Faithology, The. "Christian History." Faithology.com. Faithology, 30 January 2013. Web. 24 May 2013.
Staff, T.F.E. (2013, Jan 30). Christian History. Faithology.
Staff, The, et. al. "Christian History" Faithology, LLC. Last modified January 30, 2013.
Faithology, LLC, 2012. (Accessed May 24, 2013).. Christian History.
- Stone, Michael E., "The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha," American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2011. Web. 22 Jun. 2011. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/apocrypha.html.
- "The Apocrypha," Internet Sacred Text Archive. John Bruno Hare, 2010. Web. 22 Jun. 2011. http://sacred-texts.com/chr/apo/index.htm.
- "Bible," Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopæædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 20 Jun. 2011. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/64396/Bible.
- "Biblical Literature," Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 20 Jun. 2011. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/64496/biblical-literature.
- "Bible Versions and Translations," BibleStudyTools.com. Bible Study Tools, 2011. Web. 22 Jun. 2011. http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-versions.
- "Hebrew Bible," New World Encyclopedia. New World Encyclopedia, 2008. Web. 20 Jun. 2011. http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Hebrew_Bible?oldid=686225.
- Last Updated: January 30, 2013
- Originally Published: June 24, 2012
This chronology is divided into four distinct periods: Biblical, Apostolic , Reformation , and Modern History. These divisions are for convenience only.
The following terms are defined for use within this chronology.
- Christianity. These divisions consist of Roman Catholicism, the Eastern , Protestantism, and the Independent Churches. : The four primary divisions of
- : Divisions within traditions are based upon doctrinal similarities. For ex-ample, Anglicanism, Calvinism, Lutheranism, and Methodism are all denominations within Protestantism.
- Church or : A specific religious organization within a denomination. For example, the Church of Norway and the Lutheran Church in America are churches within the Lutheran denomination.
- Association: A group of churches with administrative or political ties but no formal hierarchical affiliation. The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations, the International Lutheran Council, and the Lutheran World Federation are associations of individual Lu-theran congregations. The World Council of Churches is an association of a variety of sects.
- Movement: A philosophical, social or theological group within a denomination or among denominations. Movements have varying organizational structures ranging from a strict hierarchy to none at all.
The Biblical Period
|Undated||The Creation of the Universe
The creation account, found in the Book of , forms the beginning of Christian history. While several historians have sought to date this event, there is no universally agreed-upon date that can be set.
|4000 – 2000 BCE||The Events of Genesis 1-11 Take Place
Chapters 1-11 in the book of Genesis record the Christian creation account, the fall of man, the great flood and Noah’s . These verses also act as an introduction to key figures in biblical history including , , Noah, and Abraham.
|c. 3500 BCE||The Great Flood and Noah’s Ark
Displeased with the accumulating sins of mankind, God instructed a man named Noah to build a large ship called an ark. The ark was meant to provide safe haven for Noah, his family, and two of each animal from the earth during the great flood.
|2000 – 1700 BCE||The Events of Genesis 12-50 Take Place
The chapters of Genesis 12-50 mainly record events that involve Abraham, , Jacob and . All four of these men are considered to be important patriarchs of the Christian faith.
|1592 BCE||Moses is Born
Moses was a famous religious leader of the Israelites. Before his birth, the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. Out of fear of a growing Israelite population, the Egyptian pharaoh has all the newborn Israelite babies killed. Upon his birth, Moses’s mother hides him for three months in fear for his life. After three months, she places him in a basket and sets it in a river. Eventually, he is found and adopted by the pharaoh’s daughter. During his lifetime, Moses saved the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt, and brought them the Ten Commandments.
|1500-1050 BCE||The Events of
, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges and Ruth Take Place|
|1406 BCE||The Israelites Enter Canaan
Moses, the leader of the Israelites and of the Christian faith, sent Joshua, his assistant, into the land of Canaan as a spy to explore the land. Joshua became Moses’s successor and led the Israelites to conquer the land of Canaan, which was promised to Moses by God. The Israelites began to settle there, and political unrest ensued.
|1050-1000 BCE||The Events of 1 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, and Psalms Take Place
|950-850 BCE||The Events of 2 Samuel, 2 Chronicles, Proverbs 1-24, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs Take Place
|1050-931 BCE||Israel Unites as a Monarchy
Israel lived as a confederation of tribes under the reign of the biblical judges, who were prophets of God who gave direction and wisdom to the Israelites. Around 1050 BC, Israel united to form a monarchy for the first time.
|967-960 BCE||The First Temple is Built under King Solomon
During the days in which Israel was a united monarchy, the First Temple, also known as Solomon’s Temple, was built as the main for the Israelites and remained standing for approximately four hundred years. Descriptions of the First Temple can be found in the Book of Samuel and the Book of Kings.
|931-722 BCE||The Israelite Monarchy is Divided
Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, is to be the next king following Solomon’s death. Disputes break out amongst the Israelites about Rehoboam and the duties he will perform as king, and the ten northern tribes rebelled against Rehoboam and form their own independent kingdom of Israel. As a result of these rebellions, the nation of Israel split into two distinct entities: the Kingdom of Israel (Northern Kingdom) and the Kingdom of Judah (Southern Kingdom).
|850 BCE||The Events of 2 Kings Take Place
The book of 2 Kings records more of the history of Israel as a divided monarchy. It discusses the rise of the northern kingdom’s fourth dynasty, the northern kingdom’s decline and fall, as well as the final days of the southern kingdom.
|800 BCE||The Events of Joel Take Place
During this time, a plague of locusts struck the land of Judah, and the people of Judah questioned God’s goodness and mercy. The book of Joel records this plague, the questions of the people, and God’s answer to the people that he gave through a prophecy to a man named Joel.
|750-700 BCE||The Events of Hosea, Amos, Jonah, Proverbs 25-31, Micah, and Isaiah Take Place
The book of Hosea records a small insight into the life of the Hosea and his marriage to an unfaithful wife, which is given as a metaphor for God’s relationship with Israel. The book of Amos is another one of the prophets who brings messages of judgment and woes against Israel, as well as God’s promise to one day restore the nation. Jonah, Micah and Isaiah are additionally all prophetic books that display the relationship between God and his people and the consequences of disobedience to him. However, these books also records promises made by God to his people to send a to one day restore Israel. The book of Proverbs contains wisdom for daily life.
|c. 700 BCE||The City of Rome is Founded
It is unknown precisely when the city of Rome is founded, but some historians and scholar’s attribute it’s founding to a set of twins named Romulus and Remus. This story holds the date of Rome’s establishment at 753 BCE, but this date is subject to controversy.
|650-550 BCE||The Events of Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Lamentations, and Obadiah Take Place
|c. 600 BCE||The Judeans are Sent into Exile
After the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah, the Jewish people are exiled from the land of Israel. In captivity, the Jews are forbidden from practicing their own religion.
is Destroyed by Babylon|
A turning point in Israelite history when Jerusalem is seized by Babylon, which ends the Kingdom of Judah. Babylonian invaders destroy the Temple.
|539-331 BCE||The Reign of the Persian Empire
The Babylonian Empire is defeated by the Persian Empire. As a result, the Jewish people become part of the Persian Empire. However, the Persian ruler, Cyrus the Great, allows the Jews to return to their homeland and practice their own religion. He also encourages them to rebuild the First Temple.
|538 BCE||The Exiled Jews Begin Returning to Judea
Following a decree from Cyrus the Great, the Jewish people returned from exile.
|520-515 BCE||The First Temple is Rebuilt
Under the rule of Cyrus the Great of Persia and during the re-establishment of the city of Jerusalem, the re-building of the First Temple began. Due to some opposition from those that lived in Jerusalem during Jewish captivity, the re-building of the First Temple was put on hold until the reign of King Darius. It was completed during his sixth year reigning as king. It was during the reign of Herod the Great that the new temple is renovated and re-named the "Second Temple," or "King Herod’s Temple." The city of Jerusalem was also reestablished.
|510-27 BCE||The Formation of the Roman Republic
The Roman monarchy is overthrown and a two-consul government is established. This government was advised by the Roman senate, and overtime, a constitution was established.
|c. 500-400 BCE||The Events of Haggai, Zechariah, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi Take Place. 1-2 Chronicles was written.
|331-332 BCE||The Ruling of Alexander the Great Begins
Alexander the Great conquers Persia, Syria, Philista, Judea, and Egypt. He is known to history as one of the most successful warriors, undefeated in battle.
