In some areas, people came to denote themselves as Christians (Russian: христиане, крестьяне; Ukrainian: християни, romanized: khrystyiany) and as Russians (Russian: русские), Ruthenians (Old East Slavic: русини, руснаки, romanized: rusyny, rusnaky), or Ukrainians (Ukrainian: українці, romanized: ukraintsi).The term Nazarene was also used by the Jewish lawyer Tertullus (Against Marcion 4:8) which records that “the Jews call us Nazarenes.” While around 331 AD Eusebius records that Christ was called a Nazoraean from the name Nazareth, and that in earlier centuries “Christians” were once called “Nazarenes”. The Hebrew equivalent of “Nazarenes”, Notzrim, occurs in the Babylonian Talmud, and is still the modern Israeli Hebrew term for Christian.Kenneth Samuel Wuest holds that all three original New Testament verses’ usages reflect a derisive element in the term Christian to refer to followers of Christ who did not acknowledge the emperor of Rome. The city of Antioch, where someone gave them the name Christians, had a reputation for coming up with such nicknames. However Peter’s apparent endorsement of the term led to its being preferred over “Nazarenes” and the term Christianoi from 1 Peter becomes the standard term in the Early Church Fathers from Ignatius and Polycarp onwards.In the Philippines, the most common terms are Kristiyano (for “Christian”) and Kristiyanismo (for “Christianity”) in most Philippine languages; both derives from Spanish cristiano and cristianismo (also used in Chavacano) due to the country’s rich history of early Christianity during the Spanish colonial era. Some Protestants in the Philippines uses the term Kristiyano (before the term “born again” became popular) to differentiate themselves from Catholics (Katoliko).
In Thailand, the most common terms are คนคริสต์ (RTGS: khon khrit) or ชาวคริสต์ (RTGS: chao khrit) which literally means “Christ person/people” or “Jesus person/people”. The Thai word คริสต์ (RTGS: khrit) is derived from “Christ”.
In time the Russian term “крестьяне” (khrest’yane) acquired the meaning “peasants of Christian faith” and later “peasants” (the main part of the population of the region), while the term Russian: христиане (khristiane) retained its religious meaning and the term Russian: русские (russkie) began to mean representatives of the heterogeneous Russian nation formed on the basis of common Christian faith and language, which strongly influenced the history and development of the region. In the region the term “Orthodox faith” (Russian: православная вера, pravoslavnaia vera) or “Russian faith” (Russian: русская вера, russkaia vera) from earliest times became almost as known as the original “Christian faith” (Russian: христианская, крестьянская вера khristianskaia, krestianskaia).Another Arabic word sometimes used for Christians, particularly in a political context, is Ṣalībī (صليبي “Crusader”) from ṣalīb (صليب “cross”), which refers to Crusaders and may have negative connotations. However, Ṣalībī is a modern term; historically, Muslim writers described European Christian Crusaders as al-Faranj or Alfranj (الفرنج) and Firinjīyah (الفرنجيّة) in Arabic. This word comes from the name of the Franks and can be seen in the Arab history text Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh by Ali ibn al-Athir. The earliest occurrences of the term in non-Christian literature include Josephus, referring to “the tribe of Christians, so named from him;” Pliny the Younger in correspondence with Trajan; and Tacitus, writing near the end of the 1st century. In the Annals he relates that “by vulgar appellation [they were] commonly called Christians” and identifies Christians as Nero’s scapegoats for the Great Fire of Rome. According to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, there were 2.2 billion Christians around the world in 2010, up from about 600 million in 1910. Today, about 37% of all Christians live in the Americas, about 26% live in Europe, 24% live in sub-Saharan Africa, about 13% live in Asia and the Pacific, and 1% live in the Middle East and North Africa. Christians make up the majority of the population in 158 countries and territories. 280 million Christians live as a minority. About half of all Christians worldwide are Catholic, while more than a third are Protestant (37%). Orthodox communions comprise 12% of the world’s Christians. Other Christian groups make up the remainder. By 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey, Christianity will remain the world’s largest religion in 2050, if current trends continue. In recent history, Christians have experienced persecution of varying severity, especially in the Middle-East, North Africa, East Asia, and South Asia.Nominally “Christian” societies made “Christian” a default label for citizenship or for “people like us”. In this context, religious or ethnic minorities can use “Christians” or “you Christians” loosely as a shorthand term for mainstream members of society who do not belong to their group – even in a thoroughly secular (though formerly Christian) society.
In 2017, Open Doors, a human rights NGO, estimated approximately 260 million Christians are subjected annually to “high, very high, or extreme persecution”, with North Korea considered the most hazardous nation for Christians.
The identification of Jesus as the Messiah is not accepted by Judaism. The term for a Christian in Hebrew is נוֹצְרִי (Notzri—”Nazarene”), a Talmudic term originally derived from the fact that Jesus came from the Galilean village of Nazareth, today in northern Israel. Adherents of Messianic Judaism are referred to in modern Hebrew as יְהוּדִים מְשִׁיחִיִּים (Yehudim Meshihi’im—”Messianic Jews”).The abbreviations Xian and Xtian (and similarly formed other parts of speech) have been used since at least the 17th century: Oxford English Dictionary shows a 1634 use of Xtianity and Xian is seen in a 1634–38 diary. The word Xmas uses a similar contraction.
Which church was started by Jesus?
According to Catholic tradition, the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ. The New Testament records Jesus’ activities and teaching, His appointment of the twelve Apostles, and His instructions to them to continue His work.
A wide range of beliefs and practices are found across the world among those who call themselves Christian. Denominations and sects disagree on a common definition of “Christianity”. For example, Timothy Beal notes the disparity of beliefs among those who identify as Christians in the United States as follows:
In the past, the Malays used to call Christians in Malay language by the Portuguese loanword Serani (from Arabic Nasrani), but the term now refers to the modern Kristang creoles of Malaysia. In the Indonesian language, the term Nasrani” is also used alongside Kristen.Also in some contexts the term cossack (Old East Slavic: козак, казак, romanized: kozak, kazak) was used to denote “free” Christians of steppe origin and East Slavic language.
The Greek word Χριστιανός (Christianos), meaning “follower of Christ”, comes from Χριστός (Christos), meaning “anointed one”, with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or even belonging to, as in slave ownership. In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Mašíaḥ, messiah), meaning “[one who is] anointed”. In other European languages, equivalent words to Christian are likewise derived from the Greek, such as Chrétien in French and Cristiano in Spanish.
The Syriac term Nasrani (Nazarene) has also been attached to the Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala, India. In Northern India, Christians call themselves Isaai (Hindi: ईसाई, Urdu: عیسائی), and are also known by this term to adherents of other religions. This is related to the name they call Jesus, ‘Isa Masih, and literally means ‘the followers of ‘Isa’.
Who came first Catholic or Protestant?
History of the Catholic and Protestant Religions The Catholic Church is the oldest of the two groups as the modern church was founded when it was split from the Eastern Orthodox Church in 1054.
Another term for Christians which appears in the New Testament is “Nazarenes”. Jesus is named as a Nazarene in Matthew 2:23, while Paul is said to be Nazarene in Acts 24:5. The latter verse makes it clear that Nazarene also referred to the name of a sect or heresy, as well as the town called Nazareth.Since the spread of Christianity from the Levant to Europe and North Africa and Horn of Africa during the early Roman Empire, Christendom has been divided in the pre-existing Greek East and Latin West. Consequently, different versions of the Christian cultures arose with their own rites and practices, centered around the cities such as Rome (Western Christianity) and Carthage, whose communities was called Western or Latin Christendom, and Constantinople (Eastern Christianity), Antioch (Syriac Christianity), Kerala (Indian Christianity) and Alexandria, among others, whose communities were called Eastern or Oriental Christendom. The Byzantine Empire was one of the peaks in Christian history and Christian civilization. From the 11th to 13th centuries, Latin Christendom rose to the central role of the Western world and Western culture.The Chinese word is 基督徒 (jīdū tú), literally “Christ follower”. The name “Christ” was originally phonetically written in Chinese as 基利斯督, which was later abbreviated as 基督. Kî-tuk in the southern Hakka dialect, the two characters are pronounced Jīdū in Mandarin Chinese. In Vietnam, the same two characters read Cơ đốc, and a “follower of Christianity” is a tín đồ Cơ đốc giáo.
