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The Early Church Fathers on the Church's Indefectibility, that it cannot fail.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures



  1. St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258)
    St. Archelaus, (lived from early to late 3rd century)
    St. Victorinus, (A.D. 260-303)
    Lactantius, (A.D. 240-c.330)
    St. Alexander of Alexandria, (c.A.D. 250-325)
    Eusebius of Cæsarea, (A.D. c.263-338)
    St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372)
    St. Zeno of Verona, (unknown- A.D. c.383)
    Lucifer of Cagliagi, (unknown-371)
    St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378)
    St. Pacian of Barcelona, (A.D. c.310-375)
    Theophilus of Alexandria, (unknown-A.D. 412)
    St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403)
    St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396)
    St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420)
    St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407)
    St. Gaudentius of Brescia, (unknown - A.D. 410)
    St. Asterius Of Amasea, (A.D. c.350-400)
St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258), North African; bishop; biblical scholar, martyr.

After expressing his joy that the confessors had abandoned Novatian, he says,

"For this is a fresh confession of your faith and of praise, to confess that the Church is one; that it is not made partaker in other's error, or rather, in other's pravity; to return to the same camp whence you went forth; whence you rushed forth with mighty power, to give battle to, and conquer, the enemy. . . . For though tares be seen to be in the Church, neither our faith nor our charity ought to be impeded, so as to withdraw ourselves from the Church, because we see tares in the Church. It is for us simply to strive that we may be true wheat, that when the wheat shall begin to be garnered into the Lord's barns, we may receive fruit according to our work and labor. The Apostle says, in his Epistle: "In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some indeed unto honor, but some unto dishonor." (2 Timothy 2:20) Let us, therefore, my dearest brethren, strive and labor our utmost to be vessels of gold and of silver. But to break the vessels of earth is entrusted to the Lord alone, to whom also has been given the rod of iron. The servant cannot be greater than his Lord, nor can any one claim for himself that which the Father has granted to the Son alone, so as to fancy that he can carry the fan to winnow and cleanse the thrashing-floor, or separate by human judgment all the tares from the wheat. This is a proud obstinacy and a sacrilegious presumption, which a guilty madness assumes to itself. And while some men ever assume to themselves a dominion beyond what meek justice requires, they perish from the Church; and whilst they insolently exalt themselves blinded by their own swelling pride, they lose the light of truth. ... As far as my moderate abilities enabled me, I have delineated the unity of the Church, which tract, I trust, will be more and more acceptable to you, when you now read it so as to approve and love. In as much as what we have expressed in words you accomplish by deeds, by your return to the Church in the unity of charity and peace."

Ep. li. ad confess, de reditu, pp. 146, 147.
See also Ep. lv. ad Cornelium
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 204-205

"Nor ought it to move any faithful person, and one mindful of the Gospel, and who remembers the injunctions of the Apostle, who forewarns us, that in the last times, certain proud persons, both contumacious and enemies to the priests of God, either withdraw from the Church, or act against the Church, when both the Lord and His Apostles have beforehand foretold that such should now be. Nor let any one wonder that the servant set over it is deserted by some; when His own disciples forsook the Lord Himself, while performing the greatest marvels and mighty deeds, and the testimony of His works demonstrating the powers of God the Father. And yet He did not chide them as they withdrew, or grievously threaten them, but rather, having turned to His own Apostles, said, "Will you, also, go away?" Observing to wit the law, whereby a man left to his own liberty, and placed (to act) by his own free choice, himself for himself, chooses either death or salvation. Peter, however, on whom the Church had been built by the same Lord, one speaking for all, and answering with the voice of the Church, says, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and we believe, and have known that Thou art the Son of the Living God." Signifying, to wit, and showing, that they who may and have departed from the Church, perish by their own fault; but that the Church which believes in Christ, and which once holds what it has known, never departs from Him at all; and that they are the Church who persevere in the house of God; but that they are not the plant planted by God the Father, who, we see, are not rooted with the firmness of wheat, but are blown about like chaff by the breath of the enemy scattering them; of whom also John, in his epistle, says, "They went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they,had been of us, they would, no doubt, have remained with us." Also Paul admonishes us, not to be moved when the wicked perish from the Church, and that faith is not lessened by the withdrawal of the faithless. For what, he says, "if some of them have fallen from the faith? Has their unbelief made the faith of God without effect? God forbid. For God is true, but every man a liar." As regards ourselves, dearest brother, it concerns our conscience to endeavor that no one perish from the Church through our fault. But if any one shall perish of his own will, and by his own sin, and will not do penitence and return to the Church, we who consult for the health of all, shall be blameless in the day of judgment; they alone will continue in punishments who would not be healed by our wholesome counsel."

Ep. lv. ad Cornelium.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 205-206

"This, too, we perceive is embraced in the sacrament of the chalice. For, as Christ, who also bore our sins, bore us all, we see that in the water the people is meant, but that in the wine is shown the blood of Christ. But when in the chalice the water is mingled with the wine, the people are united to Christ, and the multitude of believers are connected and conjoined with Him in whom it has believed. Which connection and conjunction of water and wine are so mingled together in the chalice of the Lord, in that the commixture cannot be mutually separated. Whence nothing can separate the Church from Christ; the Church, that is, the people settled in the Church, faithfully and firmly persevering in what they have believed."

Ep. Ixiii. Ccecilio.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 206

"You write, moreover, that, "through me the Church has a portion of herself in dispersion." Whereas the whole people of the Church are collected, and united and bound together in undivided concord; they alone can have remained without, who, had they been within, would have had to be cast forth; nor does the Lord, the protector and guardian of His people, suffer the wheat to be swept away from His thrashing-floor, but the chaff alone can be separated from the Church, for that the Apostle also says: "For what if some of them have fallen away from the faith? Has their unbelief made the faith of God without effect? God forbid. For God is true, but every man a liar." (Romans 3:3, 4) And the Lord also in the Gospel, when the disciples were forsaking Him whilst He was teaching, turning to the twelve, said: "Will you also go away?" And Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life, and we have come to believe." (John 6:68-70) There speaks Peter, upon whom the Church was to be built, teaching and showing, in the name of the Church, that though a contumacious and proud multitude of men, unwilling to obey may depart, yet the Church departs not from Christ; and they are the Church, the people united to the priest, and the flock adhering to its own shepherd. Whence you ought to know that the bishop is in the Church, and the Church in the bishop; and if any be not with the bishop, that he is not in the Church; and that they in vain flatter themselves who, not having peace with God's priests, creep in, and believe that they secretly hold communion with certain others; whereas the Church, which is Catholic and one, is not rent nor divided, but is indeed connected together and knit by the cement of priests cleaving to each other. Wherefore, brother, if you will consider the majesty of God, who ordains priests; if you will at length have respect to Christ, who by His will and fiat, and His own presence, governs both the prelates themselves, and the Church with the prelates ... if you will most fully make satisfaction to God and His Christ, whom I serve, and to whom, with pure and unstained mouth, I unceasingly, both during persecution and in days of peace, offer sacrifices, we may take into consideration the being in communion with you."

