Where was the Catholic Church in the 1st and 2nd century?

I know we have the letter to the Smyrnaeans by St. Ignatius that mentions the church by name but is there any other documents around that time that also mention it or any other type of evidence that you would show that the Catholic church existed before the 3rd century?

The New Testament


True lol, but I’m really looking for some info outside the bible.

why? do you think there’s a better source out there?

I would suggest that you read the First Letter of Clement to the Corinthians. In there he talks about obeying their bishop, which shows that there was a hierarchy- this letter was written no later that about the year 96 ad.

Another good example would be one of the apologies of Justin Martyr (I forget which one). In it, he describes the celebration of the Mass that sounds remarkably like the Mass celebrated today.

If you want to know about the early Catholic Church, read the Church Fathers. Catholic Answers has articles and books about them if your interested in learning more.



No but I just want a bigger number of sources. I love St. Ignatius but more evidence is never bad :slight_smile:

Cool I’ll check these out, God bless

Your welcome.
I forgot to add that Justin Martyr wrote about the year 150 ad.



Existed and existed in a great power, the first centuries missionaries(among whom even the slaves) could perform the amazing miracles and could convert the royal families to the saving faith.

It was primary located in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, although there are certainly traditions of it being as far East as India by then

There’s also the Didache, thought to have been written in the 120s.



Some early references to the Catholic Church by name are mentioned in the article, “Catholic,” in the Catholic Encyclopedia, including:

St Ignatius (died about 110), Letter to the Smyrnaeans.
Letter on the Martrydom of St Polycarp, about 155.
Muratorian Fragment, about 180.
St Clement of Alexandria (died about. 215), Stromata.


The simple answer is that the Catholic Church was both in the East and in the West, in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean, with some branches of the Church extending as far as India and Ethiopia. Peter and his successors were the head of the Church, though their primacy unfolded gradually and they weren’t called “popes” until some time later. (“Pope” is just a form of the Latin “papa”, or “father”.)

The sources cited by others are all good ones.

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Are you looking for early evidence of bishops, priests, and sacraments? Or are you looking for “Catholic Church” being adopted as the official name of an organization? Because the Church existed before schism and denominationalism caused us to have denominational names for everything.


Who is doubting?

Anyway, a high percentage of the early Church members were martyred, as the faith was under official persecution. Thus, it existed and grew in exile and in hiding, in the catacombs and other remote and hidden places - like today’s true Catholic Church in China.

Under such conditions, and with a nascent Church, you do not have quite as many loud public proclamations or publicized official writings as we see today. In any event, here is a good vid:

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Many writtings by the Church Fathers such as Saint Clement of Rome, Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, Saint Justin the Martyr, Saint Irineus, Athenagoras of Athens, and so on.

There are also guys like Tertullian and Eusebius of Caesarea, and some writtings without known authors (Didache, “so-called letters of” etc.).

And, of course, Christians are cited in pagan Romans letters. The most interesting example is when Plinius Caecilius tells Emperor Trajan about how he was dealing with some Christians. In this letter he describes a Mass without knowing what it is.

Pretty much anything, but preferably things that mention the Catholic church by name

You might be interested in the first volume of Warren Carroll’s The History of Christendom.

This set belongs in the library of every serious Catholic who desires to understand the work that Christ has done in the world through His Church and His faithful people.


i think you would find eusebius church history to be an very interesting read.

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Some believe that it was written during the lifetime of Saint John the Apostle.

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