About the Founder and Author
[2016 Update] Having a passion for the Christian Unity Jesus prayed for “so that the world may believe” and be drenched in God’s Love, Peter William John Baptiste SFO was invited 3 times to the ecumenical Springtime of Faith Rome Summits (Catholic and Evangelical leaders meeting with Vatican Officials) for being considered “one of the dynamic leaders building the New Springtime of Faith.” He studied Advanced Theology under Biblical Theologian Dr. Scott Hahn at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where the long-time Theology Chair Dr. Alan Schreck endorsed his Donum Veritatis – The Gift of Truth Ministries “as an effective and important means to spread the faith and to promote Christian unity. It really is a ‘gift’ to the ‘Internet Generation.’ ” He did doctoral studies at the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies in Ottawa, where he has also been professor of a course on the Early Church Fathers at Dominican University College. MASI Director the Very Reverend Stephen Wojcichowsky wrote that “the professors and staff of the Sheptytsky Institute are pleased that [Peter] William has chosen to pursue this important [doctoral] work at our Institute, which shares his ecumenical spirit and prays with him that Christ’s disciples may indeed “be one . . . so that the world may believe, [John 17:21] adding “He has an indomitable determination to use his many gifts to serve God by working towards the reunification of the Church and bringing the good news of salvation to the world. Despite the obstacles he has encountered on his way, he maintains a faithful assurance in God’s help to overcome them. [Peter] William has infectious confidence in the love and power of the Holy Trinity and he manages to exude the joy of the Holy Spirit even when facing challenging difficulties” [such as the severe lack of student funding and whole-family automobile accident which eventually forced him to withdraw from doctoral studies after successfully completing Ph.D. Comprehensive Final Exams but before registering his doctoral thesis]. Convinced that God allowed the circumstances which forced the interruption of his doctorate in 2015 in order to free him to respond to 4 massive assaults on human life, religious freedom, and democracy itself in 2015 in the jurisdiction where he lives, in July 2016 he founded the new Non-Profit Organization Human Rights and Freedoms Forever! to help equip Christians and others who still believe in the traditional Western (Christian) values which human rights and democratic freedoms were historically and logically built on to effectively respond to the current worldwide trend of “Creeping Totalitarianism” which is increasingly degrading the value of human life and eroding away Western democratic freedoms including religious freedom.
He is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and considers himself a weak and wounded, broken and sinful, and exceedingly imperfect human being. However, being convinced that God does not have any perfect humans to use instead as His instruments to display God’s immense Love for broken humanity and life-giving Truth in the world through, he has made himself available to God knowing God can use him (and YOU whatever YOUR weaknesses and strengths are) to make the world a better place by spreading God’s Love and Truth (Latin: Caritas et Veritas, the motto of his Donum Veritatis — The Gift of Truth Ministries).
Peter William John Baptiste SFO has a special academic and personal interest in the Undivided Early Church of the First Millennium which had the most successful Christian missions of history because (before the scandalous Christian divisions of the Second Millennium) Christians had a structural “unity in diversity” among different but united Eastern and Western “Sister Churches” which much better displayed the “love for one another” by which Jesus said the world would recognize His disciples (John 13:35) and much better displayed the Christian unity Jesus prayed for specifically “so that the world may believe” (John 17:21). His “broad perspective” on Western Civilization has made him understand and teach that Christian Unity (at least a genuine “unity of family love” based in our vast common Christian faith while we lovingly and patiently listen to each other and “contend with each other” over our lesser disagreements) is actually of vital importance not only to the world of humanity’s Eternal Salvation but to humanity’s very safety itself:
“This is because it is only since distinctly unloving Christian disunity became prevalent in the traditionally Christian West after the Protestant Reformation that Christianity gradually became more and more marginalized in the public sphere, its voice no longer respected as the source of the “guiding moral principles” of Western Civilization –even though it is only Christian principles which historically and logically ground all Human Rights and Democratic Freedoms, and “Creeping Totalitarianism” has entered all Western democracies, progressively if slowly undermining them, since the Sexual Revolution and the De-criminalization of Abortion formally abandoned the guiding Christian principles about precious not cheap human life (and the precious not cheap process which generates it). It is only these Biblical, Christian principles which first made every human life without exception legally recognized as SUPREMELY and EQUALLY precious (starting with the original criminalization of abortion and infanticide in 318 AD shortly after Christianity was legalized in 313 AD), such that all governments since were OBLIGATED to protect (and ultimately serve) precious human lives, and without those guiding Christian principles Western democracies are gradually regressing back towards the anti-human totalitarianism of the pre-Christian West wherein cheap human lives serve greater State governments which decide which individual human lives may or may not be legally killed. Legalized abortion and euthanasia naturally introduce “Creeping Totalitarianism” into democracies because they logically cancel out any legally recognized Inherent Human Right to Live which the government is always obligated to protect — but this is the (Christian-taught) foundational Human Right without which all others are meaningless, and there is no good reason to expect democracy to last for the long-term wherever humans do not even have a legally recognized Inherent Human Right to Live, and in fact this is the source of many current Western compromises of genuine Human Rights and of genuine Democratic Freedoms to stand up for Human Rights, which are currently making Christians and other freedom-lovers very uncomfortable in many countries.”
