Timeline of Church History (Post-Imperial Era (1453-1821))
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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.
Post-Imperial era (1453-1821)
- 1455 Gutenberg makes first printed Bible.
- 1455-56 Confession of Faith by Patr. Gennadius of Constantinople.
- 1456-1587 Byzantine Church of Theotokos Pammakaristos became the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
- 1461 Death of Jonah, Metropolitan of Moscow; commemoration of the Apparition of the Pillar with the Robe of the Lord under it at Mtskheta in Georgia, October 1.
- 1462 Wonderworking icon of Archangel Michael of Mantamados created.
- 1463 Bosnia becomes province of Ottoman Empire, with an estimated 36,000 families voluntarily accepting Islam, followed by a sustained process of assimilation to Islam.
- 1478 Spanish Inquisition.
- 1480 Meeting of the Theotokos of Vladimir icon in memory of saving Moscow from the invasion of Khan Ahmed.
- 1492 Millennialist movements in Moscow, due to end of church calendar (year 7,000, according to the Byzantine Date of Creation).
- 1497 Martyrdom of Macarius, Metropolitan of Kiev, by invading Tatars.
- 1503 Possessor and Non-Possessor controversy.
- 1512 First Christian church erected in Americas in Santo Domingo by Spanish.
- 1516 Desiderius Erasmus publishes "Textus Receptus" of New Testament on the basis of six late manuscripts of the Byzantine text-type.
- 1517 Maximus the Greek invited to Russia to translate Greek service books and correct Russian ones; Martin Luther nails Ninety-Five Theses to door at Wittenburg, sparking Protestant Reformation; Ottomans conquer Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria.
- 1522 Martin Luther translates New Testament into German and Reformation principle of Sola Scriptura becomes formalized.
- 1526 Non-Possessors attack Tsar Vassily III for divorcing his wife and are driven underground.
- 1529 First Ottoman Siege of Vienna, marking Ottoman Empire's apex and end of Ottoman expansion in central Europe.
- 1534 King Henry VIII declares himself supreme head of the Church of England.
- 1536 Publication of John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion.
- 1536-41 Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, Wales and Ireland.
- 1537-41 Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent rebuilds the city walls of Jerusalem (the current walls of the Old City of Jerusalem), including sealing off the Golden Gate in 1541 to prevent the Messiah's entrance.
- 1540 Death of Emperor Lebna Dengel of Ethiopia; formal founding of Jesuits.
- 1541 Portuguese expeditionary force arrives in Ethiopia.
- 1542 Ethiopians and Portuguese defeat Ahmad ibn Ibrahim Gran of Adal, neutralizing Adal threat to Ethiopia.
- 1545-63 Council of Trent held to answer the Protestant Reformation.
- 1551 Council of the Hundred Chapters in Russia.
- 1555 Abp. Gurian begins mission to Kazan.
- 1557 Death of Basil the Blessed.
- 1563 Anglican Church's Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion published.
- 1564 Jesuits arrive in Poland.
- 1568 Pope Pius V recognizes four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Athanasius.
- 1569 Martyrdom of Philip of Moscow, at the hands of Ivan IV Grozny.
- 1569 Union of Lublin unites Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania into a single state, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, placing the Ruthenian Orthodox lands of Belarus, and modern Ukraine under direct Roman Catholic rule.
- 1571 Restoration of Church of Cyprus to Orthodox rule.
- 1573 Pope Gregory XIII establishes Congregation for the Greeks, a committee of cardinals who addressed issues relating to the Greeks in southern Italy and Sicily in the hope of resolving tensions between Greeks and Latins.
- 1573-81 Correspondence of Patr. Jeremias II of Constantinople with Lutherans.
- 1575 Church of Constantinople grants autonomy to Church of Sinai.
- 1576 Pope Gregory XIII establishes Pontifical Greek College of St. Athanasius (popularly known as the 'Greek College') in Rome, which he charged with educating Italo-Byzantine clerics.
