lit. 'universal') was first used to describe the church in the early 2nd century.
 The first known use of the phrase "the catholic church" (καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία he katholike ekklesia) occurred in the letter written about 110 AD from
Saint Ignatius of Antioch to the
[note 2] In the Catechetical Lectures (c. 350) of
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, the name "Catholic Church" was used to distinguish it from other groups that also called themselves "the church".
 The "Catholic" notion was further stressed in the edict
De fide Catolica issued 380 by
Theodosius I, the last emperor to rule over both the
eastern and the
western halves of the
Roman Empire, when establishing the
state church of the Roman Empire.
East–West Schism of 1054, the
Eastern Church has taken the adjective "Orthodox" as its distinctive epithet (however, its official name continues to be the "Orthodox Catholic Church"
) and the
Western Church in communion with the
Holy See has similarly taken "Catholic", keeping that description also after the
Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, when those who ceased to be in communion became known as "Protestants".
While the "Roman Church" has been used to describe the pope's
Diocese of Rome since the
Fall of the Western Roman Empire and into the
Early Middle Ages (6th–10th century), the "Roman Catholic Church" has been applied to the whole church in English language since the
Protestant Reformation in the late 16th century.
 "Roman Catholic" has occasionally appeared also in documents produced both by the Holy See,
[note 3] notably applied to certain national
episcopal conferences, and local dioceses.
The name "Catholic Church" for the whole church is used in the 1990
Catechism of the Catholic Church, the 1983
Code of Canon Law, the documents of the 1962–65
Second Vatican Council, and numerous other official documents.