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History of the Church Why study Church history? • To know Jesus better through the Church and its teachings • To know about our Church • The lives of our brothers and sisters • To understand and explain common errors about Church history Divided into 12 sections … 1. Mustard Seed (33-99 AD) 2. Persecution (100-312 AD) 3. Conversion and Councils (313-499 AD) 4. Missionaries and the Emperor (500-999 AD) 5. Crusaders and Scholars (1000-1299 AD) 6. Weak Leaders and Schism (1300-1499 AD) – What does Schism mean? 7. Protestors and Defenders (1500-1544 AD) 8. The Catholic Reformation (1545-1699 AD) 9. Revolutions and Modernism (1700-1913 AD) 10. A World at War (1914-1957 AD) 11. The New Springtime (1958-1977 AD) 12. The Threshold of Hope (1977-Present) The Church in Jerusalem • Fifty days after Jesus’ Resurrection and ten days after His Ascension, on the Jewish feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the 12 Apostles and the Blessed Mother. We consider Pentecost the day that the Church begun. • The word Apostle means one who is sent and refers to the 12 men chosen by Jesus to be his closest followers • The Apostles are … – Peter (Simon) -Philip -James – Andrew -Bartholomew -Simon the Zealot – James -Matthew -Judas aka Jude – John -Thomas -Judas Iscariot • Matthias is chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. St. Paul and Barnabas also shared the position of Apostles. • The Apostles were chosen to continue Christ’s mission of preaching and healing • The Apostles passed on their authority of Christ which is called Apostolic Succession • The Apostles and the first Christians in Jerusalem were known as the people of the Way and they still considered themselves Jews. – They followed all the provisions of the Jewish Law. • Besides the Temple worship on Saturdays, they would meet in private homes on Sundays for the celebration of the Eucharist. • The first Christians believed, as we still do today, that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ • Because the early Christians followed a dead leader and all of the Jewish laws, they were at first left alone – The Jewish authorities thought Christianity would be a passing fad • When The Way did not fade, they were persecuted Persecutions in Jerusalem • Stephen was a deacon in Jerusalem who had been commissioned by the Apostles. He was stoned to death becoming the first Christian Martyr. • Saul, who was persecuting Christians, had a vision of Christ who asked him why he was, “persecuting me”. Saul converted, his name was changed to Paul, and he became the great apostle to the Gentiles. Gentiles enter the Church • Even though the Christians were persecuted, they considered themselves Jewish. To associate with non-Jews, Gentiles, was unclean. – The Aposltes remember how Jesus reached out to all people • Nowhere in the Bible does it state that unclean Gentiles were to be included in the teachings; there actually was no Bible, so Peter as head of the Church, Pope, and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit makes a decision based on the teachings of Christ. – 1st instance of Papal Authority The Council of Jerusalem • The issue was whether or not Gentile converts to Christianity had to follow Jewish dietary rules and circumcision • The decision was no • Peter made the final decision • The Apostles go on missionary journeys through the Empire to preach and spread the teachings of Christ. Temple is destroyed in AD 70. • Reproduction of Temple • Western Wall of Temple At the time that Christ was born, the Roman Empire was a great power This provided great benefits for the spreading of the word of God: • Benefits – Peace in the Roman Empire (Pax Romana) – Safe roads and ports for easy traveling – Use of Greek language throughout the Empire – Concepts of Greek philosophy that help understand nature and person • On the other hand, the Romans expected all people to worship their gods and believe that Ceaser was god. • Judaism was the only religion permitted to not participate in Roman gods’ worship, and it was actually protected by Romans At first since the Christians were seen by the Romans as a sect within Judaism they were treated as such. This soon changed as the Romans began to oppose The Way. Challenges of early Christianity • Jews accused Christians of blasphemy and persecuted them • Tension with Romans - Christians: – Refused to worship the Roman gods – Denied Ceaser was a god – Seen as secretive society Christian worship and beliefs • The earliest Christians believed that the Eucharist was the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ • Both abortion and contraception were practiced in the Roman Empire. The Early Church condemned these practices Churches and Catacombs • The first churches were people’s homes. Some Roman emperors permitted churches to be built, but when new persecutions came these were destroyed • In the 2nd century catacombs were built. Catacombs are a series of underground tunnels, chambers, and tombs that were dug out by Christians. • Catacombs were never hiding places but during the times of persecution did become a place to hold Baptisms and celebrate the Eucharist. They were also burial places and shrines. Catacombs • A typical gallery, this one in St. • The cubiculum of the Good Shepherd in Callixtus; the Catacomb of Domatilla showing the burial niches or loculi The Madonna and Child from the Catacomb of Priscilla • This is the oldest known representation of this most touching and human aspect of Christ's Incarnation. The emphasis on the maternal love of Mary for the Child Jesus reflects the early Christian community's reverence for the Mother of God, and for its understanding of God's love for humankind in sending His only Son to earth to share in our humanity. The Apostolic Fathers • This is the second generation of great Christian writers who lived after the Apostles • Apostolic Fathers – those who knew and where taught by the Apostles Persecutions • Persecutions come at different times with periods of no persecution in-between, but Christians always lived in danger from the time of Nero to The Edict of Milan (313 AD). There were a great number of martyrs, and dying for Christ was considered a great honor. • Process – Arrested and given chance to denounce faith – If didn’t reject Christianity put to death – Many chose to die rather than give up their faith Examples of Persecutions • Nero – set city on fire and blamed the Christians • Circus Maximus - animal skins sewn onto Christians, spread through out garden, hungry mastiffs released. • Death of Peter= crucified up-side down • Death of Paul = beheaded • All apostles, except St. John die martyrs • St. James is the first apostle to die (Jerusalem) Results • Chrisitanity grew • Tertullian, who lived in the midst of the persecutions said, "The blood of the Christians is the seed of the Church. Martyrs • St. Ignatius of Antioch = Bishop and Apostolic Father – Martyred at Coliseum in Rome – fed to lions • St. Polycarp – Bishop and Apostolic Father – Fought many heresies – Refused to curse Christ in public – Burned at stake but remained unharmed; an executioner used a sword. • St. Justin Martyr = Apologist (defender of the faith) – Beheaded • Perpetua and Felicity = noblewoman and slave – Jailed and forced to raise their children in prison – Felicity gave birth in jail – Together with their household were scourged and fed to wild beasts • St. Iranaeus = Bishop and Apostolic Father • Pope St. Sixtus II and Deacon St. Lawrence – Arrested while celebrating Mass with 7 deacons – All beheaded on site except St. Lawrence – St. Lawrence roasted on spike – turn me over I am done on this side • St. Agnes = young girl (12 or 13 years old) – Beheaded St. Stephen first Christian Martyr • St. Paul was present at the martyrdom of Stephen. The Edict of Milan • By the year 300 the Roman Empire was divided into the Western and Eastern Empire. • Constantine, who ruled the Eastern Empire, defeated the Western Empire. • The son of St. Helena, a devout Christian, he was not a Christian but claimed to have been favored by the Christian God. • In the year 313 A.D. Christianity was legalized through the Edict of Milan. • All property that had been taken from the Church was restored • He converted and received Baptism on his deathbed.
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