|250 BCE -1 CE||The Events Found in Intertestamental Literature Take Place
The Intertestamental period is thought to have lasted about 400 years. This period spans from the events recorded in the book of Malachi and the last of the Old Testament Prophets up until John the Baptist in the early first century AD. These books include 1-2 Maccabees, Jubilees, Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Psalms of Solomon and the Wisdom of Solomon. Although these book are not considered be canonical in the majority of the groups, many of these books, and others, are considered to be canonical in both the and Eastern traditions.
|332-30 BCE||The Hellenistic Period
The Hellenistic period was categorized as an era during which culture and society throughout western Asia and the Middle East had been heavily influenced by Greek culture.
|250 BCE||The Translation of the Septuagint
The Old Testament is first translated into Greek. This version is referred to as the Septuagint.
|44-27 BCE||The Roman Empire is Established
The Roman Republic is reorganized into an empire, but the event that marks this transition has not been standardized. Common events marking the foundation of the empire are Julius Caesar’s dictatorship (44 BCE), the Battle of Actium (31 BCE), and the bestowing of the honorific title “Augustus” to Octavian (27 BCE).
|1 BCE||The Birth of
John, the son of Zacharias, a Levite , and , a Levite, is born in Jerusalem. He is a relative of Jesus.
|1 CE||The Birth of Jesus
Jesus is born in Bethlehem of Judea, a province of the Roman Empire, to a virgin by the name of . She and Joseph, her espoused husband, are descendants of Abraham.
|2 CE||The Birth of Jesus is Announced
An of the Lord visits a group of shepherds and announces the birth of Jesus. The shepherds go immediately to pay respect to the Christ child. In addition, three "wise men" or " " pay respects to the young Jesus, bearing gifts of gold, and . Before their journey to pay respect to baby Jesus, the wise men visit King Herod, the Roman-appointed ruler of . Herod feels threatened by Jesus and thus orders the murder of all male children under the age of two. Being warned of Herod’s plan from an angel of the Lord, Joseph takes Mary and Jesus to Egypt. After Herod's death, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph return to .
|12||The Young Jesus Speaks to Rabbis in the Temple
Jesus’s family visits Jerusalem. He remains in the city when his parents depart for home. Finding him in the Temple, his parents rebuke him gently, but he replies, "I must be about my father's business."
|30||Jesus Begins His Public Ministry
John the Baptist baptizes Jesus, and all three persons of the Holy Trinity are present Jesus spends forty days fasting in the wilderness and is tempted by Satan. He refuses to give in, and angels minister to him. In his on the Mount, Jesus lays out the basis for all Christian ethics, revisiting the Mosaic laws and building upon them.
Jesus calls his twelve disciples apostles, giving them special authority. Others join the mission of the disciples and they are sent out to spread the gospel of Christ. Jesus and his apostles travel throughout Judea and Galilee. They teach through parables, perform miracles, and baptize believers.
|33||Jesus is Crucified
Jesus enters Jerusalem to the cheers of the people and the Temple hierarchy sees him as a threat.
Jesus gives the greatest upon his entrance into Jerusalem: "‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your , and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Following the meal, the basis of the later of the , he is arrested for . The Sanhedrin—the Jewish judicial body—puts him on trial and condemns him. Jewish authorities cannot inflict capital punishment, so they turn Jesus over to the Roman governor, , who condemns him at the insistence of the crowd. Jesus is crucified at a hill called Golgotha or Calvary. Through his death on the cross, he takes on himself the sins of the world, in what Christians call the and redeems the sins of all mankind. Christians believe that belief in Jesus and this gift of grace, will lead to an eternal life in the presence of God in heaven.
The body of Jesus is given to the disciples, and they bury him in what comes to be called "the Garden Tomb." Three days after his crucifixion, Jesus is resurrected. He appears to Mary Magdalene, and then to the apostles. Jesus preaches and is seen by many, then ascends into heaven.
|33||The Christian Church Begins in Jerusalem
Jesus’s , , assumes leadership of the church, placing the center of leadership at Jerusalem. On , forty days after the , the Holy Spirit descends on the members of the church.
|Early 1st century||The Missionary Activities of the Apostles Begin
The apostles begin their ministry to preach to gospel to the world. As they preach, believers in Jesus suffer persecution by the Jewish establishment.
|Mid 1st century||The Disciples are First Named "Christians"
"And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."
|Mid/Late 1st century||The Disciples’ Missionary Work Expands
According to the Bible, Peter is commanded in a vision to expand missionary efforts to include gentiles. The apostles travel and preach, establishing branches of the church in many cities of the Roman Empire, including Rome itself.
are Authored and Circulated|
Letters by Apostle , called epistles, circulate as instructions to specific Christian congregations. Epistles and historical records by other disciples would follow.
|62||The Death of the Apostle James
James, the brother of John, is beheaded by King Herod in Jerusalem.
|64||Death of the Apostles Peter and Paul
The Emperor Nero persecutes Christians in Rome. The Apostles Peter and Paul are martyred during this time.
|70||Siege of Jerusalem
General Vespasian, and then his son, Titus, (both later emperors of Rome) besieged Jerusalem, ending the last Jewish political entity of the ancient world.
|73||Fall of Masada
General Titus, after a three-year siege, destroys a group of zealot partisans in a mountaintop fortress called Masada; it is the last remnant of Jewish independence.
During the 20th century, Masada becomes a symbol of Jewish nationalism, and is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Apostolic Period
|c. 150||Justin Writes His Apology
Justin, a Greek philosopher born and raised in Shechem, Galilea, converts to Christianity. He writes The Apology, in which he uses Greek-style logical arguments to explain and justify his faith in Jesus. Justin believed that the Old Testament prophecies and Greek thought were both inspired by God.
In Rome, Justin aggravates Crescens the Cynic, and is arrested, tortured and executed. He becomes known as "Justin Martyr."
|c. 156||The Martyrdom of Polycarp
Polycarp of Smyrna (modern-day Imzir, Turkey) is arrested and condemned to death, but is offered pardon if he denounces Christianity. He refuses and is burned at the stake.
According to tradition, Polycarp was a student of the Apostle John. If so, he may have been the last link to Biblical Period leaders.
|165||Christians in Rome Honor Peter A necropolis is built on the Vatican Hill as a memorial to Peter, traditionally considered the first Bishop of Rome.|
|c. 203||Origen Begins Writing
Origen becomes the dean of a Christian school in Alexandria. There, he begins writing about Christianity and Christian doctrine. During his lifetime, he wrote over two thousand books on these topics. Like Justin Martyr, he believed that Greek philosophy and science were preparations for receiving religious truths. For what were viewed as heresies. Rome excommunicates Origen (an act that Eastern churches refuse to recognize), but not before he had become a world-famous scholar, winning acclaim as both the father of orthodoxy and the father of heresies.
|251||Cyprian Gathers the Council of Carthage
Bishop Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus of Carthage had gathered bishops and reads On the Unity of the Church, outlining his beliefs: First, the Church is the only way to . Second, outside the Church, one cannot live a fully Christian life or receive salvation. Third, Jesus established the Church on Peter, and the bishops, as Peter's successors, hold his authority.
Claims Apostolic Authority|
Pope Stephen becomes first known Bishop of Rome to claim authority as the Christian , based on Jesus’s commission to Peter.
|285||Diocletian First Divides the Roman Empire
Emperor Diocletian splits the Roman Empire into halves, drawing the division line between Italy and Greece. This division is subsequently withdrawn and reinstated by several later emperors.
|312||The Roman Emperor Accepts Christianity
Constantine receives a vision of a cross in the sky and hears, "By this sign, conquer," which precedes a military victory. Constantine is baptized and converts to Christianity just prior to his death.
|313||The Roman Empire Legalizes Christianity Co-emperors Constantine and Licinius issue theof Milan, which grants full legal rights to Christians within the Empire.|
The Council of Nicaea (modern-day Iznik, Turkey) adopts what becomes the Nicene , still accepted by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and many Protestant churches as a fundamental statement of their faith.
|330||Constantine Moves the Capital of the Roman Empire
Constantine establishes an eastern capital for the Empire at Byzantium, renaming it Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey).
|364||The Roman Empire is Divided for the Final Time
Emperor Valentinian I follows through with Diocletian’s original idea of splitting the Roman Empire in half. After Valentinian, the empire is permanently divided into the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire (also known as the Byzantine Empire).
|367||Athanasius Begins the Formal Canonization of the New Testament
Athanasius, the Orthodox Bishop of Alexandria, writes a letter listing twenty-seven works as for Christianity, later known as the New Testament. He includes on his list only books associated with the apostles (the assumed authors) and their acceptance by Christian churches, which often varied. Later, in 397, the Council of Carthage ratified the list, but disagreements continued for decades over its exact composition.
