The earliest evidence of the use of the term Catholic Church is the Letter to the Smyrnaeans that Ignatius of Antioch wrote in about 107 to Christians in Smyrna. Exhorting Christians to remain closely united with their bishop, he wrote: “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” Numerous other early writers including Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315–386), Augustine of Hippo (354–430) and others further developed the use of the term “catholic” in relation to Christianity.

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