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Meet the First Christians
Many Christians are under the misconception that the Church never existed until the time of Constantine in the 4th century . Below are 9 real, historical martyrs for the Catholic Christian Faith that say otherwise. At the end of this page is a list of more than 50 other First Christians that either gave up their lives or were model examples of holiness for the Catholic Faith founded by Jesus on St. Peter.
St. Ignatius of Antioch, Syrian; ecclesiastical writer, bishop, martyr Saint Ignatius of Antioch 50-107AD
Syrian; ecclesiastical writer, bishop, martyr Wrote several very early Church documents.
Ignatius uses the word "Catholic" in his letter to the Smyrnaeans.
St. Clement of Rome, Third Pope of the Church St. Clement of Rome, 4th Pope of the Catholic Church 60-99AD
pope: (88-97) Roman; pope, martyr. The oldest extant Christian homily we have is attributed to him: Second letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians (150)
St. Polycarp of Smyrna, Disciple of St. John, bishop, defender of orthodoxy, martyr St. Polycarp of Smyrna 69-165AD
Asia Minor; bishop, defender of orthodoxy, martyr
St. Justin Martyr, Catholic Apologist of the Church, Samaritan; philosopher, and martyr St. Justin Martyr 100-165AD
Samaritan; philosopher, apologist, martyr
St. Irenaeus of Lyons, bishop, missionary, theologian, defender of orthodoxy

St. Irenaeus of Lyons 125-203AD
Asia Minor; bishop, missionary, theologian, defender of orthodoxy

Tertullian, North African; ecclesiastical writer and Christian apologist

North African; ecclesiastical writer, Christian apologist, son of a centurion and trained as a lawyer in Rome. Pagan for half his life.

St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church and Catholic Bible Scholar

St. Jerome 342-420AD
Dalmatian; priest, hermit, abbot, biblical scholar and translator, Doctor of the Church— Translated the Holy Scriptures for the Catholic Church by order of Pope Damasus I.

St. Augustine of Hippo, well-liked, even among Protestants! St. Augustine of Hippo 354-430AD
North African; bishop, theologian, Doctor of the Church. Well loved saint, even among Protestants!
St. Gregory the Great, 64th Pope of the Catholic Church St. Gregory I (the Great), 64th Pope of the Catholic Church 540-604AD
Roman; pope, abbot, liturgist, reformer, statesman, Doctor of the Church. He helped the poor while spreading and strengthening the faith. He wrote extensively on moral and theological subjects.

Listed as follows: { Saints name (life span) }

St. Cyprian of Carthage

St. Athanasius of Alexandria

St. Aphraates/Aphrahat

St. Gregory the Wonderworker
(of Neocaesarea) (213-275)

St. Serapion the Scholastic

St. James of Nisibis

St. Lucy

Saint Nilus the Elder
( ? - 430)

St. John the Short

St. Venantius of Camerino

St. Theonas

St. Ambrose of Milan


Sayings of the Desert Fathers (pdf) (300-500)

St. John Chrysostom

Dionysius of Alexandria

St. Ephrem of Syria


St. Crispina of Thacora

St. Gregory of Elvira

St. Chromatius of Aquileia

St. Methodius of Olympus

Didymus the Blind

St. Paulinus of Nola

St. Alexander of Alexandria

St. Hilary of Poitiers

St. Arsenius the Great

St. Anthony the Great

Nemesius of Emesa

St. Pacianus of Barcelona

St. Pior

St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Sulpicius Severus

Pope St. Stephen I

St. Epiphanius of Salamis

St. John Cassian

St. Macra

St. Martin or Tours

Synesius of Cyrene

St. Febronia of Nisibis (280-304)

St. Syncletice (Abbess)

St. Isidore of Pelusium

St. Eusebius of Vercelli

St. Basil the Great

St. Cyril of Alexandria


St. Gregory of Nazianzen

St. Theophilus of Alexandria

St. Anthony of Egypt

St. Gregory of Nyssa

St. Mark the Ascetic

St. Ammonas the Hermit

St. Moses the Black

St. Patrick of Ireland

St. Agnes

St. Monica

St. Poemen (Abbot)

St. Hilarion

St. Niceta of Remesiana

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The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.