|379||The Roman Emperor Abandons the Roman Religion
Flavius Theodosius becomes emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (co-emperor with Valentinian at Rome). He is the first to refuse the title of the Roman state religion.
|380 Feb. 28||The Term "Catholic" is First Applied to Christians
Emperor Theodosius is baptized and issues an edict: Only those who believe in the of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit can be considered catholic Christians. This is the earliest known use of the word "catholic" in a church document.
|381||Nicene Creed Reaffirmed
The Council of Constantinople reaffirms the Nicene Creed and adds Constantinople to the apostolic sees, placing it second in pre-eminence after Rome.
|382||Jerome Translates the Bible into Latin
Pope Damasus commissions Jerome to create an official Latin translation of the Bible. This version is known as the Bible. The gospels are completed around 383 and the rest of the scriptures are finished around 405. It remains the basis of the Roman Catholic Bible.
|413–426/427||The First Writings of the "Early Christian Fathers" Appear
Augustine writes and publishes his City of God, a collection of twenty-two volumes refuting non-Christian claims of divine power and outlining the story of mankind. It is the earliest known work of those later called "the early Church fathers."
|431||The Orthodox Council Creates the Orthodox Church of Cyprus
The Third Ecumenical Council of Ephesus grants independence to the Orthodox Church of Cyprus with the Archbishop of Nicosia (who is elected by the clergy and laity) as head.
|451||The Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon (present-day Kadiköy, Turkey) shapes all future Christological definitions concerning the humanity and of Christ. Their answer is that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine.
|451||Pope Saves Rome from Sack by the Huns
Pope Leo I convinces Attila the Hun to withdraw from the north of the Danube. Leo, as Bishop of Rome, is formally given religious authority over Gaul, Spain, and North Africa by the Emperor Valentinian III.
|476||Roman Church Survives the Fall of Rome
Flavius Odoacer (or, Odovacer) conquers and sacks Rome; it is historically considered the fall of the Western Roman Empire. However, remnants of rulership remained under self-styled emperors who had established their capitals in other cities. The Roman Catholic Church is the only imperial organization to survive the sacking. The Eastern Empire (later referred to as the "Byzantine Empire") continues unscathed.
|597||Rome Formalizes Ties with English Christians
Sent as a missionary to England by Pope Gregory, Augustine establishes an as Archbishopric of Canterbury, which becomes the symbolic seat of English Christianity.
|c. 6th century||Orthodox Patriarch Creates Georgian Orthodox Church
The Patriarch of Antioch grants ecclesiastical independence to the Georgian Orthodox Church.
|Early/mid 6th century||The Athanasian Creed Appears
The earliest known copy of the Athanasian Creed is part of a collection of homilies by Caesarius of Arles, who died in 542. This creed has been accepted by Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches and describes beliefs on the Trinity and the Incarnation of Jesus as son of God. It concludes with warnings that absolute adherence to these truths is essential to salvation. The use of this creed seems to have started in France and Spain (6th and 7th centuries). It then expanded to Germany (9th century) and arrived in Rome (after the 9th century). Although it has historically been attributed to Athanasius (died 373), scholars since the 17th century generally agree that it was written in France during the 5th century, perhaps by Vincent of Lérins (c. 440), whose surviving writings contain very similar wording.
|Late 6th / early 7th century||The Apostles' Creed is Finalized
The Apostles’ Creed reaches its present form. Based on earlier baptismal creeds, it is a statement of religious principles still accepted by the Roman Catholic church and many Protestant churches.
|632-642||Destruction of Patriarchates Begins the Religious Divide Between West and the East
Muslims capture Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. The episcopal sees cease to exist, leaving Rome (the heir of Peter) and Constantinople (the Emperor) as the seats of Christian religious authority.
|751||The Pope Becomes a Diplomat
With the approval of Pope Zachary, Pippin seizes the Frankish throne from Childeric III, the first known overt act of papal secular diplomacy.
|753||Roman and Orthodox Churches Cut their Political Ties
Pope Stephen II of Rome and the Frankish King Pepin the Younger form an alliance. The Pope sanctions Pepin’s family as Frankish royalty and Pepin commits himself to protect Rome. Rome's political ties to Constantinople and the Eastern Roman Empire are severed.
|755-756||Roman Church Headquarters Become an Independent State
Pepin successfully defends Rome against a Lombard attack. The "Donation of Pepin" grants to the Pope certain Italian territories, later called the Papal States. The Pope becomes a secular sovereign, a position he retains to the present as head of Vatican City.
|800||Pope Becomes a King-Maker
Charles I, king of the Franks since 768, defends Pope Leo III against accusations of misconduct; after extensive negotiations, Leo publically repents. On Dec. 25, Pope Leo crowns Charles as Holy Roman Emperor. He is called Charles the Great, or more popularly, Charlemagne.
|c. 800-1015||The Viking Age Begins
Possibly driven by an expanding population, Vikings from Scandinavia raid and trade among Christians and Muslims from the Irish Sea to the Black Sea. After conquering lands in the British Isles, northern France, Iceland, Greenland, and North America, plus lands bordered by the Baltic Sea and the Ural Mountains, some Vikings emigrate permanently, exerting a massive influence on European history.
|858-877||The Orthodox Patriarch Acknowledges Roman Pope as Leader of Christianity
In Constantinople, the Ecumenical Patriarch Ignatius is exiled; Photius is elected to replace him. In Rome, Pope Nicholas I refuses to recognize the election. The pope and patriarch argue over which city may send missionaries to the Bulgars. Ignatius returns from exile and replaces Photius. When Ignatius dies in 877, Photius resumes his Patriarchate. Pope Adrian II and Photius come to an agreement: Adrian acknowledges Photius as patriarch, Photius sends troops to fight Muslim incursions in Italy, withdraws missionaries from the Bulgars, and acknowledges Rome as the first see of Christendom.
|863||Monks Translate the Bible into Slavonic
Emperor III sends two brothers, Methodius and Cyril, as missionaries to the Slavic tribes. They translate the Bible into Slavonic, creating the Cyrillic alphabet, based on the Greek alphabet, which many Eastern European countries still use. This first experiment to preach in a local, native language is heavily criticized, but Pope Adrian II gives his blessing in 868.
|988||Vladimir Attempts to Unite Russia with Religion
The grandson of Christian princess Olga of Kiev, Vladimir is baptized, establishing Christianity as the state religion of Russia. He later marries Anna, daughter of the Eastern Roman Emperor, divorces his previous wives, abandons his concubines and idols, and establishes schools and churches using the Slavonic translation of the Bible.
According to tradition, Vladimir had previously been a hedonistic ruler with five wives and eight hundred concubines. Seeking to unify his people, he sent out emissaries to examine the major faiths. He disliked the dietary restrictions of Judaism and Islam but was convinced that Eastern Orthodoxy was like heaven on Earth after attending a church service in Constantinople.
|11th century||Tensions Rise Between the Western and Eastern Churches
Rome forces Latin customs on the Greeks living in southern Italy. In response, Constantinople closes Latin churches in Greece.
In response to conflicts and rising tensions, the Roman and Orthodox Churches cut their religious ties. Humbert travels from Rome to Constantinople, protesting the treatment of Latin churches. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Cerularius, does not receive him with suitable honors. Humbert departs on July 16, leaving a papal letter excommunicating Cerularius on the altar of Hagia Sophia. Cerularius later excommunicates Pope Leo IX.
Viewed at the time as a minor schism similar to that between Photius and Adrian, the division, historians now agree, was the end of any real connection between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions. The separation leads to doctrinal and administrative differences. Roman Catholicism maintains a strict hierarchy with the pope as head of the church, while the Eastern Orthodox branch moves toward autocephalous national or local churches.
|1095 Nov. 18||The Pope calls for a
against the Muslims|
Pope Urban II convenes the Council of Clermont; French bishops are the principal attendees. The Council issues a canon granting plenary indulgence to those who undertake a crusade to aid Christians in the east that had come under Muslim rule.
This call and promise of indulgences leads to seven major and several smaller military actions called Crusades, with varying types of participants, and levels of organizations.
|1095||The First Crusade: The First Wave or "People’s Crusade"
Peter the Hermit begins traveling across France encouraging the motives and the actions of the Crusade. He gathers an army that travels to Constantinople. Upon arriving in May 1096, Peter the Hermit and his army cross into Asia. Peter is unable to maintain order and leaves his army to request aid from Emperor Alexius I at Constantinople. While he is away, his army is annihilated by the Turks on Oct. 21, 1096.
