The Catholic Story: Origins
The Name Catholic means universal. Its origin is from the Greek word katholicos, which means widespread or universal.
When Jesus Christ came to this world to die for the Salvation of all, he did want to establish a new covenant, a universal covenant. Those who want to be part of this covenant will enter it through baptism. He also established an institution called church or ecclesia in Greek. We know this because he called peter to be the head of this ecclesia when he told him “on this rock I will build my Church, the gates of hell will never prevail against it” we remember that Christ changed the name of Simon to peter which means Rock. What he is here saying is that he will make Peter his Vicar on earth that is someone that stands in physically for him after he is gone back to heaven. We must always remember that it is Christ that is the head of the Church.
We learn from this passage that Christ indeed has a Church, by that possessive pronoun used “my Church”.
Christ went ahead to call other apostles who will be the pillars of his new religion. He consciously called 12 people, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. So, the new Christ’s Church becomes the new Israel, as Christ did not come to abolish the old law but to fulfill it.
We know that not all things that happen in the life of the new religion are recorded in the bible. It is impossible to have such a record. The bible itself says that not all things Christ did is recorded and so not all things the members of the Church did is also recorded. This is important because there are many who ask the question “is it in the Bible” as if the Bible is ALL IN ALL of Christianity. No it cannot be as we will see in our conversations.
In the year 70AD, that is some 40 years after Christ went up to haven on Ascension day, Jews in Jerusalem revolted against the Roman forces occupying Israel. Remember that the Church of Christ was stationed in Jerusalem. This means that the apostles were there, preaching the Gospel and being confronted by the Sanhedrin as we see in the Acts of Apostles.
In this Revolted, Romans unleashed Roman fury on Israel and decimated that nation. This means that the killed thousands of people and destroyed buildings. Infact all the buildings in Jerusalem were destroyed including the temple! The remaining population that did not die went into exile! This includes the apostles!
The apostles went to various nations preaching the Gospel. St. Thomas went as far as India to evangelize. Infact Thomas tomb is in India today. St. Paul went to Greece. St. John Went to Ephesus in Greece with Mary mother of God since Christ entrusted him with the care of his Mother.
St. Peter went as far as Rome!
As this spread was going on, a Church elder in Antioch, in Greece called the spreading Church katholicos,! Remember also that it is in this same Antioch that followers of Christ, members of the new religion were called Christians!
Since then, many writers and Historians started to call the Church of Christ Catholic since according to them, it is now a universal Church since it has spread throughout the known world!