The Church of Apostles and Martyrs, Volume 1
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By Henri Daniel-Rops
The Church of Apostles and Martyrs is the first installment in Henri Daniel-Rops’ magnificent and enormously popular History of the Church of Christ. Volume 1 includes the first six chapters of that work, surveying the first years of the Church until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70; the peerless contributions of St. Paul; the relations between imperial Rome and the fledgling Church; the persecutions and first martyrdoms; the catacombs and development of the liturgy; and the genesis of properly Christian literature.
The Church knows full well how to adapt herself to the circumstances around her, to make the conditions of time and place serve her own ends, to be prudent in her audacity and gently persuasive even in the breaches that she causes, never once losing sight of her sole object, namely the establishment of the Kingdom of God. (Henri Daniel-Rops)
An immersion into the infancy of the Church, The Church of Apostles and Martyrs offers an outstanding overview of the spread of the Gospel and the way of life of the first Christians in their original witness to the Good News. Indeed, what Daniel-Rops writes in reference to the Acts of the Apostles and its author might well be applied to himself and The Church of Apostles and Martyrs: “This book was not written with any intention of satisfying the curiosity of the future historian, but simply in order to exalt the faith. And yet, within the limits which it voluntarily sets itself, what an incomparable witness it is! No one who reads it can remain unmoved by it.”
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Henri Daniel-Rops (1901–1965), the nom de plume of Henri Petiot, was a French Catholic historian. His bibliography comprises seventy books—written over a span of just thirty years—and includes Sacred History, Jesus and His Times, and the monumental, ten-volume History of the Church of Christ. He also served as editor for the Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism, which consisted of one hundred and fifty volumes. Phenomenally successful in his own time, Daniel-Rops made religious history accessible and popular; in 1955, he was elected to the Académie française and in 1956 he received the Order of St. Gregory from Pope Pius XII.
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