Pierre later joined the second wave of the First Crusade.
|1096||Crusaders Massacre Jews en route to Palestine
Other People’s Crusade groups travel toward Palestine. One, led by Count Emicho, is responsible for massacres of Jews in Speyer, Worms, Mainz, and Cologne. It is considered by historians the beginning of modern anti-Semitism and a pivotal event in Christian-Jewish relations in Europe. The actions are condemned by other Christians. King Coloman of Hungary routs the Emicho crusade group with heavy losses.
|1096-1100 Aug.||The First Crusade: The Second Wave
Five Crusader forces depart for the East led by Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine, Germany; Bohemond from southern Italy; Raymond of Saint-Gilles, Count of Toulouse, from France; Robert, Count of Flanders, from Flanders; and Hugh of Vermandois, brother of King Philip I of France from France.
On Jul. 1, 1097, the Crusaders meet the Seljuk Turks at Dorylaeum, winning a decisive victory. Bohemond enters Antioch on Jun. 3, 1098, taking possession of the city and then keeping it against a Turkish counterattack.
On Jun. 7, 1099, the remaining crusaders (possibly half the original force) besiege Jerusalem, entering the city on Jul. 15.
On Nov. 11, 1100, Baldwin (who became duke on the death of his brother, Godfrey) is proclaimed King of Jerusalem.
|1101||The First Crusade: The Third Wave
Pope Paschal II organizes reinforcements for the Kingdom of Jerusalem; it collapses before they reach the city. However, King Baldwin takes advantage of rivalries among neighboring Muslim rulers and extends his domain. By 1112, the entire coast of present-day Lebanon (excluding Ascalon and Tyre) are under crusader control. Other Crusade leaders established similar states in the Middle East.
|1145||Pope Calls for the Second Crusade
Pope Eugenius III issues "Quantum Praedecessores", recounting the First Crusade and lamenting the losses incurred of Edessa in Mesopotamia. Addressed to Louis VII of France and his subjects, the papal bull guaranteed the remission of sins for all those who died and "ecclesiastical protection" for their families and possessions. Bernard of Clairvaux asserts that the Crusade is a means of redemption or avenue of salvation.
|1147-1148||The Second Crusade is Launched
Two crusader forces depart for the east. Emperor Conrad III leads a German contingent, while King Louis VII leads a French contingent. Other semi-related armies attack the Muslim Moors in Spain and the Wends on the Baltic Sea.
On Oct. 25, Conrad's army meets the Turks at Dorylaeum and is routed; Conrad and the survivors retreat. The French join Conrad, and the crusader force arrives at Jerusalem. They decide to take Damascus, Syria.
On Jul. 28, 1148, after a brief siege, it becomes clear that failure is inevitable; the crusaders retreat and soon disband.
|1187 Jul. 4||The Loss of Jerusalem Inspires the Third Crusade
Christian knights are defeated at Hattin by forces of the Muslim Sultan Saladin (Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn). When the news reaches Europe, Pope Gregory VIII issues a papal bull calling for fasting, penitence, and a new crusade.
|1170||Waldo Begins Preaching in Lyon
Peter Waldo (also called Valdes or Valdo) hears a tale of altruism that inspires him to donate his wealth and preach to the poor. He and his followers, calling themselves the Poor Men of Lyon, travel like the apostles of the New Testament—two by two, without purse or scrip—teaching the gospel to the common people. Local bishops oppose this organized lay ministry (un-ordained members performing clerical functions), but Pope Alexander II takes no action beyond warning them not to preach without approval of their bishops. This approval is not granted. The Waldesians continue their ministry, and Pope Lucius III, Alexander's successor, excommunicates them.
This is the first major challenge to the absolute authority of the Roman Catholic clergy. In 1207, Pope Innocent III invites the Waldensians back to the Church, but not all accept. Although the Waldensians broke from Catholic tradition prior to the Protestant reformation, they eventually come to be known as some of the first Protestants in history.
|1189-1192 May||The Third Crusade is Launched
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, a veteran of the Second Crusade, leads the largest crusader army. Emperor Isaac II Angelus obstructs the crusaders' travel across the Eastern Empire because of a treaty with Saladin. Finally arriving in Asia in 1190, Frederick drowns while crossing a river. Most of his army disbands. Only a small force, under Leopold of Austria, arrives in Tyre.
Also in 1190, the French, under Philip II Augustus, and English, under Richard I (known as the Lionheart), depart to join Frederick. Philip brings the French fleet to Acre and lays siege. Richard captures Cyrus, which remains a Christian stronghold for four hundred years. Joining forces, Philip and Richard take Acre. Philip and Leopold soon return home.
On Sep. 2, 1192, a treaty is concluded with Saladin. Jerusalem remains under Muslim control, but free access is given to pilgrims. Richard heads home, but is imprisoned by Leopold. Saladin dies soon after.
|1198||The Pope Calls for the Fourth Crusade
Pope Innocent III issues legates and letters calling for a new crusade, imposing a tax on clerical incomes in 1199 to pay for it and engaging Fulk of Neuilly to preach in its favor. Among the leaders was Geoffrey of Villehardouin, a major chronicler of this Crusade.
|1200-1204||The Fourth Crusade is Launched
Boniface of Montferrat leads the Fourth Crusade. Boniface is well connected: His late brother, Conrad of Montferrat, had been king of Jerusalem. During the Crusade, he marries the sister of Eastern Emperor Isaac II Angelus, receiving the title of Caesar from the Emperor. His army arrives in Venice at one-third its expected size and cannot pay for the ships and provisions as contracted, so the of Venice asks them to conquer a Christian city (present-day Zadar, Hungary) as payment. The crusaders agree, whereupon a Byzantine prince asks the crusaders to help him overthrow the Emperor for a price, to which they also agree.
In 1203, the Crusaders attack and burn Constantinople, and replace Alexius III with Alexius IV. When Alexius IV fails to pay as promised, the Crusaders pillage the city and elect a Frankish emperor and Italian patriarch.
|1215||The Fourth Council of the Lateran Proclaims the Pope the "
Pope Innocent III, unsatisfied with the title "vicar of Peter," claims the title "vicar of Christ" and tries to establish himself as superior to all other religious and political powers. The Fourth Council of the Lateran convenes with just shy of twelve hundred attendees, including bishops, abbots, priors, and royal envoys who adopt many of Innocent's proposals. He ordered Jews and Muslims to wear distinctive clothing, obligated Catholics to make annual confession and receive at Easter, sanctioned as the proper description of the Eucharist, and reaffirming papal authority to appoint bishops.
|1235||The Orthodox Patriarch Creates the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Michael Autorianus, grants ecclesiastical independence to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church with a patriarchate in Trnovo.
|1245–1274||Ministry of Thomas Aquinas
During his thirty-year ecclesiastical career, Thomas Aquinas writes over eighty books, including Summa Theologica and Summa Contra Gentiles and founds a doctrinal system known as "Thomism." He integrates doctrinal traditions of early Church fathers with Aristotle's classical philosophy "Scholasticism." Aquinas's goal is the synthesis of faith and reason.
Though not all modern theologians agree with Aquinas's thoughts, he is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as its foremost philosopher and .
|1375||The Orthodox Patriarch Creates the Serbian Orthodox Church
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Philotheus Kokkinos, recognizes the 1346 declaration of ecclesiastical independence by the Serbian Orthodox Church with an archbishopric at Peć.
The patriarchate has been abolished and restored several times; the current patriarchate dates from Serbia's independence in 1920.
|1382||Wycliffe Translates the Bible into English
John Wycliffe, an Oxford professor, questions Catholic teachings, including the requirement that scripture is to be written exclusively in Latin, a language few common people could read. Briefly a national hero for his resistance to Rome, Wycliffe ultimately loses both influence and his professorship. From 1380-82, he compiles an English translation of the Bible, translating his first edition in 1382. A second edition is published after his death in 1384, and becomes known as the Wycliffe Bible.
