The First Church of Rome

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The First Church of Rome

In the Name of Jesus Christ





Richard. T. Dodds

Christian Hospitality

PO Box 810732

DALLAS Texas 75381 USA

NOTE: If you spot a factual error or a misinterpretation of historical fact in the following account, click here to go to the Christian Hospitality Blog where you can post an error report. Thank you — Richard T. Dodds (author)


There are links in the text to footnotes quoting the original ancient writers and other evidence providing authority for statements in the text. Click the numbers in blue [e.g. 2] to go direct to the footnote. To return to the text click your Back button. Two chevrons >> mark links to pages which will open in a new tab if you are reading online; if you are reading the PDF offline click on the “above/below” link preceding the chevrons. Larger quotations and individual studies are found in the Appendices. The footnotes are often long and detailed, because the aim is to lay out the sources in full. It is recommended for first-time readers, therefore, to work their way through the main text of each chapter first, then to go back and read the footnotes, or the footnotes selectively, to background the main text.


In the following account the terminology is non-technical, and used in a way that attempts to reflect the simple views of the Pre-Nicene Church Fathers. Those who deviated from the doctrines found in the Received Text of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, are described as “heretics”; those who adhered to those doctrines are called “Bible-believers”, “Evangelicals” (believers in the Gospel as found in the Bible), “Catholics” (in the original sense of upholders of the universal, common, Bible faith) “Orthodox” (i.e. having correct opinions on Bible doctrine), and, if Hebrews, “Messianic” (the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek term “Christians”), though occasionally the word “Messianic” is used in this account in a more general way to denote Jews who believed in or looked for a Messiah other than Jesus. Through the centuries these names have become attached to particular groups and churches. The original meanings are always intended in this work, unless otherwise indicated.


This account was inspired by the great prophetic and expository work of Bro. William M. Branham, The Seven Church Ages (online at, which, in one section (online at​wp/​7-church-ages6/), summarizes the early history of the First Church of Rome. For that section Bro. Branham used, in part, the research of a Pentecostal historian, Rachel C. Hazeltine, in the book “How Did It Happen?” (Library of Congress Control Number: 58049286), downloadable at this link:​. I had done my own research using the originals of the Early Church Fathers to background Bro. Branham’s account before reading Rachel Hazeltine’s power-packed book. I found my conclusions usually, but not always, agreed with hers. This account attempts to bring out particular points of historical detail, and gives original authority for historical interpretations throughout. For a summary of the arguments demonstrating the existence of two rival churches in Rome in the pre-Nicene age see footnote 83, below, >>.

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