According to a study from 2015, Christians hold the largest amount of wealth (55% of the total world wealth), followed by Muslims (5.8%), Hindus (3.3%) and Jews (1.1%). According to the same study it was found that adherents under the classification Irreligion or other religions hold about 34.8% of the total global wealth. A study done by the nonpartisan wealth research firm New World Wealth found that 56.2% of the 13.1 million millionaires in the world were Christians.
The first recorded use of the term (or its cognates in other languages) is in the New Testament, in Acts 11 after Barnabas brought Saul (Paul) to Antioch where they taught the disciples for about a year, the text says that “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). The second mention of the term follows in Acts 26, where Herod Agrippa II replied to Paul the Apostle, “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” (Acts 26:28). The third and final New Testament reference to the term is in 1 Peter 4, which exhorts believers: “Yet if [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (1 Peter 4:16).
As of 2020, Christianity has approximately 2.4 billion adherents. The faith represents about a third of the world’s population and is the largest religion in the world. Christians have composed about 33 percent of the world’s population for around 100 years. The largest Christian denomination is the Roman Catholic Church, with 1.3 billion adherents, representing half of all Christians.
What was the first church in the Bible?
The body of Christ is held together by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1-11). When the Holy Spirit visited those 120 disciples at Pentecost, they became the body of Christ—the very first Church.
Christians have made noted contributions to a range of fields, including philosophy, science and technology, medicine, fine arts and architecture, politics, literatures, music, and business. According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes a review of the Nobel Prizes award between 1901 and 2000 reveals that (65.4%) of Nobel Prizes Laureates, have identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference.According to the study, Christians in North America, Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Asia Pacific regions are highly educated since many of the world’s universities were built by the historic Christian denominations, in addition to the historical evidence that “Christian monks built libraries and, in the days before printing presses, preserved important earlier writings produced in Latin, Greek and Arabic”. According to the same study, Christians have a significant amount of gender equality in educational attainment, and the study suggests that one of the reasons is the encouragement of the Protestant Reformers in promoting the education of women, which led to the eradication of illiteracy among females in Protestant communities.
A Pew Center study about religion and education around the world in 2016, found that Christians ranked as the second most educated religious group around in the world after Jews with an average of 9.3 years of schooling, and the highest numbers of years of schooling among Christians were found in Germany (13.6), New Zealand (13.5) and Estonia (13.1). Christians were also found to have the second highest number of graduate and post-graduate degrees per capita while in absolute numbers ranked in the first place (220 million). Between the various Christian communities, Singapore outranks other nations in terms of Christians who obtain a university degree in institutions of higher education (67%), followed by the Christians of Israel (63%), and the Christians of Georgia (57%).
The most common Persian word is Masīhī (مسیحی), from Arabic. Other words are Nasrānī (نصرانی), from Syriac for “Nazarene”, and Tarsā (ترسا), from Middle Persian word Tarsāg, also meaning “Christian”, derived from tars, meaning “fear, respect”.Linda Woodhead attempts to provide a common belief thread for Christians by noting that “Whatever else they might disagree about, Christians are at least united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance.” Michael Martin evaluated three historical Christian creeds (the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed) to establish a set of basic Christian assumptions which include belief in theism, the historicity of Jesus, the Incarnation, salvation through faith in Jesus, and Jesus as an ethical role model.
In 2019, a report commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to investigate global persecution of Christians found religious persecution has increased, and is highest in the Middle East, North Africa, India, China, North Korea, and Latin America, among others, and that it is global and not limited to Islamic states. This investigation found that approximately 80% of persecuted believers worldwide are Christians.
Although all of them have their historical roots in Christian theology and tradition, and although most would identify themselves as Christian, many would not identify others within the larger category as Christian. Most Baptists and fundamentalists (Christian Fundamentalism), for example, would not acknowledge Mormonism or Christian Science as Christian. In fact, the nearly 77 percent of Americans who self-identify as Christian are a diverse pluribus of Christianities that are far from any collective unity.
Christian culture describes the cultural practices common to Christian peoples. There are variations in the application of Christian beliefs in different cultures and traditions. Christian culture has influenced and assimilated much from the Greco-Roman, Byzantine, Western culture, Middle Eastern, Slavic, Caucasian, and Indian cultures. Christians (/ˈkrɪstʃən, -tiən/ (listen)) are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós (Χριστός), a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach (מָשִׁיחַ) (usually rendered as messiah in English). While there are diverse interpretations of Christianity which sometimes conflict, they are united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance. The term Christian used as an adjective is descriptive of anything associated with Christianity or Christian churches, or in a proverbial sense “all that is noble, and good, and Christ-like.” It does not have a meaning of ‘of Christ’ or ‘related or pertaining to Christ’. Korean still uses 기독교도 (RR: Gidokkyodo) for “Christian”, though the Portuguese loanword 그리스도 (RR: Geuriseudo) now replaced the old Sino-Korean 기독 (RR: Gidok), which refers to Christ himself.Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, and a large portion of the population of the Western Hemisphere can be described as practicing or nominal Christians. The notion of “Europe” and the “Western World” has been intimately connected with the concept of “Christianity and Christendom”. Outside the Western world, Christians has had an influence and contributed on various cultures, such as in Africa, the Near East, Middle East, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.In Japan, the term kirishitan (written in Edo period documents 吉利支丹, 切支丹, and in modern Japanese histories as キリシタン), from Portuguese cristão, referred to Roman Catholics in the 16th and 17th centuries before the religion was banned by the Tokugawa shogunate. Today, Christians are referred to in Standard Japanese as キリスト教徒 (Kirisuto-kyōto) or the English-derived term クリスチャン (kurisuchan). In Arabic-speaking cultures, two words are commonly used for Christians: Naṣrānī (نصراني), plural Naṣārā (نصارى) is generally understood to be derived from Nazarenes, believers of Jesus of Nazareth through Syriac (Aramaic); Masīḥī (مسيحي) means followers of the Messiah. Where there is a distinction, Nasrani refers to people from a Christian culture and Masihi is used by Christians themselves for those with a religious faith in Jesus. In some countries Nasrani tends to be used generically for non-Muslim Western foreigners. Christianity remains the dominant religion in the Western World, where 70% are Christians. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey, if current trends continue, Christianity will remain the world’s largest religion by 2050. By 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion. While Muslims have an average of 3.1 children per woman—the highest rate of all religious groups—Christians are second, with 2.7 children per woman. High birth rates and conversion were cited as the reason for Christian population growth. A 2015 study found that approximately 10.2 million Muslims converted to Christianity. Christianity is growing in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Muslim world, and Oceania.
Which church was created by Jesus?
According to Catholic tradition, the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ. The New Testament records Jesus’ activities and teaching, His appointment of the twelve Apostles, and His instructions to them to continue His work.
The year one is the first year in the Christian calendar (there is no year zero), which is the calendar presently used (in unison with the Gregorian calendar) almost everywhere in the world. Traditionally, this was held to be the year Jesus was born; however, most modern scholars argue for an earlier or later date, the most agreed upon being between 6 BC and 4 BC.
Shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Nisan 14 or 15), the Jerusalem church is founded as the first Christian church with about 120 Jews and Jewish Proselytes (Acts 1:15), followed by Pentecost (Sivan 6), the Ananias and Sapphira incident, Pharisee Gamaliel’s defense of the Apostles (5:34–39), the stoning of Saint Stephen (see also Persecution of Christians) and the subsequent dispersion of the Apostles (7:54–8:8, also Mark 16:20) which leads to the baptism of Simon Magus in Samaria (8:9–24), and also an Ethiopian eunuch (8:26–40). Paul’s “Road to Damascus” conversion to “Apostle to the Gentiles” is first recorded in 9:13–16, cf. Gal 1:11–24. Peter baptizes the Roman Centurion Cornelius, who is traditionally considered the first Gentile convert to Christianity (10). The Antioch church is founded, where the term Christian was first used (11:26). The purpose of this timeline is to give a detailed account of Christianity from the beginning of the current era (AD) to the present. Question marks (‘?’) on dates indicate approximate dates. Jesus begins his ministry after his baptism by John and during the rule of Pilate, preaching: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 4:12–17). While the historicity of the gospel accounts is questioned to some extent by some critical scholars and non-Christians, the traditional view states the following chronology for his ministry: Temptation, Sermon on the Mount, Appointment of the Twelve, Miracles, Temple Money Changers, Last Supper, Arrest, Trial, Passion, Crucifixion on Nisan 14th (John 19:14, Mark 14:2, Gospel of Peter) or Nisan 15th (Synoptic Gospels), entombment by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, Resurrection by God and Resurrection appearances of Jesus to Mary Magdalene and other women (Mark 16:9, John 20:10–18), Simon Peter (Luke 24:34), and others, (1Cor.15:3–9), Great Commission, Ascension, Second Coming Prophecy to fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy such as the Resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, and establishment of the Kingdom of God and the Messianic Age. Constantine called the First Council of Nicaea in 325 to unify Christology, also called the first great Christian council by Jerome, the first ecumenical, decreed the Original Nicene Creed, but rejected by Nontrinitarians such as Arius, Theonas, Secundus of Ptolemais, Eusebius of Nicomedia, and Theognis of Nicaea who were excommunicated, also addressed Easter controversy and passed 20 Canon laws such as Canon VII which granted special recognition to Jerusalem. A Christian council was held at Edessa as early as 197. In 201 the city was devastated by a great flood, and the Christian church was destroyed. In 232, the Syriac Acts were written supposedly on the event of the relics of the Apostle Thomas being handed to the church in Edessa. Under Roman domination many martyrs suffered at Edessa: Sts. Scharbîl and Barsamya, under Decius; Sts. Gûrja, Schâmôna, Habib, and others under Diocletian. In the meanwhile Christian priests from Edessa had evangelized Eastern Mesopotamia and Persia, and established the first churches in the kingdom of the Sasanians. Atillâtiâ, Bishop of Edessa, assisted at the First Council of Nicaea (325).Historians consistently consider Peter and Paul to have been martyred in Rome under the reign of Nero in 64, after the Great Fire of Rome which, according to Tacitus, the Emperor blamed on the Christians. In the second century Irenaeus of Lyons, reflecting the ancient view that the church could not be fully present anywhere without a bishop, recorded that Peter and Paul had been the founders of the Church in Rome and had appointed Linus as bishop.Social and professional networks played an important part in spreading the religion as members invited interested outsiders to secret Christian assemblies (Greek: ekklēsia) that met in private homes (see house church). Commerce and trade also played a role in Christianity’s spread as Christian merchants traveled for business. Christianity appealed to marginalized groups (women, slaves) with its message that “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither male nor female, neither slave nor free” (Galatians 3:28). Christians also provided social services to the poor, sick, and widows.
According to Orthodox tradition, Christianity was first preached in Georgia by the Apostles Simon and Andrew in the 1st century. It became the state religion of Kartli (Iberia) in 319. The conversion of Kartli to Christianity is credited to a Greek lady called St. Nino of Cappadocia. The Georgian Orthodox Church, originally part of the Church of Antioch, gained its autocephaly and developed its doctrinal specificity progressively between the 5th and 10th centuries. The Bible was also translated into Georgian in the 5th century, as the Georgian alphabet was developed for that purpose.
Antioch, a major center of Hellenistic Greece, and the third-most important city of the Roman Empire, then part of Syria Province, today a ruin near Antakya, Turkey, was where Christians were first called Christians and also the location of the Incident at Antioch. It was the site of an early church, traditionally said to be founded by Peter who is considered the first bishop. The Gospel of Matthew and the Apostolic Constitutions may have been written there. The church father Ignatius of Antioch was its third bishop. The School of Antioch, founded in 270, was one of two major centers of early church learning. The Curetonian Gospels and the Syriac Sinaiticus are two early (pre-Peshitta) New Testament text types associated with Syriac Christianity. It was one of the three whose bishops were recognized at the First Council of Nicaea (325) as exercising jurisdiction over the adjoining territories.According to a tradition recorded by Eusebius and Epiphanius of Salamis, the Jerusalem church fled to Pella at the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt. The church had returned to Jerusalem by AD 135, but the disruptions severely weakened the Jerusalem church’s influence over the wider Christian church.
Second Temple Judaism was divided into competing sects: Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, Zealots, and others. Each group adopted different stances toward Hellenization. Sadducees emphasized the sacrifice and ritual that could only take place at the Temple in Jerusalem. They only recognized the written Torah as authoritative. The Pharisees recognized the oral Torah in addition to the written Torah, and they emphasized personal conduct over ritual. Unlike the Sadducees, Pharisees believed in an afterlife and a resurrection of the dead. Apocalyptic movements, such as the Essenes, also existed. These groups promoted Jewish eschatological beliefs in which the Jewish nation would be saved by a messiah figure.
What was the first church after Jesus?
Shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Nisan 14 or 15), the Jerusalem church is founded as the first Christian church with about 120 Jews and Jewish Proselytes (Acts 1:15), followed by Pentecost (Sivan 6), the Ananias and Sapphira incident, Pharisee Gamaliel’s defense of the Apostles (5:34–39), the …
By the time that Edessa was incorporated into the Persian Empire in 258, the city of Arbela, situated on the Tigris in what is now Iraq, had taken on more and more the role that Edessa had played in the early years, as a centre from which Christianity spread to the rest of the Persian Empire.Bardaisan, writing about 196, speaks of Christians throughout Media, Parthia and Bactria (modern-day Afghanistan) and, according to Tertullian (c. 160–230), there were already a number of bishoprics within the Persian Empire by 220. By 315, the bishop of Seleucia–Ctesiphon had assumed the title “Catholicos”. By this time, neither Edessa nor Arbela was the centre of the Church of the East anymore; ecclesiastical authority had moved east to the heart of the Persian Empire. The twin cities of Seleucia-Ctesiphon, well-situated on the main trade routes between East and West, became, in the words of John Stewart, “a magnificent centre for the missionary church that was entering on its great task of carrying the gospel to the far east”.
Pope Victor I (189–198) was the first ecclesiastical writer known to have written in Latin; however, his only extant works are his encyclicals, which would naturally have been issued in Latin and Greek.
The ancient Roman city of Aquileia at the head of the Adriatic Sea, today one of the main archaeological sites of Northern Italy, was an early center of Christianity said to be founded by Mark before his mission to Alexandria. Hermagoras of Aquileia is believed to be its first bishop. The Aquileian Rite is associated with Aquileia.
By the latter half of the 2nd century, Christianity had spread east throughout Media, Persia, Parthia, and Bactria. The twenty bishops and many presbyters were more of the order of itinerant missionaries, passing from place to place as Paul did and supplying their needs with such occupations as merchant or craftsman. By AD 280 the metropolis of Seleucia assumed the title of “Catholicos” and in AD 424 a council of the church at Seleucia elected the first patriarch to have jurisdiction over the whole church of the East. The seat of the Patriarchate was fixed at Seleucia-Ctesiphon, since this was an important point on the East-West trade routes which extended to India and China, Java and Japan. Thus the shift of ecclesiastical authority was away from Edessa, which in AD 216 had become tributary to Rome. the establishment of an independent patriarchate with nine subordinate metropoli contributed to a more favourable attitude by the Persian government, which no longer had to fear an ecclesiastical alliance with the common enemy, Rome.
The missionary Addai evangelized Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) about the middle of the 2nd century. An ancient legend recorded by Eusebius (AD 260–340) and also found in the Doctrine of Addai (c. AD 400) (from information in the royal archives of Edessa) describes how King Abgar V of Edessa communicated to Jesus, requesting he come and heal him, to which appeal he received a reply. It is said that after the resurrection, Thomas sent Addai (or Thaddaeus), to the king, with the result that the city was won to the Christian faith. In this mission he was accompanied by a disciple, Mari, and the two are regarded as co-founders of the church, according to the Liturgy of Addai and Mari (c. AD 200), which is still the normal liturgy of the Assyrian church. The Doctrine of Addai further states that Thomas was regarded as an apostle of the church in Edessa.