Ep. lxix. ad Pupianum,pp. 265, 260.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 207-208

"The Church is one, which having obtained the grace of eternal life, both lives for ever, and gives life to the people of God."

Ep. lxxi. ad Quintum,p. 271.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 208

"The spouse of Christ cannot become adulterate; she is undefiled and chaste. She owns but one home; with spotless purity she guards the sanctity of one chamber. She keeps us for God; she appoints unto a kingdom the sons that she has borne. Whosoever, having separated from the Church, is joined to an adulteress, he is cut off from the promises of the Church. Neither shall he come unto the rewards of Christ, who leaves the Church of Christ. He is an alien, he is profane, he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for a Father, who has not the Church for a mother."

De Unitate, p. 397.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 208

"Let no one imagine that good men can leave the Church. The wind carries not away the wheat, nor does the storm overthrow the tree that has a solid root to rest on. It is the empty straw that the tempest tosses, the unhealthy trees that the blow of the whirlwind casts down. These the Apostle John curses and smites, saying, "They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us." (1 John 2:19) Hence oftentimes have heresies been caused, and still are caused, while the perverse spirit has no peace, while perfidy and discord hold not unity. But the Lord permits and suffers these things to be, the judgment of free will remaining; in order that, whilst the discrimination of truth searches our minds and hearts, the perfect faith of them that are approved may shine forth in the manifest light. The Holy Spirit forewarns us by the Apostle, and says: "There must be heresies, that they who are approved may be manifest amongst you." (1 Corinthians 11:19) Thus are the faithful approved, thus the faithless detected: and thus even here, before the day of judgment, the souls of the righteous are divided from the unrighteous, and the wheat is separated from the chaff. These are they who, without appointment from God, take upon themselves, of their own will, to preside over the rash persons who have been brought together, establish themselves as rulers without any lawful ordination, and assume unto themselves the name of bishop, though no one gives them a bishopric."

De Unitate, p. 399.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 208-209

"The faith and firmness of the Apostles did not fail in consequence of the secession of the traitor Judas from their society; nor is the sanctity and dignity of the confessors amongst us necessarily impaired, because the faith of certain of them has given way. The blessed Paul in his epistle thus speaks, "For what if some of them have fallen away from the faith? shall their unbelief nullify the faith of God?" (Romans 3:3) The greater and better portion of the confessors remain firm in the strength of their faith, and in the truth of the law and teaching of the Lord; neither do they, who remember that God has declared them worthy to find grace in His Church, retire from the peace of the Church, and thereby their faith obtains the greater praise, because they have withdrawn from the perfidy of those who had associated in the fellowship of their confession."

De Unitate, l. c.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 209-210

St. Archelaus, (lived from early to late 3rd century), a bishop of Mesopotamia, about the year A.D. 277 to whom is attributed a Disputation with Manes, a prophet.

I will state briefly, for the information of all present, who and whence, and what sort of man, this Manes is; for he has declared himself to be that Paraclete whom Jesus, when going to (the Father), promised to send to the human race, for the salvation of faithful souls. . . . Whereby, perhaps in ignorance, he would make Jesus guilty of falsehood: for He who said that He would, not much later, send the Paraclete, is found, after three hundred years and more, to have sent this man, as he testifies of himself. What will they say to Jesus, in the day of judgment, they who have departed this life from that time to this? Will not this be their plea before Him: Do not torment us if we have not done Thy works. For why, though Thou didst promise, under Tiberius Caesar, to send a Paraclete who should convince us of sin and of justice, hast Thou at last sent him, under the Roman emperor Probus; why hast Thou left us orphans, though Thou didst say, I will not leave you orphans; though Thou saidst, that, as soon as Thou shouldst go, Thou wouldst send the Paraclete? What could we orphans do without a guardian? We have not sinned; Thou hast deceived us. But God forbid that such should be applicable to our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of every soul. For He delayed not the fulfilment of the promises, but having said, I go to my Father, and I send the Paraclete unto you, He sent him at once, distributing and giving to His disciples, but bestowing in greater fullness on Paul."

Disputat. cum Manete, Galland, t. iii. pp. 585, 586.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 210-211

St. Victorinus, (A.D. 260-303), an ecclesiastical writer who flourished about A.D. 270, and who suffered martyrdom probably in A.D. 303, under Diocletian.

Explaining Revelation 21:21-25, he says:

"We believe the twelve gates to be the number of the Apostles . . . and that the gates cannot be shut, manifestly proves that the doctrine of the Apostles cannot by any storm of gainsayers be severed from the truth, even though the waves of the Gentiles, and the vain superstitions of heretics, rise up against their true faith; overcome, they shall be, as the foaming waves, scattered, because the rock is Christ, by whom and through whom the Church is founded."

Schol. in Apocal. Galland. t. iv. p. 64.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 211

Lactantius, (A.D. 240-c.330), was an early Christian author, the goal of his writings was to present Christianity in a form that would be attractive to philosophical pagans.

"From all this it is manifest, that all the prophets foretold of Christ, that the time would come that, being born in the flesh of the family of David, He would build up to God an everlasting temple, called the Church, and would summon all nations to the true religion of God. This is the faithful house, this the immortal temple, wherein if a man sacrifice not, he shall not have the reward of immortality. Of which great and everlasting temple, since Christ was the Builder, the same must needs have therein an everlasting priesthood. Nor can there be access to the temple, and to the sight of God, save through Him who established that temple. In the 109th Psalm David teaches this very thing, saying, "Before the day star I begot thee. The Lord hath sworn and He will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech."

Divin. Instit. lib. iv. c. 14; Galland. t. iv. p. 295; and Oxon. 1684, p. 351.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 211-212

St. Alexander of Alexandria, (c.A.D. 250-325), He succeeded to the chair of Alexandria about the year A.D. 312. He was the first to resist the heresy of Arius, whom he condemned, and whose against novelties he wrote numerous letters to the bishops of various churches; only two of these remain.

