Latourette, Kenneth Scott (1884-1968) A History of Christianity (Peabody, Massachusetts: Prince Press, 1999; originally published by Harper & Brothers, 1953).
1. “The First Five Hundred Years: Christianity Wins the Roman Empire and Takes Shape [A.D. 1-500]” (Latourette, v)
Birth of Jesus.
AD 30 [or 33]
Death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.
Pentecost: beginning of the Church.
Herod Agrippa 1st (grandson of Herod “the Great”) persecutes church in Jerusalem and has James, brother of John, executed and Peter jailed.
Missionary journeys of Paul.
Nero initiates first persecution by the Roman state of Christians, in the city of Rome.
Jewish rebellion. Jerusalem destroyed (70). Christian Jews lose significance.
Domitian, emperor, initiates the second persecution of Christians, also in the city of Rome.
Letter of Clement
Paul’s letters collected and preserved as a unit.
Didache (Teaching of the Twelve): first Christian document outside New Testament to discuss the structure of Christian communities.
Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, writes seven letters while traveling to Rome and martyrdom. First to refer to all churches together as “the Catholic Church.”
Letters between Trajan, emperor, and Pliny the Younger, governor of Bithynia. Trajan counsels moderation in response to Christians.
Church leaders discern which writings should be in Bible.
Marcion excommunicated by church in Rome for wanting to exclude the whole Old Testament from the Bible and denying that Jesus was the incarnation of God. Nonetheless, Marcionite churches existed from Gallia to the Orient for centuries.
Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, given final form.
Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, martyred.
Montanists influential in Anatolia.
Irenaeus serves as bishop of Lyons in Gallia.
First use of the Apostle’s Creed: a summary of Christian beliefs, in Rome, for baptisms.
Tertullian, from Africa, writes first defense of Christianity in Latin.
Latin begins to displace Greek as liturgical language in some churches in the western Empire.
Clement starts distinctive school of theology in Alexandria. Origen follows.
Decius, emperor, decrees persecution of Christians. Murdered include Origen and Fabian, bishop of Rome.
Anthony of the Desert
Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, martyred.
Hermitages and monasteries begin to spread through Egypt and the Orient.
Diocletian, emperor, initiates worst persecution of Christians by the Roman state: church buildings destroyed, Bibles burned, large numbers of Christians become martyrs or apostates. Persecution declines in the Western Empire by 305 but increases in ferocity from then until 311 in the Eastern Empire.
In Africa, Donatist movement rejects forgiveness for apostates.
Constantine claims Christ’s protection before Battle of the Milvian Bridge.
Co-emperors Constantine and Licinius issue Edict of Milan granting Christianity legal status as a religion.
Construction begins on first St. Peter’s Church in Rome.
Constantine rules as sole Roman emperor.
Council of Nicaea (First Ecumenical) decides on first Nicene Creed.
Arian controversy: Arius, priest in Alexandria, asserts that Jesus unique but not equal to the Father.
Constantine makes New Rome, later called Constantinople, capital of Roman Empire.
Eusebius (ca 260-340) publishes milestone Church History.
Julian, called “the Apostate,” last non-Christian Roman emperor.
Ambrose, bishop of Milan, then capital of the Western Roman Empire.
Battle of Adrianople: emperor Valens dies in catastrophic defeat of Roman army by Goths.
Theodosius, emperor, baptized in 380, last ruler of united Roman Empire.
Council of Constantinople (Second Ecumenical) adopts final form of Creed against Arianism.
John Chrysostom (“Golden-Tongued”) begins preaching in Antioch.
Augustine becomes a Christian in Milan.
Jerome starts his translation of the Bible into Latin in Bethlehem.
Theodosius, Roman ruler, declares all non-Christian religions illegal.
Monasticism in Western Olympia begins at Nola near Naples and near Marseilles (island of Lerins) or in it (John Cassian).
Augustine serves as bishop of Hippo.
John Chrysostom serves as bishop of Constantinople.
Massive invasion of Roman provinces from Germania across a frozen Rhine.
Roman troops recalled from Britannia.
Alaric leads Arian Goths in first sack of Rome in 800 years.
