CHURCH HISTORY PART I THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES HISTORY BEGINS WITH B.C. = Before Christ A.D. = Anno Domini (Nostri Iesu Jesu Christi) "In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ" 2 WHY IS THE BIRTH OF CHRIST IMPORTANT? 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as
sons. (Gal. 4:4-5) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2) 3 THE LIVING BODY Christ Himself wrote nothing, but furnished endless material for books and songs of gratitude and praise. The living Church is His book. 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with
ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. (2 Cor. 3:2,3) 4 WHAT IS TRADITION? Tradition the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example or by writing from one generation to another. 1 John 1:1-5 SCRIPTURE VS. TRADITION The church Wrote the scriptures Kept the scriptures
Interpreted the scriptures Sola scriptura (Latin "by scripture alone") is the doctrine that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. 6 TRADITION Orthodox spirituality is meant to be passed down from generation to generation. Chris t
gave Apostles preached Church Fathers and Ecumenical Councils 7 ST. ATHANASIUS THE APOSTOLIC "Let us look at the very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic [Universal] Church from the very beginning, which the Logos [Jesus Christ] gave, the
Apostles preached, and the Fathers preserved. Upon this the Church is founded. MAJOR EVENTS IN 1ST CENTURY ~30-33AD Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord, Pentecost ~32-35 Martyrdom of St. Stephen and conversion of Saul of Tarsus 35 Birth of St. Ignatius. His letters to churches and to St. Polycarp are widely quoted in the early church ~48 1st Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15) 51 The Jewish persecution of Christians in Rome becomes so disruptive that the Jews are expelled from the city NT written between ~50 - ~95 9
MAJOR EVENTS IN 1ST CENTURY 64 Emperor Nero blames the fire that destroys much of Rome on the Christians. He persecutes the church ruthlessly, and uses Christians as candles to light his garden. St. Peter and St. Paul martyred during this persecution 68 The end of Nero's reign 69 Birth of St. Polycarp (disciple of St. John the Apostle) 70 destruction of Jewish temple (Matt. 24:2, Mark 13:2, Luke 21:6) 10 MAJOR EVENTS IN 1ST CENTURY 81 Domitian becomes Emperor. As Emperor, he
persecuted both Jews and Christians 96 The end of Domitian's reign and death of St. Clement of Rome. He wrote influential epistles to Corinth. 98 Trajan becomes Emperor. Trajan eventually instituted a policy toward Christians that stayed in effect until the time of Aurelius. His policy was not to seek Christians out, but if they were brought before the authorities they were to be punished, usually executed, for being Christians 100 St. John the Apostle dies 11 MAJOR EVENTS IN 2ND CENTURY 107 St. Ignatius led to Rome and martyred 115 b. Ireneaus, author of Against Heresies, a treatise against the gnostics
130 Conversion of Justin Martyr. One of first apologists 144 Marcion excommunicated for rejecting the Old Testament, rejecting most of the New Testament, and teaching that Christ only appeared to be human (Docetism). 150 Birth of St. Clement of Alexandria. Apologist who used Plato to support Christianity, and tried to reach gnostics by showing that only the Christian had real "gnosis." He helped establish the allegorical method of interpreting scripture. 155 St. Polycarp was martyred in Smyrna by being burned to death. St. Polycarp declared, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?" The only known writings to survive are parts of letters he wrote to the Philippians 12 MAJOR EVENTS IN 2ND CENTURY 156 Possibly the beginning of the Montanist
movement. They were an aescetic movement with apocalyptic visions. They claimed the Spirit spoke directly through their prophets and prophetesses 160 Birth of Tertullian. 161 Marcus Aurelius becomes emperor. He abandoned Trajan's passive approach and actively sought Christians to persecute them throughout the empire 165 St. Justin is martyred 185 Birth of Origen. Pupil of St. Clement of Alexandria, he further develops the allegorical method. 13 MAJOR EVENTS IN 3RD CENTURY 202 Septimus Severus tries to unite the empire under one religion, the worship of the Unconquered Sun. Both Jews and Christians refuse
and are vehemently persecuted 202 St. Irenaeus is martyred 216 Birth of Mani, founder of Manichaeism. He fused Persian, Christian, and Buddhist elements into a major new heresy 225 Death of Tertullian 245 Conversion of St. Cyprian 247 St. Cyprian becomes Bishop of Carthage 14 MAJOR EVENTS IN 3RD CENTURY 249-251 The reign of Decius. He ordered everyone in the empire to burn incense to him. Those who complied were issued a certificate. Those who did not have a certificate were persecuted. Many Christians bought forged certificates, causing a great controversy in the church. St. Cyprian went into hiding during the persecution and ruled the church by letters 251 birth of St. Antony
254 death of Origen 258 St. Cyprian is martyred 263 birth of Eusebius of Caesarea. He was the first church historian. Many works of the early church survive only as fragments in Eusebius's writing 284 The beginning of the Diocletian persecution 286 birth of St. Pachomius, Egyptian pioneer of cenobitic (communal rather than solitary) monasticism ~300 birth of St. Athanasius, the defender of Orthodoxy during the Arian controversy of the fourth century. 15 WHO IS A CHURCH FATHER? HOLINESS ORTHODOX Y
CHURCH ACCEPTANCE Lived a life others can imitate in order to attain the early Churchs spirit (life has to imitate his faith) Examined church life w/o deviation from Orthodox doctrines & ANTIQUIT Y Writings remained consistent with the Churchs beliefs and doctrines
Lived within the time period of the first to the 5th century 16 CHURCH FATHERS BY TIMELINE Three ecumenical councils the Church accepts occurred in this time period as the fathers defended church doctrine from heresies Came into personal contact with the apostles or received instructions
from their disciples APOSTOLIC FATHERS 0 AD 100 AD GOLDEN AGE FATHERS 200 AD APOLOGETI C FATHERS Defended the faith against paganism and
Judaism 300 AD 400 AD 431 AD Council of Ephesus 381 AD Council of Constantinople
325 AD Council of Nicea 17 TRADITION How can I trust tradition? Consensus patrum No father is perfect. No infallibility to ANYONE. The church as a whole, is always preserved in her faith by the Spirit of
God. See St. Vincent of Lerins 18 HOW SHOULD WE USE THE WRITINGS OF THE FATHERS? 1. We must not rely on the writings of a single Father, because no one is capable of acknowledging the truth in its entirety. We only accept the opinion of a Father, if it is in harmony with the Bible and the church tradition. 2. We must not rely on one or more separate quotations from any Father, but rather study all his thoughts and understand the quotations within his whole work. We must also consider the circumstances and the church environment, at that
time. We must not single out one or more quotations to form our own opinion. 19 HOW SHOULD WE USE THE WRITINGS OF THE FATHERS? 3. We must study the meaning of the terms which a Father used. Sometimes they had certain contemporary philosophical or popular concepts of the era. Some Fathers used the same pagan or heretical terms of that time, especially when they wrote to certain worldly groups. They wrote to them, using their (pagan) terms, language and concepts. 4. It is important to study the meaning of some difficult terms by comparing them with the same terms used by their contemporary Fathers.
