Timeline of Church History (New Testament Era)
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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
- 168 BC-70 AD Late Second Temple period: the main internal struggles amongst the Jews were between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, as well as the Essenes and Zealots.
- 168 BC martyrdom of the Holy Seven Maccabees, their mother Solomonia, and their teacher Eleazar.
- 167-160 BC Revolt of the Maccabees under Judas Maccabeus.
- 165 BC Restoration of Jewish worship at the Temple in Jerusalem; the Temple is purified and the idols erected there by Antiochus IV are destroyed; the reconsecration of the Temple becomes an annual feast of dedication in the Jewish calendar, Hanukkah (the wicks of the menorah miraculously burned for eight days, even though there was only enough sacred oil for one day's lighting).
- 63 BC Judea becomes a Roman client kingdom (Iudaea Province by 6 AD).
- 46 BC Julius Caesar institutes Julian Calendar.
- 40 The Idumean Herod the Great, son of Antipater, was designated "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate.
- 27 BC-180 AD Pax Romana.
- 20 BC Herod the Great begins a massive renovation and expansion of the Second Temple complex; treaty between Rome and Persia fixes boundary between the two empires along the Euphrates.
- ca.4 BC Christ is born in Bethlehem; 14,000 Holy Innocents slain in Bethlehem.
- 1 Assumption of Moses, Jewish apocrypha written.
- 6 Census of Quirinius; Iudaea Province created under direct Roman administration with capital at Caesarea, as the Romans annex Samaria, Idumea, and Judea (corresponding to the region of the ancient Kingdom of Judah).
- 18-37 Caiaphas becomes the High Priest of the Jews.
- ca.25-26 Death of Joseph the Betrothed.
- 26-36 Pontius Pilate is appointed the Roman Prefect of Judaea province.
- ca.28 John the Baptist began his ministry in the "15th year of Tiberius" (Luke 3:1-2), preaching "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matt 3:1-2), baptized Christ in the Jordan (Mark 1:4-11), was arrested and beheaded by Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee.
- ca.28-30 Three year ministry of Jesus Christ, including: Temptation; Appointment of the Twelve Apostles; Sermon on the Mount; Miracles performed; Rejection; Transfiguration; Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem; driving out the Temple money changers; Cursing the fig tree; Giving the great commandment; Anointing; Mystical Supper; Arrest; Sanhedrin Trial; Before Pilate; Passion; Crucifixion on Good Friday; Entombment by Pharisees Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus of the Sanhedrin; Harrowing of Hell; Resurrection on Easter Sunday; Appearances to various people over the next forty days; Giving the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20); and Ascension.
- ca. 30 Martyrdom of Stephen the deacon, the first Christian martyr.
- 30 Conversion of Apostle Paul on road to Damascus.
- 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
- Schmemann, Alexander. The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy.
- Ware, Timothy. The Orthodox Church: New Edition. (ISBN 0140146563)
- Tsai, Kathryn (Dr). 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)
- 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)
- Hastings, Adrian, ed. A World History of Christianity. (ISBN 0802848753)
- Hurtado, Larry W. (Dr). Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2005. (ISBN 9780802831675)
- Jones, Timothy P. Christian History Made Easy. (ISBN 1890947105)
- 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)