"We also confess one, and one only Catholic, the Apostolic Church, which is always incapable of being overthrown, even though the whole world choose to war with it; and it is triumphant over every most unhallowed revolt of the heterodox; the master of the household Himself having made us confident, in that He exclaims: "Have confidence, I have overcome the world." (St. John 16)

Ep. de Arian. Ilaeres. Galland, t. iv. p. 450.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 212

Eusebius of Cæsarea, (A.D. c.263-338), appointed Bishop of Cæsarea in A.D. 314, Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist, scholar of the Biblical canon who was deeply embroiled in the Arian controversy.

"The Saviour prophesied that His doctrine would be preached over the whole world, wherever man was, as a testimony to all the nations; and, by a divine foreknowledge, He foretold that the Church too, which, during the years of His sojourning amongst men, was not seen nor established, should be invincible, incapable of overthrow, and never be overcome by death; but should, according to His declaration, stand and continue immovable, as being, by His power, firmly established and imbedded on a rock that could not be moved nor broken. Better than all reasoning, with good cause should the accomplishment of this prophecy put to silence the unbridled tongues of all who, unchecked by shame, are ever ready to give proof of their audacity. . . . For the fame of His Gospel has filled every country which the sun illumines; it has traversed all nations; and even now, in accordance with His words, the preaching concerning Him is more widely diffused and increased: and His Church, of which He prophesied by name, has stood, and has struck deep its roots, and, by the prayers of men holy and beloved of God, it has been exalted to the very heavens, and daily is more glorified, scattering everywhere the intellectual and divine light of that holiness which He evangelized, in no wise overcome, nor in any thing yielding to its enemies, or even to the gates of death; and this because of that one word which He uttered, saying, "I will build my Church upon a rock, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."

Prop. Evangel. 1. i. c. 3, p. 7, ed. Paris. 1628.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 212-213

"Rejoice and be glad, daughter of Sion, for behold I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee." (Zechariah 2:10) We have believed that the God Word dwells in the midst of the Church, as He promised, saying: "Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world"; and, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them"

Dem. Evang. l. v. c. 26, p. 252.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 213

"That Christ is with us, His priests, we know from His saying, "Lo, I will be with you", He said, "all the days of your life, even to the consummation of the world."

Contra Marcell. Ancyr. Lib. ii. p. 26.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 213

"On account of these passages, Marcellus recognizes the body of the glory of the Son, and denies that His kingdom is to be without end; not having perceived that the word "until" is often to be taken in a sense peculiar to the Scriptures. For thus the Saviour spoke to His disciples: "I am with you all days, until the consummation of the world": not denying that He would be with them also after the consummation, but teaching that even now He is with them, overlooking and keeping all who have become His disciples."

Contra Marcell. Ancyr. Lib. c. xiv. p. 182.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 213

"The Psalmist teaches that unseen and secret abiding of the Saviour with men after His ascension, even until now, saying: "And He made darkness His covert, His pavilion round about Him dark water in the clouds of the air (Psalms 17:12). For no one is ignorant how He abides with us, agreeably to that saying of His, "Lo, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world"; and He points out no other pavilion of His than the holy Church, in which He promised that he would pitch His tent, saying: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them"

Com. in Psalms 17, t. 1, p. 62. Nova Collect. Montfaucon.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 213-214

"In His days shall justice spring up and abundance of peace. (Psalms 71:7) The days of our Saviour are to be understood as being, from His advent even to the consummation of the world. For as we hear it said, "In the days of David, and, now the days of Jeroboam", so are we to take the days of our Saviour. But they, when they had lived for a short while, quickly passed away, therefore also have their days failed, whilst the word spoken already has manifested what are the days of our Saviour, saying, "He shall continue with the sun, and before the moon throughout all generations." in accordance with which words Himself promised His disciples: "Behold I am with you even to the consummation of the world." For thus was He to continue with the sun."

Comm. in Psalms 71, 1. 1, p. 407.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 214

"He, therefore, that promised to build His Church upon a rock, so as that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it, He will be its guard and protector, fencing it round and protecting it, in order that the gates of Hell may not prevail against it."

Comm. in Psalms 71, xc. p. 594.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 214-215


St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372), Egyptian; bishop, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. He was present, as an assistant to St. Alexander of Alexandria, at the council of Nicea who he succeeded in A.D. 326. During more than forty years he was the champion of orthodoxy, and suffered much severe persecution from the Arian party.

"All heresies that have abandoned the truth, are manifestly seen to have invented for themselves a madness, and their irreligion has long since become manifest to all men. For it is clear that the inventors of these things went out from us, as the blessed John has written, since the opinions of these men neither were, nor are they now, ours. Therefore, too, as the Saviour said, not gathering with us, they scatter with the devil, watching for the sleepers, in order that sowing their own venom of destruction, they may have partners in death. And since one, and that the latest, of the heresies, and which has just now come forth, the forerunner of antichrist, that called the Arian, being full of wiles and wickedness, perceiving that the sister heresies, its elders, have been publicly branded, affects to clothe itself in the language of Scripture, as did its father the devil, and strives again to enter into the Eden of the Church, with the view that having framed itself as Christian, it may, by the deceitfulness of false arguments, lead astray some in their opinions concerning Christ. ... I have thought it needful at your solicitation, to unrip the folds of its breastplate (Job 41), and to show the ill savor of its folly."

Orat. 1, Contr. Arian. n. 1, p. 319.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 215-216

"Unless the Lord build the house, and keep the city, in vain do the laborers build and the watchmen guard. (Psalms 126:2) Therefore is the Jewish system destroyed, for it was a shadow; but that of the Church is firmly established, for it is built upon the rock, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it"

Oratio iv. Contr. Arian. n. 34, t. 1, p. 510.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 216

Explaining Psalm 89:36, "And His throne as the sun before me": understand, by the throne of Christ, the Church; for in it He rests. The Church of Christ, then, he says, shall be refulgent and enlighten all under Heaven, and be abiding as the sun and the moon. For this passage says so: "His throne as the sun before me, and as the moon perfect for ever, and a faithful witness in Heaven."

