Timeline of Church History
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The History of the Church is a vital part of the Orthodox Christian faith. Orthodox Christians are defined significantly by their continuity with all those who have gone before, those who first received and preached the truth of Jesus Christ to the world, those who helped to formulate the expression and worship of our faith, and those who continue to move forward in the unchanging yet ever-dynamic Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church.
New Testament era
- Main article: Timeline of Church History (New Testament Era)
- ca. 27 BC - AD 180 Pax Romana.
- ca. 4 BC Christ is born in Bethlehem; 14,000 Holy Innocents slain in Bethlehem.
- ca. 25-26 Death of Joseph the Betrothed.
- ca. 28 John the Baptist begins ministry.
- ca. 28-30 Three year ministry of Jesus Christ.
- ca. 30 Martyrdom of Stephen the deacon, first Christian martyr.
- 30 Conversion of Apostle Paul.
Apostolic era (33-100)
- Main article: Timeline of Church History (Apostolic Era (33-100))
- 33 Holy Spirit descends on the day of Pentecost.
- 34 Apostle Peter founds See of Antioch.
- 35 Name Christian first used in Antioch.
- 37 Joseph of Arimathea travels to Britain and lands in Glastonbury.
- 40 Apostle Barnabas sent from Jerusalem to Antioch.
- ca. 42 Apostle Paul's ecstasy to the third heaven (2 Cor.12:2-4).
- ca. 46-48 Apostle Paul's first missionary journey, with Apostle Barnabas.
- 49 Apostolic Council of Jerusalem rules that Gentiles do not have to become Jews before becoming Christians.
- ca. 49-52 Apostle Paul's second missionary journey, with Apostle Silas.
- 50 Apostle Matthew finishes the Gospel of Matthew in Aramaic.
- 52 Apostle Thomas arrives in Kerala, introducing Christianity to India.
- ca. 53-57 Apostle Paul's third missionary journey (Acts 18:23 - 21:16).
- ca. 59-62 Apostle Paul's fourth missionary journey, voyage to Rome.
- 62 Martyrdom of Apostle James the Just; crucifixion of Apostle Andrew in Patras.
- 63 Aristobulus consecrated as first bishop of Britain.
- 64-68 First of ten major persecutions of the early Church, under Emperor Nero.
- 66 Flight of the Christian community in Jerusalem to Pella and other places in the Decapolis, and Antioch.
- 67 Martyrdom of Apostles Peter and Paul in Rome; Apostle Linus elected first bishop of Rome.
- 69 Ignatius of Antioch consecrated bishop of Antioch.
- 70 Apostle Mark writes Gospel; Temple in Jerusalem is destroyed by the Romans; expulsion of Christians from synagogues.
- 71 Apostle Mark introduces Christianity to Egypt.
- 80 Gospel of Luke written by the Apostle Luke; Titus dedicates Colosseum, site of the martyrdom of many early Christians.
- ca. 80-90 Didache written.
- 85 Acts of the Apostles written by Apostle Luke.
- 90 Council of Jamnia (Javneh) marks final separation and distinction between the Jewish and Christian communities, including rejection of the Septuagint widely then in use among the Hellenized Jewish diaspora.
- 95 Apostle John writes Book of Revelation.
- ca. 90-96 Persecution of Christians under Emperor Domitian (2nd).
- 96 Gospel of John written by Apostle John.
- ca. 100 Emergence of Christian Catacombs.
- 100 Death of Apostle John.
Ante-Nicene era (100-325)
- Main article: Timeline of Church History (Ante-Nicene Era (100-325))
- 107 Martyrdom of Ignatius of Antioch; death of Apostle Symeon.
- 108-124 Persecution under Emperor Trajan, continuing under Emepror Hadrian (3rd).
- 120 Beginning of time of the Apologists: Justin Martyr, Aristides, Tatian, Athenagoras of Athens, Theophilus, Minucius Felix, Tertullian and Quadratus.
- 124 Apostles Quadratus and Aristides present Christian apologies to Emperor Hadrian at Athens.
- 128 Aquila's Greek translation of the Old Testament.
- 130 Conversion of Justin Martyr.
- 132 Jews, led by Bar Kochba, whom some identify as the Messiah, revolt against Rome.
- 135 Christmas instituted as a feast day in Rome.
- 136 Emperor Hadrian crushes Jewish resistance, forbids Jews from returning Jerusalem, and changes city name to Aelia Capitolina; first recorded use of title Pope for the bishop of Rome by Pope Hyginus.
- 144 Excommunication of Marcion.
- 150 Justin Martyr describes Divine Liturgy.
- 155 Martyrdom of Polycarp of Smyrna.
- 156 Beginning of Montanism.
- 165 Martyrdom of Justin.
