The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Reformation and the Reformation to Modern Day

This timeline will focus on the major people, places, and events that are of great significance to the development, and dissemination of the universal Church of Jesus Christ.

0004-02-01 08:52:51

The Ministry of Jesus Christ

It is hard to pin point exact dates for the ministry of Jesus. However, most scholars will agree that it happen between years 20-35. Thid would be the time Christ walked physically upon the earth.

0027 BC-02-01 08:52:51

Greco-Roman World & Pax Romana

The success of the Roman Empire brought to the Mediterrainian basin a very impressive political unity. It was a general policy of the empire to promote unity (as much as they could) without doing unnecessary violence to the different people and cultures.

0034-02-01 08:52:51

Martyr of Stephen

Stephen was the first martyr recorded in Acts 7. His stoning was began an city wide persecution of Christians in Jerusalem. As a result, many Christians left Jerusalem taking the gospel message to Samaria and other neighboring regions. The church in Antioch became the central location for Paul and the other Apostles.

0045-02-01 08:52:51

Apostle Paul's Missonary Journeys

Apostle Paul's missionary journys included many ports around the mediterranian basin and into the west towards Rome and Spain.

0064-02-01 08:52:51

Tertullian of Carthage

From the North African city of Carthage, Tertullian is best known for writing treatise in defense of the faith. His works are very legal in language which had lead scholars to believe that he was a lawyer in profession.

0064-02-01 08:52:51

Persecution under Nero

A devastating fire broke out in Rome which many believed Nero to have started.

0107-02-01 08:52:51

Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch

As persecution increased into the second century, well established churches were being confronted by imperial authorities. Ignatius, Bishop of the church in Antioch was condemned to death in year 107. He was sent to Rome, so that his martyrdom might be entertainment for the people who were there celebrating a military victory.

0130-02-01 08:52:51

Irenaeus of Lyons

Irenaeus was absolutely concerned with the spiritual well being of those he lead as Pastor. Instructing his flock against heresies and gnosticism. Two of his survivng works, and very much influential are Demostration of Apostolic Preaching and Exposure and Refutation of Knowledge Falsely So-Called.

0144-02-01 08:52:51


Right when gnosticism was trickling itself in to Christianity, the prominet leader Marcion made his appearance in Rome. Marcion was the son of the Bishop of Sinope on the southern coast of the Black Sea. His spent his entire life around the Christian faith. He had a real hatred for Judaism and the material world. He developed a theology that was anti-Jewish and anti-material.

0160-02-01 08:52:51


Gnosticism was a very dangerous movement to the interpretation of early Christianity. The general idea of gnosticism was that it said that knowledge or knowing was the way to spiritual freedom. Knowldege that could only come from a spiritual messager to give us the knowledge. One might see how this could easily find its way in to biblical thought. As a result of Gnosticism, many signifcant writers and apologist wrote against the gnostic herasies.

0160-02-01 08:52:51

Clement of Alexandria

Clement was a apologetic scholar. He was not a pastor like Irenaeus, but rather his mission was to reach pagan people that they might see Christianity not as a silly superstition.

0165-02-01 08:52:51

Rise of the Apologist- Just the Martyr

There was no real systematic persecution of Christians at this time. It was illegal to practice Christianity howevver no one was condemned unless accursed and brought before the courts. Christianity was such a different kind of faith (obstaining from worldly and social pleasurse, communion ritual, etc), that it was an easy target for slander and twisting. Justin was one of the first to defend the Christian faith. With his martyr came great encouragement and faith for the early Chrisitian community.

0185-02-01 08:52:51

Origen of Alexandria

Origen was a discplie of Clement of Alexandria. Raised in a Christian family from birth, Origen ran a school of Chrisitan philosophy similar to some of the great classical philosophers. Complied the Hexapla- a combination of Hebrew text, and a Greek transliterationof the Hebrew text- a useful tool that helped other pronounce the ancient language. He also added a system of symbols indicating variants, omissions, and additions. He also wrote a number of commentaries on different books of the bible.

0251-02-01 08:52:51


Sabellius taught that God was indivisible, with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being three modes or manifestations of one divine Person. A Sabellian modalist would say that the One God successively revealed Himself to man throughout time as the Father in Creation; the Son in Redemption; and the Spirit in Sanctification and Regeneration.

0263-05-01 21:27:33


was a Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist. He became the Bishop of Caesarea in Palestine about the year 314. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon

0296-02-01 08:52:51

Athanasius of Alexandria

Best known for his leading role at the council of Nicea, Athanasius was premier in defining orthodox theology. Many of his works have been very helpful to the church for many years.

0303-02-01 08:52:51

Persecution under Diocletian

Up until the year 303 there was no set systematic laws prohibiting the practice of Christianity. Most were only punished if accused. Diocletian divided the power of the empire with 2 other emperors of 3 sub-emperors, one of whom was named Galerius. Galerius was very prejudiced against Christians. He convinced Diocletian who held absolute power to enact laws against the faith. They were required to sacrafice to the pagan gods, they were not able to have liturature or scripture that promoted Christianity, and they destroyed their churches and meeting places. Every step was taken to force Christians to denounce their faith. Some complied, but many were martyred. This would be recorded as the worst times of persecution in the empire.