Expos, in Psalms. p. 922, t. 1.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 216

Speaking of the councils of Ariminum and of Seleucia, wherein the Arians, supported by the Emperor Constantius, endeavored to subvert the council of Nicaea, he says:"What pressed so much, that the whole world was to be disturbed, and that they who at this time were called clerics must run up and down, and seek how they might learn to believe on our Lord Jesus Christ? For if they believed, they would not have sought as men that had not found; and this was to the catechumens no small scandal, and to the Gentiles it was some thing more than common, and even furnished them abundant matter for laughter; that Christians, as if just roused from sleep, should be inquiring how they ought to believe concerning Christ; whilst their professed clerics, though as teachers claiming deference from the people, have convicted themselves of being without faith, by seeking what they have not. . . .What defect of teaching unto true religion was there in the Catholic Church, that they should now be in search after faith, and should prefix the consulate of the present period to the declarations which they have set down, about faith to wit? Ursacius, and Valens, and Germinius, and their associates, have done what never happened, what never was heard of amongst Christians: for, having written what they pleased to believe, they prefixed to it the consulate, and the month, and the day of the present year: thereby to show all prudent men, that the faith of these men has its beginning, not at any prior period, but now, under Constantius. . . . These men having written "The faith is now published", have shown that the sentiment of their heresy is recent, and that it was not before. But if they have added of the Catholic (Church) they have inadvertently fallen into the extravagance of the Cataphrygians, even so as to say with them, "To us first was revealed", and, "From us begins the faith of Christians". And as they write on it Maximilla and Montanus, so do these inscribe it with Constantius, sovereign, instead of Christ. But if, according to them, the faith dates from this consulate, what will the fathers and the blessed martyrs do? And what will they too do with those instructed by themselves, and who have slept before this consulate? How will they wake them up to obliterate what they once taught them, and sow in them what they have just now, as having made a discovery, committed to writing? So ignorant are they; skilful only in framing excuses, and those unbecoming and implausible, and which have at hand their refutation. Whereas the synod of Nicaea was not a common meeting, but there was an urgent need for it, and a reasonable object. . . . They wrote indeed respecting Easter, "It has seemed good as follows:" for it did then seem good that there should be a general compliance; but as regards faith, they wrote not, "It has seemed good", but "Thus believes the Catholic Church", and at once confessed, how they believed, thereby to show that their sentiment was not novel, but apostolical; and that what they wrote down was not a discovery of their own, but the same as the Apostles had taught."

De Synodis. n. 2-5, t. 1, pp. 573-5.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 216-218

The language of the Catholic bishops at the Nicaean Council is to the same effect. Marvelling at the deceitful language (of the Arians), and their guileful intentions, they said,

"We have not assembled here because in need of faith, for we have within us sound faith; but that we may put to shame those who impugn the truth, and are attempting to innovate. If, then, you have written these things as if now beginning to believe, you are not clerics, but just beginning your catechism: but if you meet us with the same views with which we have assembled here, let there be a general unanimity, and let us anathematize the heresies, and preserve the teaching of the fathers."

St. Zeno of Verona, (unknown- A.D. c.383), Italian; African by birth, on coming to Italy was appointed bishop of Verona, in the year 362. He died about the year 383. His works were collected after his death, at the beginning of the fifth, or at the close of the fourth century. The brothers Ballerini gave an excellent edition, in 1739, Veronae.

"If the Church is therefore the spouse of Christ because it is chaste, and therefore honored with the yoke of a heavenly marriage, because even after the nuptials she thenceforward continues for ever a virgin; we who are born of so excellent a union."

Lib. 1, Tract, iv. de Pudicit. n. 1, Galland. t.v.p. 115.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 218

Lucifer of Cagliagi, (unknown-371), Italian; bishop of Cagliari, distinguished himself as a strenuous opponent of the Arians. He died about the year 371. His works, which consist almost solely of a few pieces addressed to the Emperor Constantius, are given by Gallandius in his sixth volume and from the Tillius edition. He is venerated as a Saint in Sardinia.

Thus shall you speak to Ezechias, king of Judah: "Let not thy God deceive thee, in whom thou trusteth, saying Jerusalem shall not be given into the hands of the king of the Assyrians." (Isaiah 37:10) Even thus, thou blasphemer, art thou in dangers, and seest them not; whilst we see God's worshippers safeguarded and uninjured. Whence is our safeguard and defence, but in that we hold fast the holy faith which patriarchs, prophets, and martyrs held, and which thou, Constantius, hast branded as heretical."

Pro S. Athan. Lib. 1, n. 51, p. 177.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 219

"The battle raised by thy cruelty, Constantius, rages more violently; but see how the glory of the soldiers of Christ keeps pace too. . . . The pangs inflicted by the tormentors, and thy cruel punishments, conquer us not; because He abides in us and is established with us, who said to the holy Apostles, "I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."

Moriend. pro Dei Fil. n. 8, Galland, t.v.p. 248.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page

"Take hold gladly of what may lead thee to the feast of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, those friends of God, thou man of utter injustice, who hast dared to account thyself just, setting thyself above all those who have been constituted bishops of the Church, by God's judgment, and repudiating that holy faith which the Church now holds, and has always held."

Moriend. pro Dei Filio, n. 22, Galland. t. vi.p. 253.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 219-220

St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378), Syrian; born in Nisebis, deacon, hymnist, poet. His works were even during his own lifetime almost all translated into Greek, and were, as St. Jerome informs us, held in such high estimation, as to be read in some churches after the Holy Scriptures. We have his life by St. Gregory of Nyssa.

On Exodus 25:9, he says:

"He seems to have designated the tabernacle of the Old Testament a likeness, or a type, and a temporary tabernacle, thereby to intimate that it was to last but for a time, and that, when at last set aside, for it would be substituted the Church of Christ, and that this, as being a perfect and complete pattern of the heavenly tabernacle, would abide for ever."

T. 1, P. 2, Syr. Comm. in Exod. p. 223.
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"Thou hast also built a Church on earth, which resembles the Church triumphant (in Heaven ): its foundations love impelled Thee to lay, and grace presided at its completion. Thou hast also taken it as Thy spouse, and hast made it Thine at the price of Thy blood. But since the wicked adversary of man, and his satellites and ministers, are striving to overthrow so glorious a structure, do Thou, therefore, O Lord, guard it under Thy protection, that the gates of Hell may not prevail against it; that its inherent beauty perish not; that, in fine, its treasures, filled with every kind of wealth, fail not, and be not exhausted. Fulfill, O Lord, what Thou didst promise to Peter, the prince of the Apostles."

T., iii. Syr. Paraem. 62, p. 532.
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St. Pacian of Barcelona, (A.D. c.310-375), bishop of Barcelona, Jerome praises his eloquence, learning, chastity, and holiness of life. He is also remembered from a phrase from one of his letters: "My name is Christian, my surname is Catholic.".

"An heretical congregation is an adulteress woman: for the Catholic hath never from the beginning left the couch and the chamber of her spouse, nor gone after other and strange lovers. Ye have painted a divorced form in new colors; ye have withdrawn your couch from the old wedlock; ye have left the body of a mother, the wife of one husband, decking yourselves out with new arts of pleasing, new allurements of corruption."