In an act of revenge, the Catholic Church excommunicated him thirty-one years after his death and, in 1428, exhumed his bones, burned them and scattered his ashes.
|1389||The First Display of the Shroud of Turin
The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth that is 14 feet 3 inches by 3 feet 7 inches that is said to show the face of man who has experienced a physical trauma that is similar to depictions of the face of Jesus during the crucifixion. Since 1354, it was known to be in the possession of French knight Geoffroi de Charnay, seigneur de Lirey. In 1389, the shroud is put on public display for the first time. Geoffroi's granddaughter gives it to the Savoy family in 1453. The Savoys then move to Turin in 1578, and the cloth becomes known as the Shroud of Turin.
|1448||Russians Establish Russian Orthodox Church
Russian bishops elect Bishop Jonas as Metropolitan of all Russia, declaring their autocephalous status within the Orthodox tradition.
|1453||The Orthodox Church Survives the Fall of Constantinople
Sultan Mehmed II assaults and captures Constantinople, ending the Eastern Roman / Byzantine Empire, and bringing its remnants into the Ottoman Empire. Though Islam is the Ottoman state religion, the Sultan allows the Orthodox faith to continue, giving the Patriarch of Constantinople full spiritual and considerable temporal authority over Christians in the Empire.
The patriarchate continues today. The Patriarch of Constantinople is considered the first among equals—that is to say, among the other patriarchs, archbishops and metropolitans of the autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox churches.
|1455||Gutenberg Prints the Vulgate Bible
After years of experimentation, possibly stretching back as far as 1436, Johann Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg completes Europe's first working printing press with movable type. His first printing project is two hundred copies of the Vulgate Bible.
Sentiments of the Jewish population in what was a highly populated Christian part of Spain were high at first, but began to decline in the late 14th century. A group of "new Christians", or conversos, became a highly controversial group in Spain. They began to establish themselves in high political ranks as well establish wealth among themselves. In addition to the conversos was a group called the Marranos, who were Jewish converts to Christianity who converted to avoid persecution. The new profitable converts, as well as the Marranos who were suspected to still practice Judaism, secretly became a major source of conflict for those who had already been practicing the Christian faith. The Catholics obtained an official document from Sixtus IV, the pope at the time, for an inquisition to attempt to deal with those whose conversion seemed to be insincere. These inquisitions spawn great fear as tactics such as torture, lack of rights, and the confiscation of property, were used in the beginning stages of the Inquisition.
|1492||Columbus Lands in the New World
Christopher Columbus sails under Spanish patronage looking for a westward passage to Asia. He lands in what becomes known as America, though he never acknowledges this discovery. Over the next three centuries, Europeans establish numerous American colonies. Reasons for this colonization include expanding the domain of their religion and obtaining personal religious freedom.
|1508-12||Michelangelo Paints the Sistine
Under the patronage of Popes Julius II, Leo X, Clement VII and Paul III, Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni paints the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, portraying numerous biblical events and characters in realistic form and style. In 1534, he returns to the chapel to paint the Last Judgment on the wall above the altar.
More than five hundred years after its completion, the frescoes are still considered by many to be the greatest works of art in European culture.
The Reformation Period
|1516||Zwingli Preaches a Reformed Gospel
Huldrych (or Ulrich) Zwingli becomes the pastor of the church at Einsiedeln, Switzerland, where he begins preaching a reformist gospel. The reforms included pacifism and the separation of church and state. His followers became known as the Swiss Brethren, which later gave rise to the Anabaptists, Mennonites, and Quakers.
|1517 Oct. 31||Martin Luther Begins the Reformation
Martin Luther, in a letter to certain bishops, proposes a debate on indulgences, including the Ninety-Five Theses, to be the core of that debate.
This event sparks extensive discussion over Roman Catholic practices and doctrines, which leads large groups to break away from the Church, forming their own religious bodies. The movement comes to be called the Protestant Reformation. Their goal is the reformation of Roman Catholicism: returning the Church to biblically supported practices.
|1521 May 25||The Holy Roman Emperor Declares the Lutherans to be Outlaws
At the of Worms, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V—having examined Martin Luther and his claims—issues the Edict of Worms. This declares that Luther and his followers or supporters, who called themselves evangelicals, were heretics and criminals. Their property was immediately confiscated, with other punishments to be named later.
|1523||Zwingli Publishes the Sixty-Seven Articles
Huldrych Zwingli publishes the Sixty-Seven Articles, which form the basis for the Reformation in Switzerland. Among his theses are: (1) The church is born of the Word of God and Christ is its head, (2) Church laws are binding as they agree with Scripture, (3) Christ alone is man’s righteousness, (4) Scripture does not teach transubstantiation in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, (5) The mass is an insult to Jesus’s redemption of the sins of mankind (6) There is no biblical support for the mediation (intercession by saints), , or icons, and (7) Marriage is lawful to all, including clergy.
|1525 Jan. 1||The First Adult Baptisms Begin Dissenters from Zwingli's Swiss Brethren believe that since the Bible mentions only adults being baptized, infantis a human misinterpretation of correct biblical doctrine. They perform the first adult baptisms of the Protestant tradition, beginning the denomination.|
|1523||Tyndale Translates the New Testament into English
William Tyndale publishes his translation of the New Testament from Greek to English. Working and hiding in England and Germany to avoid arrest, he continues his work by publishing sections of the Old Testament, beginning in 1530. Tyndale's Bible was banned as soon as it was published, but it gained wide, unofficial distribution. His translation was used as the basis for most subsequent English Bibles, and many scholars recognize the quality of his translations.
|1527||Henry VIII begins the Church of England
English King Henry VIII requests a divorce from his wife, Catherine of Aragon, so he can marry Ann Boleyn and procure a male heir. Pope Clement VII—who had earlier sanctioned Henry's marriage to his brother's widow—refuses. In 1532, Henry formally rejects the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, establishing the Church of England. He appoints himself to be supreme head of the Church and the Archbishop of Canterbury as senior bishop. This church grows into the Anglican denomination of the Protestant tradition.
|1529 Apr. 19||Catholics Call Dissenters "Protestants"
A letter written by six Lutheran princes and leaders of fourteen cities is presented to the Diet of Speyer. The letter protests the edict of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (a German and Roman Catholic) demanding full enforcement of the Edict of Worms. They declare the decision was not binding on them because they were not party to it; if forced to choose obedience to God or obedience to secular authority, they choose obedience to God. Those who sent the letter became known as Protestants. The name soon became linked to the entire reformative tradition.
|1530 Jun. 25||Lutherans Present the Augsburg Confession
German rulers present the Augsburg Confession, formally stating their articles of faith, to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
|1536||Calvin Begins the Calvinist Denomination
John Calvin publishes the first edition of his masterwork Institutes of the Christian Religion. It recognizes the Roman Catholic Church as mother of Christianity, but it is also designed as a statement of reformist doctrine, becoming an influential text in the Protestant tradition. The Reformed churches are most influenced by Calvin's ministry. The Anabaptist and Baptist denominations were also influenced by his teachings.
|1531||Servetus Publishes the Foundation of Unitarian Denomination
Spanish physician and theologian Miguel Servetus publishes In De Trinitatis Erroribus (On the Errors of the Trinity). Christianismi Restitutio (The Restitution of Christianity) follows in 1553, declaring the belief that the God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit (the Trinity) are, in fact, a single, indivisible entity.
|1536||Simons Consolidates Anabaptist Thought
A priest since 1524, Menno Simons collects and consolidates the distinct doctrines outlined by the first generation of Anabaptist leaders: the Trinity, scripture as final authority for faith, public profession of faith, and pacifism. His followers come to be called Mennonites.
|1538||Calvin Visits French Protestants
John Calvin travels to Strasborg, Germany, to visit French Protestants in exile. The Protestant Reformation entered France shortly after its beginning in Germany.
|1546||The Vulgate Becomes the Official Version of the Bible Used by the Roman Catholic Church
The Council of Trent decrees the Vulgate to be the exclusive Latin authority for the Bible. The Clementine Vulgate is issued by Pope Clement VIII in 1592.
|1546-55||The First Religious War Between Catholics and Protestants
Holy Roman Emperor Charles V takes military action against German principalities that have adopted Lutheranism. Charles is militarily victorious, but he cannot force the Lutherans to return to Catholicism. This war later called the War of Schmalkaldic.
|1549||The First Anglican Book of Common
Anglican Archbishop Thomas Cranmer publishes the first Book of Common Prayer. Revising traditional Roman forms of English worship to incorporate Reformation ideas, this was one of the documents that moved the Church of England away from the Catholic tradition and into the Protestant tradition.
|1555 Sep. 25||Holy Roman Empire Formally Sanctions State Religions
The Diet of the Holy Roman Empire issues the Peace of Augsburg. Under its terms, each prince in the Empire is to choose an official religion for his territory—Catholicism or Lutheranism. Those who do not follow the state religion may peaceably sell their property and emigrate.
|1557-1560||The Geneva Bible is Published
The Geneva Bible was the primary translation used during the Protestant Reformation. It is known to history as the first study Bible, as it included study aids, maps, illustrations, and indexes. It was published 51 years prior to the King James Version.
