Sunday, September 5, 2010

Church Timeline

Picture from Wikipedia

Details of Church Timeline (PDF document)

The above picture and document link present the timeline of the major branches of Christianity in the last 2 millenniums. This timeline study is not exhaustive in both events and research. I have compiled the information from various sources including Wikipedia, OrthoWiki, other websites, and written sources. A qualified Church historian may cringe at what I have done. But I've tried to do as best as I can for the purpose of this document. And for now, it works for me as it is. Feel free to double check on what is written here and if you would be kind, let me know how I can improve, for my sake or otherwise.

The main goals of this document are to illustrate the timeline the New Testament (NT) canon was completed, to list out Apostles and some of the early Church Fathers who have helped transmit the Christian faith in the absence of the written and canonized NT scriptures, to point out the various ecumenical councils that consolidated the understanding of the Christian faith, and to both list out and date the major schisms and church spin-offs in the last two millenniums.

Although the NT was canonized in 397 in the Council of Carthage, it is only written in Greek and Latin. I don't believe that the full set of the NT scripture is widely available to Christians. In Europe, Gutenberg invented printing in 1455. The first Gutenberg Bible is a 2-volume printed Latin version.  The first English Authorized version of the Great Bible - Old Testament, New Testament, and Apocrypha - became available in 1539. King James came out in 1611. When did the Bible become widely available to the believers? I don't know for sure. With printing coming to existence in 1455, with the "first authorized" Bible becoming available after 1539, my best guess is the Bible started to become widely available only in the last 300 years as printed books become commonly affordable. Assuming that this is so, one then has to ask, how did the earlier Christians practise their faith in devotion with so limited access to the Bible?

Different colours mark major events found in this PDF document (and have nothing to do with the colour scheme in the above diagram). The document colour code legend is explained as follows:

Green - Time of the Lord Jesus Christ, His twelve Apostles, and the wider circle of 70 disciples
Yellow - Major Church Councils
Hot Pink - The writing and canonizing of the New Testament
Purple - Church Fathers and Early Apostolic Successors. These Church Fathers generally transmitted the Christian Faith orally and in writings that are not necessarily included in the NT scriptures.
Darker Green - Christianity becomes state religion or becomes tolerated
Blue - Schisms and Church spin-offs

1 comment:

  1. Church timeline was update to include Gregory the Theologian and Gregory of Nyssa in 7th edition of the chronology.