The tradition of John the Apostle was strong in Anatolia (the near-east, part of modern Turkey, the western part was called the Roman province of Asia). The authorship of the Johannine works traditionally and plausibly occurred in Ephesus, c. 90–110, although some scholars argue for an origin in Syria. According to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was from Tarsus (in south-central Anatolia) and his missionary journeys were primarily in Anatolia. The Book of Revelation, believed to be authored by John of Patmos (a Greek island about 30 miles off the Anatolian coast), mentions Seven churches of Asia. The First Epistle of Peter (1:1–2) is addressed to Anatolian regions. On the southeast shore of the Black Sea, Pontus was a Greek colony mentioned three times in the New Testament. Inhabitants of Pontus were some of the very first converts to Christianity. Pliny, governor in 110, in his letters, addressed Christians in Pontus. Of the extant letters of Ignatius of Antioch considered authentic, five of seven are to Anatolian cities, the sixth is to Polycarp. Smyrna was home to Polycarp, the bishop who reportedly knew the Apostle John personally, and probably also to his student Irenaeus. Papias of Hierapolis is also believed to have been a student of John the Apostle. In the 2nd century, Anatolia was home to Quartodecimanism, Montanism, Marcion of Sinope, and Melito of Sardis who recorded an early Christian Biblical canon. After the Crisis of the Third Century, Nicomedia became the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire in 286. The Synod of Ancyra was held in 314. In 325 the emperor Constantine convoked the first Christian ecumenical council in Nicaea and in 330 moved the capital of the reunified empire to Byzantium (also an early Christian center and just across the Bosphorus from Anatolia, later called Constantinople), referred to as the Byzantine Empire, which lasted till 1453. The First seven Ecumenical Councils were held either in Western Anatolia or across the Bosphorus in Constantinople.
The basic tenets of Judaism were ethical monotheism, the Torah (or Law), and eschatological hope in a future messianic age. The Temple was still central to Judaism, but local synagogues were also established as institutions for prayer and the reading of religious texts. The Hebrew Bible developed as Jews decided which religious texts had special status. The Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria produced a Greek translation of the Bible called the Septuagint. The Septuagint was influential on early Christianity as it was the Bible used by the first Christian authors.The Church of Carthage thus was to the Early African church what the Church of Rome was to the Catholic Church in Italy. The archdiocese used the African Rite, a variant of the Western liturgical rites in Latin language, possibly a local use of the primitive Roman Rite. Famous figures include Saint Perpetua, Saint Felicitas, and their Companions (died c. 203), Tertullian (c. 155–240), Cyprian (c. 200–258), Caecilianus (floruit 311), Saint Aurelius (died 429), and Eugenius of Carthage (died 505). Tertullian and Cyprian are considered Latin Church Fathers of the Latin Church. Tertullian, a theologian of part Berber descent, was instrumental in the development of trinitarian theology, and was the first to apply Latin language extensively in his theological writings. As such, Tertullian has been called “the father of Latin Christianity” and “the founder of Western theology.” Carthage remained an important center of Christianity, hosting several councils of Carthage.
Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a city in Galilee. He was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Jesus began his own ministry when he was around 30 years old around the time of the Baptist’s arrest and execution. Jesus’ message centered on the coming of the Kingdom of God (in Jewish eschatology a future when God actively rules over the world in justice, mercy, and peace). Jesus urged his followers to repent in preparation for the kingdom’s coming. His ethical teachings included loving one’s enemies, not serving Mammon, and not judging by appearances. These teachings are highlighted in the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus chose 12 Disciples who represented the 12 tribes of Israel (10 of which were “lost” by this time) to symbolize the full restoration of Israel that would be accomplished through him.
Seville was the capital of Hispania Baetica or the Roman province of southern Spain. The origin of the diocese of Seville can be traced back to Apostolic times, or at least to the first century AD. Gerontius, the bishop of Italica, near Hispalis (Seville), likely appointed a pastor for Seville. A bishop of Seville named Sabinus participated in the Council of Illiberis in 287. He was the bishop when Justa and Rufina were martyred in 303 for refusing to worship the idol Salambo. Prior to Sabinus, Marcellus is listed as a bishop of Seville in an ancient catalogue of prelates preserved in the “Codex Emilianensis”. After the Edict of Milan in 313, Evodius became the bishop of Seville and undertook the task of rebuilding the churches that had been damaged. It is believed that he may have constructed the church of San Vicente, which could have been the first cathedral of Seville. Early Christianity also spread from the Iberian peninsula south across the Strait of Gibraltar into Roman Mauretania Tingitana, of note is Marcellus of Tangier who was martyred in 298.Messiah (Hebrew: meshiach) means “anointed” and is used in the Bible to designate Jewish kings and in some cases priests and prophets whose status was symbolized by being anointed with holy anointing oil. It can refer to people chosen by God for a specific task, such as the whole Israelite nation (1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15) or Cyrus the Great who ended the Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 45:1).The term is most associated with King David, to whom God promised an eternal kingdom (2 Samuel 7:11–17). After the destruction of David’s kingdom and lineage, this promise was reaffirmed by the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, who foresaw a future Davidic king who would establish and reign over an idealized kingdom.
An early third-century Syriac work known as the Acts of Thomas connects the apostle’s Indian ministry with two kings, one in the north and the other in the south. According to the Acts, Thomas was at first reluctant to accept this mission, but the Lord appeared to him in a night vision and compelled him to accompany an Indian merchant, Abbanes (or Habban), to his native place in northwest India. There, Thomas found himself in the service of the Indo-Parthian King, Gondophares. The Apostle’s ministry resulted in many conversions throughout the kingdom, including the king and his brother.
After the death of Jesus, his followers established Christian groups in cities, such as Jerusalem. The movement quickly spread to Damascus and Antioch, capital of Roman Syria and one of the most important cities in the empire. Ea
rly Christians referred to themselves as disciples or saints, but it was in Antioch, according to Acts 11:26, that they were first called Christians (Greek:Christianoi).
Christianity became the official religion of Armenia in 301, when it was still illegal in the Roman Empire. According to church tradition, the Armenian Apostolic Church was founded by Gregory the Illuminator of the late third – early fourth centuries while they trace their origins to the missions of Bartholomew the Apostle and Thaddeus (Jude the Apostle) in the 1st century.
In 66 AD, the Jews revolted against Rome. After a brutal siege, Jerusalem fell in 70 AD. The city, including the Jewish Temple, was destroyed and the population was mostly killed or removed. According to a tradition recorded by Eusebius and Epiphanius of Salamis, the Jerusalem church fled to Pella at the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt. According to Epiphanius of Salamis, the Cenacle survived at least to Hadrian’s visit in 130 AD. A scattered population survived. The Sanhedrin relocated to Jamnia. Prophecies of the Second Temple’s destruction are found in the synoptics, specifically in the Olivet Discourse.
After Hadrian’s siege of Jerusalem (c. 133), Caesarea became the metropolitan see with the bishop of Jerusalem as one of its “suffragans” (subordinates). Origen (d. 254) compiled his Hexapla there and it held a famous library and theological school, St. Pamphilus (d. 309) was a noted scholar-priest. St. Gregory the Wonder-Worker (d. 270), St. Basil the Great (d. 379), and St. Jerome (d. 420) visited and studied at the library which was later destroyed, probably by the Persians in 614 or the Saracens around 637. The first major church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, was a bishop, c. 314–339. F. J. A. Hort and Adolf von Harnack have argued that the Nicene Creed originated in Caesarea. The Caesarean text-type is recognized by many textual scholars as one of the earliest New Testament types.
Whether through some mass delusion, some colossal act of wishful thinking, or through witness to a power or force beyond any definition known to Western historical analysis, those who had known Jesus in life and had felt the shattering disappointment of his death proclaimed that he lived still, that he loved them still, and that he was to return to earth from the Heaven which he had now entered, to love and save from destruction all who acknowledged him as Lord.
Nicopolis was a city in the Roman province of Epirus Vetus, today a ruin on the northern part of the western Greek coast. In the Epistle to Titus, Paul said he intended to go there. It is possible that there were some Christians in its population. According to Eusebius, Origen (c. 185–254) stayed there for some time
The original seat of Roman imperial power soon became a center of church authority, grew in power decade by decade, and was recognized during the period of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, when the seat of government had been transferred to Constantinople, as the “head” of the church.It is accepted that Armenia became the first country to adopt Christianity as its state religion. Although it has long been claimed that Armenia was the first Christian kingdom, according to some scholars this has relied on a source by Agathangelos titled “The History of the Armenians”, which has recently been redated, casting some doubt.