|1559||French Protestants Publish a Confession of Faith
More influenced by Calvin than Luther, the Huguenots, as French Protestants become known, establish their confession of faith during the first nation-wide , at Paris. As the denomination grew, several civil wars between Catholic and Reformed Frenchmen were fought from 1562 to 1643, when the Edict of Nantes confirmed their right to worship.
|1560||Knox Lays the Foundations of Presbyterianism
John Knox, a student of John Calvin, is the principal author of the Scots Confession, which is adopted by the Scottish Parliament. Knox also heads a committee which creates the First Book of Discipline, which proposed rules for the Church: Congregations were to be governed by elders elected annually by the people, and the ablest of these appointed were to supervise areas similar to Catholic dioceses, with the help of a provincial synod of ministers and elders. This gives rise to the denomination formally called Presbyterianism.
|c. 16th century||The Beginning of Evangelism
Martin Luther and his followers are considered to be some of the first Evangelicals; they stressed the concept of justification by faith in Jesus and based all of their doctrines and beliefs on the Bible alone. Their mission was to spread the gospel to the rest of the world.
|1576||The Lutherans Codify Their Beliefs
Following Luther's death in 1546, disputes over specific doctrines developed. Over time, Lutheran political authorities forged several compromises. In 1576, German Lutheran leaders approve a draft document of the Formula of Concord.
The Formula of Concord, along with the Apostolic, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, the Augsburg Confession, the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Luther’s tract on papal power, the Schmalkaldic Articles, and Luther's Small and Large Catechisms form the Book of Concord.
|1580||Brown and Harrison Separate From the Church of England
Robert Browne and Robert Harrison found a Separatist or Free Church within the Church of England at Norwich. They emphasize that (1) the foundation of the church is neither man nor the state, but God’s Spirit, (2) the separation of church and state, and (3) the autonomy of each . In 1608, some move to Holland to escape persecution. Their theology becomes the basis for Congregationalism.
|1589||The Orthodox Patriarch Confirms the Establishment of the Russian Orthodox Church
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Jeremias II establishes Metropolitan Job as Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia. The new patriarchate is later confirmed by the other Patriarchs as fifth in the honorific order of Oriental sees, following Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem. This is to say that the local action of 1458 is acknowledged by the Orthodox tradition as a whole.
|1609||Smyth Forms a Separatist Church in Holland
John Smyth, a separatist from the Church of England living in the Netherlands, publishes his views. They include the idea that baptism should be restricted to believers. Influenced by John Calvin and the Anabaptists, he baptizes himself and thirty-six others. Smyth later recommends that his group unite with the Mennonites.
|1611||King James Has an English Bible Published
Combining the Scottish and English thrones, King James (VI of Scotland, I of England) rules over an Anglican majority with Catholic, Puritan, Presbyterian, and Calvinist minorities. He dislikes the Geneva Bible and, during a 1604 conference, authorizes a new English translation for all the British. From 1607 to 1611, fifty-four scholars work in teams and as individuals, comparing previous translations to original-language texts.
|1612||Helwys Founds the First Baptist church
Thomas Helwys and other Separatist members disagree with Smyth's union plan and return to England where they organize the Baptist Church in London. Other congregations with similar doctrines later join the denomination.
|1620||Immigrant Separatists Become the “Pilgrims”
A group of Separatists, called "the Pilgrims" by historians, immigrate to America in search of religious freedom and found the Plymouth Colony. Ten years later, the Puritans—who sought to purify the Church of England, rather than separate from it—establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony with a similar goal. The colonies combine politically as the Massachusetts Colony in 1691.
|1633||Galileo Galilei Recants to the Inquisition
Galileo Galilei, inventor of the telescope, is summoned to Rome to appear before the Inquisition. Galileo's book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, Ptolemaic and Copernican, had created a great deal of controversy. It challenged the Roman Catholic-sanctioned geocentric (Ptolemaic) universal view by defending the heliocentric (Copernican) view. The Inquisition convicts Galileo of , forces him to publically state that Earth is the immovable center of the universe, and places him under house arrest for life.
|1634||The Passion Play Premiers at Oberammergau
According to tradition, the village of Oberammergau (present-day Bavaria, Germany) is spared an epidemic plague, and, as a demonstration of thanksgiving, the villagers vow to present a passion play, which is a religious drama portraying the suffering, death and of Jesus. It is performed every ten years.
Switching to decennial years beginning in 1700, it has been performed every decade, with the exception of 1870 and 1940, due to wartime bans. The most famous of medieval passion plays remains a decennial tradition in the 21st century, still performed in the Bavarian Alpine village of its origin.
|1642||Fox Founds Quakerism
George Fox leaves home and has several experiences convincing him that a God-given inspiration is the source of religious authority. He organizes the Society of Friends denomination, commonly called Quakers. They become centered in Swarthmoor, England, about 1652.
|1648||Reformed Churches Obtain Equal Rights
The Peace of Westphalia recognizes the right of Reformed churches to exist within the Holy Roman Empire, subject to the local prince's pleasure. In areas where the prince is not pleased, many members emigrate. The treaty also recognizes the independence of the Netherlands, where the Dutch Reformed Church is strongly identified with Holland's nationalist ambitions.
|1648||Congregationalists Publish Fundamental Texts
Separatists and Puritans jointly issue the Cambridge Platform, which details church governance—principally that each congregation of faithful is independent of all others—and incorporates the Westminster Confession (from the English Presbyterians) as articles of faith. The Westminster Confession becomes the foundation of the Congregationalist denomination in America.
|1678||Bunyan Publishes The Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan, son of an English pot maker, follows his father's trade and then serves in the English Civil War. He marries a devout Christian and alters his lifestyle to match her faith, eventually becoming a preacher. He is imprisoned twice, and during his second incarceration, the self-described "painted" writes The Pilgrim's Progress. Relying on his own experiences as a sinner who repents but never finds himself free from temptation, he writes an allegory of the Christian life and salvation that becomes a best seller. In print steadily for over three centuries, it is among the greatest works of Christian devotion.|
|1681||Philadelphian Society Organizes, a Precursor to Universalism
Jane Leade, following what he believed were revelatory experiences and inspired by German mystic Jakob Böhme, founds the Philadelphian Society in London, England. Johann Wilhelm Petersen, who leads a similar group in Germany, publishes the Mystery of the Restitution of All Things, which supports Leade's views with scripture. They declare a universal salvation.
|1685 Oct. 18||French Persecution Causes Huguenot Emigration
Louis XIV revokes the Edict of Nantes, seeking to end all Protestantism in France. This act begins a wave of emigration that takes almost half a million Protestants to other countries. Though Louis announces the end of the Reformed denomination in his kingdom as of 1715, small groups survive and remain quietly active. In 1938, several Protestant groups formally organize the Reformed Church of France.
|1693||Ammann Founds the Amish Denomination
Jakob Amman causes a schism within the Mennonite denomination by declaring that excommunicated members should be shunned socially. He introduces foot washing and dress and grooming standards among his followers, and preaches against state religions. Adherents develop into the Amish denomination.
The denomination divides as adherents immigrate to America: "Old Order" Amish in America retain Ordnung, the lifestyle of the founding generation, while "New Order" Amish in America accept some social changes. Adherents in Europe eventually re-integrate into the Mennonite denomination.
|c. 18th century||Revivals Within the Evangelical Movement Take Place
The "Pietist Movement" in most of Europe, the "Methodist Revival" in Great Britain and the "Great Awakening" in North America were the names of the widespread revivals of this time, considered to be a part of the Evangelical movement. As opposed to the sacraments of liturgical churches, these movements focused on a reliance on the Bible alone, a personal conversion experience, and a devotion to missionary work. During this time, an Evangelical party also developed within the Church of England, and the Evangelical Alliance formed in London in 1846, which was made up of people from many countries and denominations.
|1738 May 24||John Wesley Begins Methodism
John Wesley claims to have a revelatory experience in which he feels a personal assurance that his sins are forgiven. A few days later, his brother, Charles, claims to have a similar experience. Later that year, John preaches to miners in Bristol, England. The Society of Methodists forms within the Church of England to reestablish biblical doctrines.
|1755||The Final Schism Between the Roman and Orthodox Traditions Occurs
The Synod of Constantinople issues a decree stating that Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions have invalid sacraments. Christians of those churches cannot be admitted into an Orthodox Church without first being baptized by a recognized Orthodox authority.
|1784||Americans Establish the Episcopal Denomination
Samuel Seabury is consecrated in Scotland as the first Anglican bishop for America. With the end of the Revolution, American Anglicans break from the Church of England by organizing the Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA). The separation is completed five years later.
