Timeline of Church History (Late Byzantine Era (843-1054))
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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.
Late Byzantine era (843-1054)
- 843 Triumph of Orthodoxy occurs on first Sunday of Great Lent, restoring icons to churches.
- 845 42 Martyrs of Ammoria in Phrygia taken as hostages from Ammoria to Samarra (in Iraq) and executed there; noted Greek scholar Johannes Scotus Erigena takes over the Palatine Academy at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle) in France.
- 846 Muslim raid of Rome.
- 850 Third Finding of the head of John the Forerunner ; Bishop Censteg of Dingerein in Cornwall accepts the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
- 852 Ansgar founds churches at Hedeby and Ribe in Denmark.
- 858 Photius the Great becomes patriarch of Constantinople.
- 860 Second Rus-Byzantine War, a naval raid and the first siege of Constantinople by the Rus.
- ca. 860 Christianization of the Rus' Khaganate.
- 861 Cyril and Methodius depart from Constantinople to missionize the Slavs; Council of Constantinople attended by 318 fathers and presided over by papal legates confirms Photius the Great as patriarch and passes 17 canons.
- 862 Rastislav of Moravia converts to Christianity.
- 863 First translations of Biblical and liturgical texts into Church Slavonic by Cyril and Methodius.
- 863 Venetians steal relics of Apostle Mark from Alexandria.
- 864 Baptism of Prince Boris of Bulgaria; Synaxis of the Theotokos in Miasena in memory of the return of her icon.
- 865 Bulgaria under Khan Boris I converts to Orthodox Christianity.
- 866 Vikings raid and capture York in England.
- 867 Council in Constantinople held, presided over by Photius, which anathematizes Pope Nicholas I of Rome for his attacks on work of Greek missionaries in Bulgaria and use by papal missionaries of Filioque; Pope Nicholas dies before hearing news of excommunication; Basil the Macedonian has Emperor Michael III murdered and usurps Imperial throne, reinstating Ignatius as patriarch of Constantinople.
- 867 Death of Kassiani, Greek-Byzantine poet and hymnographer, who composed the Hymn of Kassiani, chanted during Holy Week on Holy Wednesday.
- 869-870 Robber Council of 869-870 held, deposing Photius the Great from the Constantinopolitan see and putting the rival claimant Ignatius on the throne, declaring itself to be the "Eighth Ecumenical Council."
- 870 Conversion of Serbia; death of Rastislav of Moravia; Malta conquered from the Byzantines by the Arabs; martyrdom of Edmund, King of East Anglia.
- 874 Translation of relics of Nicephorus the Confessor, interred in the Church of the Holy Apostles, Constantinople.
- 877 Death of Ignatius of Constantinople, who appoints Photius to succeed him.
- 877 Arab Muslims conquer all of Sicily from Byzantium and make Palermo their capital.
- 878 King Alfred the Great of Wessex defeats Vikings; the Treaty of Wedmore divides England between the Anglo-Saxons and the Danes (the Danelaw).
- 879-880 Eighth Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople attended by 383 fathers passing 3 canons, confirms Photius as Patriarch of Constantinople, anathematizes additions to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, and declares that the prerogatives and jurisdiction of the Roman pope and the Constantinopolitan patriarch are essentially equal; the council is reluctantly accepted by Pope John VIII of Rome.
- 883 Muslims burn the monastery of Monte Cassino.
- 885 Mount Athos gains political autonomy.
- 885 Death of Methodius.
- 886 Glagolitic alphabet, (now called Old Church Slavonic) adopted in Bulgarian Empire; St Alfred the Great, King of Wessex, captures London from the Danes.
- 888 Foundation of Shaftesbury Abbey.
- 902 Taormina, the last Byzantine stronghold in Sicily, is captured by the Aghlabid Arabs.
- 904 Thessalonika sacked and pillaged by Saracen pirates under Leo of Tripoli, a Greek pirate serving Saracen interests.
- 907 Third Rus-Byzantine War, a naval raid of Constantinople (or Tsargrad in Old Slavonic) led by Varangian Prince Oleg of Novgorod, which was relieved by peace negotiations.
