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The Early Church (33–313)

The Early Church (33–313)

St. Peter, the Apostles, and Martyrs 

Author: James L. Papandrea

Edited by: Mike Aquilina

Price: $16.95

Format: Paperback

Pages: 160

Trim size: 6 x 9 inches

ISBN: 978-1-59471-771-0

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

On-sale date: November 22, 2019

More History, Spirituality, Theology


Winner of a 2020 Catholic Press Association book award (first place, best new religious book series).


The first three centuries of the Christian faith were a period of missionary zeal, deep thought, and tribulation. In The Early Church (33–313): St. Peter, the Apostles, and Martyrs, Catholic historian and biblical expert James Papandrea dispels what he calls common “mythconceptions” about the early years of Christianity. Tracking the challenges of heresy and persecution throughout the period, Papandrea shines a spotlight on the earliest saints and explores the growth and development of the new Church.

The first Apostles spread the message of Jesus Christ and were willing to suffer and die for their faith. The next generations of believers followed their example, producing inspiring martyrs including Polycarp, Justin, Perpetua, and Sebastian, and great thinkers such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Eusebius. In The Early Church (33–313), author and historian James Papandrea presents a clear account of the Church’s first three centuries and provides evidence to refute fourteen commonly held beliefs about the Catholic Church. You will learn:

  • No money or power was attached to being a bishop or priest in the early Church.
  • Christian holidays were not adaptations of pagan celebrations.
  • Christians have never believed in an eternal life for souls without bodies.
  • The doctrine of the Trinity was not forced upon the Church by Constantine, but rather was a belief from the beginning of Christianity.

With clear explanation and inspiring stories, Papandrea sorts through what we do and don’t know about the early Church and enables Catholics and fellow Christians to make sense of the Church’s beginnings.

Books in the Reclaiming Catholic History series, edited by Mike Aquilina and written by leading authors and historians, bring Church history to life, debunking the myths one era at a time.



"The authentic story of the early Church."

Steve Weidenkopf
Author of Timeless: A History of the Catholic Church

"Accessible to non-academic readers."

"James Papandrea has done more than anyone to cast light on the obscure early centuries of Christianity. He has then taken the extra step of making his findings accessible to non-academic readers. I make it a priority to read whatever he writes."

Mike Aquilina
Author of A History of the Church in 100 Objects
Editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History series

"This series is much needed."

"Memory is the faculty that tells us who we are. Memory is what gives us our Catholic identity. Yet so much of our memory has been distorted by the falsehoods that pass for history today. This series is much needed. Every book is crystal clear, engaging, entertaining, and myth-busting. Be prepared to be surprised—and to be grateful for the wonders the Lord has done."

Scott Hahn
Founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

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