The Growth of the early Church Student Number

The Growth of the early Church
Student Number : 14301751
Name and Surname: Masilu MoshabelaDepartment : Church History and polity
Faculty : Theology
Degree : BTh (Bachelor in Theology)
School : University Of Pretoria
Lecture : Dr. Wim Dreyer
Table of contentsTable of Contents
TOC o “1-3” h z u Table of contents PAGEREF _Toc449653620 h 1DECLARATION PAGEREF _Toc449653621 h 1Introduction PAGEREF _Toc449653622 h 3Factors that contributed to the growth of the early Church PAGEREF _Toc449653623 h 4Liturgical development of the early Church PAGEREF _Toc449653624 h 5Numerical growth of the early Church PAGEREF _Toc449653625 h 7Areas in which Christianity grew PAGEREF _Toc449653626 h 8The doctrine of the early church PAGEREF _Toc449653627 h 9Institutional model of the early Church growth PAGEREF _Toc449653628 h 11Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc449653629 h 12Appendix 1 PAGEREF _Toc449653630 h 13Appendix 2 PAGEREF _Toc449653631 h 14Bibliography PAGEREF _Toc449653632 h 16

DECLARATIONTOPIC: The Growth of the early Church
I Masilu Mohale Moshabela, (student number) 14301751 hereby
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4. I did not allow and will not allow anybody to copy my work with the intention of presenting it as his or her own work.

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DATE: 30/04/2016
The rise and great growth of the early Church stands as a hallmark in the history of the Christian church. Scholars have for a while tried to understand and rationalize this development especially the social and political factors that contributed to the Edict of Milan by Emperor Constantine which institutionalized the early church. This move has received a lot of criticism by modern scholars and can be regarded as the worst mistake by the church especially paying close attention to the aftermath of this Edict.
Christianity’s ability to stand through the test of time resilient and survive through persecutions, regime changes and other societal and political negative factors in the past 2 millenniums has produced a faith that is deeply treasured by billions in the post-modern era. The threat to its very existence only deepened its values and principles in the lives of people throughout our known history. The development and growth of the early Church is a very crucial part of history since it paves a way for our faith today especially the standard of Catholicity CITATION Phi77 l 1033 (Miles, 1977).

The growth of the church began long before The Edict of Milan and the Great Persecution. There are many reasons and factors that caused the growth of Christianity throughout this history which is all centralized on the values and morals preached and lived by Jesus. Wherever Christians went, there was always a social revolution which ultimately resulted in a political revolution and change in regimes.
Today, many political systems, constitutions, cultural and traditional spheres of society have been largely impacted and are primarily founded on these values. The very concept of humanism is based on these values of love, care and selflessness which was very central and even to this day remain central in the message of Jesus Christ.

Therefore it is also very important for the post-modern church to reflect on this history to ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past and at the same time, take careful note of the very image of Christ that we portray and our role in the post-modern society. In order for this to be, we have to be able to answer some questions about this particular history: What were the liturgical developments of the early church? What was the numerical growth of the early church? What were the factors that contributed to the growth of the early church? What was the doctrine of the early church? What was the institutional model of the church’s growth and the church in Antioch?
Therefore, in this essay, we attempt to answer these questions using various approaches and scholarly point of views and thus come to a conclusion.

Factors that contributed to the growth of the early ChurchThe rapid growth of Christianity plays a very significant role in the history of the social and political features of the Roman society. Eusebius and other scholars place emphasis on the conversion of Emperor Constantine as the turning point in the history of the church which is the production of the Christian majority. However, this theory is seriously disputed by the growth of Christianity as a pure result of the constant rate. Eusebius’s theory can be criticized because of his relationship with Emperor Constantine. As long as there were no external factors influencing the constant rate, the conversion of Emperor Constantine becomes a result of the wave of expansion and does not become its cause CITATION Rod96 p 10 l 1033 (Stark, 1996, p. 10).
One of the major factors in influencing the growth of the church is a unifying common language. This was mostly common in cities especially in India and Italy. Alexander the Great established Greek as a common language. This is one of the languages that was used mostly in the spreading of Christianity. Language played a very vital role in the growth of the early church especially in terms of literature like the reading of Old Testament scrolls and letters from the Apostles to the churches. Missionaries to different parts of the Empire were provided entry and hospitality by the Jews who spread into those areas. This also helped establish churches all over the Empire CITATION Phi77 p 68-70 l 1033 (Miles, 1977, pp. 68-70).
The early Christians took every opportunity to share the gospel and even used synagogues as centres for evangelism. The atmosphere of people engaging in the brutality of entertainment and public games and intimate fellowship provided by the newly-popular Eastern religious cults prepared the people to receive the gospel. The spreading of the gospel didn’t solely depend on the priests or missionaries, but every Christian played their role in spreading the gospel wherever they were. Everybody was involved in spreading the gospel. Factors such as the exclusiveness of Christianity, recognition of one message of salvation, one God and one Saviour attracted certain classes to the faith. This doctrine thus contributed in the expansion of the early church CITATION Phi77 p 68-70 l 1033 (Miles, 1977, pp. 68-70).
The burying of the dead where plagues struck, looking after the widowed and orphaned, receiving of strangers into their homes, treating fellow countrymen with respect and dignity and many other deeds of the Christians caught the attention of the unbelievers and often people converted to the faith after experiencing or witnessing such kindness and love. This ultimately led to a religious and societal revolution throughout the empire and ultimately contributed to the rapid growth of the early church.