- 166 Pope Soter inaugurates in Rome a separate annual feast for Pascha, in addition to the weekly Sunday celebrations of the Resurrection, which is also held on a Sunday, in contrast to the Quartodecimans.
- ca. 175 Tatian's Diatessaron harmonizes the four canonical gospels into single narrative.
- 177-180 Persection under Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180) (4th).
- 180 Irenaeus of Lyons writes Against Heresies; Dyfan first martyr in British Isles.
- 180-192 Theodotion's Greek translation of the Old Testament.
- 193-211 Symmachus' Greek translation of the Old Testament.
- 197 Quartodeciman controversy.
- 200 Martyrdom of Irenaeus of Lyons.
- 202 Emperor Septimus Severus issues edict against Christianity and Judaism; Martyrdom of Haralampus of Magnesia.
- 202-210 Persecution under Emperor Septimius Severus (193-211) (5th).
- 206 King Abgar IX converts Edessa to Christianity.
- ca. 209 Martyrdom of Alban in Britain.
- 210 Hippolytus of Rome, bishop and martyr and last of Greek-speaking fathers in Rome, writes Refutation of All Heresies (Philosophumena), and Apostolic Tradition.
- 215 Conversion of Tertullian to Montanism.
- 225 Death of Tertullian.
- ca. 225-250 Didascalia Apostolorum written.
- 227 Origen begins Commentary on Genesis, completes work on First Principles.
- 235-238 Persecution under Emperor Maximinus Thrax (6th); martyrdom of St. Hippolytus of Rome.
- 238 During reigns of Gordian and Philip the Arab Church preaches openly and increasingly attracts well-educated converts.
- ca. 240 Origen produces Hexapla.
- 244 Plotinus founds Neoplatonist school in Rome in opposition to Church.
- 246 Paul of Thebes becomes in Egypt first Christian hermit.
- 247 Rome celebrates thousandth anniversary, witnessing a period of increased persecution of Christians.
- 248 Origen writes Against Celsus that the Roman Empire was ordained by God.
- 249-251 Persecution under Emperor Decius (7th).
- 257-260 Persecution under Emperor Valerian (253-260) (8th).
- 258 Martyrdom of Cyprian of Carthage.
- 260 Paul of Samosata begins preaching against the divinity of Christ; Synod in Rome condemns Sabellianism and Subordinationism.
- 264 Excommunication of Paul of Samosata.
- 265 Homoousios used for first time by Modalist Monarchians of Cyrene.
- 274-275 Persecution under Emperor Aurelian (9th).
- 270 Death of Gregory Thaumaturgus; Porphyry of Tyre writes Against the Christians.
- 284 Diocletian becomes Roman emperor, persecutes Church and martyrs an estimated one million Christians; martyrdom of Cosmas and Damian, Andrew Stratelates ("the General") and 2,593 soldiers with him in Cilicia.
- 285 Anthony the Great flees to desert.
- 300 Christian population reaches about 6,200,000, or 10.5% of the population of the Roman Empire.
- 301 Gregory the Illuminator converts King Tiridates I of Armenia to the Christian faith.
- 302 20,000 Martyrs burned at Nicomedia.
- 303 Outbreak of the Great Persecution (303-311) (10th); martyrdom of George the Trophy-bearer.
- ca. 305-311 Lactantius writes Divinae Institutiones.
- ca. 306 Synod of Elvira requires clerical celibacy and sets severe disciplinary penalties for apostasy and adultery, becoming the pattern in the West.
- 308 Pope Marcellus opposes leniency for Christians who lapsed under persecution.
- 310 Armenia becomes first Christian nation; persecution of Christians under Persian King Shapur II (310-379).
- 311 Galerius issues Edict of Toleration, ending persecution of Christians in his part of the Roman Empire; Donatist rebellion in Carthage.
- 312 Vision and conversion of Constantine the Great; defeat of Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge, making Constantine Emperor of the West; martyrdom of Lucian of Antioch.
- 313 Edict of Milan issued by Constantine the Great and co-emperor Licinius, officially declaring religious freedom in the Roman Empire.
- 314 Council of Ancyra held; Council of Arles condemns Donatism.
- 315 Council of Neo-Caesaria held.
- 318 Publication of On the Incarnation by Athanasius the Great; beginnings of Arian Controversy.
- 318 Pachomius the Great organizes a community of ascetics at Tabennis in Egypt, founding cenobitic monasticism.
- 320 Expulsion of Arius by Alexander of Alexandria; martyrdom of Forty Martyrs of Sebaste.
- 320-21 Licinius' measures against Christians in the East enforced.
- 321 Constantine declares Sunday a holiday in honor of the Resurrection.
- 323 Constantine the Great builds church on the site of the martyrdom of Peter in Rome.
- 324 Constantine defeats Licinius and becomes sole emperor.