History of the Catholic Church

Nina CunninghamCatholic Church


Roman Catholic churches are based on the churches in Vatican City which is led by the Pope, and it is considered to be one of the largest branches of Christianity in the world. Roughly about one in seven members in the world are Roman Catholics.

Origin of the church:
Roman Catholic churches claim that their churches were established by Christ himself. They believe that Christ had appointed Apostle Paul as the head of the church as it is recorded in the Bible in Mathew 16:18. It is said that the Roman Catholic Church was established around 590 CE by the Pope named Gregory I.

Early Churches:
After the certification of Christ, the disciples were instructed to spread the gospel to the entire world, and they were the ones who created the structure for the early Christian Churches. Simon Peter who was a disciple of Jesus Christ later became a very influential leader in the Jewish community. Saul who initially persecuted the Jewish community later accepted Jesus Christ and started preaching the Gospel. Saul adopted the name Paul and became a great evangelist for the early Christian churches. The ministry that was done by Paul is also known as the Pauline Christianity, and these were mostly the gentiles who were neglected by the Jews. Another group named as the Gnostic Christians believed that Jesus was the spirit of God who was sent from above to bear the sins of men on the cross.


The Jewish Christians were scattered after the fall of Jerusalem in the 70 AD. The two major Christian groups that were left out was the Pauline Christians and the Gnostic Christians. The Roman Empire then recognised the Pauline Christians as the major dominant group, and Roman Catholicism was made the official religion in 380 AD for the Roman Empire.

About 1000 years from then, these Roman Catholics were referred to as Christians and only in the year 1054 AD there was an official split in the Roman Catholic religion. The Eastern Orthodox churches separated from the Roman Catholic churches. The other major split happened in the sixteenth century when a group called the Protestants were formed, and they again split from the Roman Catholics.

In the year 1517 CE Martin Luther King published about 95 Theses which had documents that were against the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholics Churches and the Popes. He began the Protestant separation from the Roman Catholic community.
Only in the 1870 CE, it was declared that the Pope’s decisions were beyond reproach and it was considered as the decision of God himself. The policy of Papal infallibility was accepted all over the Vatican City, and people considered the Pope as someone who is right next to the position of God. Later in 1960, several measures were taken, and the Catholic churches were modernised.