Liturgical development of the early ChurchThe early church experienced some very significant and peculiar liturgical developments during its growth with the Roman Empire because it was largely a liturgical community itself. Liturgies were central in their faiths. The church’s understanding of God, salvation and its relations with the world around them where largely portrayed by their liturgical life. After the Edict of Milan, large numbers of people were being born again because they had the freedom to express their faiths. Some of the early church’s practices that caused them to convert was their liturgical life. These practices were not adopted from pagan practices but from Judaism. The Old Testament was now understood within the context of Jesus as the Messiah CITATION Pil91 p 24-25 l 1033 (Frank, 1991, pp. 24-25).

Some eastern mystery cults provided Christianity with practices that enabled the church to express itself especially among gentiles. This was central in the spread of Christianity because a very large portion of the Christian community had gentile origins. This made it possible for the gentiles to be able to see what Christianity was about and found common ground with the religion. The following are features of a liturgical tradition:
Synaxis – Service of the synagogue.

Liturgy of time – Structure of liturgical cycles.

A synagogue service were a scripture was read and explained is called a synaxis. It was joined together with the Eucharist celebration creating what is called the Catholic Worship. This is a model of service followed by both the eastern and western churches CITATION Pil91 p 24-25 l 1033 (Frank, 1991, pp. 24-25).
The early church also shared some common traditions with the Jewish community. Judaism was more like a foundation base for the early church. Just like the Jews, the Christians developed traditions of daily sacrifices and prayer which became known as the liturgy hours. Even in the Didache, we find instructions to observe certain practices similar to those of the Jews. Didache (8:3) instructs Christians to participate in prayer 3 times a day which is similar to the Jewish tradition of praying. The calendar of the early church, also known as liturgical cycles or church year, mirrored the Jewish celebrations of Passover and Pentecost. The Didache (8:1) instructs Christians to observe weekly cycles of fasting but on different days to those of the Jews. The Origins of the Lent fast are found in Didache (7:4).
The liturgical day for the early church was Sunday. It was also called the following:
Known as the Lords day
The 1st day of the week
The day of Christ’s resurrection
The day of Eucharistic celebration
Also regarded as the 8th day
The final eschatological day
The day of the new creation
This mirrors the Jewish apocalyptic tradition. Scholars believe that it was adopted by the early church which is also in line with the day of the resurrection of the Lord, a belief central to the Christian faith. Some of the practices that had been stopped because of the widespread persecution of Christians were reintroduced to the church. As of the mid-second century, celebrations and anniversaries of martyrs were observed. In the first 3 centuries, there seemed to be no distinction of praying for the dead and asking prayers of the dead CITATION Pil91 p 24-25 l 1033 (Frank, 1991, pp. 24-25).
The institutionalization of the church by Emperor Constantine brought many challenges and developments to the liturgical church. The biggest change was not necessarily in the shape or structure of the liturgies but more in the church’s understanding of liturgy. Before institutionalization, liturgies were understood as the revelation of the church as the body of Christ which already belonged to the kingdom of God. After institutionalization, this practice attracted a lot of attention and interest from the masses of those who were newly converted every day. These traditions largely influenced the transformation of the Empire into a Christian state. This prompted further developments of certain basic liturgical processes CITATION Pil91 p 36-37 l 1033 (Frank, 1991, pp. 36-37).
St John Chrysostom and St Basil the Great formulated and developed respectively the ceremonies and liturgies of the church due to new favourable circumstances. As a result, daily, weekly and annual liturgical cycles became increasingly complicated. Feasts and fasts were universally accepted now as part of the church life. The following are some of the changes that occurred:
The establishment of the forty-day lent fast and the Easter feast.

