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A brief History of the Catholic Church
The 1st CenturyThe beginning
The resurrection of Jesus was the starting point of the Christian faith. Pentecost with the descent of the Holy Spirit enables the first believers to proclaim the Good News. Tiny community of believers spread to countless cities of the Roman Empire within less than a century. First apostles were all Jews and so were the first converts. For a time the Church remained completely Jewish. Followed Jewish customs. Initially they spread the Good News only to the Jewish people. Cornelius (the Gentile) and his family were baptized by St. Peter; a significant event signaling the mission of the Church to all peoples. Stephen, a deacon, was stoned to death and his followers spread the Gospel wherever they went.
St. Paul, formerly Saul the persecutor of Christians, was converted and baptized. After three years of solitude in the desert, he joined the college of the apostles; he made three major missionary journeys and became known as the Apostle to the Gentiles; he was imprisoned twice in Rome and was beheaded there between 64 and 67. He travelled to many places such as Asia Minor, Greece, Iconium,Lystra, Colossaw, Philipi, Thessalonica, Beroea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus. He also wrote many letters called also Epistles to the churches and people of these places.
1st Council of Jerusalem (51 AD)
Uncircumcised Gentles also possessed the Spirit. Peter said : "We believe that they are saved in the same way as we are: through the grace of the Lord Jesus". Paul also argued that to require the Gentiles to practice the Jewish Law would it would be tantamount to saying that faith in the risen Lord Jesus was not enough for salvation; observance of the Law was also necessary. The Church officially shed her exclusive Jewish character and became potentially the Church of all humanity.
Perscution, Martyrdom of Peter and Destruction of the Temple
In the year 64 AD, persecution broke out at Rome under Nero, the emperor said to have accused Christians of starting the fire which destroyed half of Rome.
In the year 64 or 67 AD, martyrdom of St. Peter at Rome during the Neronian persecution. He established his see and spent his last years there after preaching in and around Jerusalem, establishing a see at Antioch, and presiding at the Council of Jerusalem. Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus took place in the year 70 AD.
Death of St John, the Apostle
100 AD : Death of St. John, apostle and evangelist, marking the end of the Age of the Apostles and the first generation of the Church.
By the end of the century, Antioch, Alexandria and Ephesus in the East and Rome in the West were established centers of Christian population and influence.
The 4th Century
Emperor Constantine emerged victory in a battle in 312 AD and he attributed his victory to the help of the Christian God. It was told that on the eve of Constantine's battle, he had a vision of Christ who told him to ornament the shields of his soldiers with the Saviour's mongram - the Greek letters Chi and Rho. "A concise History of the Catholic Church by Thomas Bokenkotter"
Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325 AD)
Its principal action was the condemnation of Arianism, the most devastating of the early heresies, which denied the divinity of Christ. The heresy was authored by Arius of Alexandria, a priest. Arians and several kinds of Semi-Arians propagandized their tenets widely, established their own hierarchies and churches, and raised havoc in the Church for several centuries. The Council contributed to the formulation of the Nicene Creed (Creed of Nicaea-Constantinople).
Canon of Sacred Scritpure
Pope St. Damasus I in 382 AD approved the work of the first Council of Constantinople, accepting St. Athanasiusí list as divinely inspired, and indicated that if any bishop used a list of books inconsistent with the Roman canon he would need a convincing explanation.
The Council of Carthage in 397 AD also reaffirmed The Decree of Damasus.
St Jerome and St Augustine
Between the year 382 and 406 AD, St. Jerome translated the Old and New Testaments into Latin; his work is called the Vulgate version of the Bible.
In 396 AD St. Augustine became bishop of Hippo in North Africa.
The 5th CenturyEcumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 AD,
It defined Theotokos (Bearer of God) as the title of Mary, Mother of the Son of God made Man.
Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD.
Its principal action was the condemnation of Mono-physitism (also called Eutychianism), which denied the humanity of Christ by holding that he had only one, the divine, nature.