- 1579 Death of Gerasimus of Kefalonia; discovery of Our Lady of Kazan, holiest Russian icon.
- 1581 Ostrozhsky Bible printed by Prince Kurbsky and Ivan Fedorov.
- 1582 Institution of the Gregorian Calendar by Pope Gregory XIII; death of Teresa of Ávila, prominent Spanish mystic.
- 1583 Sigillion of 1583 issued against Gregorian Calendar by council convened in Constantinople.
- 1587-Present. The relatively modest Church of St George in the Phanar district of Istanbul becomes the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
- 1589 Autocephaly and canonical territory of Church of Russia recognized, as Patr. Jeremias II of Constantinople raises Metr. Job of Moscow to the rank of Patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia.
- 1596 Union of Brest-Litovsk, several million Ukrainian and Byelorussian Orthodox Christians, living under Polish rule, leave the Church of Constantinople and recognize the Pope of Rome, without giving up their Byzantine liturgy and customs, creating the Uniate church.
- ca. 1600-1700 Conversion of Albania to Islam mainly through discriminatory tax system, the Djize.
- 1604 Death of Juliana of Lazarevo.
- 1607 Death of Patr. Job of Moscow.
- 1609-10 Douay-Rheims Bible printed, first complete English Roman Catholic Bible, translated from Vulgate.
- 1611 Authorized King James Version of the Bible printed.
- 1612 Martyrdom of Patr. Hermogenes of Moscow; Our Lady of Kazan icon commemorates the deliverance from Poles.
- 1625 Confession of Faith by Metrophanes Kritopoulos written.
- 1627 Pope Cyril Lucaris of Alexandria presents Codex Alexandrinus to King Charles I of England for safe keeping.
- 1633 Ethiopian emperor Fasilides expels Jesuits and other Roman Catholic missionaries from Ethiopia.
- 1642 Council of Jassy (Iaşi) revises Peter Mogila's confession to remove overtly Roman Catholic theology and confirms canonicity of certain deuterocanonical books.
- 1645-69 Cretan War between the Ottoman Empire and Venice.
- 1646 Union of Uzhhorod joins 63 Ruthenian Orthodox priests from the Carpathian Mountains to Roman Catholic Church on terms similar to Union of Brest.
- 1647 Orthodox church erected in Tunisia.
- 1649 Martyrdom of Athanasius of Brest-Litovsk by the Latins.
- 1650-1700 Ottoman Constantinople is largest city in the world by population.
- 1652 School and hospital established in Old Cairo by Patr. Joannikios.
- 1652-1658 Patriarch Nikon of Moscow revises liturgical books to bring them into conformity with the Greek liturgical customs, leading to mass excommunication and schism of dissenters, who become known as Old Believers.
- 1654 Appearance of icon of Theotokos of the Kievan Brotherhood.
- 1656 Voskresensky Monastery founded by Patr. Nikon at Istra near Moscow, intended to represent the Heavenly Jerusalem.
- 1665 Greek Jewish kabbalist Sabbatai Sevi hailed by Jews of Palestine as the Messiah, but then converts to Islam before the Ottoman Sultan to save his life.
- 1667 Annexation of most of Kievan Rus' by Tsar of Muscovite Kingdom.
- 1669 Greek island of Crete taken by Ottoman Empire from Venetians.
- 1672 Synod of Jerusalem convened by Patr. Dositheos Notaras, refuting article by article the Calvinistic confession of Cyril Lucaris, defining Orthodoxy relative to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, and defining the Orthodox Biblical canon; acts of this council are later signed by all five patriarchates (including Russia).
- 1675 Appearance of icon of Theotokos of Pochaiv.
- 1682 The Sabaite Typikon was published in its final form in Russia; from 1682 to 1888 the Greek and Russian Churches shared this common Typikon.
- 1683 Second Ottoman Siege of Vienna, capital of the Holy Roman Empire.
- 1685 Orthodoxy introduced in Beijing by Church of Russia.
- 1688 Appearance of Joy of All Who Sorrow icon.
