Early church


Time of Jesus

4 bc - 32 ad


32 ad

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

32 ad - 70 ad

Time period described by acts and apostles

32 ad - 60 ad

Conversion Saul to Paul

33 ad - 36 ad

Life of St. Clemente of Rome

35 ad - 99 ad

Life of St. Ignatius of Antioch

35 ad - 108 ad

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

50 ad

Council of Jerusalem

50 ad

Age of “Apolistic Fathers”

50 ad - 150 ad

Age of “Church Fathers”

50 ad - 700 ad

Christianity starts spreading throughout Mediterranean and Middle East, occasional persecution of Christians by local Roman authorities begins, followed by escalating persecutions at imperial level. C

50 ad

50 ad onwards

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 ad - 70 ad

Widespread local and sometimes imperial Roman persecution of Christians.

64 ad - 313 ad

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

64 ad

Life of St. Polycarp

69 ad - 156 ad

Life of St. Justin Martyr

100 ad - 165 ad

Life of St. Anthony

251 ad - 356 ad

Life of arius

256 ad - 336 ad

Life of St. Athanasius

296 ad - 373 ad

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

303 - 313

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 ad

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 ad

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

325 ad

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

376 ad - 444 ad

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

380 ad

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 ad

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

386 ad - 450 ad

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

431 ad

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

451 ad