In succeeding decades, adherents in other countries would also organize autonomous national associations within the Anglican denomination.
|1784||Methodists Break from the Church of England
John Wesley ordains a superintending minister and two presbyters for service in America and publishes his Deed of Declaration, establishing rules of government for the Society of Methodists after his death. The break from Church of England is completed in 1795.
|1789||The French National Assembly Ends the State Religion
The National Assembly, which replaces the monarchy during the French Revolution, affirms religion as one of its liberties.
|1831||William Miller Preaches Adventism
Based on his interpretation of the Book of Daniel, William Miller predicts the second coming of Jesus Christ to be between March 1843 and March 1844. The event does not occur as predicted, and Miller's followers must revise their interpretation, but the group continues. Miller dies in 1849, leaving believers who call themselves "Evangelical Adventists," but have no formal organization.
|1833||The Greek Government Establishes the Greek Orthodox Church
G. L. Maurer, a Protestant acting as regent for Greek King Otto I, declares the Greek church autocephalous.
|1843||Kierkegaard Publishes Either/Or
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard—philosopher, theologian, and cultural critic—publishes Either/Or, originally under a pseudonym. It is the first of a long line of books and journals to become major influences on existentialism. He proposes that reason only takes the believer so far and that Christians meet God by taking a leap of faith into the spiritually unknown. He also proposes that this leap requires full commitment to God, rejection of worldly values and, perhaps, even of Church .
|1850||The Orthodox Patriarch Confirms the Greek Orthodox Church
The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Anthimus IV, recognizes the ecclesiastical independence of the Greek Orthodox Church.
|1863 May 21||Millerites Organize the Seventh-Day Adventist Denomination
Adventists, informal groups within Protestant denominations, formally organize the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination. Ellen G. White, whom followers considered to be a prophet, was one of the leaders of the new denomination. They believed that Christians should worship on the traditional Sabbath, Saturday, and observe the Old Testament dietary laws.
|1865||Moldavia and Wallachia Establish the Romanian Orthodox Church
Romanian Orthodox churches in Moldavia and Wallachia separate themselves from the Patriarch of Bulgaria. Later, in 1868, the Metropolitan of Transylvania, Andreiu Saguna, authors a constitution that significantly influences the development of this church.
|1865||Booth Founds the Salvation Army
Methodist minister William Booth founds missions in the East End section of London, England, to preach the gospel and minister to the needs of the poor. Booth preaches basic doctrines common among evangelical Protestants, but he denies that sacraments (or ordinances) are necessary to salvation.
Church hierarchy is patterned on military organization, but worship services are designed to be informal. Converts, known as soldiers, must sign articles of faith, called Articles of War. Ministers, called officers, have a two-year resident training program followed by five years of advanced studies. Women have full equality in all church functions. Services are less ritualistic, and are the first to incorporate modern forms of music.
This organization is not named the Salvation Army until 1878.
|1868-70||The First Vatican Council is Convened
The rise of nationalism—the concept that nations should be based on a common language, history, and geography, rather than which conquering army most recently passed through—and the continuing growth of the Protestant tradition causes some priests and bishops to question the role and power of the Pope. The First Vatican Council is convened by Pope Pius IX to address these concerns. Two doctrinal statements are published: (1) Dei Filius, the Constitution of the Roman Catholic Church on God, Revelation, Faith, and Reason. (2) Pastor Aeternus, which reaffirmed the Pope as the highest authority in Christianity. It adds that when the Pope speaks (Latin, "from the chair," meaning in his official capacity as Vicar of Christ), he is infallible. A few liberal bishops disapprove, but most welcome the absolutism of these statements.
|1875||Eddy publishes Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
Mary Baker Eddy, following a variety of spiritual, familial, and health-related experiences, publishes Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The publication results from nine years of study following a serious injury, in which Eddy became convinced she had made a spiritual discovery of great authority and power.
|1885||The Orthodox Patriarchate Recognizes the Romanian Orthodox Church
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Joachin IV, recognizes the ecclesiastical independence of the Romanian Orthodox Church.
Later, in 1925, Romanian Orthodox adherents from the disbanded Austro-Hungarian Empire combine with adherents in Moldavia and Wallachia to form the modern Romanian patriarchate.
|1898||The First Christian Motion Picture, Passion Play of Oberammergau, Premiers
Thomas Alva Edison produces the first motion picture with a Christian theme, the Passion Play of Oberammergau.
|1899||The Gideons are Founded
John H. Nicholson, Samuel E. Hill, and Will J. Knights decide to organize a group, "to band Christian commercial travelers together for mutual recognition, personal evangelism, and united service for the Lord." At their first meeting, Knights declares, "We shall be called Gideons," based on the story in Judges 6-7. Since many the early members are businessmen who travel extensively, they decide to place a Bible in every American hotel room as their contribution to Christianity. They place their first Bible in a Montana hotel in 1908.
The organization grows into a worldwide group, and now operates in 190 countries. They estimate they have placed 1.6 billion sets of scripture throughout the world.
|1901 Jan. 1||First modern record of speaking-in-tongues sparks the Pentecostal denomination
Agnes Oznam, a student of Charles Fox Parham, experiences what is known as the gift of tongues, known as glossolalia, at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas. Parham believes that modern Christianity is becoming too ritualistic and less spiritual. He looks for a return of the spiritual gifts mentioned in connection with the Pentecost. He encourages his students to follow the biblical process of prayer, fasting, and scripture study to bring a return to speaking in tongues, faith healing, and other gifts.
|c. 1907||Mason Organizes the Church of God in Christ
Charles H. Mason, a preacher in the Holiness Movement, calls together several predominantly African-American churches and proposes that the Church of God in Christ should be a Pentecostal denomination. Mason is elected "overseer" and serves as primate of the denomination.
Mason leads as primate until 1933, when he delegates certain authority among four assistant bishops. The church retains a more episcopal structure than most Pentecostal churches.
|1910-15||The Fundamentals launches the Fundamentalist Movement
Under the direction of Lyman and Milton Stewart, three million sets of twelve short booklets entitled The Fundamentals are distributed worldwide. Written by a variety of scholars, they cover fundamental Christian doctrines and current social issues. Synthesizing the revivalist, holiness, and millenarian movements, the booklets stress that conversion to Christ is more important than debates over fine points of theology in combating social upheaval. This upheaval was on the rise in the wake of rapid advancements of science and industry during the 19th century.
The Baptist editor Curtis Lee Laws first uses the term "fundamentalist" in 1920 to describe Christian conservatives. In the 21st century, the term is frequently used but rarely defined—it usually describes Christians who are theologically and politically conservative. There is no formal organization or leadership among fundamentalists.
|1914||The Independent Pentecostal Churches form the Assemblies of God
A council of 120 evangelist and pastors meet in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and organize the Assemblies of God denomination. They select an Executive Presbytery as an administrative council to carry out the decisions of a General Council. Small groups of Pentecostal churches combine to form this national (later worldwide) organization.
|1918 Jan. 20||The
Oppression of Religion Begins|
Russia's Bolshevik/Marxist government publishes a decree depriving the Russian Orthodox Church of all its legal rights, including that of owning property. In the decades following, in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and its satellite states, all religions are suppressed, but cannot be completely exterminated.
|1918 Nov. 7||Billy Graham is born
William Franklin Graham, Jr., is born in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1934, he has a revelatory experience that propels him to leave his family farm and, ultimately, to become an ordained minister of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1944, he chooses to work as an evangelist through large missionary efforts, later called crusades. He preaches a simple gospel centered on the opposition between colloquial sin and salvation. He also pioneers the use of mass media in proclaiming the message of the gospel.
Billy Graham is part of a larger movement called "Evangelicalism" which believed in a personal conversion, a high regard for biblical authority, and an emphasis on spreading and believing in, the gospel of Jesus Christ. This movement, which originally began in England in the 1700s, began gaining momentum during the 18th and 19th century in the Americas. This period is marked by revivals, street preaching, public crusades, and often the charismatic movement is associated with it as well.
