Early events of the church


The life of Jesus

Approx. 2 B.C. - 32 A.D.

Persecution of Christians by Jewish authorities (especially around Jerusalem), largely ceases by 70 AD when Jerusalem destroyed, after that point Roman persecution is the problem.

32 A.D. - 70 A.D.

Birth of church in Jerusalem

Approx. 32 A.D.

Time period described in acts of the apostles

32 A.D. - 60 A.D.

Conversion of Saul/Paul

33 A.D. - 36 A.D.

Life of St. Ignatius of Antioch (Disciple of John, Bishop of Antioch, martyr).

35 A.D. - 108 A.D.

Life of St. Clement of Rome (Disciple of Peter, 4th Bishop of Rome, martyr).

35 A.D. - 99 A.D.

Age of “Church Fathers,” most important/influential early Christian thinkers/leaders.

50 A.D. - 700 A.D.

Age of “Apostolic Fathers,” Church Fathers who were followers of Jesus’ own apostles.

50 A.D. - 150 A.D.

Council of Jerusalem

50 A.D.

First NT documents written (I Thessalonians and Galatians), entire New Testament probably completed by 100 AD.

50 A.D.

First Jewish-Roman War, eventually Rome puts Jerusalem under siege and Christians start leaving for other regions before total destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Gospel spreads elsewhere.

63 A.D. - 70 A.D.

Great Fire of Rome, Neronian Persecution (first empire-wide persecution), Nero blames Christians for fire, orders persecution, Peter and Paul and others martyred.

64 A.D.

Widespread local and sometimes imperial Roman persecution of Christians.

64 A.D. - 313 A.D.

Life of St. Polycarp (Disciple of John, Bishop of Smyrna, martyr).

69 A.D. - 156 A.D.

Life of St. Justin Martyr (highly-educated Palestinian Christian, martyr).

100 A.D. - 165 A.D.

Life of St. Anthony (Father of Monks and Monasticism).

251 A.D. - 356 A.D.

Life of Arius (Egyptian bishop who denied divinity of Christ)

256 A.D. - 336 A.D.

Life of St. Athanasius (Bishop of Alexandria, supporter of Nicene Christology).

296 A.D. - 373 A.D.

“Great Persecution,” under Emperor Diocletian, worst of all imperial persecutions.

303 A.D. - 313 A.D.

Emperor Constantine sees vision of Cross in sky at Battle of Milvian Bridge, with words “By this sign you will conquer.” Orders Cross painted on soldiers’ shields, wins battle, converts to Christianit

312 A.D.

Constantine signs Edict of Milan, granting Christianity status of religio licita (legal religion), ending official imperial persecution. Christians still minority in Empire, but now have some legal pr

313 A.D.

Council of Nicea. Arianism (belief that Jesus was created) condemned, Nicene Creed adopted.

325 A.D.

Life of St. Cyril (Bishop of Alexandria, supporter of idea that Christ has two natures united in one person, argued against Nestorius).

376 A.D. - 444 A.D.

Emperor Theodosius signs Edict of Thessalonica, making Christianity official religion of Roman Empire. Still permissible to be pagan, but eventually Rome becomes Christianized.

380 A.D.

First Council of Constantinople. Pneumatomachianism (belief that Holy Spirit was not co-equal with Son and Father) condemned, lines about Holy Spirit added to Nicene Creed.

381 A.D.

Life of Nestorius (Bishop of Constantinople, supporter of idea that Christ has two natures divided in one person, argued against Cyril).

386 A.D. - 450 A.D.

Council of Ephesus. Mary affirmed as Theotokos (Mother of God).

431 A.D.

Council of Chalcedon. Christ’s two natures (human and divine) united in one person affirmed, tries to reconcile positions of Cyril and Nestorius.

451 A.D.