Peter William John Baptiste SFO is a father of six and Co-Founder (with his Dear Bride Lorelle Baptiste) of the Baptiste Family Ministries (including Children of God for Life CANADA) and he is the Founder of Donum Veritatis – The Gift of Truth Ministries including The Institute for Promoting the Gift of Truth. The Institute runs The New Catacombs lecture series/courses “Teaching 3rd Millennium Christians to Transform their Culture with God’s Love the Way the 1st Millennium Christians Did” including courses on prayer (Conscious Contact with God!), Covenant Family Theology for “Getting the Most Out of Reading Your Bible” as your own Family History, and the course Human Rights and Freedoms: Christianity’s Great Gifts to Western Civilization featuring his treatise The Education Necessary to Preserve Democracy Now Under Attack. The Institute in addition to its self-titled website runs
1) the Protect Human Rights and Freedoms website which on March 11, 2016 launched a worldwide grassroots movement to defend threatened human life, religious freedom, and democracy itself with the publication of The Pledge of Allegiance to Democracy (and the Antidote to Any Degree of “Creeping Totalitarianism”) — [this website is now the official website of Human Rights and Freedoms Forever]; and
2) runs this Christian Unity in Diversity Central website promoting Christian unity in diversity based on vast common Christian faith “so that the world may believe,” patterned after the Undivided Early Church model. The Early Church was a Catholic (Universal) Communion of Bible-Based Evangelical and Orthodox (“right-teaching”) Christian “Sister Churches” of East and West which the currently divided Catholic, Evangelical, and Eastern Orthodox Churches each have best preserved certain features of meaning we need to work together as brothers and sisters of One Common Father to be as effective at transforming our greater culture for Jesus as the Undivided 1st Millennium Church was.
[Previous Page Content from 2013]
Donum Veritatis – The Gift of Truth Ministries, The Institute for Promoting the Gift of Truth and the Christian Unity in Diversity Central website are Christian ministries founded by Peter William John Baptiste, SFO. His first ministry and calling is as the husband of Lorelle Baptiste, charged with doing his best (leaning on God’s Grace) to (however imperfectly) model God the Father’s Love and Truth for his six children Dantée, Pascal, Rembrandt, Galileo, and Michelangelo (and baby Anastasia, not pictured).
Before becoming a teacher, he went to the Evangelical Briercrest Bible College to strengthen his Christian faith (for more on his Ecumenical faith journey through all the major branches of Christianity which have all enriched his faith life, see the Article below). As Saint Francis of Assisi, with his tremendous Evangelical zeal and heart overflowing with the love of Jesus, is a natural point of contact between Evangelical and Catholic Christians, he later became a professed member of the Third Order of Saint Francis, the SFO, which was founded in 1221 as part of Saint Francis of Assisi’s Evangelical Renewal of the Church of his day. (God told Saint Francis to “rebuild My Church, which is falling into ruin” and thus Church Renewal, as promoted on this website, is part of the Franciscan calling – a calling also followed by the Third Order Franciscan Blessed Pope John XXIII who called the ecumenically-focussed Reform Council Vatican II; and a calling followed now by the new current South American Pope Francis, who named himself after Saint Francis cognizant of this call, who thus lives ecumenically, apparently counting a prominent South American Pentecostal Evangelist among his personal friends, and starting personal contacts with Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and other non-Catholic Christian leaders shortly after becoming Pope.)
