succession, but they contradict the Roman Church on the Papacy, among some other things. Due to the East-West Schism of the Catholic Church, there was a split and the Catholic Church and East Orthodox Church divided, mainly due to cultural, geographical, and political differences.

Protestants have been around only for about 500 or so years.

No, Catholicism (by that we mean Latin rite), is certainly not the oldest and not even close; neither is Eastern Orthodoxy. catholicism (sm. c) is clearly mentioned by Ignatius of Antioch, ca. 110, but directs believers to refer exclusively to "the bishop or his dellegate. He is clearly talking “universal church” which is what Gk: (adverbial “kat’ holou”, “in general, or “universal”, but not Official; that goes to Clement of Alexandria where his opinion is that everything else but what he happens to define is “heretical”. That epithet got thrown around a lot, no matter who you were, even Clement). Christain “Gr: Kristos”, means “Messiah” and the in those tough times in the Eastern Roman Empire, messianic sects cropped up everywhere. James, the brother of Jesus, didn’t really have a messianic sect. He just railed against the old and punitive Mosaic Law and got himself stoned to death with the help of one ‘rock chucker’, Saul of Tarsus. Go back to Seutonius’ “Life of Claudius” and there is mention of a Jewish trouble maker called “Chrestus” (Jesus? I doubt it. John was making bigger headlines at the time). Tacitus’ “Annals” reports who may have been our actual Jesus. It fits.
Calling Flavius Josephus an historian is like calling “The Hollywood Tattler” an authoritative international news source. Christianity, according to what I’ve read of the Official Church, is a “Faith”, but is, by most, a religion. My call? This is a Roman Catholic blog. Ask a priest. But you’ll get the Party Line. Ask me and you’ll get the 'Didache” which had to be a writ for some very Christian-like sect who more-or-less had its act together.

Considering that the title “pope” comes from Alexandria from around the third century, I don’t think that it’s very historically accurate to say that St. Peter was the first pope.

Please look at the following two links.

Look up the list of Pope, my friend.

God Bless.

I believe you are saying that the many denominations of Protestantism do not practice the Christian religion, and perhaps inferring that Protestants are not Christians. This reminds me of what some who practice Orthodox Judaism say about Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism, namely that these heretical movements are not Judaism even though those who practice them are still regarded as Jews. I disagree with that way of thinking. My view is that Protestantism is a Christian religion even if it may not contain the whole truth of Christianity according to Catholicism. And Trinitarian Protestants are, according to the Catholic Church, Christians. They do not worship other gods, but the same G-d in a different way.

In strict terms, he’s correct the Title of Pope originally (and still does) refer to the Patriarch of Alexandria, however Papa (the Latin from which we get Pope) also was used to refer to the Bishop of Rome/Patriarch of the West, just because the common usage means the Pope of Rome, doesn’t mean he solely uses that title, the Pope of Alexandria is just as ancient as the Pope of Rome, just one is also the Successor of Saint Peter, while the other is not (I can’t actually remember who founded the Apostolic See of Alexandria?)

True, but in the way most people think of Pope, it is synonymous with being the Bishop of Rome, which would make it historically accurate as Saint Peter was indeed the first Bishop of Rome, and his successors are the Bishop of Rome by virtue of his Martyrdom there.

That would be St. Mark the Evangelist, a disciple of St. Peter and author of the Gospel of Mark. In some sense, he sort of is a successor of St. Peter :slight_smile:

True, but in the way most people think of Pope, it is synonymous with being the Bishop of Rome, which would make it historically accurate as Saint Peter was indeed the first Bishop of Rome, and his successors are the Bishop of Rome by virtue of his Martyrdom there.

Historically, I think that is rather questionable as well. The common convention for the first two or three centuries was not to list the apostle who founded a see as its first bishop. See for a passage written by Francis Dvornik, a Roman Catholic priest and historian, which corroborates this view.

Friend, when I say protestant denominations do not practice Christianity, I mean fully. The Messiah obviously and clearly appointed Simon Peter the pastor of the Church. If one denies the very essence and structure of the Church, which is Christ’s Mystical Body, one denies the very essence of what Christ is. To deny that the Pope is supreme over all bishops is to deny that Christ is supreme over all idols and pagan religions.

Protestants might passionately believe that Christ is their pope (as it were), but this is like refusing to speak to the King’s legitimate steward because one must speak to the King directly! Anglicans may truly think Canterbury is their symbol of unity, but he is Moloch to YHWH. Orthodox may really, innocently believe that Constantinople is their primacy, but he is Ba’al to Adonai. Just as the ancient idolaters were often innocently wrong, so with the crisis over who is head of the Church! It tends to be very sadly impounded in peoples’ heads from a young age, and they don’t know they’re wrong. Simply because one has the right intention does not make the offering immediately right.

Christ the Lord established one Church; that Church is His Body. To say that the Pope isn’t the guide of the Body, yet to claim to be part of the Body (Protestants, at least), is a contradiction. The True Body is that which is under the Pope. Without the Pope, it is a mask, an imitation, a stage-play!

The Orthodox may be viewed in a similar way? Perhaps they’ve taken the ancient stage actions from the director, and haven’t changed much, but the fact is that they lack the director. They’ve taken the true title of Popes in the ancient days (Ecumenical Patriarch) and applied it to their own actor. There are so many legalistic distinctions possible…:frowning:

The pope was never called ecumenical patriarch. In addition, I find the idea that the Ecumenical Patriarchate somehow usurped the power of the pope of Rome to be nothing more than historical fiction.

Thank you for clarifying your viewpoint.

Brother, in session III of Chalcedon Leo was addressed to, by Eusebius, as: “The most holy and beloved-of-God ecumenical archbishop and patriarch of great Rome Leo…”

Throughout that Council, Leo is the only bishop called “most holy”, “most blessed”, “apostolic”, etc.

It is the ancient Christian religion; not “the most ancient”, or “an ancient”, but the ancient, as God is not the most ancient religious idea of men, but is The Ancient of Days.

You are quite welcome!

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