History of Christianity

Constantine the Great

Constantine (27 February 272 - 22 May 337), known as Constantine the Great, were a Roman Emperor and agent of the Christianization of the Roman Empire: Born at Naissus (now Niš in Serbia), the only son of Helena and Flavius Constantius, Constantine was assured a prominent role in Roman politics when Diocletian, the senior Emperor in the Tetrarchy, appointed his father Caesar in 293.

Church History for Orthodox Christians

Some 2,000 years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ directly intervened in human history: Although He is God (together with the Father and the Holy Spirit), He became a man — or, as we often put it, He became incarnate — enfleshed. Mankind, at its very beginning in Adam and Eve, had fallen away from Divine life by embracing sin, and had fallen under the power...

ChristianCouncils | 1. Early Church

Since the beginning of Christian history, designated leaders of Christian communities have from time to time gathered to make authoritative decisions on common teaching and practice: Such gatherings are usually called Councils or Synods. Synod normally designates the gathering of representatives from a local church or a single denomination, as distinct from Council, which usually means a meeting at which representation is intended to be...

ChristianCouncils | 2. Early Ecumenical Councils

The first attempt to gather a body of bishops representing the whole Christian world was the Council called by the emperor Constantine I at Nicaea, in northwest Asia Minor, in the summer of 325 (June 18-August 25). The Council of Nicaea is still recognized as the first ecumenical Christian council and as the model for later authoritative gatherings. Constantine commissioned the 318 bishops near his residence in Nicaea.

ChristianCouncils | 3. Medieval Councils

After the death of Theophilus, the last iconoclastic emperor, in 842, controversy in mid-9th century Constantinople over the manner of reinstating the veneration of images led to the forced abdication of the patriarch Ignatius (c. 798-877) in 858 and to the appointment of the learned civil servant Photios (c. 810-893), a layman, as his successor. Tension between Rome and Constantinople grew, both over the role...

ChristianCouncils | 4. Age of Reformation

Conciliarism had died as a practical force in the Roman Church with the end of the Council of Basel. The Renaissance papacy continued to grow in power and wealth, although throughout Europe the demand for “reform in head and members” continued to grow as well. Paul III called a council at Mantua in 1537, for which Luther prepared the theses that were later accepted by...

ChristianCouncils | 5. Modern Era

As the spirit of political revolution and scientific positivism swept through European culture in the mid-19th century, however, Catholic interest in a general council that would confront these attacks on religious tradition and give confident expression to the Church’s teaching again grew. Pius IX appointed a commission to prepare for such a Council in 1865 and opened it solemnly - as the First Vatican Council...