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A name used from the second to the fourth centuries to designate a diocese originally founded or ruled by an Apostle. Thus Rome was founded by St. Peter, Alexandria by St. Mark, Jerusalem by St. James the Less, and Athens by St. Paul. Later on "Apostolic Church" referred to the whole Catholic Church, whose apostolicity is especially identified with the apostolic see of Rome.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.