Ep. iii. Galland, t. vii.
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Theophilus of Alexandria (unknown-A.D. 412), patriarch of Alexandria from A.D. 385 until his death in 412, regarded as a saint by the Coptic Orthodox Church.

"The Lord who thus spoke to the prophet: "Lo, I have set thee this day over the nations and over kingdoms, to root up, and to pull down, and to waste, and to build up again and to plant (Jeremiah 1:10) bestows at all times the same grace upon His Church; that the body may be preserved whole, and that the poisons of heretical dogmas may in nothing prevail."

Ep. ad Epip. Galland. t. vii. p. 645.
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St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403), Palestinian; bishop, abbot, scholar.

"Herod a stranger was then king, and the descendants of David no longer wore the diadem. And after the royal throne had been transferred, the regal dignity was made to pass, in Christ, from the carnal household of Judah, and from Jerusalem, unto the Church. And that throne is firmly established in the holy Church of God for ever."

T. i. Adv. Hæres. (29), p. 118.
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"Such as these have no power against the ark; for holy Noah received a commission, according to the word of the Lord, to secure it; as the Lord said unto him, "Thou shalt pitch it within and without" (Genesis 6:14) that he might thereby point out the semblance of the holy Church of God, which has that efficacy of pitch, which repels pernicious and destructive and serpent-like doctrines. For where is the smell of pitch, there the snake is unable to remain."

T. i. Adv. Hæres. (51), p. 423.
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"But I have already been busied on all these matters in that great work concerning the faith, to which I have given the name of the anchorage; wherein, according to the ability of my poor understanding, with the assistance of God, having collected, out of the whole of Scripture, the truths of the divine testimony, I have clearly laid down, as an anchor for those that wish for it, the holy faith of the fathers, which is both apostolic and prophetic, and which from the beginning even until now has been proclaimed in the holy Church of God, in order to check and secure the mind from being driven about by the devices of the devil, and to prevent its being injured by the violent agitation excited in the world by the heresies. For thus did the Lord also teach His disciples, saying, that, "If what you have heard from the beginning abide in you, you shall abide in me, and I in you; and I in the Father, and you in me." As therefore the truths of the faith, which were from the beginning heard from the Lord, abide in the holy Church of God; so also on this account do the holy Church of God and the orthodox faith abide in the Lord; and the only-begotten Lord in the Father, the Father in the Son, and we in Him, through the Holy Ghost, provided we become temples fitted to receive this Holy Spirit."

Adv. Hæres. (69), pp. 751-2.
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Addressing the Anomaeans, who called the Catholics "temporaries" he says,"The holy faith of God being from the beginning, and ever venerable with age, though it never grows old, always exists, and its foundations are ever firm; it always subsists, having a Lord that is unlimited by time. Wherefore neither is faith limited by time, but ever citizens with angels, and makes the saints glorious from generation to generation. Rather art thou temporary, led as thou art away by error, and proud of mind. . . . None of the ancients thought as thou thinkest, Aetius, thou that writest against the temporaries, thou thyself but temporary, and without antiquity."

Adv. Hæres. (76), p. 932.
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"This was befitting that first of the Apostles, that firm rock upon which the Church of God was built, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. The gates of Hell are heresies and heresiarchs."

T. ii. Ancoratus, p. 14, n. ix.
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St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396), German; reluctantly made bishop in the A.D. 374., Doctor of the Church. He closed a great and glorious career in A.D. 396. We have his life by Paulinus..

"The Church too hath her seasons, of persecutions, to wit, and of peace. For she seems to wane like the moon, but she fails not. She may be overcast with clouds, but fail she cannot; she is indeed lessened by the falling away of individuals in the time of persecution, that she may fill up her orb by the confession of her martyrs; and that, made resplendent by the victorious shedding of their blood for Christ, she may shed more brightly the light of her devotion and faith over the whole world. For the moon suffers a diminution of light, not of substance, when, in her monthly changes, she seems to quench her light, that she may borrow from the sun."

T. i. Hexaem. l. iv. c. 2, n. 7, p. 66.
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"The Church is buffeted, but is not overwhelmed by the waves of worldly cares; she is stricken, but is not weakened, being easily able to subdue and calm down the agitation of the waves, and the rebellion of the passions of the body. She looks on, herself free and exempt from danger, whilst others are shipwrecked, always prepared to have Christ shine upon her, and to derive gladness from His light."

T. i. De Abraham, l. ii. c. 3, n. xi. p. 318.
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"It is that same Peter to whom He said, "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church." Therefore, where Peter is, there the Church is; where the Church is, there death is not, but life eternal. And therefore did He add, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it (or Him), and I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed Peter, against whom the gate of Hell prevailed not, the gate of Heaven closed not, but who, on the contrary, destroyed the porches of Hell, and opened the heavenly places. Wherefore, though placed on earth, he opened Heaven, and closed Hell."

T. i. In Psalms xl. n. 30, pp. 879-80.
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"As pure gold, so also the Church, when tried by fire, suffers no loss, but its brightness is the rather increased, until the time when Christ shall come unto His kingdom, and recline His head on the faith of the Church. When He came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, He had not whereon to lay His head, but now faith is already diffused as a perfume, and therefore does the Church say, "My spikenard sent forth an odor"

T. i. In Psalms cxviii. (Gimel) n. 7, p. 995.
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Commenting on St. Luke 9:20, he says:

"Thy rock is faith: the foundation of the Church is faith. If thou be a rock, thou wilt be in the Church, because the Church is upon a rock. If thou be in the Church, the gates of Hell shall not prevail against thee. The gates of Hell are the gates of death, but the gates of death cannot be the gates of the Church."

T. i. Expos, in Luc. L. vi. n. 98, p. 1407.
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St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420), Dalmatian; born in Strido; priest, hermit, abbot, biblical scholar, translator and Doctor of the Church. In an age distinguished by men of the greatest eloquence and learning, St. Jerome, especially in all matters connected with the Sacred Scriptures, was then preeminent, and has probably never since been equalled.

