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There might be a slight bias in the presentation of this chart since it comes from an Orthodox chruch.  But the basic facts are accurate.

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This convoluted, but surprisingly easy to follow timeline covers Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

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The spead of Christianity 300-800.

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Gutenberg Bible (from the Library of Congress).  The Bible was the first major work printed with movable type.  The all-time bestseller, according to Guiness World Records, with over 5 billion copies sold and distributed.

History of Christianity


Christianity might be defined roughly as the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.  Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God (hence divine), the Messiah foretold by the Jews, sent by God to redeem mankind.  Jesus was crucified, a perfect sacrifice, dying on the Cross to redeem us from our own sins and the sin of Adam.  Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.


For the history of Christianity, I am going to simply present a timeline of major 'events' in Christianity, with occasional elaborations.  The basic timeline is an abbreviated and modified version of this timeline from Christianity in View.  Many of the dates are approximate.


  • 4 BC  Birth of Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem.

  • 30 AD  Death of Jesus Christ.

  • 33  Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).  Sometimes known as the Birthday of the Church.

  • 33  Stephen - First Christian martyr (Acts 7).

  • 48  Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).  Gentile Christians accepted alongside those in the Jewish tradition.

  • 60  First Gospel (Mark).

  • 62  Martyrdom of James, "The Lord's Brother".

  • 67-68  Apostles Peter and Paul* martyred in the reign of the Roman emperor Nero.

  • 70  Jewish rebellion against the Roman empire ends. Destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

  • 70-on  Center of Christianity moves to Antioch, Alexandria and Rome.

  • 90  Book of Revelation and Gospel of Saint John written.

  • 313  Edict of Milan issued by Roman Emperor Constantine - Christianity becomes a legal religion within the Roman empire.

  • 325  Constantine calls the first ecumenical council at Nicea.  Arian heresy which declared Christ was a created being is refuted. Nicene Creed is drawn up, declaring Christ to be "...Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father..."

  • 367  Saint Athanasius is the first to list all 27 New Testament books in his festal letter.

  • 381  Ecumenical Council at Constantinople revises the Nicene creed to its current form.

  • 382  Saint Jerome begins a translation of the Bible into Latin.

  • 397  Synod at Carthage ratifies the 27 books of the New Testament as sacred scripture.

  • 431  Ecumenical council held at Ephesus refutes Nestorianism - the doctrine that Christ was two persons (one human, the other divine) in one body.

  • 449  At Ephesus, Pope Leo I delivers his 'Tome', defending orthodox Christian belief.  Leo also asserts Papal supremacy.

  • 451  Ecumenical council at Chalcedon affirms Christ as having two distinct natures united in one person (known as the 'Hypostatic Union').

  • 597  Following a mission authorized by Pope Gregory I, St. Augustine becomes the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

  • 664  Synod of Whitby ratifies the authority of the Pope in England.

  • 800  Charlemagne is crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Leo III.

  • 988  Conversion of Prince Vladimir in Kiev. Growth of Christianity in Russia.

  • 1054  Great Schism - Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholic churches separate.

  • 1095  Pope Urban II authorizes the first Crusade to recover the Holy Land from Moslems.

  • 1099  Crusaders conquer Jerusalem.

  • 1187  Jerusalem recaptured by a Moslem army led by Saladin.

  • 1189  Third Crusade led by Richard the Lionheart of England.

  • 1204  Sack of Constantinople during the fourth crusade.

  • 1266-73  Thomas Aquinas writes his great work of systematic Theology: Summa Theologiae.

  • 1376  John Wycliffe writes 'Civil Dominion', arguing for reform of the church.

  • 1380  John Wycliffe translates the Bible into Middle English.

  • 1450-1455  Gutenberg Bible printed with movable type.  48 copies (or substantial portions of) survive today.

  • 1453  Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks.

  • 1517  Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses in Wittenburg, Germany; beginning the Protestant reformation.

  • 1521  Diet of Worms - Luther's final breach with the Catholic church.

  • 1525  William Tyndale completes his translation of the Bible into English.

  • 1534  Ignatius of Loyola founds the Jesuits.

  • 1536  John Calvin publishes his Institutes of the Christian Religion.

  • 1545-63  Council of Trent - Roman Catholic counter reformation.

  • 1549  Thomas Cranmer publishes the Book of Common Prayer  in England (later revised in 1662).

  • 1611  Publication of the King James Version of the Bible.

  • 1618-48  Protestant/Catholic conflict in Germany (Thirty Years War).

  • 1730-60  The 'Great Awakening' - A revival movement among Protestants in British North America.

  • 1738  John and Charles Wesley converted. They lead an Evangelical revival in England and form the Methodist church.

  • 1854  Dogma of the Immaculate conception of Mary proclaimed by the Roman Catholic church.

  • 1870-1  First Vatican council. Dogma of Papal infallibility proclaimed.

  • 1906  Azusa street revival in Los Angeles. Beginnings of the Pentecostal movement.

  • 1962-5  Second Vatican council. Major reforms in the Roman Catholic church are initiated.  Mutual anathemas of 1054 between Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches lifted.

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