- 1689 Great Serb Migrations of hundreds of thousands of Serbian refugees from Kosovo and Serbia proper, leaving a vacuum filled by flood of Albanian immigrants.
- 1698 Consecration of the first Orthodox Church in China, in the name of Sophia (Divine Wisdom), when Emperor Kangxi ordered a Buddhist temple to be cleared for Russian inhabitants in Beijing.
- 1700 The Creation Era calendar in Russia, in use since AD 988 was changed to the Julian Calendar by Peter the Great; Peter the Great published an Ukase on June 18th that made a resounding appeal for the propagation of the faith in Siberia and China.
- 1700-02 Submission of the dioceses of Lemberg (Lviv) and Luzk (Lutsk) in the Galician area of Ukraine to Roman Catholic Church completes Union of Brest-Litovsk, so that two-thirds of the Orthodox in western Ukraine had become Greek Catholic.
- 1707-20 Grabbe's edition of the Septuagint published at Oxford, reproducing (imperfectly) the Codex Alexandrinus of London.
- 1715 Metr. Arsenios of Thebaid sent to England by Pope Samuel of Alexandria to negotiate with Non-Juror Anglican bishops.
- 1715-1956 Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in China.
- 1716-25 Correspondence of Ecumenical Patriarch and Russian Czar with English Non-Jurors.
- 1721 Czar Peter I of Russia replaces Russian patriarchate with a ruling holy synod.
- 1723 Schism in the Roman Catholic Church, as the Church of Holland, (or Church of Utrecht) broke with Rome under its own archbishop and hierarchy, becoming the mother church of the Old Catholic Churches.
- 1724 Melkite schism, in which many faithful from the Church of Antioch become Uniates.
- 1728 The Ecumenical Patriarchate formally replaced the Creation Era (AM) calendar with the Christian Era (AD).
- 1731 Death of Innocent of Irkutsk.
- 1754 Hesychast Renaissance begins with the Kollyvades Movement.
- 1755 Synod of Constantinople declares Roman Catholic baptism invalid and ordered baptism of converts from Roman Catholicism.
- 1756 Sigillion of 1756 issued against the Gregorian Calendar by Patr. Cyril V of Constantinople.
- 1760 Holy Trinity St. Seraphim-Diveyevo Convent founded in Russia.
- 1767 Community of Orthodox Greeks establishes itself in New Smyrna, Florida; Ottoman Empire legally divides Church of the Holy Sepulchre among claimants.
- 1767-1815 Suppression of the Jesuits in Roman Catholic countries, subsequently finding refuge in Orthodox nations, particularly in Russia.
- 1768 Jews are massacred during riots in Russia-occupied Poland.
- ca. 1770 About 1,200 Kiev region Uniate churches return to Orthodoxy under political pressure from Russia.
- 1774 Russia and Ottoman Empire sign treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji, bringing Russia for the first time into the Mediterranean as the acknowledged protector of Orthodox Christians.
- 1779 Death of Kosmas Aitolos.
- 1782 First publication of Philokalia; autonomy of Church of Sinai confirmed by Church of Constantinople.
- 1793-95 Over 2,300 Uniate churches became Orthodox under Tsarina Catherine the Great.
- 1794 Missionaries, including Herman of Alaska, arrive at Kodiak Island, bringing Orthodoxy to Russian Alaska; death of Paisius Velichkovsky of Moldova and Mt. Athos.
- 1796 Nicodemus the Hagiorite publishes Unseen Warfare in Venice.
- 1798 Patriarch Anthimios of Jerusalem contended that the Ottoman Empire was part of the Divine Dispensation granted by God to protect Orthodoxy from the taint of Roman Catholicism and of Western secularism and irreligion.
- 1800 The Rudder published and printed in Athens.
- 1803 Death of Xenia of St. Petersburg.
- 1804 British and Foreign Bible Society founded.
- 1805 Death of Makarios of Corinth, a central figure in the Kollyvades movement.