Cyrene and the surrounding region of Cyrenaica or the North African “Pentapolis”, south of the Mediterranean from Greece, the northeastern part of modern Libya, was a Greek colony in North Africa later converted to a Roman province. In addition to Greeks and Romans, there was also a significant Jewish population, at least up to the Kitos War (115–117). According to Mark 15:21, Simon of Cyrene carried Jesus’ cross. Cyrenians are also mentioned in Acts 2:10, 6:9, 11:20, 13:1. According to Byzantine legend, the first bishop was Lucius, mentioned in Acts 13:1.
The presence of Arabians at Pentecost and Paul’s three-year sojourn in Arabia suggest a very early gospel witness. A 4th-century church history, states that the apostle Bartholomew preached in Arabia and that Himyarites were among his converts. The Al-Jubail Church in what is now Saudi Arabia was built in the 4th century. Arabia’s close relations with Ethiopia give significance to the conversion of the treasurer to the queen of Ethiopia, not to mention the tradition that the Apostle Matthew was assigned to this land. Eusebius says that “one Pantaneous (c. A.D. 190) was sent from Alexandria as a missionary to the nations of the East”, including southwest Arabia, on his way to India.Oscar Cullmann sharply rejected the claim that Peter began the papal succession, and concludes that while Peter was the original head of the apostles, Peter was not the founder of any visible church succession.
Carthage, in the Roman province of Africa, south of the Mediterranean from Rome, gave the early church the Latin fathers Tertullian (c. 120 – c. 220) and Cyprian (d. 258). Carthage fell to Islam in 698.
Addai, who became the first bishop of Edessa, was succeeded by Aggai, then by Palut, who was ordained about 200 by Serapion of Antioch. Thence came to us in the 2nd century the famous Peshitta, or Syriac translation of the Old Testament; also Tatian’s Diatessaron, which was compiled about 172 and in common use until St. Rabbula, Bishop of Edessa (412–435), forbade its use. This arrangement of the four canonical gospels as a continuous narrative, whose original language may have been Syriac, Greek, or even Latin, circulated widely in Syriac-speaking Churches. Many early Christians were merchants and others who had practical reasons for traveling to North Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, the Balkans and other places. Over 40 such communities were established by the year 100, many in Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor, such as the Seven churches of Asia. By the end of the first century, Christianity had already spread to Rome, Armenia, Greece and Syria, serving as foundations for the expansive spread of Christianity, eventually throughout the world. However, Irenaeus does not say that either Peter or Paul was “bishop” of the Church in Rome and several historians have questioned whether Peter spent much time in Rome before his martyrdom. While the church in Rome was already flourishing when Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans to them from Corinth (c. 58) he attests to a large Christian community already there and greets some fifty people in Rome by name, but not Peter, whom he knew. There is also no mention of Peter in Rome later during Paul’s two-year stay there in Acts 28, about 60–62. Most likely he did not spend any major time at Rome before 58 when Paul wrote to the Romans, and so it may have been only in the 60s and relatively shortly before his martyrdom that Peter came to the capital.Thomas next proceeded overland to the Coromandel Coast in southeastern India, and ministered in what is now Chennai (earlier Madras), where a local king and many people were converted. One tradition related that he went from there to China via Malacca in Malaysia, and after spending some time there, returned to the Chennai area. Apparently his renewed ministry outraged the Brahmins, who were fearful lest Christianity undermine their social caste system. So according to the Syriac version of the Acts of Thomas, Mazdai, the local king at Mylapore, after questioning the Apostle condemned him to death about the year AD 72. Anxious to avoid popular excitement, the King ordered Thomas conducted to a nearby mountain, where, after being allowed to pray, he was then stoned and stabbed to death with a lance wielded by an angry Brahmin. Paul the Apostle preached in Macedonia, and also in Philippi, located in Thrace on the Thracian Sea coast. According to Hippolytus of Rome, Andrew the Apostle pre
ached in Thrace, on the Black Sea coast and along the lower course of the Danube River. The spread of Christianity among the Thracians and the emergence of centers of Christianity like Serdica (present day Sofia), Philippopolis (present day Plovdiv) and Durostorum (present day Silistra) was likely to have begun with these early Apostolic missions. The first Christian monastery in Europe was founded in Thrace in 344 by Saint Athanasius near modern-day Chirpan, Bulgaria, following the Council of Serdica. Christianity arrived early in Nubia. In the New Testament of the Christian Bible, a treasury official of “Candace, queen of the Ethiopians” returning from a trip to Jerusalem was baptised by Philip the Evangelist:
Salona, the capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea, was an early center of Christianity and today is a ruin in modern Croatia. Titus, a disciple of Paul, preached there. Some Christians suffered martyrdom.
What was the first church during Jesus time?
Jerusalem church Jerusalem church Jerusalem was the first center of the Christian Church according to the Book of Acts. The apostles lived and taught there for some time after Pentecost. According to Acts, the early church was led by the Apostles, foremost among them Peter and John.
Exactly when Christians first appeared in Rome is difficult to determine. The Acts of the Apostles claims that the Jewish Christian couple Priscilla and Aquila had recently come from Rome to Corinth when, in about the year 50, Paul reached the latter city, indicating that belief in Jesus in Rome had preceded Paul. The gospel accounts provide insight into what early Christians believed about Jesus. As the Christ or “Anointed One” (Greek:Christos), Jesus is identified as the fulfillment of messianic prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures. Through the accounts of his miraculous virgin birth, the gospels present Jesus as the Son of God. The gospels describe the miracles of Jesus which served to authenticate his message and reveal a forestate of the coming kingdom. The gospel accounts conclude with a description of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, ultimately leading to his Ascension into Heaven. Jesus’ victory over death became the central belief of Christianity. In the words of historian Diarmaid MacCulloch: Early Christianity, or Palaeochristianity, describes the historical era of the Christian religion up to the First Council of Nicaea in 325. Christianity spread from the Levant, across the Roman Empire, and beyond. Originally, this progression was closely connected to already established Jewish centers in the Holy Land and the Jewish diaspora. The first followers of Christianity were Jews who had converted to the faith, i.e. Jewish Christians. Early Christianity contains the Apostolic age and is followed by, and substantially overlaps with, the Patristic era.Edessa (now Şanlıurfa) in northwestern Mesopotamia was from apostolic times the principal center of Syriac-speaking Christianity. it was the capital of an independent kingdom from 132 BC to AD 216, when it became tributary to Rome. Celebrated as an important centre of Greco-Syrian culture, Edessa was also noted for its Jewish community, with proselytes in the royal family. Strategically located on the main trade routes of the Fertile Crescent, it was easily accessible from Antioch, where the mission to the Gentiles was inaugurated. When early Christians were scattered abroad because of persecution, some found refuge at Edessa. Thus the Edessan church traced its origin to the Apostolic Age (which may account for its rapid growth), and Christianity even became the state religion for a time.
Edessa, which was held by Rome from 116 to 118 and 212 to 214, but was mostly a client kingdom associated either with Rome or Persia, was an important Christian city. Shortly after 201 or even earlier, its royal house became Christian.According to Acts, Paul was shipwrecked and ministered on an island which some scholars have identified as Malta (an island just south of Sicily) for three months during which time he is said to have been bitten by a poisonous viper and survived (Acts 27:39–42; Acts 28:1–11), an event usually dated c. AD 60. Paul had been allowed passage from Caesarea Maritima to Rome by Porcius Festus, procurator of Iudaea Province, to stand trial before the Emperor. Many traditions are associated with this episode, and catacombs in Rabat testify to an Early Christian community on the islands. According to tradition, Publius, the Roman Governor of Malta at the time of Saint Paul’s shipwreck, became the first Bishop of Malta following his conversion to Christianity. After ruling the Maltese Church for thirty-one years, Publius was transferred to the See of Athens in 90 AD, where he was martyred in 125 AD. There is scant information about the continuity of Christianity in Malta in subsequent years, although tradition has it that there was a continuous line of bishops from the days of St. Paul to the time of Emperor Constantine. For his followers, Jesus’ death inaugurated a New Covenant between God and his people. The apostle Paul, in his epistles, taught that Jesus makes salvation possible. Through faith, believers experience union with Jesus and both share in his suffering and the hope of his resurrection. Paphos was the capital of the island of Cyprus during the Roman years and seat of a Roman commander. In 45 AD, the apostles Paul and Barnabas, who according to Acts 4:36 was “a native of Cyprus”, came to Cyprus and reached Paphos preaching the message of Jesus, see also Acts 13:4–13. According to Acts, the apostles were persecuted by the Romans but eventually succeeded in convincing the Roman commander Sergius Paulus to renounce his old religion in favour of Christianity. Barnabas is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church.