"I congratulate with you and give thanks to Christ my God, that, with a holy disposition, you have, from the falsehood of the Sardinians, turned yourself to the sweet savor of the whole world; and that you do not say, after the fashion of some men, "Save me, O Lord, for there is now no saint." (Psalm 11); whose impious words make void the cross of Christ; bring the Son of man under the yoke of the devil; and understand the complaint, uttered by the Lord concerning sinners, as though spoken of all mankind: "What profit is there in my blood, whilist I go down to corruption." (Psalm 29) But God forbid that a God should have died in vain. The strong one has been bound, and his goods rifled. The words of the Father have been fulfilled: "Ask of me, and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." (Psalm 2:8) "He hath set His tabernacle in the sun, and there is no one that can hide himself from His heat." (Psalm 18) Full of the God, the Psalmist sings, "The swords of the enemy have failed unto the end, and their cities Thou hast destroyed." (Psalm 9) And where, I ask, are those righteous overmuch, yea, profane overmuch, who assert that the synagogues are more numerous than the churches? Then, how have the cities of the devil been destroyed, and unto the end, that is, the consummation of ages, have the idols fallen down? If Christ have not a Church, or if He have one in Sardinia only, He has become beyond all measure poor. And if Satan have possession of Britain, the Gauls, the East, the people of India, the nations of barbarians, and of the whole world at once, how is it that the trophies of the cross have been removed to the corner of this whole world? His powerful adversary has forsooth yielded up to Christ that refuse of earth, Sardinia; he would not own those ghastly creatures, and their miserable province."

T. ii. Adv. Luciferi. n. 14, 15, col. 186, 187.
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Commenting on. Isaiah 4:5, 6:

"We refer all this to the first advent of Christ, concerning whom we also read in the Psalms, "He hath protected me in the secret place of His tabernacle, He hath exalted me upon a rock." (Psalm 26) Upon which rock the Church being built, it is not shaken by any tempest, it is not overthrown by any wind or hurricane."

T. iv. in Isaiah col. 67.
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"I will my sanctification, or my sanctuary, in the midst of them for ever." (Ezekiel 37), which the Jews interpret of the temple built under Zorobabel. But how can the phrase for ever hold good, seeing that the temple built by Zorobabel, and which was afterwards restored by many others, was burnt down by the Romans? All this is to be referred to the Church, and to the times of the Saviour, when the tabernacle was set in the Church; He became our God, and we His people."

T. v. l. xi. In Ezech. col. 440.
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"Hence we may understand, that even to the end of the world the Church may be indeed shaken by persecutions, but never can be overthrown; be tried, not conquered. And this will be, because the Lord God Almighty, or the Lord its God, of the Church, to wit, has promised that He will effect this; and His promise is nature's law."

T. vi. l. iii. c. 9, In Amos. col. 358.
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"The gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." I consider the gates of Hell to be vices and sins, or certainly the doctrines of heretics, by which men are enticed and led to Hell."

T. vii. l. iii. in Matthew, col. 124.
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St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407), Syrian; archbishop, Doctor of the Church. Born at Antioch in 344; he was ordained priest in A.D. 383, and raised to the see of Constantinople in the year A.D. 398. His eloquence gained him the title of Chrysostom, or the mouth of gold. His expositions of Scripture, especially the Epistles of St. Paul, are very valuable. This illustrious prelate died on his road to exile, in A.D. 407.

"Christ's prophecies were of two kinds, one to be accomplished in this world, and the other after its consummation; and one establishes and demonstrates with great completeness the truth of the other. I will give an example, for what has been said is obscure, and therefore will I try to make it plainer.

There were twelve disciples that followed Him, but of the matter of the Church no one had at that time formed any idea nay, no one knew anything of its name. What then did He say and prophesy, when well nigh the whole world was held in godlessness? "Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." Examine the declaration as you please, and you will see its resplendent truth. For in sooth it is not alone wonderful that He built it throughout the universe, but that He made it also invincible, though assailed by so great conflicts. "For the gates of Hell" are dangers that lead down to Hell. Seest thou the truth of the prophecy? Seest thou the force of the event? Seest thou words shining brightly by deeds; and an invincible power effecting all things with ease? For do not, because the declaration, "I will build my Church", is brief, hurry over it heedlessly; but develop it in your mind, and reflect what it is to have, in a short time, filled with so mighty churches, all the earth beneath the sun.

[He then adduces the usual arguments connected with the propagation of Christianity.]

Thus did they build the Church. How and in what manner? By His power who gave it them in command. For He pioneered the way before them; Himself making all, even the most difficult things, easy. For had there not been a divine power that was bringing things to a successful issue, they would not even have had a beginning or a starting-place. For how could they? But He that said, "Let Heaven be", and produced His work, and "Let the earth be based", and produced its substance ... the same also planted these churches. And that very declaration, "I will build my Church", effected the whole. For such are God's words, creative of deeds, of deeds wonderful and strange. For as He said, "Let the earth bring forth the green herb", and all was at once a paradise; so also now He said, "I will build my Church", and it is done with all ease; and though tyrants armed against it, and soldiers brandished their weapons He sowed the word of the Gospel ... for they had, fighting for them and aiding, the irresistible power of Him who said, "Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." Now reckon up how many princes have since that time set themselves against it; how many have raised the most grievous persecutions; consider in what state the faith has been in all preceding ages, when but newly planted, while the minds of men were more tender and yet all these snares and assaults were scattered more easily than a spider's web; were dissolved more swiftly than smoke; and passed away more rapidly than dust. . . . Seest them the force of the prophecy, "and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it?" From these have faith as regards the future, and that no one will prevail against it. For if, when it consisted of but a few persons; when it seemed to be a mere matter of novelty; when the doctrine was fresh planted; when such were the conflicts, and so dread the strifes enkindled on every eide, they prevailed not, they overcame not, much more now that it has taken possession of the whole world, and every place, both mountains and valleys, etc. . . . Yea, sooner shall earth and Heaven pass away, than any word or prophecy of His be proved false . . . Heaven and earth . . . and with good cause, for they are not words, but God's words, effective of deeds. ...

As I have before said, this prophecy concerning the Church has manifested the greatness, the eminence, the vastness of His truth, His providence, His goodness, His watchfulness. Come, now, let us take in hand also another prophecy, which shines brighter than the sun, and is clearer than its rays, which lies under the observation of all men, and which stretches out itself unto all future generations, as does the preceding prophecy also.

For of this nature are the greater part of His prophecies. They are not limited to a brief period, nor are they completed in (for) one generation, but for all men, as well those who are now, and those who shall next be, for those after them, and for those that shall come after them again, and so for all the successions of men even to the consummation, do they (the prophecies) furnish means of ascertaining the force of their inherent truth, even as does the preceding prophecy. Yea, for from the day that it was spoken "even to the consummation of the world", has it remained firm and unshaken, flourishing, resplendent, gaining power day by day, accumulating, acquiring fresh force, enabling all those who have lived from that day, even unto those who shall be until the coming of Christ, to reap the greatest advantages from it, and to derive thence unspeakable aid. For our predecessors and theirs, and theirs again, well knew its power, as they beheld the contests excited against it, and the dangers and troubles, the tumults, the waves, the storms; but beholding it still not overwhelmed, not vanquished, not overcome, not extinguished, but flourishing, increasing, raised to a mightier elevation. . . . Seest thou how what He built no one has destroyed; and what He destroyed (the temple of Jerusalem) no one shall build up? He built the Church, and no one could destroy it; He destroyed the temple, and no one is able to build it up again."