The separation of the Nativity of Christ celebration from the feast of Theophany (Epiphany).

The expression of the devotion to Mary as Virgin and Mother of God in the new Marian festivals of the 6th century.

There was also a great growth in hymnody. The main liturgical chant which contributed to the growth of liturgical hymnody was biblical psalmnody. This Constantinian church experienced great developments in liturgical practices CITATION Pil91 p 36-37 l 1033 (Frank, 1991, pp. 36-37).

Numerical growth of the early ChurchYear (AD) Number of Christians % of Roman population (60 million)
40 1 000 0.0017
50 1 400 0.0023
100 7 530 0.0126
150 40 496 0.07
200 217 795 0.36
250 1 171 356 1.9
300 6 299 832 10.5
350 33 882 008 56.5
Christian growth 40-350 AD projected at 40% per decade CITATION Rod96 p 7 l 1033 (Stark, 1996, p. 7).

Ancient history is still not easy to deal with especially with statistics CITATION Pie90 p 12 l 1033 (Chuvin, 1990, p. 12). Nevertheless, Stark tries to quantify by possible arithmetic means the expansion of the early church. Origen points out that in the middle of the 3rd century, there were just a few Christians in the population. Six decades later, there were so many of them that Emperor Constantine had to embrace the church. Some scholars believe that the embracing of the church by Emperor Constantine is more political than spiritual. However, 60 million is a widely accepted figure for the Roman Empire population. This means that there were 6 million Christians at the start of 4th century if Christianity grew by 40% per decade. The last half of the 3rd century saw a rapid growth of Christianity CITATION Rod96 p 7-9 l 1033 (Stark, 1996, pp. 7-9).
Most studies done on the early church movement focused on the rapid growth it experienced due to a variety of factors. At the time of Constantine’s conversion, Edward Gibbon (1960:187) estimates the Christian population to being no more than a twentieth part of the subjects of the empire. Erwin Goodenough (1931) makes an estimation of the Christian population to be at 10% of the empire by the time of Constantine. Therefore there seems to be different figures presented by different scholars, however the data provided in the table above are figures widely accepted as the most plausible rate in which Christianity actually grew during the first several centuries CITATION Rod96 l 1033 (Stark, 1996).

The renovations of Christian homes to accommodate more worshipers before 180 AD is evidence of the growing Christian population but also contested by Snyder. According to him, it was impossible to distinguish Christians from non-Christians in funerary art, inscriptions, letters, symbols and buildings because it took over a century for the Christians to develop a distinctive mode of expression CITATION Gra85 p 2 l 1033 (Snyder, 1985, p. 2). Scholars like Harnack, Boaks and Meeks have come to a consensus that the Christian proportion of the population was substantially higher in cities than in rural areas. This is because of the term paganus or countryman which referred to non-Christians in 200 AD. If growth held at 40% per decade for the first half of the 4th century in an empire of 60 million, there would have been 33 million by 350 AD CITATION Rod96 p 4-12 l 1033 (Stark, 1996, pp. 4-12).The image in the appendix 1 (Figure 1) shows a dot density map featuring the growth of the church in the first 3 centuries.
Areas in which Christianity grewThe Christian faith was the most rapidly growing religion in the Mediterranean, but its membership was still relatively small amounting to only 2% the Empire’s total population by 250 AD. During the middle of the 3rd century, Christian homes were remodelled into house Churches where it was completely devoted to religious functions and domestic activities ceased. The removal of partition walls to enlarge the meeting area indicating the need for more space to accommodate more worshippers where some of the renovations that were done in remodelling these homes into house churches. These buildings served a vital role in the church network and were some of the resources that contributed to the spreading of Christianity CITATION Rod96 p 8 l 1033 (Stark, 1996, p. 8).
The growth and development of Christianity is difficult to trace in the Roman provinces of North Africa. However there seems to be a rapid expansion along the eastern Mediterranean coastal cities and the hinterlands of Asia Minor. There is very little evidence available of Christianity in the cities of Palestine before 300 AD. Cotiaeum and Eumeneia in Phrygia, at Orkistos, a village in the territory of pagan Nacolea, also in Phrygia, and at Maiuma, the seaport of Gaza are some of the cities where Christianity was mainly dominant. The estimation of Harnak of the population of the Christian community in the Roman Empire is 10 000 at 175 AD which is consistent with that of Stark of 40 496 at 150 AD CITATION Fra06 p 306-312 l 1033 (Trombley, 2006, pp. 306-312).
The early church drew its membership in Rome from mainly the artisans, freedmen and slaves working in imperial households in the time of Commodus, Septimius Severus and their successors. When tetrarchy was coming to its end, there were Christians in every sector of the economy, culture and society. The true nature of the demographics of Christianity remain debatable with different scholars proposing different figures. The fifty year period of 250-300 AD saw a decline of pagan offerings in pagan temples according to Johannes Geffcken. Based on Geffcken’s analysis, W. H. C. Frend concluded that this 50 year period also saw an expansion of Christianity which ultimately provoked the tetrarchy into launching the great persecution CITATION Fra06 p 306-312 l 1033 (Trombley, 2006, pp. 306-312).
The growth of the church was not only geographical, but social too. Christianity was represented in all parts of the Roman Empire by the end of the Diocletian period (284-305). Asia Minor, Egypt, Syria, North Africa, and central Italy where areas in which large concentrations of Christians were found during the Diocletian period. Christianity had a successful support from the rural peasant populations particularly in Egypt and North Africa CITATION Wil86 p 118 l 1033 (Walker, Norris, Lotz, & Handy, 1986, p. 118).

