Church History Timeline


Death of Jesus

30 AD - 33 AD

3 year span given for disputes in date

Great Fire of Rome

July 19, 64 AD - July 24, 64 AD

Dates given as Tacitus is quoted as saying fire burned for six days. It was said that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Nero blamed the Christians for starting the fire and utilized momentum from this tragedy to start his persecution of them.

Edict of Toleration; Edict of Milan

311 AD - 313 AD

Edict of Toleration in 311 allowed for the Christians to openly worship again; Edict of Milan in 313 allowed for the return of previously confiscated property to the Christians.

Move of Roman Capital to Constantinople

January 1, 330 AD - December 31, 330 AD

Constantine moved capital of Roman Empire to Constantinople

Council of Constantinople

380 AD - 381 AD

Council called to refute Apollinarianism. Development of the Constantinopalitan-Nicaean Creed. Emphasis on the humanity of Christ, the three-ness of God, and the Holy Spirit being of the same substance as the Father. Addition of the word filioque.

Council of Nicaea

January 1, 425 AD - December 31, 425 AD

Council of Nicaea called to refute Arianism; St. Nicholas of Myrna punched Arius in the face.
Emphasized the oneness of God and the deity of Christ.

Council of Ephesus

January 1, 431 AD - December 31, 431 AD

Battled Nestorianism and Eutychus. Issue of Theotokos or Christotokos. Emphasized the oneness of Christ.

Council of Chalcedon

January 1, 451 AD - December 31, 451 AD

Emphasized the twoness of Christ- both human and divine- in one being.

Clovis Baptized

January 1, 496 - December 31, 496

Clovis, King of the Franks, baptized into the Christian faith after uniting the Frankish kingdoms. His conversion and subsequent baptism led to the mass conversion of his followers.

2nd Council of Constantinople

680 - 681

Condemnation of Eutychus and the Monophysite controversy. Called by Emperor Justinian. Settled the idea of Christ's dueling wills with the statement that both wills coexisted in Him harmoniously, with human will being subject to His divine will.

The Great Schism

January 1, 1054 - December 31, 1054

The Great Schism in which the respective leaders of the Eastern end of the Christian Church and the Pope in the West excommunicated one another and forever broke the unity of the Catholic Church.

First Crusade

1095 - 1099

Peoples from France, Belgium, and Norman Italy; retook Nicaea, Antioch, and Jerusalem.

Second Crusade

1147 - 1149

Bernard of Clairvaux assisted in instigating this crusade with his preaching. Holy Roman Emperor and King of France led the crusade, but Jerusalem once again captured by the Muslims.

Third Crusade

1189 AD - 1192 AD

King's Crusade, led by Philip Augustus (France), Richard (England), and Frederick I. Frederick drowned, Philip returned after fight with Richard, Richard got Saladin to allow for Christian pilgrims to have access to Jerusalem.

Fourth Crusade

1202 - 1204

Crusade in which the members were excommunicated and later sacked the city of Constantinople.

Albigenesian Crusade

1209 AD - 1309 AD

The Cathars, a Gnostic heresy, was made nearly extinct by this Crusade within Christian lands in the South of France.

The Children's Crusade

January 1, 1212 - December 31, 1212

Crusade in which 100,000+ children engaged in a crusade against the Muslims, with the thought that their innocence and purity would aid them in winning. Comprised of teenagers and children whose ages were in the single digits. Famine and the elements killed many, almost all others were enslaved.

Fifth Crusade

1228 AD - 1229 AD

Started by the Fourth Lateran Council. A disaster. St. Francis of Assissi captured, beaten, and released by the Muslim ruler.

Lorenzo Valla Disproves Donation of Constantine

1439 - 1440

Exposed the Donation of Constantine and the Pope's subsequent claims to temporal and spiritual power as well as property possession to be invalid.

The Sack of Constantinople

April 6, 1453 - May 29, 1453

Sack of the city of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmed II, an Ottoman Muslim

Luther's 95 Theses

October 30, 1517 - October 31, 1517

Actual event date October 31, 1517. Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of All Saint's Church in Wittenberg, Germany in which he disputed the sale of indulgences occurring with the permission of the Roman Catholic Church.

Time Ranges

Apostolic Age

33 AD - 100 AD

Supposing Christ's death in 33 AD, the beginning of the era in the church when leadership and learning was centered on the Apostles and their direct theological descendants.

Roman Empire

63 AD - 476 AD

Rough dates for the beginning and end of the Roman Empire

Persecution Under Nero

64 AD - 68 AD

Nero reigned from 54-68 AD, persecuted Christians for his last four years starting with the Great Fire in Rome. Thought that Paul might have been martyred during this period.

Reign of Domitian

81 AD - 96 AD

Christians were persecuted for their refusal to offer incense to the Emperor; this was a public manner in which the deity of the Emperor was denied and was regarded as an act of defiance/uprising.

Reign of Trajan

98 AD - 117 AD

In a letter to Pliny, the Emperor Trajan ordered that Christians not be sought out, but that if they were accused they be confronted and given both the chance to prove that they were not a Christian and the chance to recant their Christian faith. Trajan wished to avoid and enormity of false accusations.

