History of the Catholic Church - Morgan Kuehl

Church Councils

Council of Nicaea


The first ecumenical council of the Church, the Council of Nicaea focused on Jesus' Incarnation. A heretic named Arius was teaching people that Jesus wasn't fully divine. People were confused about this and other teachings, so the Council of Nicaea was held. One of the results of this council is the Nicene Creed. It is a list of Catholic beliefs so people wouldn't be so confused, but will be officially applied later on.

Council of Constantinople


The second council of the Church, the Council of Constantinople, was called to settle some remaining problems from the Council of Nicaea and also some new ones. This council disproved the teachings of Arianism, clarified the ways that the Trinity was described, and sharpened the differences of the Eastern and Western branches of the Church.

Council of Ephesus


One of the Archbishops named Nestorius thought that Jesus' natures were separate and Mary wasn't the Mother of God. One man challenged his ideas, so Nestorius wanted a council to settle the dispute. He lost, and was removed from his position.

Council of Chalcedon


This council condemned Monophysitism, which said that Jesus has only one nature which is a combination of His divine and human natures.

Council of Trent

1545 - 1563

This council's main purpose was to condemn and refute the beliefs of the Protestant churches due to the Protestant Reformation.

First Vatican Council

1869 - 1870

The council was held to refute various contemporary ideas associated with the rise of liberalism and materialism. It also clarified that the Pope can never be wrong when talking about dogma.

Second Vatican Council

1962 - 1965

The main point of Vatican II was spiritual renewal for the Church. Catholics around the world were able to come together in faith.

Saints and Doctors of the Church

Life of St. Jerome

Approx. 340 - 420

St. Jerome was a priest, confessor, theologian, and historian. His feast day is September 30.

Life of St. Brigid of Kildare

Approx. 450 - Approx. 523

St. Brigid was a milkmaid in Ireland. Her feast day is February 1.

Life of St. Thomas Aquinas

1225 - 1274

St. Thomas Aquinas was a philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. He made many books about the Holy Spirit. His feast day is January 28.

Life of St. Catherine of Siena

1347 - 1380

St. Catherine was a mystic and tertiary nun. She received the stigmata and a ring from God, both only visible to herself. Her feast day is April 29.

St. Catherine of Siena Canonized


Life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

1774 - 1821

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is the first saint that was born in the US to be canonized. She was a teacher and lived in New York. Her feast day is January 4.

Life St. Katherine Drexel

1858 - 1955

St. Katherine Drexel was a rich heiress from Pennsylvania, but used her money on the less fortunate. Her feast day is March 3.

Life of St. Therese of Liseux

1873 - 1897

Some people know St. Therese as the Little Flower. Her feast day is October 3.


Jesus' Ascension

33 AD

This happened 40 days after the Resurrection.

Jesus' Resurrection

33 AD

Three days after he dies, Jesus rose from the dead. Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus after he resurrected.


33 AD

This is when the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples in the room in the form of tongues of flame. This is technically the birthday of the Church, because it gave the people courage to evangelize.

Edict of Milan


The Edict of Milan is the agreement between two emperors that made Christianity legal in the Roman empire.

Great Schism


Also known as the East-West Schism, was the split in the Catholic Church that resulted in Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

Protestant Reformation

1517 - 1648

The Protestant Reformation took place when Martin Luther was unhappy with the Church, its actions, and its teachings, so he decided to break away. Martin Luther formed his own church, the Lutheran church. This led to many other people also breaking away and starting their own churches.

Papacy of Saint Pope John Paul II the Great

1978 - 2005

Pope John Paul II was born in Poland. He was the first non-Italian Pope in over 400 years. He was shot twice, and forgave his attacker. He spoke out against the suffering in the world and set and example for many Catholics.

Papacy of Pope Francis

2013 - Present

Pope Francis is the first pope to come from the Americas. His given name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, and he was born in Argentina.