20 WRITINGS AT THE TIME OF THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS 1. The epistle attributed to Barnabas. 2. The book The Shepherd by Hermas. 3. Two letters: one by Clement of Rome and the other was attributed to him. 4. The seven letters of Ignatius. 5. A letter by Polycarp and an article about his martyrdom. In 1765 Andras Gallandi, in his series Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum, added to them the following works: 6. A letter to Diognetus (author unknown). 7. Experts by Papias of Hieropolis, and the unknown author of the Epistle to Quadratus. 8. In 1873 the Didache or The Lords teachings to the Gentiles as conveyed by the 12 Apostles was discovered. This was added to the
writings of the Apostolic Fathers. Finally, some of the scholars were of the opinion to add what was known as The Apostles Creed to the collection of the writings of the Apostolic 21 Fathers. However, the majority did not agree to this. APOSTOLIC FATHERS THEMES Saw the second coming of Christ as imminent Revealed a deep longing for Christ Provided a unified doctrine that Christ is the Son of God, who is pre-existent, and who collaborated in the creation of the world STYLE
Pastoral in character Closely related in style and content to the New Testament writings, especially to the Epistles Served as connecting links to the time of revelation and the time of tradition and as very important witnesses to the faith 22 APOSTOLIC FATHERS LOCATION Authors belonged to many different regions of the Roman Empire Asia Minor, Syria and Rome
EXAMPLES St. Clement of Rome Smyrna St. Ignatius of Antioch St. Polycarp of 23 APOLOGETIC FATHERS THEMES Challenged paganism and Judaism and the slanderous statements that the Church was a peril to the State Stated the Christian faith was a dominant force for the
maintenance and welfare of the world Exposed the deception and immoralities of pagan religions and demonstrated that the Christian alone has a right understanding of God and universe Defended the unity of God, monotheism, divinity of Christ and resurrection of the body Rebutted philosophers claims for they relied on human reason and contained errors and Christianity possessed absolute truth STYLE Closely related to Greek rhetoric mainly dialogue 24 APOLOGETIC FATHERS
LOCATION Alexandria, Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem EXAMPLES St. Justin the Martyr St. Melito of Sardis 25 GOLDEN AGE FATHERS LOCATION Widely Spread through Asia Minor, Europe
with Alexandria being the seat of high learning EXAMPLES St. Athanasius Chrysostom St. Cyril St. John 26 HOW WERE THESE WRITINGS PRESERVED? Preserved as part of the deposit of faith. It is fit for us to preserve the tradition we have
received from our forefathers without change. (St. Gregory of Nyssa) I am a lover of the true teachings, pursuing the spiritual steps of my Fathers. (St. Cyril of Alexandria) Discipleship Some believers were eager to record the sermons of their spiritual fathers. 27 HOW WERE THESE WRITINGS PRESERVED? Many diaries, memoirs and books were written by pilgrims. Ex. St. John Cassian, Palladius, Rufinus The school of Alexandria attracted many church leaders who transferred its literature to their churches. Translation of Patristic literature, especially from
Greek to Latin, Syriac and Ethiopian. Many Coptic monks and deans of the school of Alexandria visited other countries with the aim of preaching and establishing monasteries. 28 CHURCH FATHERS BY LANGUAGE Greek regarded as the original language EAST But superseded by the following languages in the East Syriac Coptic Armenian WEST
Displaced by Latin in the West 29 OTHER IMPORTANT FATHERS Ante-Nicene Fathers, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers St. St. St.
St. St. St. Basil the Great Gregory of Nyssa Gregory the Theologian Cyril of Jerusalem Jerome Ambrose of Milan 30 SCHOOL OF ALEXANDRIA Alexandria was well known for its many schools Established by St. Mark
Began as a Catechetical school Famous Deans: Clement of Alexandria Origen St. Didymus the Blind St. Dioscorus Revived by Archdeacon Habib Girgis and HH Pope Shenouda III 31
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