T. i. Contr. Jud. et Gent, quod Christus sit Deus, n. 12-16, pp. 702-4, 706-8.
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"There is nothing equal to the Church. Tell me not of walls and arms: for walls grow old with time; but the Church never grows old; walls barbarians destroy, but the Church not even demons can overcome. And that my words are not empty boasting, facts testify. How many have waged war against the Church, and they that warred against her have perished? but she has been raised up above the heavens. Such is the mightiness of the Church: warred against, she conquers; devised against, she overcomes; assailed with insult, she is made more resplendent: she receives wounds, but sinks not beneath the ulcer; agitated by the waves, she is not submerged; tempest-tossed, but she suffers no shipwreck; wrestles, but is not overthrown; she fights as the pugilist, but is not beaten. Why then has He permitted the contest? That He may exhibit a more glorious trophy."

T. iii. De Capto Eutropio. n. 1, pp. 461, 462.
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"Withdraw not from the Church; for nothing is stronger than the Church. Thy hope, the Church; thy safety (salvation), the Church; thy refuge, the Church. Than Heaven she is higher, than earth more extended. Never does she grow old, but her age is ever vigorous. For this cause, the Scripture showing her firmness and immovableness, calls her a mountain; her incorruptibility, calls her a virgin; her magnificence, calls her a queen; that connection which she has with God, calls her a daughter, etc."

T. iii. De Capto Eutropio. n. 6, p. 467.
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"Nothing, O man, is more powerful than the Church. Give up thy conflict with her, if then wouldst not have thy power destroyed; wage not war against Heaven. If thou war against man, thou wilt either conquer, or be conquered; but if thou war against the Church, it is impossible for thee to conquer; for God is stronger than all men. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than He? (1 Corinthians 10:22) God hath rooted (her), who attempts to shake (her)? Thou knowest not His power. He looketh upon the earth, and maketh it to tremble. (Psalm 102); He commandeth, and the things that were made He hath continued. If the troubled city He hath established, much more can He settle the Church. The Church is stronger than Heaven. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." What words? "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it": if thou believe not the word, believe the facts. How many tyrants would fain have overcome the Church? . . . and they prevailed not. Where are those that warred against her? They are unnamed; they are buried in oblivion. But where is the Church? She shines brighter than the sun. They are quenched; she is immortal. If when the Christians were few in number, they were not conquered, now that the universe is full of true religion, how wilt thou be able to conquer? Heaven and earth shall pass away, etc., and very justly. For the Church is dearer to God than Heaven is.

[He continues in the same strain, and winds up his argument as follows:]

Dost thou not hear the Lord saying, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them"; and where so numerous a people is united in love, is He not present? I have His pledge: do I confide in my own strength? I hold His written word. That is my staff; that my security; that my waveless harbor. Though the world be shaken, I hold fast His written word: I read it; those words are my wall and safety. What are those words? "I am with you all the days, even to the consummation of the world." Christ with me, and whom shall I fear? Though waves may be stirred up against me, though the ocean, though the wrath of kings, to me all these are less than a spider's web."

T. iii. Sermo Anteq. iret in exilium, n. 2, pp. 495, 496.
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"In the last days the mountain of the Lord shall be manifest." (Isaiah 2) See the accuracy of the prophet, who not only declares the fact, but also signifies the time. For what Paul says, "When the fullness of the time was come", and elsewhere again, "In the dispensation of the fullness of the times", this is expressed by the prophet by, "In the last days". He also designates the Church a mountain, and her dogmas impregnable. For even as though one should oppose against mountains, countless troops of soldiers, stretching their bows, hurling their spears, and bringing up machines, they will not be able to harm them, but will be withdrawn after having exhausted their own strength; even so also all they who have fought against the Church have not shaken her, but, having worn out their own strength, have been put to shame, scattered when they struck at her, weakened by hurling their weapons at her, and in their activity vanquished by those who remained passive. For what is marvellous in the Church is not that she conquered, but also that she conquered in the way she did. For attacked, pursued, smitten in a thousand ways, they not only did not lessen her, but she even increased, and by remaining passive only did she utterly disperse those engaged in active assault upon her. . . . Therefore did he call her a mountain . . . the firmness, the immovableness, the loftiness, the invincibleness of the Church did he indicate by that appellation, mountain. And another prophet also compares those who have put their trust in God to a mountain, setting forth that they cannot be overthrown. Manifest: this needs not any further explanation: in such a manner does the very nature of facts send forth a voice louder than any trumpet, making known the splendor of the Church. For neither the sun, nor the sun's light, is so plain, as what regards the Church. For the house of the Lord is on the tops of the mountains."

T. vi. in Isaiah c. ii. n. 2, pp. 24, 25.
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"There, man is the pilot, but here it is Christ. And therefore is the vessel tossed by the tempest, but the waves overwhelm her not. For she might indeed have sailed in the calm, but the pilot would not allow it, that thou mightest see both the endurance of those sailing in her, and the wisdom of the pilot. Let Gentiles and Jews give ear to our good deeds, and to the pre-eminence of the Church. By how many has the Church been warred against, yet she never has been vanquished. How many tyrants, generals, kings, Augustus, Tiberius . . . contended strenuously against her when she had but just struck root, and yet they uprooted her not; yea they that warred against her are no longer named. For see not, I pray, merely that the Church is on the earth, but also that she has her dwelling in Heaven. Whence is this manifest? The evidence of facts demonstrates it. Eleven disciples were the warred against, the entire world opposed them; but the opposed conquered, and their opponents have been removed; the sheep overcame the wolves. Thou hast seen the shepherd sending his sheep into the midst of wolves, so that they might not, even by flight, secure their safety. What shepherd did this? Even Christ did it; that He might show thee, that these good deeds are not in accordance with the natural course of events, but above nature and that usual course. For the Church is more firmly rooted than Heaven. But, perhaps, the Gentile condemns me of boasting. But let him wait for the proof of these things, and learn the power of truth; how it is an easier thing for the sun to be quenched, than for the Church to be made invisible. Who, he asks, prophesies this? He that laid her foundations. "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." This He not merely said, but fulfilled. For, wherefore did He found her more firmly than Heaven ? Because the Church is more precious than Heaven. Why is Heaven ? on account of the Church, not the Church on account of Heaven. Heaven is on account of man, not man on account of Heaven."