The doctrine of the early churchThere seems to have been a rise in teachings of missiology or evangelism and selflessness during the rapid expansion of Christianity. The doctrine of the early church was a doctrine that the Christians lived and practiced without fear of prejudice and persecution. We see this with the Christians dedication into preaching of the gospel to unbelievers everywhere they went. The Christians lifestyle reflected strongly on their doctrinal beliefs.
The expansion of Christianity is centred on its ability to reform and renew itself. Early Christians have always had a deep tremendous impulse to evangelize, preach the gospel of forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ and other doctrinal teachings. These were new teachings in their various societies. They introduced a new standards of ethical code, the ability to live up to that code and the doctrine of life after death. In every doctrine, one message always resonated which is love for other people more than themselves. This is the very message central to the Christian faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Early converts like Justin Martyr were drawn to convert to the faith because of the love observed among Christians CITATION Phi77 p xii l 1033 (Miles, 1977, p. xii).
There is no specific reference in the early church of infant baptism and in the New Testament accept for Acts 16:15, 33; 1 Corinthians 1:16 which are scriptures used to justify infant baptism. There are scriptures where entire families were baptised and scholars believe that it is also symbolic of the Jewish tradition of circumcision. The practice had been normalized in the 3rd and 4th centuries. This practice is in line with the many other traditions that they imitated from the Jewish tradition. However, we also have scholars who oppose the practice like Tertullian and Karl Barth CITATION McG11 p 420-421 l 1033 (McGrath, 2011, pp. 420-421).
The Patristic Period is a very interesting time for Christian Theology. The early church saw the introduction of a number of doctrines like the doctrine of the trinity. The central theme of this doctrine is the interpretation of God in three persons namely; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. They exists co-equality within the Godhead; equal in status and in divinity. This was established in Christological debates leading to the Council of Nicea (refer to appendix 2). St Athanasius and St Basil of Caesarea established the divinity of the Holy Spirit in the Aftermath of the Council of Nicea. The western church associated with St Augustine of Hippo’s position on the interpretation of the doctrine while the Greek and Russian Orthodox Church associated more with The Cappadocian Fathers position CITATION McG11 p 17-18 l 1033 (McGrath, 2011, pp. 17-18).
The Donatist controversy is one of the theological debates associated with St Augustine of Hippo and links with the western church. This is the major question of the holiness of the church. Donatists were a group of African Christians from what is today known as Algeria who opposed the expansion of the influence of the Roman Church in North Africa. They had strong beliefs that the church were a body of saints and no place for sinners. During the persecutions carried out under the rule of Emperor Diocletian, it was illegal to be in possession of scriptures thus many Christians handed their copies in to the authorities. In the dawn of the Constantinian era where persecution died down, many Christians re-joined the church. The Donatists, however, demanded exclusion because of the theology of the church which emphasised that church is a body of both saints and sinners which was similar to St Augustine of Hippo’s arguments. This completely contradicted their beliefs. The Donatist debate was a stepping stone for the introduction of a doctrine of the church known as ecclesiology. Most of these arguments also resurfaced during the reformation when ecclesiological issues resurfaced. Other doctrines like the doctrine of grace (the pelagian controversy) came to the forth too CITATION McG11 p 18 l 1033 (McGrath, 2011, p. 18).
One of the very first doctrines established by the early church and is central to the Christian faith is the question of the divinity of Christ. The concept of Christ being different from other human beings still needed further exploration and explanation. A form of reduced Christology which gained popularity in the early centuries broadcasted by a Jewish sect considered Jesus as an ordinary man, the son of Mary and Joseph. This was passed into oblivion by opponents to it. Docetism, an argument that Christ was absolutely divine and that His human form was merely an appearance. Justin Martyr was of the view that Christianity was a product of insights of Classical Greek and Judaism CITATION McG11 p 273 l 1033 (McGrath, 2011, p. 273).

