The Earliest recorded name for the Catholic Church


#1

Greetings, one and all.

If I’m understanding it correctly, the Catholic Church didn’t really bear the name “Catholic” until some time after 110 A.D., when St. Ignatius coined the phrase in a letter to the Smyrnaeans. Wondered if anyone knows what the Church called itself prior to this. Why wasn’t it called the Christian Church, or Church of Christ instead, while retaining the idea of being “catholic” or “universal” in practice?

hodgepin


#2

I think I read not too long ago that it was called “The Way,” but I’d use a lifeline. :slight_smile:

Debbie


#3

[quote=hodgepin]If I’m understanding it correctly, the Catholic Church didn’t really bear the name “Catholic” until some time after 110 A.D., when St. Ignatius coined the phrase in a letter to the Smyrnaeans.
[/quote]

I think this characterization is a little off the mark. It would be more accurate to say that the first known use of the term was by Ignatius. Moreover, if you read the passage, it does not contain an argument or justification for the term. Rather, Ignatius uses it almost in passing. It may not be unreasonable to conclude that the term was in wide use even by that time.


#4

[quote=hodgepin]Greetings, one and all.

If I’m understanding it correctly, the Catholic Church didn’t really bear the name “Catholic” until some time after 110 A.D., when St. Ignatius coined the phrase in a letter to the Smyrnaeans. Wondered if anyone knows what the Church called itself prior to this. Why wasn’t it called the Christian Church, or Church of Christ instead, while retaining the idea of being “catholic” or “universal” in practice?

hodgepin
[/quote]

It was called “The Way”. The Didache speaks of the Way of Life and the Way of Death.


#5

I have heard the same.

If he was writing a letter and mentions the name without trying to define it then it must have been known by the recipients. So at the very least, from the last time he was in contact with them would they have had an agreement of the term.


#6

[quote=hodgepin]If I’m understanding it correctly, the Catholic Church didn’t really bear the name “Catholic” until some time after 110 A.D., when St. Ignatius coined the phrase in a letter to the Smyrnaeans. Wondered if anyone knows what the Church called itself prior to this. Why wasn’t it called the Christian Church, or Church of Christ instead, while retaining the idea of being “catholic” or “universal” in practice?
[/quote]

If we look at the NT we find that the Church in its early stages was designated simply as the Church of God, Churches of Christ, the Bride, and the Body of the Lord.

Luke explains that it was in Antioch that for the first time the followers of Christ were called “Christians” (Acts 11:26). It is noteworthy that this happened years after the Church was founded. This designation also came from those outside the Church not from the members of the Church (the Scriptures report that they were “called” not that they “called themselves” Christians). However, the Church adopted this designation (see Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16 which are the only other places in Scripture where “Christian” is used). No doubt it was the Jews that gave the disciples this name to distinguish them from the Jewish religion.

The Scriptures also in principle designate the Church as “universal” even though it does not use the term explicitly(Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Ephesians 3:1-6). The Church is not confined to one race or tribe but to all inhabitants of the earth.

During Apostolic times, errors and heresies began to enter the Church. In order to distinguish itself from the the heretical sects that were identifying themselves as “Christian,” the Church began to be recognized as the “Catholic Christian Church” or for short just the “Catholic Church.”


#7

[quote=scylla]I have heard the same.

If he was writing a letter and mentions the name without trying to define it then it must have been known by the recipients. So at the very least, from the last time he was in contact with them would they have had an agreement of the term.
[/quote]

:thumbsup:

He define’s it not as something new but states what it is that makes up that which already has been called as such. :confused: Does not define *the term * Catholic but makes sure that everyone knows what they should find in it. :amen:


#8

hodgepin,

I posted a partial answer to your question in the first water cooler forum where you said hi to everybody.

I’ll sum part of it up here.

Jewish Christians, at any rate, were originally called members of “The Way” and many if not all, saw little conflict between them being Jews and followers of Christ. Christ, after all, was the Messiah. Many still prayed in the Temple, etc. It wasn’t until 70 A.D., the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews that Jewish followers of Christ were utterly banished from the synagogues, etc, thought they were obviously persecuted way before that.
–Joruus


#9

See Acts 9:1-2

Now Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest

2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, 2 he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.


#10

I am proud of our CA Forum posters. What a good job they have done.


#11

[quote=hodgepin]Greetings, one and all.

If I’m understanding it correctly, the Catholic Church didn’t really bear the name “Catholic” until some time after 110 A.D., when St. Ignatius coined the phrase in a letter to the Smyrnaeans. Wondered if anyone knows what the Church called itself prior to this. Why wasn’t it called the Christian Church, or Church of Christ instead, while retaining the idea of being “catholic” or “universal” in practice?

hodgepin
[/quote]

It was actually in 110 AD. he quote says "Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains . Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church"


#12

It is my understanding that the early Church had to distinguish itself from other contending “Churchs” such as the Agnostics who called themselves followers of Jesus or Christians but had no problem worshipping the Roman gods and submitting to the Roman authority and therefore were not persecuted.


#13

A literal reading of Acts 9:2 “And asked of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues: that if he found any men and women of this way, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.”

The Church was named Catholic for two reasons according to tradition: 1. That it was universal inviting all people. 2. That is encompased ‘all’ of the teachings of Jesus Christ.


#14

Originally Quoted by hodgepin:

Greetings, one and all.

If I’m understanding it correctly, the Catholic Church didn’t really bear the name “Catholic” until some time after 110 A.D., when St. Ignatius coined the phrase in a letter to the Smyrnaeans. Wondered if anyone knows what the Church called itself prior to this. Why wasn’t it called the Christian Church, or Church of Christ instead, while retaining the idea of being “catholic” or “universal” in practice?

hodgepin

The " Pope’s Property" :smiley:


#15

[quote=hodgepin]Greetings, one and all.

If I’m understanding it correctly, the Catholic Church didn’t really bear the name “Catholic” until some time after 110 A.D., when St. Ignatius coined the phrase in a letter to the Smyrnaeans. Wondered if anyone knows what the Church called itself prior to this. Why wasn’t it called the Christian Church, or Church of Christ instead, while retaining the idea of being “catholic” or “universal” in practice?

hodgepin
[/quote]

The Way of Life is one I have heard.


#16

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