Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Catholic Church, named in AD 110

One of the things that made me laugh when I visited an Antiochian Orthodox Church last weekend was the silly statement our ignorant (e.g. Lacking education or knowledge) tour guide made.  He actually stated that the Catholic Church "made up their name" after it had "split from the True Church in the 11th century, and that at that time they had to make up their own name--Orthodox (from the Greek words meaning "correct" "faith").  I have guess, since he is a convert from the Methodist faith, that he was either not taught actual history or was taught bigoted history.  Even the Orthodox churches recognize St. Ignatius as a saint and Father of the Church, and he said:

St. Ignatius of Antioch and the Lions Icon
See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution [Or, “command”] of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper [Or, “firm”] 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 [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.  [St Ignatius, Letter to the Smyraeans, Chapter VIII, AD110 from The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus by Philip Schaff, 1885, posted on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Calvin College]

St. Ignatius dubbed the Church the Catholic Church a millennia before the split of the Church.  To claim that the Catholic Church made up her name in the 11th century is, as I stated before, to be ignorant of history.  The mutual split between the East and the West in the 11th century has only deepened over the centuries.  We need to be talking and communicating more on our similarities and commonalities rather than purposely pushing each other away.

"The two forms of the great tradition of the Church, the Eastern and the Western, the two forms of culture, complement each other like the two "lungs" of a single body."  —Pope John Paul II, Euntes in mundum, 1988.

One final thought:  ""We have not only to be called Christians, but to be Christians." -St. Ignatius of Antioch

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