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When did the Church established by Jesus Christ get the name Catholic?
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Christ left the adoption of a name for His Church to those whom he commissioned to teach all nations. Christ called the spiritual society He established, "My Church" (Mt. xvi, 18), "the Church" (Mt. xviii, 17).
In order to have a distinction between the Church and the Synagogue and to have a distinguishing name from those embracing Judaic and Gnostic errors we find St. Ignatius (50-107 AD) using the Greek word "Katholicos" (universal) to describe the universality of the Church established by Christ. St. Ignatius was appointed Bishop of Antioch by St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome. It is in his writings that we find the word Catholic used for the first time. St. Augustine, when speaking about the Church of Christ, calls it the Catholic Church 240 times in his writings.
St. Ignatius of Antioch, disciple of the Apostle John, concerning the heretics of his day wrote: "They have abstained from the Eucharist and prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of Our Savior Jesus Christ."
St. Justin Martyr, another Church Father of the second century wrote: "This food is known among us as the Eucharist... We do not receive these things as common bread and common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior, being made flesh by the Word of God."
"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise Him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed" (John 6:54-56) "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" they argued. (John 6:53) "And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. THIS IS MY BODY. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. FOR THIS IS MY BLOOD." (cf. Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20).
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