Timeline of Church History (Apostolic Era (33-100))
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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.
Apostolic era (33-100)
- ca.30-33 The Holy Spirit descends on the day of Pentecost, filling the followers of Jesus Christ with power from on high.
- 34 Apostle Peter founds See of Antioch.
- 35 The 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 to strengthen community after persecution when church leaders flee city.
- 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 (Acts 13 - 14).
- 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 (Acts 15:39 - 18:22).
- ca.50 Death of Gamaliel, a leading authority in the Sanhedrin and teacher of the Apostle Paul (Acts 22:3).
- 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 (Acts 27 - 28:16).
- 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 persections of the Early Church, under Emperor Nero.
- 66 Flight of the Christian community in Jerusalem to Pella, Antioch, and other places in the Decapolis.
- 66-73 Jewish-Roman war.
- 67 Martyrdom of the Apostle Peter in Rome; martyrdom of the Apostle Paul in Rome; Apostle Linus elected first bishop of Rome; Roman legions VI Ferrata, V Macedonia, XV Apollinaris, XII Fulminata and X Fretensis sent to Jerusalem.
- 68 Suicide of Emperor Nero; martyrs Vasilissa and Anastasia 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 the Christians from the synagogues; Rabbi Johanan ben Zacchai founds college at Jamnia that becomes seat of Sanhedrin and center of Judaism A.D. 70-135, enabling emergence of Rabbinic Judaism; beginning of Jewish diaspora; by this time the work of the Apostle Paul has planted the faith on firm foundation in the major cities of the Roman empire.
- 71 Apostle Mark introduces Christianity to Egypt.
- 75 Judea, Galilea and Samaria are renamed Palaestina by the Romans.
- 80 Gospel of Luke written by the Apostle Luke; Jewish historian (and former general) Josephus writes Antiquities; Titus dedicates the 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; Jewish canon of Scripture closed; in the Eighteen Benedictions, Judaism's central prayer, a sentence is included in the Twelfth Benediction cursing the "Nazarenes", but it was no longer recited after the definite separation of Christians from the synagogue in the next century.
- 95 Apostle John writes Book of Revelation.
- ca.90-96 Persecution of Christians under Emperor Domitian.
- 96 Gospel of John written by Apostle John as supplement and further theological illumination of the Synoptic gospels.
- ca.100 Emergence of Christian Catacombs in the second century.
- 100 Death of Apostle John.
- 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.
The following are published writings that provide an overview of Church history:
From an Orthodox perspective
- Kesich, Rev. Dr. Veselin. Formation and Struggles: The Birth of the Church AD 33-200. The Church in History Vol. I: Part I. Crestwood, N.Y. : St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 2007. ISBN 9780881413199
- 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)
- Chadwick, Henry. The Early Church. (ISBN 0140231994)
- 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. The Story of Christianity, Volume 1: The Early Church to the Reformation. (ISBN 0060633158)
- Hall, Stuart G. Doctrine and Practice in the Early Church. (ISBN 0802806295)
- Jones, Timothy P. Christian History Made Easy. (ISBN 1890947105)
- Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600). (ISBN 0226653714)
- Kim, Seyoon. Christ and Caesar: The Gospel and the Roman Empire in the Writings of Paul and Luke. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2008. (ISBN 9780802860088)
- 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)