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Bill [Peter William John Baptiste] since 1994, and have personally been witness to his journey of faith since that time. I know Bill to be an energetic, compassionate, and exuberant, herald of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ”
– Ron Semenoff, SFO, Third Order of Saint Francis Fraternity Minister
Pursuing Franciscan renewal-flavoured higher education, Peter William John Bapiste, SFO, was awarded a Masters Degree in Theology and Christian Ministry “With Honours” from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio (known world-wide for its approach of “dynamic orthodoxy”), where he studied under the famous Biblical Theologian Dr. Scott Hahn (who like Peter William John Baptiste SFO and Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman, has the advantage of having had a devout Protestant/Evangelical upbringing before rejoining the ancient Catholic (Universal) Communion of Orthodox (non-heretical) Christian Sister Churches of East and West commonly known simply as the Catholic Church). He is currently a full-time doctoral (Ph.D.) Theology candidate at the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Institute of Eastern Christian Studies at Saint Paul University in his home country’s capital of Ottawa, and a part-time professor at Dominican University College in Ottawa where he was hired to teach courses on the Early Church Fathers and Christian History. He teaches these courses emphasizing the many parallels between the situation of the First Millennium Christians, dedicated to their faith in a greater pagan society, and the situation of today’s dedicated Christians in a secularized greater society which is slipping back into paganism, having rejected the Christian heritage which made Western Civilization so great. He assures students that as the First Millennium Christians eventually utterly transformed their greater society with the love of God the Father revealed in Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, so we Christians today can most definitely eventually likewise transform our society, especially if we learn from the experience and lessons of the Early Church Fathers who did it before us.
Professor Baptiste’s scholarly specializations are the Undivided Early Church of the First Millennium and the 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II)’s exceptional but little-known ecclesiology (doctrine of the Church) based on the lived experience of the Undivided Early Church. His Doctoral Thesis was initially entitled The History of the Catholic (Universal) Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches of East and West (Commonly Called Simply the Catholic Church in the First Millennium): An Ecumenical Investigation of Unity in Diversity. Currently it has been provisionally (and descriptively) entitled Sisters and Mother – The Development and Use of Feminine Terms for the Particular Local and Regional Churches and the Universal Church as Part of the Biblical Mystery of the Church as the Bride of Christ, Expressing the Mystery of Family Communion with Christ and Between Christians in the Universal (Catholic) Church and the Particular Local and Regional “Sister” Churches Which Comprise It: Fruitful Definitions and Implications of the Terms “Mother Church” and “Sister Churches” for Ecumenical Dialogue Today.
Having learned that the Catholic Church is much more than merely the Roman Catholic Church which Protestant Christians (including some of his ancestors) left centuries ago, Professor Baptiste was transferred from the Roman Rite (Roman Sister Church) of the Catholic Church Communion into the Byzantine Ukrainian Rite (Byzantine Ukrainian Sister Church) of the Catholic Church (the home of other ancestors) in 2005 (in one of the first “lawfully presumed” acts of Pope Benedict XVI). He loves being a Catholic Christian but not a Roman Catholic Christian since merely explaining his church affiliation within the Body of Christ entails explaining the nature and structure of the Undivided Early Church, which called itself the Catholic Church because it was the Universal (Catholic) Communion of Orthodox (non-heretical) Christian Sister Churches of East and West (including the Byzantine and the Roman Churches, among others), united in common faith against many heretical sects of ancient Christianity – a communion of Sister Churches sharing common faith expressed according to different cultural perspectives which enriched the entire communion’s understanding and celebration of its saving Christian faith, in fulfillment of God’s plan for the nations of humanity, renewed in Christ, since He scattered them at Babel (see The Spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the First Millennium of the Undivided Early Church: An Overview of the Covenant Family Theology that Revolutionizes Bible Reading and its Implications Towards the Eventual Re-Establishment of the Undivided Early Church’s Unity in Diversity). It is his conviction that as both Catholic and non-Catholic Christians come to better understand the unity in diversity of the Undivided Early Catholic Church’s Catholic Communion of Orthodox Christian Sister Churches, it will be seen as the original and the only possible platform for a truly reunified Christian Church, freed from the scandalous divisions of the Second Millennium which so hamper the Christian mission to the world which needs to know Jesus our Saviour. He is excited about the progress made so far in the official Catholic/Orthodox Dialogue which has the intention and the hope of healing the first “Great Schism” of Christianity which set the bad precedent and tone for all the later divisions of the Christian Church — see The First “Great Schism” of Christianity and its Precedent in Division and in Healing. In accordance with his Franciscan mission and calling to “rebuild the Church,” he has been invited to be one of about 35 Catholic and Protestant participants from around the world in the 6th and 7th and 8th Annual Springtime of Faith Foundation Summit in Rome, an annual Ecumenical gathering of different Christian leaders in Rome with Vatican officials.