T. vi. In illud, Vidi Dom. Hom. iv. n. 1, 2,pp. 141, 142.
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"Seest thou how He also leads Peter to high thoughts concerning Himself, and reveals Himself, and points out that He is the Son of God by these two promises (viz. St. Matthew 16:18, 19). For those things which are peculiar to God alone,— to loose sins, and to make the Church incapable of overthrow, in so great an irruption of waves, and to exhibit a fisherman more firm than any rock, whilst the whole world is battling,— these things He promises that He will give to him: as the Father, speaking to Jeremiah, said that He would set him as a pillar of brass, and as a wall, but him indeed to one nation, but this man to every part of the habitable globe.

I would gladly ask those who wish to lessen the dignity of the Son, which gifts were the greater, those which the Father gave to Peter, or those which the Son gave him?

For the Father did indeed vouchsafe to Peter the revelation of the Son, but the Son sowed both His own and the Father's (revelation) in every part of the world, and to a mortal man He entrusted the authority over all things in Heaven, when He gave him the keys; who extended the Church in every part of the world, and declared it to be stronger than Heaven: "for Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away"

T. vii. Hom. 54 in Matthew n. 2, pp. 616, 617.
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"But wouldst thou fain also learn the force both of these promises and predictions, and the truth of those that have preceded, and of those that are to come after the present state of things? Behold with me a golden chain woven cunningly from the beginning. He said some things to them concerning the churches, and concerning future things; and He that said them performed miracles. Wherefore from the way that what He said has fallen out, it is plain that both the miracles are true, as also the future things promised. But that what I have said may be clearer, I will make it manifest from actual facts. He raised Lazarus by His mere bare word, and showed him alive again; He said that "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the Church", and that he that hath "left father or mother shall receive a hundred fold in this world, and shall inherit life everlasting." Accordingly, there is one miracle, that of Lazarus, whilst there are prophecies, one indeed pointed out here, but the other in the world to come. Now see how they are all proved by one another. For should any one not believe that Lazarus rose again, from that prophecy spoken concerning the Church let him believe the miracle; for what was spoken so many years before then came to pass, and received its accomplishment, for "the gates of Hell have not prevailed against the Church." He therefore that spoke the truth in that prophecy, it is plain that He also performed the miracle; whilst He who both performed the miracle, and brought to an accomplishment what He had said, it is plain that He also in the prophecy which relates to the future, speaks the truth.. . . For the things already done and spoken are the surest pledges of the future things that they shall come to pass. All these things, therefore, and things like to them having drawn together from the gospels, let us say to them, and stop their mouths. But should any one say, How then is it that error has not been utterly extinguished? Let this be our answer: Ye are the causes, ye who rebel against your own salvation."

T. x. Hom. vii. in 1 Ep. ad Cor. n. 9, p. 74.
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St. Gaudentius of Brescia, (unknown - A.D. 410), Italian; became bishop around A.D. 387, theologian and author of many letters and sermons, held in high esteem by the people of Brescia.

"We behold the moon, that is, the Church, which in peace increases, in persecution wanes (the fullness of its circle wanes, not the brightness of its light); we see it now shining like the sun over the whole world."

De Lectione Exod. tr. iii. p. 948, t. v. Max. Bib. PP.
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St. Asterius Of Amasea, (A.D. c.350-400), born in Cappadocia, bishop of Amasea (A.D. 380-390), after having been a lawyer. Not to be confused with the Arian polemicist, Asterius the Sophist.

"Through Peter, become a faithful and genuine hierophant of true religion, the stability of the churches is preserved incapable of overthrow and unswerving. . . yea, though, from the time that the Gospel was first preached, assailed by many trials, and by ten thousand tyrants, and though the devil before them would fain have overthrown it to the earth, and remove us from our foundations. As the saving word says, the rivers flowed down as wintry floods, the vehement winds of the devilish spirits beat upon it, and the heavy rains of those who persecuted the Christians fell against it, and yet nothing was seen to be more powerful than the bulwark set up of God,"

Homil. in Apost. Princ. Petr. et Paul. t. i. 127-147, Combefis. N. Auct. Paris. 1648.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 235-23



The Church cannot fail; if it is always visible and assessable to everyone. If it did fail, Christ, Our Blessed Lord, would have broken his promise to Peter and his successors in Matthew 16:13-20.


For this reason the Church is indefectible, meaning it cannot fail on issues of faith or morals. The Church can't control scandalous behavior among those in the Church because everyone has free will. Nevertheless, the Teachings Jesus wished to be safeguarded before His Glorious Ascension into Heaven, have been safeguarded in only one Christian Church in the world: the Roman Catholic Church.


The Church's Scriptures that support the indefectibility of the Church:


Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ and tells Peter that His Heavenly Father has revealed that Jesus is the Son of the Living God, and that He will build His Church on Peter and his successors.

17 Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven."


Matthew 16:17-19

The Great Commission

18 "All power is given to me in Heaven and in earth.19 Going therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."


Matthew 28:18-20

There shall be no end to the kingdom Jesus will build and establish on St. Peter.

31 "Thou shalt call His name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father, and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever: 33 and of His kingdom there shall be no end."


Luke 1:31-33

Listening to the Apostles and their successors is equal to listening and obeying Christ and His Father.

16 "He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me."

Luke 10:16

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial but prays for his (singular) faith.

31 "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you (second person plural pronoun, meaning "all of you") that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee (singular, Peter) that thy faith fail not: and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren."

Luke 22:31-32

Jesus tells His Apostles that His Father will send them the Holy Spirit, so they will be able to abide with Him forever.

16 "And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. 17 The spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him; but you shall know him, because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you."


John 14:16-17

Paul commemorates and enters into the one sacrifice of Calvary by celebrating Mass.

23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread. 24 And giving thanks, broke, and said: Take ye, and eat: this is my body, which shall be delivered for you: this do for the commemoration of me. 25 In like manner also the chalice, after he had supped, saying: This chalice is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me. 26 For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come.


Corinthians 11:26

The Church is the pillar and foundation of Truth.

14 "These things I write to thee, hoping that I shall come to thee shortly. 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth."

1 Timothy 3:14-15

Everyone in the world has a calling in the Catholic Church Jesus established on St. Peter

11 And he gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors, 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Until we all meet into the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ;


Ephesians 4:11-13

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