Augustine writes The City of God in response.
Visigoths seize control of Iberia.
Vandals seize control of Africa.
Leo 1st becomes first bishop of Rome to lead churches outside Italia.
Council of Ephesus (Third Ecumenical) declares Mary “Mother of God” (Greek: “Theotokos”) and deposes Nestorious as bishop of Constantinople. Nestorians form separate churches.
Patrick preaches in Ireland.
Theodosian code, first Christian code of law, promulgated by Theodosius 2nd, Roman emperor.
Council of Chalcedon (Fourth Ecumenical): discern and declare Chalcedonian Formula affirming that Jesus Christ is one person with two natures (divine and human).
Monophysites, those who affirm that Jesus Christ is one person with one nature, reject the ecumenical definition and form separate churches.
Romulus Augustulus is deposed, becoming the last Roman to rule the Western Roman Empire.
Theodoric rules Ostrogothic kingdom in Italy.
Gelasius, his friends and bishop of Rome, asserts that Church rules souls; the state, bodies; and in that order.
Clovis, ruler of the Franks, is baptized as a Christian on Christmas Day in Rheims.
2. “The Darkest Hours: The Great Recession, A.D. 500-A.D. 950” (Latourette, v)
Dionysius Exiguus (“the Humble”) initiates dating system using BC and AD.
Justinian, Roman ruler.
Code of Justinian: enduring legal foundation of Christendom.
Construction of St. Sophia in Constantinople.
Benedict of Nursia dies at Monte Cassino.
Gregory 1st (“the Great”) bishop of Rome.
Gregory sends Augustine to be first archbishop in Britannia.
Arab Muslims take control of the Orient and Egypt.
Arab Muslims seize Iberia.
Iconoclast controversy centered in Constantinople.
Charles Martel repulses Muslim attack of Gallia.
Venerable Bede dies at monastery of Jarrow in northeast Britannia.
Donation of Constantine grants broad civic powers to the bishop of Rome.
Charlemagne rules the Franks.
The bishop of Rome crowns Charlemagne as emperor of the Romans on Christmas Day.
Nicholas 1st, most effective pope for 200 years.
Photius, brilliant scholar, becomes patriarch in Constantinople.
Cyril and Methodius, Greek Christian missionaries from Salonica, in Moravia.
Alfred rules as king of England in Britannia.
Reforming abbey of Cluny founded in Gallia.
Wenceslas, ruler of Bohemia, murdured.
3. “Four Centuries of Resurgence and Advance, A.D. 950-A.D. 1350" (Latourette, vi)
Otto (“the Great”), ruler of Saxony, restores Holy Roman Empire in Germania, Noricum, and Italia. Combines political and religious rule in bishops.
Stephen, king, includes Hungary in Christendom.
Leo 9th, of Germania, reestablishes importance of papacy as ruler of Latin Christian Church.
Schism between Latin and Greek Christian churches.
Normans conquer southern Italia seize control of Sicily from Arab Muslims.
Gregory 7th (original name: Hildebrand), pope, commits to ending appointment of bishops and abbots by political leaders and to establishing celibacy of priests.
Henry 4th, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, forced to humble himself before the pope at Canossa in Noricum.
Foundation of Carthusians at the Grand Chartreuse (“Charterhouse”) in Gallia leads a larger movement of monastic growth.
Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury, initiates intellectual rebirth of Latin Christendom.
Urban 2nd, pope, calls for first crusade against Muslims to free Jerusalem from their control.
Cistercians founded to reform Benedictines.
Crusaders capture Jerusalem and establish the Latin Kingdom there.
Founding of Knights Templars and Hospitallers (Order of St. John of Jerusalem) in Jerusalem.
Gratian initiates study of canon law in Latin Christendom at Bologna with publication of his Decretum.
Bernard of Clairvaux dies.
Founding of Carmelite Order on Mount Carmel in Palestine.
Peter Lombard, Bishop of Paris, dies. His Sentences was the most important book of theology in Christendom for centuries.
Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in the cathedral there.
Peter Waldo of Lyon publicly advocates poverty and simplicity; Waldensians start.
