The Orthodox Church say they are the oldest church. Is this true?
Only if you include the Orthodox Church with the Catholic Church when they were one (AD1050).
There are two groups vying for the title.
One is led by the direct successor of Peter upon whom Jesus promised to build one Church and to whom the keys of the perpetual office of the Royal Steward were given. (cf. Mt. 16:18-19) The other is not.
The former is known as the Catholic Church, the ancient name by which it has been known since the end of the first century. The other is not.
Here is that story:
Earliest Use of the Name “Catholic Church”
The early Church - the Church founded by Christ as promised in Matthew 16:18 - was that which was originally known as “the Way” (cf. Acts 24:14). Later, those individuals who followed Christ began to be called “Christians” beginning at Antioch (cf. Acts 11:26). As early as 107 A.D., those same individuals referred to themselves collectively as the “Catholic Church”. In a letter to the Church of Smyrna, Ignatius of Antioch wrote, “You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery (priest) as you would the Apostles. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, A.D. 107, [8,1])
Notice that Ignatius does not introduce the term “Catholic Church”; instead he uses it in a manner suggesting that the name was already in use and familiar to his audience. This further suggests that the name, Catholic Church, had to have been coined much earlier in order to have achieved wide circulation by the time of this writing. In other words, the Christian assembly was calling itself the Catholic Church during the lifetime of the last Apostle, John, who died near the end of the first century. John, the beloved disciple, may have thought of himself as a member of the Catholic Church!
The Catholic Church began with Peter and the Apostles and continued without interruption or cessation through their disciples (Ignatius, Irenaeus, Polycarp, Clement, Justin Martyr, etc.) down to the present day. As a side note, it appears that the believers in Antioch may have coined both terms still in use today: “Christian” and “Catholic Church” – terms they used to describe the one body of believers in Christ.
Protestant Scholar on the use of the Proper Name "Catholic"
One Protestant author who is honest about this history is the renowned Church historian, J. N. D. Kelly. Kelly dates the usage of the name “Catholic” after the death of the Apostle John, but he acknowledges that the original Church founded by Jesus called itself the “Catholic Church”.
“As regards ‘Catholic,’ its original meaning was ‘universal’ or ‘general’ … As applied to the Church, its primary significance was to underline its universality as opposed to the local character of the individual congregations. Very quickly, however, in the latter half of the second century at latest, we find it conveying the suggestion that the Catholic is the true Church as distinct from heretical congregations. . . . What these early Fathers were envisaging was almost always the empirical, visible society; they had little or no inkling of the distinction which was later to become important between a visible and an invisible Church” (J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 5th ed. [San Francisco: Harper, 1978], 190f).
Depends on who you ask. Catholics say they were first and the Orthodox split off from them. The Orthodox say they were first and the Catholics split off from them.
Orthodox Church was found by Christ’s Apostles, just like the Roman-Catholic Church, they just split in two in 1054. The oldest Christian community is in Antioch, they still exist, they are led by his holiness Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all East John X. He is direct successor to Apostles Peter and Paul, just like the Pope.
Apostle Peter first found Church in Antioch, and then he went to Rome and found Church in Rome, Apostle Paul followed him.
Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch was found by Apostles Peter and Paul, Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria was found by Apostle Mark, Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem was found by Apostle James, Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople was found by Apostle Andrew. Roman Patriarchate was also found by apostles Peter and Paul, but 1000 years later, Roman Patriarchate and Eastern Patriarchates split in two, which is sad.
The Orthodox Church was part of the One Holy Catholic Church for the first 1000 years, so yes, they can lay claim the same as The Catholic Church can. Let’s pray for reunification instead of pointing fingers.
I guess my question would be, “which orthodox church?”. I don’t see any way the russian orthodox church could claim to come before the greek orthodox church. Which is first? The Coptic orthodox or the greek orthodox, or the syrian orthodox, etc. And then which one is the newest orthodox church.
Ask any Orthodox WHEN do we first see “Orthodox Church” in writing, in any historical Church writing properly referenced of course
The Catholic Church has been there from the beginning. Here’s the evidence properly referenced #[FONT=Arial]34[/FONT]
The Orthodox is a schismatic part of the Catholic Church.
This is a contradiction. If they are schismatic, they are not part of the Catholic Church. They are collections of particular Churches (bishop and flock celebrating the Eucharist) that separated from the Catholic Church.
By virtue of their baptisms and the great many elements of the Catholic Church they possess, they can certainly be said to have an imperfect communion with the Catholic Church, which can even be salvific if they are in good faith. But their Churches cannot be said to be part of the Church of Christ, that is, the Catholic Church. The Church of Christ cannot be said to subsist in them.
Must we do this again? When do you first see “Roman Catholic Church” in writing?
The Roman Catholic Church is a schismatic part of the Catholic Church.
I guess my question would be which Catholic Church? I don’t see any way the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church could claim to come before the Melkite Greek Catholic. Did the Melkite Catholic Church come before the Roman Catholic Church? Which is the newest Catholic Church?
must we do this again?
The name of the Church is the Catholic Church.
Right, and the name of the Church is the Catholic Church. Or more specifically the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church which holds the Orthodox faith. But as to the name of your communion maybe you should read the writings of some of your popes.
“With our hearts we believe and with our lips we confess but one Church, not that of the heretics, but the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside which we believe that no one is saved.” - Pope Innocent III
“It must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood.” - Pope Pius IX
And maybe explain it to the bishops who approved these diocesan websites…
List of “Rites” in the Catholic Church. “Roman” being ~98% of the total number of Catholics in the world. All other rites in the Catholic Church are 100% Catholic because they are in complete union with the Roman pontiff…
The Roman pontiff being over the entire Catholic Church.
So Ukrainian Greek Catholics and Melkite Greek Catholics and Roman Catholics are all Catholics they just use a qualifier to be more specific? Cool how that works huh?
It’s good to be specific.
and while we’re being specific, back to a comment you made on your previous response, Catholics hold to the [o]rthodox faith not the [O]rthodox faith.