“I love the Church, because Jesus loves the Church as His Bride, and because in the profound marital “one flesh” mystery of “Christ and the Church” (see Ephesians 5:22-32) all of us members of the Bride of Christ the Church become members of the very Body of Christ the Church, we become His hands and feet and heart reaching out to the world with His love. The Institute for Promoting the Gift of Truth exists to help teach all Christians their true identity as the Bride and very Body of Jesus Christ on Earth “so that the world may believe” when it sees our Beloved Jesus’ Love in us His Bride and Body.”
– Peter William John Baptiste SFO, Founder
The founder insists that before any endorsements of himself or the ministries he founded are given below on this page, this excerpt from his personal diary/journal, Joy in the Journal, dated February 25, 2012, should be read:
I am inadequate, Praise God!
This is my new motto, my life’s theme. My own behaviour constantly proves that I am wholly inadequate to love my family, to love my dear Bride self-sacrificially as Jesus loves His Bride the Church. I am wholly inadequate to image God the Father of Love to my own 6 wonderful children. I am inadequate to the task of being founder and director of a Christian ministry. I am inadequate to live my own ideal to “Rest and Rejoice Regardless” based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I have every reason to daily pray, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner” . . . BUT JESUS IS ADEQUATE, and Jesus lives in the heart of every baptized Christian, including me (Galatians 2:20), together with His Father (John 14:23) and His Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:6). The Trinity of Love who indwells every Christian, including me, is adequate. The Trinity is even “a spring of [living] water, welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14), more than adequate to empower every Christian, including me, to live in a way that makes God’s Love present and visible in the world, despite our and my many weaknesses and failures, as broken vessels carrying God’s Holy and Loving Perfection in our lives in the world . . . Yes, “I am inadequate, Praise God” – for Jesus in me is adequate.
– Peter William John Baptiste, SFO, Founder
The Founder is still pursuing his doctorate. His past professors include noted Christian authors who wrote of his student work (now expanded as books in the Catalog):
“William is an outstanding student, who has done some extraordinary research papers … he has great potential as a scholar who could serve the Church well with his intellectual gifts.”
– Alan Schreck, Theology Chair, Franciscan University of Steubenville; author, Hearts Aflame: The Holy Spirit at the Heart of Christian Life Today; many others.
“outstanding,” “excellent,” “clear, thoughtful and thorough.”
– Scott Hahn, author, A Father Who Keeps His Promises: Understanding God’s Covenant Love in the Old Testament; Answering the New Atheism: Dismantling Dawkins’ Case Against God; First Comes Love: Finding Your Family in the Church and the Trinity; The Lamb’s Supper; Swear to God; Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the
Fulfillment of God’s Saving Promises; many others.
This was written about Peter William John Baptiste SFO’s Master’s Theology work for Dr. Scott Hahn including the greatly over-length research paper for Dr. Hahn which is now expanded in the Catalog as Love Unbounded: Tracing Salvation History from the Eternal Trinity to the New Covenant Church – Using Family Theology to Answer the Question How and Why Does Jesus’ Death Save Us? (That is, this was written by Dr. Hahn of the first paper using Peter William John Baptiste, SFO’s Covenant Family Theology framework for Biblical theology, built upon Scott Hahn’s Covenant Theology framework for Biblical theology).
“William has a lively intellect, and his passion to communicate sound knowledge of the faith and theology is evident … I … have found both his class presentations and papers outstanding.”
– Alan Schreck, Theology Chair, Franciscan University of Steubenville; author, Your Life in the Holy Spirit: What Every Catholic Needs to Know and Experience; Catholic and Christian: An Explanation of Commonly Misunderstood Catholic Beliefs; The Compact History of the Catholic Church; Vatican II: The Crisis and the Promise; many others.