In Jun. 2005, Graham preaches his last public crusade in Queens, New York City, New York, and retires.
|1919||The State Religion of Germany Ends
The constitution of the Weimar Republic includes separation of church and state, ending Lutheranism as Germany's state religion, though it continues to allow Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches certain special privileges.
|1921 Jan. 2||KDKA Broadcasts a Christian Church Service
The broadcasting industry is just two months old, but growing beyond all expectations, causing a shortage of programming. A staff member of the Westinghouse Corporation-owned station, KDKA, is a choir member at Calvary Episcopal Church, and the station arranges to broadcast their service. The engineers run their equipment wearing choir robes so they do not distract the worshipers. Radio stations nationwide are soon hosting religious services.
|1924||Poles Establish the Orthodox Church of Poland
The government of Poland supports the creation of an independent Polish Orthodox Church to govern Orthodox adherents in newly acquired territories. Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow objects, but secular politics make governance by Moscow challenging.
Following World War II, much of this new territory is ceded to the USSR, and again comes under the rule of the Patriarch of Moscow.
|1925 Jul. 10-25th||The Scopes "Monkey Trial"
John Thomas Scopes, a high-school teacher Dayton, Tennessee, teaches Darwin’s theory of evolution, a violation of state law, and is arrested. William Jennings Bryan prosecutes and Clarence Darrow defends. The judge overrules attempts to test the law's constitutionality. Scopes is convicted and fined $100.
On appeal, the Tennessee Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the law, but acquits Scopes, ruling the fine was excessive. The law remains on the books until 1967. The trial becomes the most famous court action in the ongoing battle between Christianity and secular humanism.
|1932||Barth Publishes the First Volume of “Church Dogmatics”
Karl Barth draws on fundamental texts inclusive of the scriptures and the texts of the early Christian fathers and Reformers as the basis for college lectures on religion. Barth questions the liberal theology that stems from the Enlightenment, advocates the pure love of God, who gave himself to man unconditionally.
Barth eventually publishes four volumes of lectures before his death and is acclaimed to be one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the 20th century. After spending the war in Switzerland, Barth returns to Bonn, delivering an abbreviated course of lectures based on Dogmatics. He later addresses the opening session of the World Council of Churches' 1948 Amsterdam Conference.
|1937||The Orthodox Patriarch Creates Albanian Orthodox Church
Patriarch Benjamin I grants ecclesiastical independence to the Albanian Orthodox Church.
|1942||Local Leaders form a National Association of Evangelicals
Nearly 150 evangelical leaders form the National Association of Evangelicals as a fellowship of denominations, independent churches and religious organizations and individuals. Evangelical drives had appeared within denominations of the Protestantism tradition since the early 18th century, but had no formal network to promote their shared beliefs across denominational divides.
All members must subscribe to a Statement of Faith that requires belief in the Bible as the authoritative word of God, and commitment to a well-defined category of fundamental Christian doctrines.
|1945||Pentecostal Churches form the United Pentecostal Church
The United Pentecostal Church forms through the merge of several independent congregations and associations that broke from the Assemblies of God when the Assemblies reaffirm the doctrine of the Trinity in 1916.
|1947||The First Pentecostal World Conference Convenes
Held in Zürich, Switzerland, the Pentecostal World Conference endeavors to bring some unity to the Pentecostal movement. The following year, an association called the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America (PFNA) is formed toward that same end, but limits itself mostly to larger, European-American churches. In 1994, the PFNA is dissolved and replaced by a new association, the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America, whose member churches include smaller and African-American congregations.
|1947||The Dead Sea Scrolls are Discovered
A shepherd boy accidentally discovers scrolls in a cave at Khirbat Qumran in Judea. Other discoveries in caves near the Dead Sea give rise to the collection’s common name: the Dead Sea Scrolls. The collection ultimately includes thousands of scrolls and fragments written on papyrus, leather, and even copper. They include doctrinal, commentary, liturgical, and legal texts. Many are copies of biblical texts, while others are of unknown origin. The contents of complete scrolls are published shortly thereafter; other fragments remain illegible and continue to challenge researchers. Most of the scrolls and fragments were first under the strict control of the Jordanian and Israeli Antiquities Authorities. Presently, they are available through libraries worldwide. The scrolls continue to excite researchers and the public, but remain controversial.
|1948||The Patriarch Recognizes the Orthodox Church of Poland
Patriarch Alexis grants ecclesiastical independence to the Orthodox Church of Poland.
|1948||The World Council of Churches is Formed
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is founded as a group of Christian churches that accept Jesus Christ as God, and as the savior of mankind. The WCC is a major part of the ecumenical movement, which seeks unity among Christian denominations. They also seek a forum in which they can work to put aside the animosities of the past, promote tolerance and understanding, and cooperate in efforts of mutual interest. Now headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Council's work is divided into three divisions: church relations, ecumenical study and promotion, and interchurch aid and refugee services.
|Mid-20th-century||Evangelical Movement Emerges in the United States
In the early 21st century, part of the Protestant community in the United States was divided. The modernists, or "liberals," disagreed with the fundamentalists, or "conservatives," in several mainstream Protestant churches. The fundamentalists thought modernism to be heretical, and a denial of fundamental Christian beliefs. Many former fundamentalists left their churches and joined more modern institutions. By 1930, the conservatives who remained in their denominations joined as a united front. They called themselves Neo-Evangelicals, or Evangelicals for short. One of the Evangelical front-runners was Billy Graham, a Baptist evangelist who became well known for his impressive oratory skills and dedication to preaching the Christian gospel. Fuller Theological in Pasadena, California, Wheaton College in Chicago, Illinois, and the publication Christianity Today all came out of the Evangelical movement. By 1942, the National Association of Evangelicals was formed.
|1951||The Patriarch of Moscow creates the Czech/Slovak Orthodox Church
Following a large increase in the number of Orthodox adherents in the area, the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexius I, grants ecclesiastical independence to the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.
|1952 Feb 12||"Life Is Worth Living" Premiers
Fulton John Sheen is ordained a priest in 1919, and, in 1930, he begins a radio program called "The Catholic Hour." Sheen is named a bishop and moves to television in 1951 with "Life is Worth Living," competing successfully against established Hollywood stars with entertainment shows. "Life is Worth Living" wins a 1952 Emmy award and thirty million weekly viewers before leaving the air in 1957. Sheen then hosts a second series, "The Fulton Sheen Program," from 1961-1968.
This most successful early Christian programming eventually gives rise to a new type of ministry called "televangelism." St. Bernard's Seminary, Rochester, New York, later creates The Fulton J. Sheen Co. to make the Bishop's works available to the public.
|1962||The Second Vatican Council Redefines Catholicism
Shortly after his 1958 election, Pope John XXIII calls for an ecumenical council of the entire Roman Catholic Church. After four years of preparation, over two thousand clerical leaders meet in the Second Vatican Council, the largest council in church history. John's goal is a focus on pastoral care of the faithful, which is called an . John does not dictate to the council, but leads them to monumental decisions.
As a result of the council, the Catholic church celebrates mass in local languages rather than in Latin, their clergy and laity have a calling in Christ and should take part in ministering, and their bishops share the Pope's apostolic authority. They also determine that scripture, not tradition, was primary in discovering divine truths and that one need not be a Catholic to be Christian. The church also formally renounces power over the political arena. The changes were met with some debate and objection, but the council is generally viewed by church members as having achieved its goal.
|1965 Dec. 7||Actions During the Great Schism are Revoked
Pope Paul VI in Rome and Patriarch Athenagoras I in Istanbul revoke the mutual excommunications of 1054.
|1970||The Orthodox Patriarchate Proclaims “Self-Rule” for Orthodox Churches in America
The Patriarch of Moscow proclaims its diocese in America to be the autocephalous Orthodox Church in America. In 2003, the Antiochian Orthodox Church is granted self-rule (not full autocephaly), and incorporates as Evangelical Orthodox Church.
The formal union of all Orthodox adherents and churches in North and South America remains incomplete to this day.
|1989||The Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia declares itself free of its alliance with the USSR. Czechs and Slovaks overthrow their Communist government and peacefully divide the country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The "Velvet Revolution," which refers to a peaceful, non-military regime change, spreads to other Soviet satellite states. Communist restrictions in these states against churches and religious practices are reversed. Churches begin to function as public institutions of mainstream society.
Denominations other than the traditional state religions also initiate missionary efforts with the permission of the new regimes.
|1991 Dec. 8||The USSR collapses; Religion becomes Legal in the Former Soviet Republics
Following the 1990 example of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Russia, the Ukraine and Byelorussia (modern-day Belarus) declare independence from, and the dissolution of, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, resigns effective Dec. 25, and all institutions of the USSR cease function on Dec. 31. The newly independent republics quickly reverse laws against religions and churches begin to function as public institutions of mainstream society.
Denominations other than the Russian Orthodox Church also initiate missionary efforts within the new republics. The remaining communist governments in Soviet-satellite states soon fall, replaced by various types of democracy.