First 3 Centuries of the Church


Death of Jesus

Approx. 30 AD

Letters of Paul

Approx. 50 AD - Approx. 60 AD

Four Gospels Written

Approx. 60 AD - Approx. 90 AD

Jewish War

66 AD - 73 AD

Temple in Jerusalem Destroyed

Bar Kokhba Revolt

132 AD - 136 AD

Plague of Cyprian

250 AD - 266 AD

Edict of Toleration

311 AD


Rule of Caesar Augustus

27 BC - 14 AD

Rule of Nero

54 AD - 68 AD

Rule of Trajan

98 AD - 117 AD

Rule of Hadrian

117 AD - 138 AD

Rule of Marcus Aurelius

161 AD - 180 AD

Rule of Decius to Valerian

249 AD - 260 AD

First Empire Wide Persecution


284 AD - 305 AD


306 AD - 337 AD

Texts: Pagan and Christian

Letter From Pliny to Trajan

Approx. 110 AD

Epistle to Diognetus

Approx. 150


Martyrs of Lyons

Approx. 180 AD

Possibly written by Irenaeus

To Donatus

Approx. 240 AD

Against Celsus

248 AD

On the Lapsed

251 AD

To Demetrius

Approx. 254


Approx. 270

Important Christians

Ignatius of Antioch

Approx. 40 AD - Approx. 110 AD

very early Christian writer, bishop, and martyr; wrote 7 extant letters on his way to Rome to be killed for his Christian faith

Justin Martyr

Approx. 100 AD - Approx. 165 AD

Important apologist; martyred in Rome

Irenaeus of Lyons

Approx. 130 - Approx. 205

Brilliant and influential bishop and theologian; wrote the widely read and imitated treatise "Against Heresies"

Tertullian of Carthage

Approx. 160 AD - Approx. 220 AD

foundational writer, apologist, and moralist; one of the earliest Christians writing in Latin; remembered as unorthodox because of his adoption of a heretical brand of Christianity toward the end of his life

Origen of Alexandria

Approx. 185 AD - Approx. 254 AD

Probably the greatest genius in the pre-constantinian church; scholar, teacher, philosopher, and theologian; tortured during the Decian persecution and died from his wounds a couple years later

Cyprian of Carthage

Approx. 200 AD - Approx. 258 AD

Bishop of Carthage, wrote important works on martyrdom, the Church, and apologetics