Dr. Alan Schreck taught Peter William John Baptiste SFO in 3 Masters-level courses, on Church History, Church Renewal, and Vatican II – all of which are major subjects on this website! Dr. Schreck is a specialist on Vatican Council II and its reforms which (especially concerning Ecumenism) this website seeks to see fully implemented within the Catholic Church, for the benefit of the whole world which needs to see Jesus Christ in the genuine super-natural love all Christians bear towards one another as God’s adopted Family in Christ (even while they remain formally divided). More recently, Dr. Schreck has confirmed that this website presents a genuinely Catholic position on Ecumenism and other topics by writing that its principal author, Peter William John Baptiste SFO
“is an exceptional researcher and an effective and faithful teacher of the Catholic faith and authentic Catholic theology in accordance with the magisterium of the Church and the best of the Catholic intellectual tradition.”
Dr. Schreck has also specifically endorsed Donum Veritatis – The Gift of Truth Ministries and this Christian Unity in Diversity Central website, writing that
“This ministry is certainly deserving of the prayers and financial support of all faithful Catholics who desire to promote Christian unity, as this mission has been a primary focus of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI … I strongly support, and recommend your support of the Donum Veritatis (The Gift of Truth) Ministries as an effective and important means … to promote Christian unity. It really is a ‘gift’ to the ‘Internet Generation.’ “
– Dr. Alan Schreck
“What an extraordinary level of scholarship you’ve brought to your study of our Mother! Superb!”
– Mark Miravalle, author, Introduction to Mary: The Heart of Marian Doctrine and Devotion; The Dogma and the Triumph (with Cardinal Luis Aponte Martinez); others.
This was written by a world-reknowned Mariologist of the research paper which is now expanded in the Catalog as So That The World May Believe: A Call to Christian Unity – Teaching Christians How to Restore the Lost Unity in Diversity of the Undivided Early Church Through Lovingly Seeking to Truly Understand Each Other’s Differences While Celebrating Our Vast Common Saving Christian Faith and Learning from Our Different Strengths, “So That the World May Believe” – Volume II (For Understanding Our Differences Concerning Mary) – Who is Mary in the Church ? Understanding Highly Developed Catholic Mariology and the Mediatrix of All Graces Doctrine: Linking Christ the Head to His Body the Church Through Mary, First Believer in Jesus and First Member of the Body in Ways Which Protect the Traditional Christian Fundamental Truths about Mary’s Fully Divine Yet Fully Human Son Jesus from Heresies Ancient and Modern.
This book is meant to help non-Catholic Christians truly understand and appreciate Catholic beliefs about Mary (even if they still disagree with them), so that Mary is no longer a barrier to Christian unity in diversity. It is also meant to help Catholic Christians delve deeper into the Catholic Church’s beliefs about Mary, which are all based on things Protestants/ Evangelicals already believe such as the Mystery of the Incarnation of God the Son in Jesus Christ through Mary’s Virgin Birth, and based on the insight that Mary, who believed the angel and who prayed with the Church for the coming of Pentecost (Acts 1:14), is the first believer in Jesus (therefore the first Christian), so that Catholic Christians can learn to practice and explain the Marian aspect of their faith in more precise ways which no longer contribute to Protestant misunderstandings about Mary which unnecessarily cause tension and strengthen division.
Before Peter William John Baptiste SFO had completed his course of Master’s studies, Roman Catholic Bishop Luc Bouchard of Saint Paul, who seriously considered Mr. Baptiste for the position of Director of the John Paul II Bible College in his diocese, wrote in the name of the Board of Governors for the College (which he heads) that he was
“very much impressed by [Mr. Baptiste’s] many talents and gifts and enthusiasm for Vatican II and hopes that [Mr. Baptiste] will continue to seek to serve the Lord.”
More recently, Dr. Alan Schreck, who teaches graduate courses and writes books on Vatican II, confirmed
“One particular area of service [to the Church] that William [Peter William John Baptiste SFO] can provide is on teaching the true meaning and proper implementation of the Second Vatican Council. This is very critical today, and he is well-prepared to engage in this important work … I am confident in William’s accurate knowledge of and adherence to the true, orthodox meaning of Vatican II.”