St Augustine of Hippo, St Irenaeus of Lyons, St Tertullian, St Justin Martyr, St Origen, St Cyprian of Carthage, St Athanasius and The Cappadocian Fathers are some of the earliest developers and key theologians of the many doctrines from the Patristic Period that brought the church together. Doctrines such as; the theology of the relation of Christianity and secular culture, theodicies of the problem of evil, The Holy Spirit, the Triune God and other doctrines that were introduced to the early church. They shaped the ideals of the many early Christians CITATION McG11 p 10-11 l 1033 (McGrath, 2011, pp. 10-11).

Institutional model of the early Church growthChristianity’s expansion in five centuries caused it to become the most dominant and influential religions in the Roman Empire. Despite the many criticisms and unanswered questions, the early church remains a mysterious but important topic for research especially its rapid growth. Rodney Stark’s description of the church as a movement with certain social boundaries coupled with the high birth rate, contributed to the rapid growth of the early church in the first 3 centuries. The Stark assumed that by 350 AD, the majority of the Roman Empire’s population would affect the development of missional ecclesiology CITATION Wim12 p 1 l 1033 (Dreyer, 2012, p. 1).

A.M. Schor has developed four models in which Wim Dreyer adds an additional model to try and explain the institutional model of the growth of the early church. The first model is called the apostolic mission model. This is based on the assumption that no one can convert to any religion without going through a process of being convinced. People converted to Christianity in the early church because at some stage in their lives, they were convinced by someone to do so. This was mostly a common practice by travelling healers as mentioned in the Didache. Teachers had to earn the trust of God’s people by their teaching and their conduct. These characteristics were also used to distinguish false teachers from true teachers. Travelling healers were technically missionaries. Their contribution to the missionary expansion of the church was of paramount importance. In some places, teaching and healing ministries were often connected. The principle was that the healers of this world heal the flesh, but physicians of the soul heal the heart and soul. Schor concludes that by the year 350, there Christian population in the Roman Empire stood at 15.8 million CITATION Wim12 p 2-3 l 1033 (Dreyer, 2012, pp. 2-3).

Christianity also demonstrated some social values. According to the values of the reproduction model, it was these values of Christian love expressed practically by Christians that attracted people to the faith. The first letter of Clement to the Corinthians (1st Clement) is testimony to the high social conduct that the Christians held themselves to. In time of great famine and pestilence, Christians would ensure the dignified burial of the dead and the feeding of the hungry. Christian communities, in their diversity, were defined by their values. People would associate with the church because of these values that they displayed along with the very nature and identity of Christ. The sanctity of life was of utmost importance to the early church. This ultimately directly influenced the birth rate CITATION Wim12 p 3 l 1033 (Dreyer, 2012, p. 3).

The social reaction model refers to group relations. How Christians and none-Christians socialised with each other. Some none-Christians converted after ordinary social contact with Christians. Early Christians were not afraid to associate and eat with the social outcasts. After conversion, slave masters would even free their slaves and the freed slaves would also convert. Some of these freed slaves ultimately became bishops. In most families, it was women who were the first to respond to Christianity then their husband would follow. Some would say this was because there were no rights for women and it was in the church were they found solace. Monica, the mother of St Augustine of Hippo, is one of the famous mothers of the early church CITATION Wim12 p 4 l 1033 (Dreyer, 2012, p. 4).
The social network model arranges society in a web of overlapping relationships. These are lines of communication connected by a series of nodes or hubs. The nodes were the people. This system made information available not just at the local level, but at a larger sphere through processes put in place. This caused what Bauman and Ward called a ‘liquid society’. These networks can’t give use the exact statistics of the growth of the early church, rather they provide knowledge on the dynamics of that growth. The nucleus provides stability and continuity of missions. Therefore travelling teachers and healers were essential in the running of these networks that connected Christian communities across the Roman Empire CITATION Wim12 p 5 l 1033 (Dreyer, 2012, p. 5).

