The Early Church Is the Catholic Church

 Ecclesiology

You are kindly invited to explore and discover
the sacred mysteries of the Catholic faith.

The church is catholic

“Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us,
and through this present most holy synod together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the
Apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the
orthodox faith, hath stripped him of the episcopate, and hath alienated from him all hieratic
worthiness. Therefore let this most holy and great synod sentence the before mentioned
Dioscorus to the canonical penalties.”
 Council of Chalcedon, Session III
(A.D. 451)

“See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye
would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out the appointment of
God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed
a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has
entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude also be; by the bishop, or by
one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude also be;
even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”
St. Ignatius of Antioch,
Epistle to the Smyrneans, 8:2
(c. A.D. 110)

“But [it has, on the other hand, been shown], that the preaching of the Church is everywhere
consistent, and continues in an even course, and receives testimony from the prophets, the apostles,
and all the disciples…For in the Church,” it is said, “God hath set apostles, prophets, teachers,’ and
all the other means through which the Spirit works; of which all those are not partakers who do not
join themselves to the Church, but defraud themselves of life through their perverse opinions and
infamous behaviour. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of
God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace; but the Spirit is truth.”
St. Irenaeus,
Against Heresies, 3:24
(A.D. 180)

“The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home;
she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints
the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined
to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the
Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy.
He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother. If anyone could
escape who was outside the ark of Noah, then he also may escape who shall be outside of the
Church. The Lord warns, saying, ‘He who is not with me is against me, and he who gathereth not
with me scattereth.’
St. Cyprian of Carthage, On Unity, 6
(A.D. 251)

“But in learning the Faith and in professing it, acquire and keep that only, which is now delivered to
thee by the Church, and which has been built up strongly out of all the Scriptures….Take heed
then, brethren, and hold fast the traditions which ye now receive, and write them and the table of
your heart.”
St. Cyril of Jerusalem,
Catechetical Lectures, 5:12
(A.D. 350)

“But beyond these [Scriptural] sayings, let us look at the very tradition,
teaching and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning,
which the Lord gave, the Apostles preached, and the Fathers kept.”
St. Athanasius,
Four Letters to Serapion of Thmuis, 1:28
(A.D. 360)

“Inasmuch, I repeat, as this is the case, we believe also in the Holy Church, [intending thereby]
assuredly the Catholic. For both heretics and schismatics style their congregations churches. But
heretics, in holding false opinions regarding God, do injury to the faith itself; while schismatics, on
the other hand, in wicked separations break off from brotherly charity, although they may believe
just what we believe. Wherefore neither do the heretics belong to the Church catholic, which loves
God; nor do the schismatics form a part of the same.”
St. Augustine, On Faith and Creed, 10:21
(A.D. 393)

“Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt, and in fact it has
been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the Apostles, pillar
of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our
Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the
power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and judges in his
successors.”
Council of Ephesus, Session III (A.D. 431)

But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You
are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon
son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in
heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the
gates of Hades will not overcome it."
Matthew 16, 15-18


Pax vobiscum