Catholic Dictionary

Term

MARKS OF THE CHURCH

Definition

The four essential notes that characterize the Church of Christ, first fully enumerated in the Nicene Constantinople Creed; one holy, Catholic, and apostolic. Since the Eastern Schism and the Protestant Reformation they have become means of identifying the true Church among the rival claimants in christianity. Some writers add other notes besides the traditional four, e.g., St. Robert Bellarmine with a total of fifteen, including the mark of persecution.