- 1808 Death of Hieromartyr Nikita the Slav, of Mount Athos.
- 1809-10 Rotunda and edicule exterior of Church of the Holy Sepulchre rebuilt after fire in Ottoman Baroque style.
- 1811 Autocephaly of the Church of Georgia revoked by the Russian imperial state after Georgia's annexation, making it subject to the Church of Russia.
- 1814 Martyrdom of Euthymius and Ignatius of Mount Athos.
- 1815 Peter the Aleut tortured and martyred in San Francisco, California.
- 1816 American Bible Society founded; martyrdom of Acacius of Athos.
- 1819 Council at Constantinople endorses views of Kollyvades fathers.
- Some of these dates are necessarily a bit vague, as records for some periods are particularly difficult to piece together accurately.
- The division of Church History into separate eras as done here will always be to some extent arbitrary, though it was attempted to group periods according to major watershed events.
- This timeline is necessarily biased toward the history of the Orthodox Church, though a number of non-Orthodox or purely political events are mentioned for their importance in history related to Orthodoxy or for reference.
- Timeline of Orthodoxy in America
- Timeline of Orthodoxy in Australia
- Timeline of Orthodoxy in China
- Timeline of Orthodoxy in Greece
- Timeline of Orthodoxy in New Zealand
- Timeline of Orthodoxy in Japan
- Timeline of Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic relations
The following are published writings that provide an overview of Church history:
From an Orthodox perspective
- Schmemann, Alexander. The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy.
- Ware, Timothy. The Orthodox Church: New Edition. (ISBN 0140146563)
- Dr. Kathryn Tsai. A Timeline of Eastern Church History. Divine Ascent Press, CA, 2004. ISBN 0971413924
From a Heterodox perspective
- Boer, Harry R. A Short History of the Early Church. (ISBN 0802813399)
- Cairns, Earle E. Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church. (ISBN 0310208122)
- Chadwick, Henry. The Early Church. (ISBN 0140231994)
- Collins, Michael, ed.; Price, Matthew Arlen. Story of Christianity: A Celebration of 2000 Years of Faith. (ISBN 0789446057)
- Eusebius Pamphilus; Cruse, C.F. (translator). Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History. (ISBN 1565633717)
- Gonzalez, Justo L. A History of Christian Thought, Volume 1: From the Beginnings to the Council of Chalcedon. (ISBN 0687171822)
- Gonzalez, Justo L. A History of Christian Thought, Volume 2: From Augustine to the Eve of the Reformation. (ISBN 0687171830)
- Gonzalez, Justo L. A History of Christian Thought, Volume 3: From the Protestant Reformation to the Twentieth Century. (ISBN 0687171849)
- Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Volume 1: The Early Church to the Reformation. (ISBN 0060633158)
- Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Volume 2: Reformation to the Present Day. (ISBN 0060633166)
- Hall, Stuart G. Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church. (ISBN 0802806295)
- Hastings, Adrian, ed. A World History of Christianity. (ISBN 0802848753)
- Hussey, J. M. The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire: Oxford History of the Christian Church. (ISBN 0198264569)
- Jones, Timothy P. Christian History Made Easy. (ISBN 1890947105)
- Noll, Mark A. Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. (ISBN 080106211X)
- Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600). (ISBN 0226653714)
- Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700). (ISBN 0226653730)
- Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 3: The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300). (ISBN 0226653749)
- Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 4: Reformation of Church and Dogma (1300-1700). (ISBN 0226653773)
- Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 5: Christian Doctrine and Modern Culture (since 1700). (ISBN 0226653803)
- Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church. (ISBN 156563196X)
- Wace, Henry; Piercy, William C., ed. A Dictionary of Christian Biography: Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D. With an Account of the Principal Sects and Heresies. (ISBN 1565630572)
- Walton, Robert C. Chronological and Background Charts of Church History. (ISBN 0310362814)
- History of Orthodox Christianity (QuickTime movies)
- Timeline of Patriarchal History. Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. (Pop-up Video Presentation, in Sections)