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Timeline of Christian History

A complete timeline, showing important dates.

clock Timeline of Christian History


c.2100 BC Calling of Abraham - the Father of the Jewish nation.
c.2000 BC Birth of Jacob, later to be called Israel. The twelve tribes of Israel are named after Jacob's sons.
c.1900 BC Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt. Israelites eventually become captives in the land.
c.1446 or 1290 BC The Exodus begins. Led by Moses, the Israelites leave Egypt and eventually settle in Canaan.
c.1010 BC David becomes king of Israel, making Jerusalem his capital.
c.970 BC David's son Solomon becomes king. He later builds a temple in Jerusalem to honour God.
c.930 BC Following Solomon's death, the Kingdom is divided into two sections: Northern (Israel) and Southern (Judah).
753 BC Traditional date for the founding of Rome.
722 BC Fall of the kingdom of Israel to the Assyrians.
612 BC Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, falls to the Babylonians.
586 BC Babylonians take Jerusalem and destroy Solomon's temple. Jewish nation is taken into captivity in Babylon (the exile).
c.538 BC Return of some of the exiles. Start of reconstruction of the temple.
c.512 BC Completion of the temple.
c.330 BC Conquest by Alexander the Great. Rise of Hellenism (Greek culture).
c.250 BC Work begins to translate the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek. This is known as the Septuagint or LXX.
63 BC Roman rule of Israel begins.
c.4 BC Birth of Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem.
c.30 AD Death of Jesus Christ.
c.33 Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2).
Sometimes known as the Birthday of the Church.
c.33 Stephen - First Christian martyr (Acts 7).
c.48 Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).
Gentile Christians accepted alongside those in the Jewish tradition.
c.60 First Gospel published (often thought to be that written by Mark).
62 Martyrdom of James, "The Lord's Brother".
c.67-68 Apostles Peter and Paul* martyred in the reign of the Roman emperor Nero.
70 Jewish rebellion against the Roman empire ends. Destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
From 70 Centre of Christianity moves to Antioch, Alexandria and Rome.
c.90 Book of Revelation and Gospel of Saint John written.
161-80 Widespread persecution of Christians under Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.
(Severe persecutions also occurred under the emperors Decius (249-251) and Diocletian (284-305)).
301 Armenia becomes the world's first country to officially adopt Christianity as the state religion.
312 Roman emperor Constantine receives a vision of a flaming cross with the words
'In hoc signo vinces' : 'By this sign conquer'.
Defeats rival Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.
313 Edict of Milan issued by Constantine - Christianity becomes a legal religion within the Roman empire.
325 Constantine calls the first ecumenical council at Nicea.
Arian heresy which declared Christ was a created being is refuted. Nicene Creed is drawn up, declaring Christ to be "...Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father..."
367 Saint Athanasius is the first to list all 27 New Testament books in his festal letter.
381 Ecumenical Council at Constantinople revises the Nicene creed to its current form.
c.382 Saint Jerome begins a translation of the Bible into Latin.
397 Synod at Carthage ratifies the 27 books of the New Testament as sacred scripture.
431 Ecumenical council held at Ephesus refutes Nestorianism.
(The doctrine that Christ was two persons (one human, the other divine) in one body). Mary is declared Theotokos   i.e. 'God-bearer' or more commonly, 'Mother of God'.
449 At Ephesus, Pope Leo I delivers his 'Tome', defending orthodox Christian belief. Leo also asserts Papal supremacy.
451 Ecumenical council at Chalcedon affirms Christ as having two distinct natures united in one person (known as the 'Hypostatic Union').
553 Ecumenical council at Constantinople affirms teaching of previous councils.
563 Columba establishes a monastery at Iona.
589 Insertion of the filioque  (Latin: 'and the son') into the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed at a council in Toledo.
597 Following a mission authorised by Pope Gregory I, St. Augustine becomes the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
664 Synod of Whitby ratifies the authority of the Pope in England.
680-81 Ecumenical council at Constantinople rejects Monothelite heresy of one will in Christ.
731 Bede writes his Ecclesiastical History.
787 Ecumenical council at Nicea ends the controversy over the use of icons in worship.
800 Charlemagne is crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by Pope Leo III.
988 Conversion of Prince Vladimir in Kiev. Growth of Christianity in Russia.
1054 Great Schism - Eastern Orthodox and Western Catholic churches separate.
1095 Pope Urban II authorises the first Crusade to recover the Holy Land from Moslems.
1099 Crusaders conquer Jerusalem.
1182 Massacre of Latin inhabitants of Constantinople.
1187 Jerusalem recaptured by a Moslem army led by Saladin.
1189 Third Crusade led by Richard the Lionheart of England.
1204 Sack of Constantinople during the fourth crusade.
1216/23 Papal approval of the Dominican and Franciscan mendicant ('begging') orders.
1266-73 Thomas Aquinas writes his great work of systematic Theology: Summa Theologiae.
1305 Papacy moved to Avignon following a dispute with Philip IV of France.
c.1341 Defence of Orthodox spirituality by Gregory Palamas. Rise of Hesychasm.
c.1376 John Wycliffe writes 'Civil Dominion', arguing for reform of the church.
1378 Following the return of the Papacy to Rome, rival claimants (Antipopes) emerge. Dispute ends in 1417 with election of Martin V.
c.1380 John Wycliffe translates the Bible into Middle English.
1453 Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks.
1517 Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses in Wittenburg, Germany; beginning the Protestant reformation.
1521 Diet of Worms - Luther's final breach with the Catholic church.
1525 William Tyndale completes his translation of the Bible into English.
1534 Ignatius of Loyola founds the Jesuits.
1534 Act of Supremacy passed - Henry VIII becomes supreme head of the English church.
1536 John Calvin publishes his Institutes of the Christian Religion.
1545-63 Council of Trent - Roman Catholic counter reformation.
1549 Thomas Cranmer publishes the Book of Common Prayer  in England (later revised in 1662).
1555 Peace of Augsburg ends religious wars in Germany.
1611 Publication of the King James Version of the Bible.
1618-48 Protestant/Catholic conflict in Germany (Thirty Years War).
1730-60 The 'Great Awakening' - A revival movement among Protestants in the USA.
1738 John and Charles Wesley converted. They lead an Evangelical revival in England and form the Methodist church.
1854 Dogma of the Immaculate conception of Mary proclaimed by the Roman Catholic church.
1870-1 First Vatican council. Dogma of Papal infallibility proclaimed.
1906 Azusa street revival in Los Angeles. Beginnings of the Pentecostal movement.
1910 World mission conference held in Edinburgh.
1918 Billy Graham born. Later becomes one of the most prominent evangelists in Christian history.
1948 Formation of the World Council of Churches.
1950 Dogma of the Assumption of Mary proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church.
1962-5 Second Vatican council. Major reforms in the Roman Catholic church are initiated.
Mutual anathemas of 1054 between Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches lifted.
1997 Death of Mother Teresa of Calcutta - founder of the 'Missionaries of Charity'.
1999 Signing of the Joint Declaration on Justification by the Lutheran and Roman Catholic Churches.
2005 Death of Pope John Paul II, who is succeeded by Pope Benedict XVI.
2006 World Methodist Council adopts the Lutheran/Catholic Joint Declaration on Justification.
2011 Beatification of Pope John Paul II.
2013 Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, who is succeeded by Pope Francis.

* See the Timeline of Paul's ministry for more information.



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