- 910 Benedictine Abbey of Cluny founded in France.
- 899 Death of Alfred the Great.
- 911 Holy Protection of the Virgin Mary; Russian envoys visit Constantinople to ratify a treaty, sent by Oleg, Grand Prince of Rus'.
- 912 Normans become Christian; Nicholas I Mysticus becomes Patriarch of Constantinople.
- 927 Church of Bulgaria recognized as autocephalous by Constantinople.
- 931 Abbott Odo of Cluny reforms monasteries in Aquitaine, northern France, and Italy, starting the Cluniac Reform movement within the Benedictine order, focused on restoring the traditional monastic life, encouraging art and caring for the poor.
- 933 Death of Patr. Tryphon of Constantinople.
- 934 Death of Bp. Birnstan of Winchester, known for his work with the poor, and his mission of praying for the dead.
- 935 Martyrdom of Wenceslas, prince of the Czechs.
- 941 Fourth Rus-Byzantine War.
- 944 City of Edessa recovered by Byzantine army, including Icon Not Made By Hands ; The Western Rite Monastery of the Holy Saviour is established in Constantinople under Imperial favour.
- 945 Dunstan becomes Abbot of Glastonbury.
- 948 Future Holy Roman Emperor Otto I the Great founds missionary dioceses of Brandenburg, Havelburg, Ribe, Aarhus, and Schleswig.
- ca. 950 Monastery of Hosios Loukas founded near Stiris in Greece.
- 957 Olga of Kiev baptized in Constantinople.
- 960 Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas re-captures Crete for Byzantines; Dunstan becomes Archbishop of Canterbury, reforming monasteries and enforcing rule of Benedict.
- 962 Denmark becomes Christian nation with baptism of King Harald Blaatand ("Bluetooth"); Holy Roman Empire formed, with Pope John XII crowning Otto I the Great Holy Roman Emperor; Diploma Ottonianum is co-signed by Pope John XII and Otto, confirming the earlier Donation of Pepin, granting control of Papal States to the Popes, regularizing Papal elections, and clarifying the relationship between Popes and oly Roman Emperors.
- 963 Athanasius of Athos establishes first major monastery on Mount Athos, the Great Lavra.
- 965 Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas gains Cyprus completely for the Byzantines; Sviatoslav of Kiev destroys Khazar imperial power, as the Khazar fortresses of Sarkel and Tamatarkha fall to the Rus'.
- 966 Anti-Christian riots in Jerusalem.
- 968 Rila Monastery founded; Sviatoslav of Kiev defeats Bulgarians at the Battle of Silistra, precipitating the collapse of the First Bulgarian Empire.
- 968-71 Fifth Rus-Byzantine War, resulting in a Byzantine victory over the coalition of Rus', Pechenegs, Magyars, and Bulgarians in the Battle of Arcadiopolis, and the defeat of Sviatoslav of Kiev by John I Tzimiskes.
- 969 Death of Olga of Kiev; Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas captures Antioch and Aleppo from Arabs.
- 972 Emperor John I Tzimiskes grants Mount Athos its first charter (Typikon).
- 973 Moravia assigned to the Diocese of Prague, putting the West Slavic tribes under jurisdiction of German church.
- 975 Emperor John I Tzimiskes in a Syrian campaign takes Emesa, Baalbek, Damascus, Tiberias, Nazareth, Caesarea, Sidon, Beirut, Byblos and Tripoli, but fails to take Jerusalem.
- 978 Death of King Edward the Martyr.
- 980 Revelation of the Axion Estin (the hymn "It Is Truly Meet"), with the appearance of the Archangel Gabriel to a monk on Mount Athos.
- 980-5 The Western Rite Monastery of Amalfion is founded on Mount Athos.
- 983 Martyrdom of Theodore the Varangian and his son John of Kiev.
- 987 Sixth Rus-Byzantine War, where Vladimir of Kiev dispatches troops to the Byzantine Empire to assist Emperor Basil II with an internal revolt, agreeing to accept Orthodox Christianity as his religion and bring his people to the new faith.