Piecing together the various traditions, the story suggests that Thomas left northwest India when invasion threatened, and traveled by vessel to the Malabar Coast along the southwestern coast of the Indian continent, possibly visiting southeast Arabia and Socotra en route, and landing at the former flourishing port of Muziris on an island near Cochin in 52. From there he preached the gospel throughout the Malabar Coast. The various churches he founded were located mainly on the Periyar River and its tributaries and along the coast. He preached to all classes of people and had about 170 converts, including members of the four principal castes. Later, stone crosses were erected at the places where churches were founded, and they became pilgrimage centres. In accordance with apostolic custom, Thomas ordained teachers and leaders or elders, who were reported to be the earliest ministry of the Malabar church.
Romans had a negative perception of early Christians. The Roman historian Tacitus wrote that Christians were despised for their “abominations” and “hatred of humankind”. The belief that Christians hated humankind could refer to their refusal to participate in social activities connected to pagan worship—these included most social activities such as the theater, the army, sports, and classical literature. Like Jews, Christians refused to worship the Roman emperor. While Jews were exempt from imperial cult worship, the refusal of Gentile Christians to participate in the imperial cult was considered treason and was the rationale for state sanctioned persecution.Alexandria, in the Nile delta, was established by Alexander the Great. Its famous libraries were a center of Hellenistic learning. The Septuagint translation of the Old Testament began there and the Alexandrian text-type is recognized by scholars as one of the earliest New Testament types. It had a significant Jewish population, of which Philo of Alexandria is probably its most known author. It produced superior scripture and notable church fathers, such as Clement, Origen, and Athanasius; also noteworthy were the nearby Desert Fathers. By the end of the era, Alexandria, Rome, and Antioch were accorded authority over nearby metropolitans. The Council of Nicaea in canon VI affirmed Alexandria’s traditional authority over Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis (North Africa) (the Diocese of Egypt) and probably granted Alexandria the right to declare a universal date for the observance of Easter (see also Easter controversy). Some postulate, however, that Alexandria was not only a center of Christianity, but was also a center for Christian-based Gnostic sects.
According to the New Testament, Paul the apostle established Christian communities throughout the Mediterranean world. He is known to have spent some time in Arabia. After preaching in Syria, he turned his attention to the cities of Asia Minor. By the early 50s, he had moved on to Europe where he stopped in Philippi and then traveled to Thessalonica in Roman Macedonia. He then moved into mainland Greece, spending time in Athens and Corinth. While in Corinth, Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans, indicating that there were already Christian groups in Rome. Some of these groups had been started by Paul’s missionary associates Priscilla and Aquila and Epainetus.
In the 2nd century, Roman Emperor Hadrian rebuilt Jerusalem as a Pagan city and renamed it Aelia Capitolina, erecting statues of Jupiter and himself on the site of the former Jewish Temple, the Temple Mount. In the years 132–136 AD, Bar Kokhba led an unsuccessful revolt as a Jewish Messiah claimant, but Christians refused to acknowledge him as such. When Bar Kokhba was defeated, Hadrian barred Jews from the city, except for the day of Tisha B’Av, thus the subsequent Jerusalem bishops were Gentiles (“uncircumcised”) for the first time.Athens, the capital and largest city in Greece, was visited by Paul. He probably traveled by sea, arriving at Piraeus, the harbor of Athens, coming from Berœa of Macedonia around the year 53. According to Acts 17, when he arrived at Athens, he immediately sent for Silas and Timotheos who had stayed behind in Berœa. While waiting for them, Paul explored Athens and visited the synagogue, as there was a local Jewish community. A Christian community was quickly established in Athens, although it may not have been large initially. A common tradition identifies the Areopagite as the first bishop of the Christian community in Athens, while another tradition mentions Hierotheos the Thesmothete. The succeeding bishops were not all of Athenian descent: Narkissos was believed to have come from Palestine, and Publius from Malta. Quadratus is known for an apology addressed to Emperor Hadrian during his visit to Athens, contributing to early Christian literature. Aristeides and Athenagoras also wrote apologies during this time. By the second century, Athens likely had a significant Christian community, as Hygeinos, bishop of Rome, write a letter to the community in Athens in the year 139.
Thessalonica, the major northern Greek city where it is believed Christianity was founded by Paul, thus an Apostolic See, and the surrounding regions of Macedonia, Thrace, and Epirus, which also extend into the neighboring Balkan states of Albania and Bulgaria, were early centers of Christianity. Of note are Paul’s Epistles to the Thessalonians and to Philippi, which is often considered the first contact of Christianity with Europe. The Apostolic Father Polycarp wrote a letter to the Philippians, c. 125.The Mediterranean coast of France and the Rhone valley, then part of Roman Gallia Narbonensis, were earl
y centers of Christianity. Major Christian communities were found in Arles, Avignon, Vienne, Lyon, and Marseille (the oldest city in France). The Persecution in Lyon occurred in 177. The Apostolic Father Irenaeus from Smyrna of Anatolia was Bishop of Lyon near the end of the 2nd century and he claimed Saint Pothinus was his predecessor. The Council of Arles in 314 is considered a forerunner of the ecumenical councils. The Ephesine theory attributes the Gallican Rite to Lyon.
The earliest Bishops of Rome were all Greek-speaking, the most notable of them being: Pope Clement I (c. 88–97), author of an Epistle to the Church in Corinth; Pope Telesphorus (c. 126–136), probably the only martyr among them; Pope Pius I (c. 141–154), said by the Muratorian fragment to have been the brother of the author of the Shepherd of Hermas; and Pope Anicetus (c. 155–160), who received Saint Polycarp and discussed with him the dating of Easter.
The primary issue which was addressed related to the requirement of circumcision, as the author of Acts relates, but other important matters arose as well, as the Apostolic Decree indicates. The dispute was between those, such as the followers of the “Pillars of the Church”, led by James, who believed, following his interpretation of the Great Commission, that the church must observe the Torah, i.e. the rules of traditional Judaism, and Paul the Apostle, who called himself “Apostle to the Gentiles”, who believed there was no such necessity. The main concern for the Apostle Paul, which he subsequently expressed in greater detail with his letters directed to the early Christian communities in Asia Minor, was the inclusion of Gentiles into God’s New Covenant, sending the message that faith in Christ is sufficient for salvation. (See also: Supersessionism, New Covenant, Antinomianism, Hellenistic Judaism, and Paul the Apostle and Judaism).Gortyn on Crete was allied with Rome and was thus made capital of Roman Creta et Cyrenaica. St. Titus is believed to have been the first bishop. The city was sacked by the pirate Abu Hafs in 828.
During the reign of Shapur II of the Sasanian Empire, he was not initially hostile to his Christian subjects, who were led by Shemon Bar Sabbae, the Patriarch of the Church of the East, however, the conversion of Constantine the Great to Christianity caused Shapur to start distrusting his Christian subjects. He started seeing them as agents of a foreign enemy. The wars between the Sasanian and Roman empires turned Shapur’s mistrust into hostility. After the death of Constantine, Shapur II, who had been preparing for a war against the Romans for several years, imposed a double tax on his Christian subjects to finance the conflict. Shemon, however, refused to pay the double tax. Shapur started pressuring Shemon and his clergy to convert to Zoroastrianism, which they refused to do. It was during this period the ‘cycle of the martyrs’ began during which ‘many thousands of Christians’ were put to death. During the following years, Shemon’s successors, Shahdost and Barba’shmin, were also martyred.
The Roman church survived various persecutions. Among the prominent Christians executed as a result of their refusal to perform acts of worship to the Roman gods as ordered by emperor Valerian in 258 were Cyprian, bishop of Carthage. The last and most severe of the imperial persecutions was that under Diocletian in 303; they ended in Rome, and the West in general, with the accession of Maxentius in 306.