Innocent 3rd, most politically powerful pope, deposes Otto 4th (Holy Roman Emperor), excommunicates John (King of England), and forces Philip Augustus (King of France) to live with his wife again.
Groups of teachers and students coalesce into universities in Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, and Bologna.
Fourth Crusaders destroy Constantinople and center a new Latin kingdom on its ruins.
Albigensian crusade in southern Gallia.
Frederick 2nd rules Holy Roman Empire and Sicily and negotiates return of Jerusalem to Christian control.
Dominic, founder of Order of Preachers (Dominicans), dies.
Francis of Assisi, founder of Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans), dies.
Louis 9th rules France. Later declared a saint.
Gregory 9th establishes Papal Inquisition. This institutional prosecution of heretics is done chiefly by Dominicans and Franciscans.
Innocent 4th, pope, uses his position to politically attack Frederick 2nd, emperor.
Christians complete the reconquest of Iberia with the exception of Granada.
Thomas Aquinas dies. His Summa Theologica remains the most brilliant synthesis of Latin Christian theology.
The Latin Christian Kingdom in the Orient ends with the fall of Acre.
Boniface 8th makes the greatest claims for papal authority in the document Unam sanctam.
Popes in Avignon.
4. “Geographic Loss and Internal Lassitude, Confusion, and Corruption, Partly Offset by Vigorous Life, A.D. 1350-A.D. 1500” (Latourette, vi)
Gregory of Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica and defender of Hesychasm, dies.
Great Schism of Latin Christendom.
John Wyclif dies; Lollards of Britannia continue his call for church reform.
Conciliar Movement: church councils as creative response to end Great Schism and reform Latin Christian Church.
Council of Constance (1414-1418) executes John Hus, a Czech follower of Wyclif, triggering a rebellion of Hussites in Bohemia.
The Roman Empire ends with the capture of Constantinople by Muslims. Under their control, St. Sophia immediately becomes a mosque.
Spanish Christians take control of Granada: the last Muslim state in Iberia.
Christopher Columbus discovers the Western Hemisphere.
5. “Reform and Expansion, A.D. 1500- A.D. 1750” (Latourette, vii)
Reconstruction begins of St. Peter’s, Rome.
Michelangelo paints the ceiling of the chapel of Sixtus 4th (the Sistine).
Publication of The Praise of Folly by Erasmus.
Publication of a critical edition of the New Testament by Erasmus.
Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses in Wittenberg, Germania.
The pope excommunicates Luther and the Diet of Worms outlaws him.
Luther is hidden in a castle in Wartburg.
Zwingli starts preaching reform in Zurich.
Luther’s call for reform begins spreading throughout Germania.
Anabaptist movement begins in Zurich.
William Tyndale publishes his English translation of the New Testament.
At the Diet of Speyer, some Germanic leaders protest attempts to stop the reform movement, so those participating in that movement come to be called Protestants.
At the Diet of Augsburg, Lutherans submit the Augsburg Confession. This became the normative Lutheran summary of faithful witness to Jesus Christ.
Anabaptists take control of Munster before being overthrown.
Henry 8th replaces the pope as head of all churches in Britannia.
Ignatius Loyola founds the Society of Jesus in Paris.
Michelangelo paints The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel.
John Calvin serves as religious leader of Geneva.
Council of Trent (1545-1547, 1551-1552, 1562-1563).
Bartolome de las Casas publishes A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies.
Mary Tudor attempts to reestablish past Latin Christian Church dominance in Britannia.
Michael Servetus executed for heresy in Geneva.
Peace of Augsburg: Lutheran churches legalized in Germania.
Mary Tudor has Protestant leaders Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer executed.
Huguenots (French Calvinists) from across Gallia hold their first meeting.
Elizabeth 1st, ruler of England, accomplishes a moderate Protestant peace.
Theresa of Avila begins a reformation of Carmelites in Iberia.
Catholic and Protestant Christians battle each other in Gallia.
Protestant Christians in Holland rebel against their Spanish Catholic king and gain independence.
John of the Cross works with Theresa of Avila.
St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of Huguenots in Paris and elsewhere.
Richard Hooker publishes Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity which becomes a normative statement of Anglican beliefs and practices.