- 988 Baptism of Rus' begins with the conversion of Vladimir of Kiev who is baptized at Chersonesos, the birthplace of the Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches; Vladimir marries Anna, sister of Byzantine emperor Basil II.
- 989 The Pax Dei or Peace of God was decreed at the Synod of Charroux, to publicize and enforce what were argued to be eternal principles of protection for churchmen, church property, and the particular protégés of the Church, the poor, becoming a movement that spread to most of Western Europe over the next century, surviving in some form until at least the thirteenth century.
- 992 Death of Michael, first Metropolitan of Kiev.
- 995 Olaf of Norway proclaims Norway to be a Christian kingdom; relics of Cuthbert transferred with his community to Durham.
- 1000 Conversion of Greenland and Iceland.
- 1008 Conversion of Sweden.
- 1009 Patr. Sergius II of Constantinople removes name of Pope Sergius IV of Rome from diptychs of Constantinople, because the pope had written a letter to the patriarch including the Filioque.
- 1009 Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem destroyed by the "mad" Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, founder of the Druze.
- 1012 Martyrdom of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury; Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah issues oppressive decrees against Jews and Christians including the destruction of all Christian and Jewish houses of worship.
- 1013 Jews expelled from caliphate of Córdoba.
- 1014 Filioque used for first time in Rome by Pope Benedict VIII at coronation of Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor.
- 1015 Death of Vladimir of Kiev.
- 1017 Danish king Canute converts to Christianity.
- 1022 Death of Simeon the New Theologian.
- 1024 Seventh Rus-Byzantine War, Byzantine naval victory.
- 1027 Frankish protectorate over Christian interests in Jerusalem is replaced by a Byzantine protectorate, which begin reconstruction of Holy Sepulchre.
- 1034 Patriarch Alexius I Studites writes the first complete Studite Typikon, for a monastery he established near Constantinople; this was the Typikon introduced into the Rus' lands by Theodosius of the Kiev Caves.
- 1036 Byzantine Emperor Michael IV makes a truce with the Caliph of Egypt to allow rebuilding of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre by Byzantine masons; Varangian Guard of the Byzantine Emperor sent to protect pilgrims.
- 1037 Death of Persian polymath Avicenna who tried to merge rational philosophy (reason and logic) with Islamic theology, also regarded as a father of early modern medicine.
- 1043 Eighth and last Rus'-Byzantine War, an unsuccessful naval raid against Constantinople; Edward the Confessor crowned King of England at Winchester Cathedral; University of Constantinople is re-organized under Michael Psellos.
- 1045-50 Cathedral of Saint Sophia in Novgorod built, the oldest Orthodox church building in Russia, executed in an architectural style more austere than the Byzantine, reminiscent of the Romanesque.
- 1048 Re-consecration of Holy Sepulchre.
- 1051 Monastery of the Kiev Caves founded.
- 1052 Edward the Confessor founds Westminster Abbey, near London.
- 1053 Death of Lazarus the Wonder-worker of Mount Galesius near Ephesus.
- 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
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- Timeline of Orthodoxy in China
- Timeline of Orthodoxy in Greece
- Timeline of Orthodoxy in New Zealand
- Timeline of Orthodoxy in Japan
- Timeline of Orthodoxy in Russia
- Timeline of Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic relations
The following are published writings that provide an overview of Church history:
From an Orthodox perspective
- Louth, Rev. Dr. Andrew. Greek East and Latin West : The Church, AD 681-1071. The Church in History Vol. III. Crestwood, N.Y. : St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 2007. ISBN 9780881413205
- 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
- Cairns, Earle E. Christianity Through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church. (ISBN 0310208122)
- Collins, Michael, ed.; Price, Matthew Arlen. Story of Christianity: A Celebration of 2000 Years of Faith. (ISBN 0789446057)
- Gonzalez, Justo L. A History of Christian Thought, Volume 2: From Augustine to the Eve of the Reformation. (ISBN 0687171830)
- Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Volume 1: The Early Church to the Reformation. (ISBN 0060633158)
- 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 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)
- Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church. (ISBN 156563196X)
- 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)