Vatican Council II, the Holy Spirit’s brilliant guidance (via Ecumenical Council) for Church Reform and Renewal in the modern age, was started by Blessed Pope John XXIII, Mr. Baptiste’s brother in the Third Order of Saint Francis with its generic calling to “Rebuild” or “Renew” the Church. With the above encouragement of Bishop Bouchard, Peter William John Baptiste, SFO, has never ceased to seek to serve the Lord by working towards the full implementation of Vatican II within the Catholic Church for the salvific benefit of the whole Church and the whole world. Donum Veritatis – The Gift of Truth Ministries, The Institute for Promoting the Gift of Truth, Château Baptiste Publications, and the Christian Unity in Diversity Central website are the fruits of his effort. To add your own participation in these ministries as a member of the Body of Christ the Church, to make them all the more fruitful, go to
Peter William John Baptiste SFO on His Personal Ecumenical Experience as a Member of All the Major Branches of Christ’s Divided Church Which Helps Him To Help Christians Love and Understand Each Other Better
[adapted from So That The World May Believe ]
This Website Intends to Aid Christian Unity by Helping All Christians to Truly Understand Each Other’s Different Perspectives on Mary and the Papacy and so on, in Terms of the Common Christian Fundamentals
To aid this mutual understanding, I present this website (especially the Three-Volume book So That The World May Believe in the Catalog) to the reader primarily for the purpose of helping all Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant – and even “Messianic Jewish” 1) to understand our vast common faith and to understand each other’s different perspectives on Mary and the papacy and so on in relation to our vast common faith. I believe I am well qualified to so “translate” between Christians, because my personal Christian experience has encompassed all the major branches of Christianity. I was raised in a large doctrinally conservative “mainline” Protestant denomination and later became an Evangelical Protestant (when my “doctrinally conservative” denomination became “doctrinally liberal,” losing its grip on traditional, orthodox Christian faith and morality). Later on I came into the Catholic Church, initially through the huge Western, Roman Rite of the Catholic Church for a decade, after which I restored the Ukrainian line of my family’s cultural heritage in the smaller Eastern, Byzantine Ukrainian Rite 2 of the same Catholic Church (this gives me a genuinely “Eastern Orthodox” perspective since the Eastern Orthodox Churches are virtually identical to the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church like mine but simply no longer within the ancient Universal [Greek katholikos, or Catholic] Communion of orthodox Rites or “Sister Churches,” Eastern and Western, head pastored by the pope 3). Without joining it, for a year or so I attended Saturday Messianic Jewish worship services with such regularity that some assumed incorrectly that it was my main faith community and expressed concern when I began to attend less frequently. Please note that my fundamental Christian faith, articulated in the COMMON CREED, never changed as I became a faithful member of each church (and the Messianic Jewish Community I worshiped with also maintained the same faith)! The Jesus I knew and loved as an Evangelical Protestant was the very same Jesus I know and love as an Eastern Rite Catholic. And please note that the need for such “translation” regarding many issues but Mary in particular cannot be underestimated, as there are many gross misunderstandings about Mary between Christians which are quite literally related to a “language barrier,” whereby Catholic and Protestant Christians mean different things by the same words, which contributes to the misunderstandings between them. (See So That The World May Believe – Volume II, Appendix I)
Go To Trinity of Love
1“Messianic Judaism” is a recent movement begun by conservative, fundamentally orthodox Protestant Christians of Jewish ethnicity, wherein Jews can accept Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew/Aramaic) as their Promised Messiah, understood according to the norms of orthodox Christianity, without giving up their Jewish cultural identity (as none of the Gentile Romans, Greeks, Syrians, and so on had to give up their distinct cultural identities when they became Christians through the Gospel ministry of the original Jewish Christians – their different Gentile (non-Jewish) cultures just had to be adjusted where they did not conform to Gospel values, see Acts 15:1-30). This movement is paralleled in the Catholic Church by the Association of Hebrew Catholics (AHC), for Catholic Christians of Jewish ethnicity, and there is talk of re-establishing a “Hebrew” or “Jewish” Rite of the Catholic Church. The Undivided Early Christian Church called itself the Catholic Church because it was a Universal (Greek katholikos or Catholic) Communion of different culturally-based Rites or Sister Churches which mutually enriched each other (and together articulated the fundamental beliefs of orthodox Christianity) in the Early Ecumenical (worldwide) Councils of the leaders of all these different but united culturally-based Christian Churches. The overseers or bishops of the five ancient cities which were the centers of the first five nations or cultures to be renewed in Jesus – Jerusalem (Jewish culture); Antioch (Syrian culture); Alexandria (Egyptian culture); Rome (Roman culture); and Constantinople (or Byzantium, Greek culture) – were declared Patriarchs of the Universal (Catholic) Christian Church by the same Ecumenical Councils which clearly articulated and declared the above fundamental doctrines of Christianity, as a way of acknowledging that each Sister Church’s different worship and devotional customs were legitimate cultural expressions of orthodox Christianity. To see how the entire Bible leads up specifically to the establishment of the Christian Church as it actually existed in this period of the Undivided Early Catholic (Universal) Christian Church, and what can be done to help re-establish this ancient Christian unity in diversity (and what has already been done towards this in the 21st Ecumenical Council [Vatican Council II, 1962-5]), see my book The Bible’s “Big Picture”: Using “Family Theology” to Understand the Single Overarching Story Told Throughout the Scriptures, Which Makes the Bible Our Family History as Christians.
