St Athanasius Recollection Centre is under development.  We are raising fund to acquire a 15 acre (6 hectare) piece of beautiful rural property in Ogun State, Nigeria that we intend to develop for our community of celibate men and women, as well as for married couples.
General Information

Four Marks of the Church

The Four Marks of the Church, sometimes referred to as the Marks of the Church or the Marks of the True Church, are a group of four characteristics describing the Universal or Catholic Church as established by Jesus Christ. They were constantly reinterated by the Church Fathers, and they are also acknowledged by several Protestant denominations, as they are included in the creeds. The marks are often listed as follows: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. They refer to four aspects that are intrinsic to the true Church: unity, sanctity, catholicity (or universality), and apostolicity.

  Other Links

History of The Catholic Church What is the Orthodox Church
Syriac Orthodox Church
Western Rite Orthodox
Catholic Church and Rites
The Great Schism
St. Photios the Great
Pope Leo III and the Filioque
Church Terminology
The Name Orthodox
The Nicene Creed
Orthodoxy & Roman Catholism
Orthodoxy & Roman Dialogue
Orthodox Teaching
Orthodox Doctrine
Orthodox Prayers
Principle of Orthodox Faith
Four Marks of the Church

Fasting in the Orthodox Church
Holy Communion
Jesus Prayer
Sign of the Cross
Rules of Pius Life
The Holy Trinity
Meaning of Christ's Cross
Why do we confess?
Preparation for Confession
History of Rosary
The Blessed Virgin Mary
How to Pray the Rosary


The ideas behind the Four Marks had been in the Church since early times, and allusions to them can be found in the writings of the early Church Father and bishop, St. Ignatius of Antioch, but were not established in doctrine until the First Council of Constantinople in 381. There the Council elaborated on the Nicene Creed, established by the First Council of Nicea 56 years before. They added a section to the end including the following, translated in Schaff's Creeds of Christendom, "[We believe] In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church". The phrase has remained in most versions of the Nicene Creed to this day, with the exception of its use by Protestant groups, which tend to remove the word "Catholic" and insert "Christian" or "Universal" in its place. One notable change of the creed is that of the Lutheran Service Book, published in 2006, which changes the phrase to "one holy Christian and apostolic Church".[1]

The Marks of the Church


The unity of Christ's Church refers to the need for the Church to be undivided. There are to be no divisions among the members of the Church. For the Church to be one with Christ it must first maintain unity with itself. This aspect stems from Christ's remarks to the same point:"I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd."(John 10:16) Although the Catholic Church is the only Church with full institutional and organizational unity, the various Protestant sects claim belief in an invisible, spiritual union. The Eastern Orthodox churches, while maintaining, for the most part, doctrinal unity, are nevertheless institutionally divided.


Main article: Sanctity

The sanctity of Christ's Church is derived from the fact that it is Christ's Church. "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church," Matthew 16:18 (NAB) [1] Since the Church was established by Christ, it is said to be holy. This does not mean that the members of the Church are free from sin, neither than that the institution of the Church cannot sin. However Christ loves, supports and guides the Church. The word "holy" connotes the idea that it is set apart for a special purpose by and for God. In the case of the Church, its purpose is to be the worldly vehicle through which spiritual grace is delivered -- the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. (Matthew 16:19)


Main article: Catholicism

The universality of Christ's Church establishes the Church as being open to all: all races, both sexes, all nationalities. Christ refuses no one from His Grace; therefore, the Church cannot refuse anyone as long as they accept Christ's teachings and Church. "Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:18-20) Christ sent His apostles to preach to the whole world - to all mankind.

The catholicity of the Church also refers to the fact that the Church is the same everywhere, in every time. In the past, present, and future. In every land, with every people, the Church maintains the same rituals and beliefs.


Main article: Apostolic Succession

The Church is apostolic, handed down from Christ through the Apostles to the bishops, to mankind. The Church must have come directly from Christ and can be traced back through history to show that those who lead the Church were commissioned to do so by the Apostles, who were in turn commissioned by Christ. "So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone." (Ephesians 2:19-20)

  Common Declaration by Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I
Syriac-Greek Antiochian Orthodox Catholic Church in Africa