What is the earliest visible recorded document of the church being available in the 1st century?


A friend of mine claims that Catholicism didn’t exist for a while. Before Catholicism people were “Just Christians” so pulled up a quote from saint Ignatius of Antioch:
“Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”
This was around the time 100-107 A.D

So he then says that he wasn’t around the 1st or 2nd century, “we don’t know the actual date so it’s most likely he said that alot sooner than 100-107”


Not sure I understand the objection here. Yes, we have seven letters from Ignatius of Antioch from about 107 AD. He was born about 35 AD and tradition identifies him as a disciple of John the Apostle. It is not anywhere near a stretch to consider that his faith was formed in the first century even if the letters we have were written in 107 AD.

We have a letter from Clement of Rome to the Corinthians which scholarship dates between 70 AD to 140 AD, though 96 AD seems to be the average.

We have the Didache, which is a first century document.

We have more letters from the second century (between 100 AD to 199 AD).

We have the gospels and Paul’s epistles as more first century documents.

The people who were “just Christians” were members of the Catholic Church? What exactly does he even mean by this statement?


The church started with Peter receiving the keys
Then we see his authority as a church leader
Then we see him appoint a successor
and this is where it all began.
So scripture speak of a Catholic Apostolic church.


Naming is an (to use philosophical jargon) accident of the Early Church, not the substance. Focus on what they did, what they believed. Did they have an organized hierarchy? Did they have apostolic tradition? What was the order of their service/Mass? Did they believe the bread and wine were actually the Real Presence and were actually Body and Blood of Christ or a symbol? Those are key questions.


It’s very unlikely that he said those things much later than 100-107 because contemporary documents say he was executed during the reign of Trajan, who only reigned until 117 A.D.

See here for other Catholic documents from the first century and what they reveal about the Catholic beliefs of the early Christians.


We see evidence of the Church being visible from the very beginning.

Visible disciples
Visible apostles
Paul seeking Peter’s confirmation

The Church was never not-visible and the first documents are the new testament, Didache, Clement and a few others. Not a ton, but consistently visible and apostolic.


So he then says that he wasn’t around the 1st or 2nd century, “we don’t
know the actual date so it’s most likely he said that alot sooner than

He makes himself smarter than historians. On what evidence? It is always problematic to dispute with made-up history.

Since even our Lord could not convince in person, I would let it go and pray for him. The Holy Spirit is more powerful than we are.


You know Tit/Titus from the NT? He was a clise friend of St. Paul as mentioned in the Bible, also a Greek scholar who MET Jesus, and a bishop of Crete named by the Apostles. The bishopry is not something the “later Church” “invented”. The Apostles named bishops from their own time. We are still linked to them.
Please research this guy Tit/Titus.
May God illumine you.
God bless.


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