The 11th CenturyThe Great Schism
The Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Churches; it marked the separation of Orthodox Churches from unity with the pope started in 1054.
1097-99: The first of several Crusades undertaken between this time and 1265. Recovery of the Holy Places and gaining free access to them for Christians were the original purposes, but these were diverted to less worthy objectives in various ways.
The 13th CenturyBody and Blood of Christ
In 1215, Ecumenical Council of the Lateran (IV) ordered the annual reception of the sacraments of penance and the Eucharist; defined and made the first official use of the term transubstantiation to explain the change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ;
In 1231, Pope Gregory IX authorized establishment of the Papal Inquisition for dealing with heretics. The institution, which was responsible for excesses in punishment, was most active in the second half of the century in southern France, Italy and Germany
The 15th CenturyThe printing Press
In 1456, Gutenberg issed the first edition of the Bible printed from movable type, at Mainz, Germany.
The 16th CenturyMartin Luther and the Reformation Movement
In 1517, Martin Luther signaled the begining of the Reformation by posting 95 theses at Wittenberg. Subsequently, he broke completely from doctrinal orthodoxy in discourses and three published works (1519 and 1520); was excommunicated on more than 40 charges of heresy (1521); remained the dominant figure in the Reformation in Germany until his death in 1546.
The Council of Trent (1545-63)
It issued a great number of decrees concerning doctrinal matters opposed by the Reformers, and mobilized the Counter-Reformation. Definitions covered the Canon of the Bible, the rule of faith, the nature of justification, grace, faith, original sin and its effects, the seven sacraments, the sacrificial nature of the Mass, the veneration of saints, use of sacred images, belief in purgatory, the doctrine of indulgences, the jurisdiction of the pope over the whole Church. It initiated many reforms for renewal in the liturgy and general discipline in the Church, the promotion of religious instruction, the education of the clergy through the foundation of seminaries, etc. Trent ranks with Vatican II as the greatest ecumenical council held in the West.
The 19th CenturyDogma of the Immaculate Conception
Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854
The 20th CenturyPope Pius XII (1939-58)
He condemned communism, proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in 1950, in various documents and other enactments provided ideological background for many of the accomplishments of the Second Vatican Council
Pope John XXIII (1958-63)
His principal accomplishment was the convocation of the Second Vatican Council, the twenty-first ecumenical council in the history of the Church
Ecumenical Council of the Vatican (II)(1962-65)
It formulated and promulgated 16 documents - two dogmatic and two pastoral constitutions, nine decrees and three declarations - reflecting pastoral orientation toward renewal and reform in the Church, and making explicit dimensions of doctrine and Christian life requiring emphasis for the full development of the Church and the better accomplishment of its mission in the contemporary world
Pope John Paul II(1978)
Start of Pontificate of Pope John Paul II. Elected 264th pope, first non-Italian in 455 years, first pope ever from Poland, takes name John Paul II in honor of the last three popes
Catechism of the Catholic Church
In 1992, approval of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church was granted.
The 21st CenturyJubilee Year
The Catholic Church celebrated the Holy Year 2000 and the Jubilee; commencement of the third Christian millennium.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II introduced a new set of mysteries of the rosary to the world. The mysteries fill a natural gap in the life of Christ between the Joyful mysteries and the Sorrowful mysteries. Each Luminous mystery sheds light on an important aspect of Christís mission: He is the Son of the Father, a miracle worker, announcer of the kingdom, the transfigured Son of God, and the Living Bread or Eucharistic Real Presence. He is the Light of the World.
Death of Pope John Paul II
April 2, 2005 Dies at home in his apartment while visitors pray and sing in Saint Peterís Square below. His last word: ďAmen.Ē
Pope Benedict 16th
19th April 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected as the new Pope. Ratzinger choose the pontifical name Benedict, which in Latin means "the blessed" in honor of both Pope Benedict XV and Saint Benedict of Nursia.