Edict of Nantes
King James Version of the Bible published.
Thirty Years’ War, largely in Germania.
English Civil War
George Fox starts congregations that later form the Religious Society of Friends.
Peace of Westphalia ends the civil war of Latin Christendom.
Monarchy restored in England.
Philipp Spener, Lutheran theologian, founds movement called Pietism.
John Bunyan publishes The Pilgrim’s Progress.
Thousands of Huguenots flee France after Louis 14th revokes the Edict of Nantes.
Roman Catholic James 2nd of England deposed.
Pierre Bayle, a Huguenot, published his Dictionary in Rotterdam.
Johann Sebastian Bach leader of music at St. Thomas Church, Leipzig.
John Wesley begins his itinerant ministry.
George Frideric Handel’s Messiah first performed in Dublin.
6. “Repudiation and Revival, A.D. 1750- A.D. 1815” (Latourette, vii)
Denis Diderot’s first edition of the French Encyclopedia strong critic of Church and advocate of Enlightenment philosophy.
Writings of Voltaire, including La Pucelle (1756), Candide (1759), and Philosophical Dictionary (1764).
Rousseau publishes Emile, on education, which includes “The Profession of Faith by the Savoyard Vicar.”
Clement 14th, pope, ends the Jesuits.
The French Revolution brings nationalization of church property, banning of monastic vows, and state control of church leadership.
The Terror brings violent attempt to rid France of Christianity.
Schleiermacher, preacher in Berlin, publishes Speeches on Religion.
Napoleon agrees with pope to lift worst restrictions on Catholic Church.
British and Foreign Bible Society founded to translate Bible into all languages possible.
British government bands slave trade.
After Napoleon’s fall, Pius 7th, bishop of Rome, restarts the Jesuits.
7. “The Great Century: Growing Repudiation Paralleled by Abounding Vitality and Unprecedented Expansion, A.D. 1815- A.D. 1914” (Latourette, vii)
King of Prussia leads reunion of Lutheran and Calvinist churches.
Christians in Noricum and Hellas start freeing themselves from Muslim rule. Ottoman state retaliates with persecution and exiled of Christians in Anatolia.
Catholics emancipated in the UK.
J. H. Newman and John Keble start Oxford Movement.
Slavery abolished in all British territories.
London Missionary Society sends David Livingston to Africa where he dies in 1873.
Rule of Pius 9th as pope. His rejection of modernism best expressed in Syllabus of Errors (1864).
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
Bernadette Soubirou sees the Blessed Virgin Mary at Lourdes.
Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.
Charles Lavigerie, Catholic leader in Africa, founds the White Fathers for the African Missions.
Italian nationalists take control of Rome from pope and make it capital of united Italy.
First Vatican Council declares pope infallible when speaking on faith and practice.
Old Catholic Church founded in Germania by those who reject infallibility.
Otto von Bismarck’s kulturkampf against the Catholic Church in Germany.
French progressives increasingly attack the Catholic Church.
Widespread murder of Armenian Christians by Ottoman state.
Dreyfus affair leads to formal separation of Church and French state over issue of antisemitism.
8. “Vigor amidst Storm, A.D. 1914- A.D. 1952” (Latourette, viii)
Widespread murder of Armenian Christians by Ottoman state.
Murder of Charles de Foucauld, French hermit in Africa.
Greek state expels Muslims and Turkish state expels Christians.
Lateran Treaty: Mussolini creates Vatican City and gives political control of it to pope.
Hitler seizes total control in Germany.
Hitler makes an agreement with Pius 11th, pope, but does not honor it.
Barmen Declaration: a few brave churches reject Hitler’s domination of German churches.
Pius 11th denounces Hitler in On the Church and the German Reich (Mit brennender Sorge).
Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”): Nazis destroy Jewish synagogues and shops and arrest Jews across Germany.
Roger Schutz founds Taize community in Gallia to help Jewish and other refugees.
World Council of Churches begins in Amsterdam.
Communist states in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary start to persecute Church. Worst show trial was of Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary (1948-1949).
Second Vatican Council.
Church of England approves ordination of women.
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