Community of the Inner Light

To awaken from the nightmare of ignorance.


Scholars estimate there are over two thousand six hundred groups today who lay claim to being the Church, or at least the direct descendants of the Church described in the New Testament.

But for the first thousand years of her history, the Church was essentially one. Five historic Patriarchal centers--Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Alexandria and Constantinople--formed a cohesive whole and were in full communion with each other. There were occasional heretical or schismatic groups going their own way to be sure, but the Church was unified until the 11th century. Then, in events culminating in A.D. 1054, the Roman Patriarch pulled away from the other four, pursuing his long-developing claim of universal headship of the Church.

Today, over a thousand years later, the other four Patriarchates remain intact, in full communion, maintaining that Orthodox apostolic faith of the inspired New Testament record.

33 A.D. Pentecost (A.D. 29 is thought to be more accurate).

49 A.D. Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15) establishes the precedent for addressing church disputes in council. James presides as bishop.

69 A.D. Bishop Ignatious consecrated in Antioch in heart of New Testament era--St. Peter had been the first bishop there. Other early bishops include James, Polycarp and Clement.

95 A.D. Book of Revelation written, probably the last of the New Testament books.

150 A.D. Saint Justin Martyr describes the liturgical work of the Church, centered in the Eucharist. Liturgical worship is rooted in both the Old and the New Testament.

325 A.D. The council of Nicea settles the major heretical challenge to the Christian faith when the heretic Arius asserts that Christ was created by the Father. St. Athanasius defends the eternality of the Son of God. The Arians continue their assault on true Christianity for years. Nicea is the first of Seven Ecumenical (Church wide) Councils.

451 A.D. Council of Chalcedon affirms apostolic doctrine of two natures in Christ.

589 A.D. In the synod in Toledo, Spain, the filioque, asserting that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son is added to the Nicene Creed. This error is later adopted by Rome.

787 A.D. The era of Ecumenical Councils ends at Nicea, with the Seventh Council bringing the centuries old use of icons back into the Church.

988 A.D. Conversion of Russia begins.

1054 A.D. The Great Schism occurs. Two major issues include Rome's claim to a universal papal supremacy and her addition of the filioque clause to the Nicene Creed. The Photian schism (880) further complicated the debate.

1095 A.D. The Crusades begun by the Roman Church. The Sack of Constantinople by Rome (1204) adds to the estrangement between East and West.

1333 A.D. Saint Gregory Palamas defends the Orthodox practice of hesychast spirituality and the use of the Jesus Prayer.

1453 A.D. Turks overrun Constantinople; Byzantine Empire ends.

1517 A.D. Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the door of the Roman Church in Wittenberg, starting the Protestant Reformation.

1529 A.D. Church of England begins pulling away from Rome.

1794 A.D. Missionaries arrive on Kodiak Island in Alaska; Orthodoxy introduced to North America.

1854 A.D. Rome establishes the Immaculate Conception dogma.

1870 A.D. Papal Infallibility becomes Roman dogma.

2004 A.D. Over one thousand years of Orthodoxy in Russia, as Orthodox world-wide maintains fullness of the Apostolic faith.

Copyright 2003-2009 Father Maximus Gregorios
Historical material adapted from "A Time Line of Church History," Conciliar Press, 1989
All Rights Reserved


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