The Apostolic sees claim to have been founded by one or more of the apostles of Jesus, who are said to have dispersed from Jerusalem sometime after the crucifixion of Jesus, c. 26–33, perhaps following the Great Commission. Early Christians gathered in small private homes, known as house churches, but a city’s whole Christian community would also be called a church – the Greek noun ἐκκλησία (ekklesia) literally means assembly, gathering, or congregation but is translated as church in most English translations of the New Testament.
Ancient Corinth, today a ruin near modern Corinth in southern Greece, was an early center of Christianity. According to the Acts of Apostles, Paul stayed eighteen months in Corinth to preach. He initially stayed with Aquila and Priscilla, and was later joined by Silas and Timothy. After he left Corinth, Apollo was sent from Ephesus by Priscilla to replace him. Paul returned to Corinth at least once. He wrote the First Epistle to the Corinthians from Ephesus in 57 and then the Second Epistle to the Corinthians from Macedonia in the same year or in 58. The earliest evidence of the primacy of the Roman Church can be seen in the First Epistle of Clement written to the Corinthian church, dated around 96. The bishops in Corinth include Apollo, Sosthenes, and Dionysius.
Christianity reached Roman Britain by the third century of the Christian era, the first recorded martyrs in Britain being St. Alban of Verulamium and Julius and Aaron of Caerleon, during the reign of Diocletian (284–305). Gildas dated the faith’s arrival to the latter part of the reign of Tiberius, although stories connecting it with Joseph of Arimathea, Lucius, or Fagan are now generally considered pious forgeries. Restitutus, Bishop of London, is recorded as attending the 314 Council of Arles, along with the Bishop of Lincoln and Bishop of York. During the 2nd century, Christians and semi-Christians of diverse views congregated in Rome, notably Marcion and Valentinius, and in the following century there were schisms connected with Hippolytus of Rome and Novatian. The decades after the crucifixion of Jesus are known as the Apostolic Age because the Disciples (also known as Apostles) were still alive. Important Christian sources for this period are the Pauline epistles and the Acts of the Apostles.James was killed on the order of the high priest in AD 62. He was succeeded as leader of the Jerusalem church by Simeon, another relative of Jesus. During the First Jewish-Roman War (AD 66–73), Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed after a brutal siege in AD 70. Prophecies of the Second Temple’s destruction are found in the synoptic gospels, specifically in the Olivet Discourse.The Church of the East had its inception at a very early date in the buffer zone between the Parthian and Roman Empires in Upper Mesopotamia, known as the Assyrian Church of the East. The vicissitudes of its later growth were rooted in its minority status in a situation of international tension. The rulers of the Parthian Empire (250 BC – AD 226) were on the whole tolerant in spirit, and with the older faiths of Babylonia and Assyria in a state of decay, the time was ripe for a new and vital faith. The rulers of the Second Persian empire (226–640) also followed a policy of religious toleration to begin with, though later they gave Christians the same status as a subject race. However, these rulers also encouraged the revival of the ancient Persian dualistic faith of Zoroastrianism and established it as the state religion, with the result that the Christians were increasingly subjected to repressive measures. Nevertheless, it was not until Christianity became the state religion in the West (380) that enmity toward Rome was focused on the Eastern Christians. After the Muslim conquest in the 7th century, the caliphate tolerated other faiths but forbade proselytism and subjected Christians to heavy taxation.It is believed that the Church of Milan in northwest Italy was founded by the apostle Barnabas in the 1st century. Gervasius and Protasius and others were martyred there. It has long maintained its own rite known as the Ambrosian Rite attributed to Ambrose (born c. 330) who was bishop in 374–397 and one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. Duchesne argues that the Gallican Rite originated in Milan.
Where was first church built?
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia the Cenacle (the site of the Last Supper) in Jerusalem was the “first Christian church.” The Dura-Europos church in Syria is the oldest surviving church building in the world, while the archaeological remains of both the Aqaba Church and the Megiddo church have been considered to …
In the Second Temple period, there was no consensus on who the messiah would be or what he would do. Most commonly, he was imagined to be an Endtimes son of David going about the business of “executing judgment, defeating the enemies of God, reigning over a restored Israel, establishing unending peace”. Yet, there were other kinds of messianic figures proposed as well—the perfect priest or the celestial Son of Man who brings about the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment.Historian Keith Hopkins estimated that by AD 100 there were around 7,000 Christians (about 0.01 percent of the Roman Empire’s population of 60 million). Separate Christian groups maintained contact with each other through letters, visits from itinerant preachers, and the sharing of common texts, some of which were later collected in the New Testament.
According to Eusebius’ record, the apostles Thomas and Bartholomew were assigned to Parthia (modern Iran) and India. By the time of the establishment of the Second Persian Empire (AD 226), there were bishops of the Church of the East in northwest India, Afghanistan and Baluchistan (including parts of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan), with laymen and clergy alike engaging in missionary activity.Caesarea, on the seacoast just northwest of Jerusalem, at first Caesarea Maritima, then after 133 Caesarea Palaestina, was built by Herod the Great, c. 25–13 BC, and was the capital of Iudaea Province (6–132) and later Palaestina Prima. It was there that Peter baptized the centurion Cornelius, considered the first gentile convert. Paul sought refuge there, once staying at the house of Philip the Evangelist, and later being imprisoned there for two years (estimated to be 57–59). The Apostolic Constitutions (7.46) state that the first Bishop of Caesarea was Zacchaeus the Publican.
Salona emerged as a center for the spread of Christianity, with Andronicus establishing the See of Syrmium (Mitrovica) in Pannonia, followed by those in Siscia and Mursia. The Diocletianic Persecution left deep marks in Dalmatia and Pannonia. Quirinus, bishop of Siscia, died a martyr in A.D. 303.
At this early date, Christianity was still a Jewish sect. Christians in Jerusalem kept the Jewish Sabbath and continued to worship at the Temple. In commemoration of Jesus’ resurrection, they gathered on Sunday for a communion meal. Initially, Christians kept the Jewish custom of fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. Later, the Christian fast days shifted to Wednesdays and Fridays (see Friday fast) in remembrance of Judas’ betrayal and the crucifixion. The first Gentiles to become Christians were God-fearers, people who believed in the truth of Judaism but had not become proselytes (see Cornelius the Centurion). As Gentiles joined the young Christian movement, the question of whether they should convert to Judaism and observe the Torah (such as food laws, male circumcision, and Sabbath observance) gave rise to various answers. Some Christians demanded full observance of the Torah and required Gentile converts to become Jews. Others, such as Paul, believed that the Torah was no longer binding because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In the middle were Christians who believed Gentiles should follow some of the Torah but not all of it.At this early date, Christianity was still a Jewish sect. Christians in Jerusalem kept the Jewish Sabbath and continued to worship at the Temple. In commemoration of Jesus’ resurrection, they gathered on Sunday for a communion meal. Initially, Christians kept the Jewish custom of fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. Later, the Christian fast days shifted to Wednesdays and Fridays (see Friday fast) in remembrance of Judas’ betrayal and the crucifixion.
What were Christians called before they were Christians?
Nazarenes The term Nazarene was also used by the Jewish lawyer Tertullus (Against Marcion 4:8) which records that “the Jews call us Nazarenes.” While around 331 AD Eusebius records that Christ was called a Nazoraean from the name Nazareth, and that in earlier centuries “Christians” were once called “Nazarenes”.
To understand the penetration of the Arabian peninsula by the Christian gospel, it is helpful to distinguish between the Bedouin nomads of the interior, who were chiefly herdsmen and unreceptive to foreign control, and the inhabitants of the settled communities of the coastal areas and oases, who were either middlemen traders or farmers and were receptive to influences from abroad. Christianity apparently gained its strongest foothold in the ancient center of Semitic civilization in South-west Arabia or Yemen (sometimes known as Seba or Sheba, whose queen visited Solomon). Because of geographic proximity, acculturation with Ethiopia was always strong, and the royal family traces its ancestry to this queen.