2 Byzantium, later renamed Constantinople (called Istanbul by the Muslim Turks), was the center of the ancient Greek-speaking Greek culture and the Eastern half of the Roman Empire. When Rome, center of the Latin-speaking Roman culture and the Western half of the Roman Empire, fell to barbarian invaders in 476 AD, the Greek-speaking Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire lasted another thousand years until the Muslim conquest of Byzantium/Constantinople in 1453. Byzantine (or Greek) Christian missionaries spread the Gospel of Jesus to the cultures of Eastern Europe including Ukraine, which formally became Christian in 988 AD. The Ukrainian culture as transformed by Jesus was distinct from the Byzantine Greek culture as transformed by Jesus, though it still borrowed heavily from the distinctly Byzantine Greek expressions of Christianity practiced by the Greek missionaries who brought the Gospel to Ukraine. Both the Greek Church of Byzantium/Constantinople and its distinct “daughter Church” in Ukraine were still part of the unbroken Christian communion of the Undivided Early Catholic (Universal) Church. My Church within today’s ongoing Catholic (Universal) Communion of orthodox Eastern and Western “Sister” Churches collectively known simply as the Catholic Church is thus known as the Byzantine Ukrainian Catholic Church or the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, either term identifying my Church as the Ukrainian “daughter” Church or Rite of the ancient Byzantine/Greek Church or Rite of the one Universal or Catholic Church of Jesus Christ which recognizes the pope as its Head Pastor.
3Though only one quarter of all Catholic Christians were Roman Catholics in the Undivided Early Church, which called itself the Catholic Church because it was a Catholic (Universal) Communion of orthodox Christian Rites or Sister Churches (Eastern and Western), due to accident of history today the majority of Catholic Christians belong to the Western, Roman Catholic Sister Church within the ongoing Catholic Communion of over 20 orthodox Christian Rites or Sister Churches (known collectively as the Catholic Church). See So That The World May Believe Volume I Chapter 7 for a brief overview of the historical factors (many related to Muslim conquest of the East) which severely reduced the numbers of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church (and which created today’s Eastern Orthodox Churches as Churches separated from the previous Catholic Communion of East and West), making most Catholic Christians today Roman Catholics, a fact which has hidden the true universality (catholicity) of the Catholic Church even from Roman Catholic Christians who are often unaware that the Catholic Church is much more than just their Western Roman Catholic Sister Church (though there are tens of millions of non-Roman, Eastern Catholics, this number is small next to the billion-member Roman Rite of the Catholic Church – under 5% of Catholics are not Roman). This Chapter will also briefly discuss how the 21st Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, Vatican Council II (1962-5), which was the very first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church ever to formally reflect upon (with the Holy Spirit’s guidance) and dogmatically describe the ancient nature and structure of the Church of Christ, has laid the foundation for the eventual healing of the divisions which plague Christianity so that Christians may one day fully recapture their First Millennium unity in diversity among different but united orthodox Christian Sister Churches in one Universal or Catholic Christian Communion, as in the Undivided Early Church. So That The World May Believe Volume III has many more details concerning such Church reunification and Vatican II implementation.