0306-11-01 13:24:51


Constantine rose to power after his battle with Maxientius, and eventually put an end to the gruesome persecution originally established by Diocletian and later continued by Galerius.

0313-02-01 08:52:51

Edict of Milan

The Edict of Milan was an agreement between Constantine and Licinus to treat Christians benevolently and fairly. This was the end of the persecution and the beginning of the imperial Church.

0313-02-01 08:52:51

Arian Controversy

if the Father begat the Son, he that was begotten had a beginning of existence: and from this it is evident, that there was a time when the Son was not. It therefore necessarily follows, that he [the Son] had his substance from nothing" This is the foundation how Father Arius interpreted St. Alexander of Alexandria. Arius condemned the idea of the existence of the Trinity.

0325-02-01 08:52:51

The Council of Nicea

The Council of Nicea was the first ecumenical council called by emperor Constantine and the Bishops. It was held as a means to combat the ever increasing popularity of Arianism. The main accomplishment of the council was that it settle the Trinitarian issue of the nature of the Son and his relationship to the Father.

0330-02-01 08:52:51

The Cappadocian Fathers

Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus were the three Cappadocian Fathers that further developed the theology of the Trinity. The sought to, like many others, combat Arianism. They made familiar the termonolgy "one substance (ousia) and three persons (hypostasis)".

0330-05-01 18:42:10

Constantinople Founded

New capital city of the Roman Empire. Founded by Constantine I. This was the place that many of the decisions for the imperial church was made.

0347-02-01 08:52:51

John Chrysostom

Chrysostom is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death in 407 (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek epithet chrysostomos, meaning "golden mouthed" in English, and Anglicized to Chrysostom.

0347-05-01 18:42:10


Jerome was best known for his translation of Scripture into Latin known as the Vulgate.

0354-02-01 08:52:51

Augustine of Hippo

Augustine served as Bishop of Hippo, an African province from 395 to his death in 430. St. Augustine has influenced the church in so many ways. His idea of man's original sin has shaped much of what we believe as Protestants. His works influenced such theologians as Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and John Calvin.

0376-05-01 18:42:10

Cyril of Alexandria

Cyril of Alexandria wrote extensively against the Christian heresies. Most prominent voice at the council of Ephesus. According to Cyril's theology, there were two states for the Son: the state that existed prior to the Son (or Word/Logos) becoming enfleshed in the person of Jesus and the state that actually became enfleshed. Thus, only the Logos incarnate suffered and died on the Cross and therefore the Son was able to suffer without suffering. Cyril's concern was that there needed to be continuity of the divine subject between the Logos and the incarnate Word—and so in Jesus Christ the divine Logos was really present in the flesh and in the world.

0410-05-01 21:27:33

Fall of Rome

0431-05-01 18:42:10

Council of Ephesus

The council of Ephesus was called to combat the Nestorius heresy. Nestorius tried to answer a question considered unsolved: "How can Jesus Christ, being part man, not be partially a sinner as well, since man is by definition a sinner since the Fall". To solve that he taught that Mary, the mother of Jesus gave birth to the incarnate Christ, not the divine Logos who existed before Mary and indeed before time itself. The Logos occupied the part of the human soul (the part of man that was stained by the Fall). But wouldn't the absence of a human soul make Jesus less human? Nestorius rejected this proposition, answering that, because the human soul was based on the archetype of the Logos, only to become polluted by the Fall, Jesus was "more" human for having the Logos and not "less". Consequently, Nestorius argued that the Virgin Mary should be called Christotokos, Greek for "Birth Giver of Christ", and not Theotokos, Greek for "Birth Giver of God". The council decided that Nestorius was incorrect. Although this decision caused a dived or schism among the church.

0451-05-01 18:42:10

Council of Chalcedon

Confirmed that Eutyches ideas and doctrines were heretical. Eutyches ideas called in to question the human nature of Christ, like a reverse idea of Arianism.

0553-05-01 18:42:10

II Council of Constantinople

Basiscally the council affirmed and make plain the hypostatic union of the Son. Christ is two natures, one divine and one human, united in one person with neither confusion nor division.

0680-05-01 18:42:10

III Council of Constantinople

Council called to decide on the idea of monothelitism. Monothelism said that Jesus Christ had two natures but only one will. This is contrary to the more contemporarily accepted Christology that Jesus Christ has two wills (human and divine) corresponding to his two natures. The council ruled that this was heretical.

0787-05-01 18:42:10

II Council of Nicea

The council was organized to discuss the veneration of icons. Initially abolished by Constantine V and the council of Hieria. They decided that the veneration of saints and icons were okay.

0850 BC-02-01 08:52:51

Jewish Diaspora

The Jewish exile from Israel and the Palastine region had huge significace to the development of the Church. This was the first time other nations outside of the Palistinian region who hear and encouther the one true God.

1054-05-01 18:42:10

East-West Schism

The East–West Schism, sometimes known as the Great Schism, is the medieval division of Chalcedonian Christianity into Eastern (Greek) and Western (Latin) branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church, respectively.