Reign of Hadrian

117 AD - 138 AD

Hadrian enforced the same policies as the Emperor Trajan.

Reign of Marcus Aurelius

161 AD - 180 AD

His death begins the marked decline of the Roman Empire. Justin was martyred under Marcus Aurelius and thus became known as Justin Martyr.

Reign of Septimius Severus

193 AD - 211 AD

Edict issued in 202 forbidding conversion to Christianity.

Reign of Decius

249 AD - 251 AD

FIRST EMPIRE WIDE PERSECUTION. Previously, persecutions had been localized.

Reign of Valerian

253 AD - 260 AD

Valerian issued an edict that all Christian property be confiscated. This is what the Edict of Milan, signed by Constantine, overturned in 313.

Reign of Diocletian

284 AD - 305 AD

Established the Tetrarchy. Most severe persecution of Christians, as well as peoples of other faiths. Burnt Manicheans alive with their texts. When he issued his Edict Against Christians, those who refused to burn incense or provide another show of reverence to the Roman gods were imprisoned, severely tortured, and killed, along with Christian scriptures and places of worship being destroyed.

Reign of Galerius

305 AD - 311 AD

Continued the persecutions of Diocletian in the Eastern end of the Empire; argued for extermination of Christians.

Babylonian Captivity

1305 - 1378

Time during which the seat of the Papacy was in France, not Rome, and the Pope was subject to the political and temporal pressures which surrounded him in France.


Polycarp of Smyrna

69 AD - 155 AD

Early Christian martyr. Known for his age at the time of his death, his calling of those around him atheists in response to admonitions to renounce Christianity, and for being one of the last pupils of the apostles still alive.

Justin Martyr

100 - 167

Conversion in 135


120 AD - 180 AD

Published the Diatessaron, a harmony of the gospels, the first of its kind.


250 AD - 336 AD

Argued for a time when Christ was not, for his creation rather than his pre-existence. First major soteriological crisis addressed by an ecumenical council; refuted by the Council of Nicaea, anathemized, and punched in the face by St. Nicholas of Myrna.

Eusebius of Caesarea

263 AD - 339 AD

Known as the "Father of Church History", best known for his work Ecclesiastical History. Preserved much written history which might otherwise have been lost or destroyed to time. Suspected of Arianism. Paid heed not only to church history but also to general history, which he marked as important for church history.


February 27, 272 AD - May 22, 337 AD

Constantine, known as Constantine the Great. Emperor of Rome from 306-307 AD; was converted to Christianity after the Battle of Milvian bridge, signed both the Edict of Toleration and the Edict of Milan, moved the capital city of the Roman Empire to Constantinople from Rome, and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire.


310 AD - 390 AD

Bishop of Laodicea whose views that Christ had a true physical/divine body and soul but that his spirit was replaced by the Logos.


347 - September 30, 420

Doctor of the Church who translated the Bible into Latin.

Augustine of Hippo

November 13, 354 - August 28, 430

Augustine, Doctor of the Church, lived and developed the idea of the Catholic Church as the spiritual City of God. Wrote his Confessions and City of God. Developed spiritual concepts of inescapable grace, original sin, and just war theory.


360 - 420

British monk who gave human will power in the ability to save oneself; negated the necessity for infant baptism.


378 AD - 454 AD

Archimadrite of a monastery in Constantinople who argued for the fusion of Christ's two natures into one- the divine- after the incarnation. Denied by Leo's Tome and by Council of Chalcedon in 451.


381 AD - 452 AD

Monk and patriarch at Constantinople whose dislike of the word theotokos for Mary; offered the word Christotokos. His argument posited that Christ had two natures which were not in harmony but existent side by side within Christ Himself.

Martin Luther

November 10, 1483 - February 14, 1546

Monk, priest, professor, and most well-known member of the Protestant Reformation.

Published Works


90 AD - 150 AD

Unknown date of composure, though assumed to be late first to before the middle of the second century. Also known as The Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations. Discovered in 1883. Contains four main portions, regarding (I) a discussion of the Ways of Life and Death, (II) liturgical issues, (III) distinguishing worthy officials/prophets/etc. from the unworthy, and (IV) Church organization.

I Clement

January 1, 95 AD - December 31, 95 AD

Letter to the Corinthians which argued against the removal of presbyters from a church there without their having committed any moral trespasses. Earliest non-canonical document generally accepted by the Christian church known to be in existence.


382 AD - 405 AD

Jerome starts and completes his Latin translations of both the Old and New Testament texts from their original languages of Hebrew and Greek, respectively.


January 1, 397 - December 31, 397

Approximate/estimated date for the publication of Augustine's Confessions, an autobiographical work which detailed the sins of Augustine's youth and later his conversion to Christianity.

Donation of Constantine

700 AD - 1439 AD

Document which granted lands in Italy to the Papacy as provided by Constantine. It came to be used to argue not only for Papal control over lands, but also for spiritual salvation and temporal control. Was later proved to be a forgery.

Cur Deus Homo

1093 - 1109

Anselm writes his work Cur Deus Homo, which explored the Atonement. Translates to Why God Became Man.