This Time Line of Church History has been reproduced with permission from Conciliar
Press ( (c)Copyright 1988
Press; Second Edition 1989). The links and some additions have been added by
St. Ignatius of Antioch Orthodox Christian Church.
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A Word About Church History
Scholars estimate there are over 2600 groups today who lay claim to being the Church,
or at least the direct descendants of the Church described in the New Testament. Repeat:
But for the first thousand years of her history the Church was essentially one. Five
historic Patriarchal centers--Jerusalem; Antioch, Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople--
formed a cohesive whole and were in full communion with each other. There were occasional
heretical or schismatic groups going their own way, to be sure; but the Church was unified
until the 11th century. Then, in events culminating in A.D.1054, the Roman Patriarch
pulled away from the other four, pursuing his long-developing claim of universal headship
of the Church.
Today, nearly a thousand years later, the other four Patriarchates remain intact, in
full communion, maintaining that Orthodox apostolic faith of the inspired New Testament
record. The Orthodox Church and her history is described herein, from Pentecost to the
33 Pentecost (A.D: 29 is thought to be more accurate).
49 Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15) establishes precedent for
addressing Church disputes in Council. James presides as bishop.
Ignatius consecrated in Antioch in heart of New Testament era--St. Peter had been the
first bishop there. Other early bishops include James, Polycarp, and Clement.
95 Book of Revelation written, probably the last of the New
150 St. Justin Martyr describe's the liturgical worship of the
Church, centered in the Eucharist. Liturgical worship is rooted in both the Old and New
325 The Nicene Creed is established.
The Council of Nicea settles the major heretical challenge to the Christian faith when the
heretic Arius asserts Christ was created by the Father. St. Athanasius defends the
eternality of the Son of God. The Arians continue their assault on true Christianity for
years. Nicea is the first of Seven Ecumenical (Church-wide) Councils.
451 Council of Chalcedon affirms apostolic doctrine of two
natures in Christ.
589 In a synod in Toledo, Spain, the filioque, asserting
that the Holy Spirit procedes from the Father and the Son is added to the Nicene Creed. This error is later adopted by Rome.
787 The era of Ecumenical Councils
ends at Nicea, with the Seventh Council bringing the centuries-old use of icons back into the Church.
988 Conversion of Russia begins.
We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such
splendour or beauty anywhere upon earth. We cannot describe it to you: only this we know,
that God dwells there among men, and that their service surpasses the worship of all other
places. For we cannot forget that beauty. - Envoys of the Russian Prince Vladimir,
after experiencing the Divine Liturgy at the Church of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople
in the year 987.
1054 The Great Schism occurs. Two major issues include Rome's
claim to a universal papal supremacy and her addition of the filioque clause to the
Nicene Creed. The Photian schism (880) further complicated the debate.
1095 The Crusades begun by the Roman Church. The Sack of
Constantinople by Rome (1204) adds to the estrangement between East and West.
1333 St. Gregory Palamas defends the Orthodox practice of
hesychast spirituality and the use of the Jesus prayer.
1453 Turks overrun Constantinople; Byzantine Empire ends.
1517 Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the
Roman Church in Wittenberg, starting the Protestant Reformation.
of England begins pulling away from Rome.
1794 Missionaries arrive on Kodiak Island in Alaska; Orthodoxy
introduced to North America.
1854 Rome establishes the Immaculate Conception dogma.
1870 Papal Infallibility becomes Roman dogma.
1988 One thousand years of Orthodoxy in Russia, as Orthodox
Church world-wide maintains fulness of the Apostolic faith.