1066-02-01 08:52:51

Battle of Hastings

Battle between the Norman and English army.

1066-02-01 08:52:51

Anselm of Canterbury

Anselm sought to understand Christian doctrine through reason and develop intelligible truths interwoven with the Christian belief. He believed that the necessary preliminary for this was possession of the Christian faith. The groundwork of Anselm's theory of knowledge is contained in the tract De Veritate, where he affirms the existence of an absolute truth in which all other truth participates. This absolute truth, he argues, is God, who is the ultimate ground or principle both of things and of thought. The notion of God becomes the foreground of Anselm's theory, so it is necessary first to make God clear to reason and be demonstrated to have real existence.

1079-02-01 08:52:51


Amazing theologian in his own right, Abelard was known as the undisputed philosoper. His most influential contribution was having fixed more decisively than anyone before, the scholastic manner of philosophizing, with the object of giving a formally rational expression to received ecclesiastical doctrine

1090-02-01 08:52:51

Benard of Clarvaux

One of Benard's contributions to monastism was reinstituting the Lectio Divina. Bernard was instrumental in re-emphasizing the importance of Lectio Divina and contemplation on Scripture within the Cistercian order.[25] Bernard had observed that when Lectio Divina was neglected monasticism suffered. Bernard considered Lectio Divina and contemplation guided by the Holy Spirit the keys to nourishing Christian spirituality.

1095-05-01 18:42:10

The Crusades

The Crusades were a series of religious expeditionary wars blessed by Pope Urban II and the Catholic Church, with the stated goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem. The crusaders comprised military units of Roman Catholics from all over western Europe, and were not under unified command. The crusades would last for nearly 300 years.

1099-05-01 18:42:10

Crusaders capture jerusalem

1128-02-01 08:52:51

Knights Templar

Officially endorsed by the Catholic Church around 1129, the Order became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with a red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. Non-combatant members of the Order managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, innovating financial techniques that were an early form of banking, and building fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.

1144-03-01 17:50:11

Siege of Edessa

The County of Edessa was the first of the crusader states to be established during and after the First Crusade. It was also the most northerly, the weakest, and the least populated; as such, it was subject to frequent attacks from the surrounding Muslim states ruled by the Ortoqids, Danishmends, and Seljuk Turks. Zengi, ruler of Monsul, surrounded the city and finally breached the walls. The troops stormed the city and brutally massacre many Latins and Christians alike.

1187-02-01 08:52:51

Fall of Jerusalem

The fall or often referred to as the seige of Jersualem fell victum to attack from Saladin. The citizens who were left in the city were only allowed to leave if they paid a ransom. Those who could not pay their ransom were eventually sold into slavery. With the defeat of Jerusalem it signaled the end of the first Kingdom of Jerusalem.

1225-02-01 08:52:51

Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas was an immensly infulential philospher and theologian. Thomas is held in the Catholic Church to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood, and indeed the highest expression of both natural reason and speculative theology. The study of his works, according to papal and magisterial documents, is a core of the required program of study for those seeking ordination as priests or deacons, as well as for those in religious formation and for other students of the sacred disciplines. He has influenced individuals such as Luther, and Calvin. His work on the Nature of Jesus Christ is eloquent and worthy of serious study.

1320-04-01 01:00:39

John Wycliffe

John was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher,[1] translator, reformer and university teacher at Oxford in England, who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. Wycliffe was also an early advocate for translation of the Bible into the common language. He completed his translation directly from the Vulgate into vernacular English in the year 1382, now known as Wycliffe's Bible

1423-02-01 08:52:51

End of the Great Schism

1453-02-01 08:52:51

Fall of Constantinople

The capture of Constantinople (and two other Byzantine splinter territories soon thereafter) marked the end of the Roman Empire, an imperial state which had lasted for nearly 1,500 years. It was also a massive blow to Christendom, and the Ottomans thereafter were free to advance into Europe without an adversary to their rear. After the conquest, Mehmed made Constantinople the Ottoman Empire's new capital. Several Greek and non-Greek intellectuals fled the city before and after the siege, migrating particularly to Italy. It is argued that they helped fuel the Renaissance. Some mark the end of the Middle Ages by the fall of the city and empire

1483-02-01 08:52:51

Martin Luther

Luther was born in 1483 in Eislenben Germany. Most of his life was lived in sever austuity. In 1505, Luther joined the Augustinian Monastery. Led to the monastery by hos concern for his own salvation. Having obtained a degree in theology, and slowly walking through the Psalms and Romans, he began to see scripture in a different light.

1509-07-01 10:32:34

John Calvin

was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Best known for his work in Geneva. Calvin was a tireless polemic and apologetic writer who generated much controversy. In addition to the Institutes, he wrote commentaries on most books of the Bible, as well as theological treatises and confessional documents. He regularly preached sermons throughout the week in Geneva. Calvin was influenced by the Augustinian tradition, which led him to expound the doctrine of predestination and the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation.

The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Reformation and the Reformation to Modern Day

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