The Edict of Milan by Emperor Constantine developed the early church drastically. The church became institutionalised in the state of the Roman Empire. However, this development had direct contribution on the rapid expansion of the early church. It is currently criticized as a negative development of the early church. Many scholars like GJ Heering describe this transition as the fall of Christianity. The institutionalization of the church was a bad decision which had direct implications of the Christianity in the postmodernistic and post-Christendom era. The freedom of religion granted by Constantine made available a large pool of possibilities for the growth of the early church. This brought a rapid social evolution in the empire. Hospitality primarily as a charitable service for travellers was practiced by entire congregations using corporate funds supplied by the emperor. Church leaders, bishops were favoured by Emperor Constantine and they now had more power and more financial resources to expand the custom of hospitality and more land. They also adjudicated of judicial matters of their areas CITATION Wim12 p 5-6 l 1033 (Dreyer, 2012, pp. 5-6).

ConclusionThe church has a moral obligation not only to its members but also to the community surrounding it. We find ourselves today at a very crucial time where the poor become poorer while the rich grow richer. The role of the church thus is very important. The early church is an example for the church of today, not just in growth but in the social morality of our society. Therefore it’s the study of the growth of the early church is a very important and necessary study and I believe it’s a study that will help the post-modern church reflect on and be reminded of the blood of the saints that its build on.
This history is also to warn us about what the institutionalization of religion can cause on the population. These are mistakes that we ought to learn from and not repeat them.

Appendix 1
Figure 1: CITATION Phi77 p 66-67 l 1033 (Miles, 1977, pp. 66-67) A dot density map of the expansion of Christianity in the first 3 centuries.

Appendix 2Ruler Date Events
Emperor Tiberius 30 AD Pentecost
  35 (St) Stephen, the first matyr  49 Council of Jerusalem
Emperor Nero (54 – 68) and local persecution of Christians 65 (St) Paul martyred
  66 Jerusalem Christians flee to Pella
  60- Didache written
Emperor Domitian (81 – 96) and local persecution    
Emperor Trajan (98 – 117) and local persecutions 107 (St) Ignatius of Antioch martyred
Emperor Hadrian (117 – 138) and local persecutions 110- Surge of Gnosticism
  155 (St) Justin Martyr’s First Apology
  155- Martyrdom of (St) Polycarp
Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180) and local persecutions 160 Marcion dies
  165 (St) Justin Matyred  172 Montanus becomes a Christian
  190 Theodotus of Byzantium brings
    “adoptionism” to Rome.

Emperor Septimus Severus (193-211) and local persecutions 202 A.D. (St) Irenaeus probably martyred
    Early 3rd century Sabellus  215 Clement of Alexandria dies
  235 Tertullian of Carthage dies
  236 (St) Hippolytus of Rome dies
Emperor Decius (249-251) and 1st general persecution of Christians 254 Origen dies
Emperor Valerian (253-260) and general persecution 258 Pope Sixtus II martyred by Gallus (St) Cyprian martyred
  260 Paul of Samosata becomes Bishop of Antioch
Emperor Gallienus issues an edict of toleration. 261  
Emperor Diocletian (258-305) 303  
Late persecution begins    
Galerius’ edict of toleration 311  
Christianity adopted as State religion 301  
Emperor Constantine 312  
Edict of Milam 313  
  325 Council of Nicaea
Foundation of the city of Constantinople (The New Rome) 330  
Emperor Constantine dies 335  
  336 Arlus dies
  346 Pachomius dies
  356 (St) Anthony of Egypt dies
  373 (St) Athanasius dies
  379 (St) Basil of Caesarea dies
Edict of Theodosius 380  
  381 Council of Constantinople
Complete prohibition of paganism in the Roman Empire 391  
Definitive division of the Roman Empire 395 (St) Gregory of Nyssa dies
  396 (St) Augustine Bishop of Hippo
  407 (St) John Chrysostom dies
Old Rome pillaged by Alaric 410  
  413-426 (St) Augustine wrote of the City of God
Figure 2: CITATION Fra91 l 1033 (Frank ; Landman, Perspectives on church history: An introduction for South African Readers, 1991)Timeline from Pentecost until (St) Augustine.

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