In the fourth century, bishop Athanasius of Alexandria consecrated Marcus as bishop of Philae before his death in 373, showing that Christianity had permanently penetrated the region. John of Ephesus records that a Monophysite priest named Julian converted the king and his nobles of Nobatia around 545 and another kingdom of Alodia converted around 569. By the 7th century Makuria expanded becoming the dominant power in the region so strong enough to halt the southern expansion of Islam after the Arabs had taken Egypt. After several failed invasions the new rulers agreed to a treaty with Dongola allowing for peaceful coexistence and trade. This treaty held for six hundred years allowing Arab traders introducing Islam to Nubia and it gradually supplanted Christianity. The last recorded bishop was Timothy at Qasr Ibrim in 1372.
Syracuse was founded by Greek colonists in 734 or 733 BC, part of Magna Graecia. Syracuse is one of the first Christian communities established by Peter, preceded only by Antioch. Paul also preached in Syracuse. Historical evidence from the middle of the third century, during the time of Cyprian, suggests that Christianity was thriving in Syracuse, and the presence of catacombs provides clear indications of Christian activity in the second century as well. Across the Strait of Messina, Calabria on the mainland was also probably an early center of Christianity.Damascus is the capital of Syria and claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. According to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul was converted on the Road to Damascus. In the three accounts (Acts 9:1–20, 22:1–22, 26:1–24), he is described as being led by those he was traveling with, blinded by the light, to Damascus where his sight was restored by a disciple called Ananias (who is thought to have been the first bishop of Damascus) then he was baptized. A near-contemporary 5th-century Christian work, the Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen, contains considerable detail on the Persian Christians martyred under Shapur II. Sozomen estimates the total number of Christians killed as follows: The number of men and women whose names have been ascertained, and who were martyred at this period, has been computed to be upwards of sixteen thousand, while the multitude of martyrs whose names are unknown was so great that the Persians, the Syrians, and the inhabitants of Edessa, have failed in all their efforts to compute the number.With the election of Pope Francis in 2013, following the resignation of Benedict XVI, Francis is the current and first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere. Since his election to the papacy, he has displayed a simpler and less formal approach to the office, choosing to reside in the Vatican guesthouse rather than the papal residence. He has signalled numerous dramatic changes in policy as well—for example removing conservatives from high Vatican positions, calling on bishops to lead a simpler life, and taking a more pastoral attitude towards homosexuality.
Major lawsuits emerged in numerous countries in recent decades claiming that priests had sexually abused minors. In response to the ensuing scandals, the Church has established formal procedures to prevent abuse, encourage reporting of any abuse that occurs and to handle such reports promptly, although groups representing victims have disputed their effectiveness.
The Council of Trent generated a revival of religious life and Marian devotions in the Catholic Church. During the Reformation, the Church had defended its Marian beliefs against Protestant views. At the same time, the Catholic world was engaged in ongoing Ottoman Wars in Europe against Turkey which were fought and won under the auspices of the Virgin Mary. The victory at the Battle of Lepanto (1571) was accredited to her “and signified the beginning of a strong resurgence of Marian devotions, focusing especially on Mary, the Queen of Heaven and Earth and her powerful role as mediatrix of many graces”. The Colloquium Marianum, an elite group, and the Sodality of Our Lady based their activities on a virtuous life, free of cardinal sins.With the coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III in 800, his new title as Patricius Romanorum, and the handing over of the keys to the Tomb of Saint Peter, the papacy had acquired a new protector in the West. This freed the pontiffs to some degree from the power of the emperor in Constantinople but also led to a schism, because the emperors and patriarchs of Constantinople interpreted themselves as the true descendants of the Roman Empire dating back to the beginnings of the Church. Pope Nicholas I had refused to recognize Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople, who in turn had attacked the pope as a heretic, because he kept the filioque in the creed, which referred to the Holy Spirit emanating from God the Father and the Son. The papacy was strengthened through this new alliance, which in the long term created a new problem for the Popes, when in the Investiture controversy succeeding emperors sought to appoint bishops and even future popes. After the disintegration of the Carolingian Empire and repeated incursions of Islamic forces into Italy, the papacy, without any protection, entered a phase of major weakness.
What denomination was the first church?
The first Christian organization was the Catholic Church, which eventually broke into different denominations especially in the 1500s as a result of Martin Luther and John Calvin. Christianity is divided between Eastern and Western theology.
Throughout the lifetime of the Third Republic there were battles over the status of the Catholic Church. The French clergy and bishops were closely associated with the Monarchists and many of its hierarchy were from noble families. Republicans were based in the anticlerical middle class who saw the Church’s alliance with the monarchists as a political threat to republicanism, and a threat to the modern spirit of progress. The Republicans detested the church for its political and class affiliations; for them, the church represented outmoded traditions, superstition and monarchism. The Republicans were strengthened by Protestant and Jewish support. Numerous laws were passed to weaken the Catholic Church. In 1879, priests were excluded from the administrative committees of hospitals and of boards of charity; in 1880, new measures were directed against the religious congregations; from 1880 to 1890 came the substitution of lay women for nuns in many hospitals. Napoleon’s 1801 Concordat continued in operation but in 1881, the government cut off salaries to priests it disliked. The 11th century saw the Investiture controversy between Emperor and Pope over the right to make church appointments, the first major phase of the struggle between Church and state in medieval Europe. The Papacy were the initial victors, but as Italians divided between Guelphs and Ghibellines in factions that were often passed down through families or states until the end of the Middle Ages, the dispute gradually weakened the Papacy, not least by drawing it into politics. The Church also attempted to control, or exact a price for, most marriages among the great by prohibiting, in 1059, marriages involving consanguinity (blood kin) and affinity (kin by marriage) to the seventh degree of relationship. Under these rules, almost all great marriages required a dispensation. The rules were relaxed to the fourth degree in 1215 (now only the first degree is prohibited by the Church – a man cannot marry his stepdaughter, for example). In 1521, through the leadership and preaching of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the first Catholics were baptized in what became the first Christian nation in Southeast Asia, the Philippines. The following year, Franciscan missionaries arrived in what is now Mexico, and sought to convert the Indians and to provide for their well-being by establishing schools and hospitals. They taught the Indians better farming methods, and easier ways of weaving and making pottery. Because some people questioned whether the Indians were truly human and deserved baptism, Pope Paul III in the papal bull Veritas Ipsa or Sublimis Deus (1537) confirmed that the Indians were deserving people. Afterward, the conversion effort gained momentum. Over the next 150 years, the missions expanded into southwestern North America. The native people were legally defined as children, and priests took on a paternalistic role, often enforced with corporal punishment. Elsewhere, in India, Portuguese missionaries and the Spanish Jesuit Francis Xavier evangelized among non-Christians and a Christian community which claimed to have been established by Thomas the Apostle.According to Catholic tradition, the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ. The New Testament records Jesus’ activities and teaching, His appointment of the twelve Apostles, and His instructions to them to continue His work. The Catholic Church teaches that the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, in an event known as Pentecost, signaled the beginning of the public ministry of the Church. Catholics hold that Saint Peter was Rome’s first bishop and the consecrator of Linus as its next bishop, thus starting the unbroken line which includes the current pontiff, Pope Francis. That is, the Catholic Church maintains the apostolic succession of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope – the successor to Saint Peter.
What church was built over Jesus birth?
Church of the Nativity The Church of the Nativity is one of the oldest working churches in existence today. The first Church was built by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century AD, over the grotto where Mary gave birth to Jesus.
During this period, the Bible as it has come down to the 21st century was first officially laid out in Church Councils or Synods through the process of official ‘canonization’. Prior to these Councils or Synods, the Bible had already reached a form that was nearly identical to the form in which it is now found. According to some accounts, in 382 the Council of Rome first officially recognized the Biblical canon, listing the accepted books of the Old and New Testament, and in 391 the Vulgate Latin translation of the Bible was made. Other accounts list the Council of Carthage of 397 as the Council that finalized the Biblical canon as it is known today. The Council of Ephesus in 431 clarified the nature of Jesus’ incarnation, declaring that he was both fully man and fully God. Two decades later, the Council of Chalcedon solidified Roman papal primacy which added to continuing breakdown in relations between Rome and Constantinople, the seat of the Eastern Church. Also sparked were the Monophysite disagreements over the precise nature of the incarnation of Jesus which led to the first of the various Oriental Orthodox Churches breaking away from the Catholic Church.