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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. Thank you. Wishing you a blessed Lenten season.

When Was the Church First Called “Catholic?”

Question:

When was the Church first called "Catholic?" I know Scripture tells us when the first Christians were called Christians (at Antioch), but I don't know when they or the Church was called "Catholic."

Answer:

The earliest document we have in which “Catholic” is used to label the Church is a letter from Ignatius of Antioch, who wrote around A.D. 107, while being taken to Rome for execution. For all we know, the term was used well before that time—which is to say, in the time of the apostles.

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