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Timeline of the Catholic Church

As traditionally the oldest form of Christianity, along with the ancient or first millennial Orthodox Church, the non-Chalcedonian or Oriental Churches and the Church of the East,[1] the history of the Roman Catholic Church is integral to the history of Christianity as a whole. It is also, according to church historian, Mark A. Noll, the "world's oldest continuously functioning international institution."[2] This article covers a period of just under two thousand years.

Over time, schisms have disrupted the unity of Christianity. The major divisions occurred in c.144 with Marcionism,[3] 318 with Arianism, 1054 to 1449 (see East–West Schism) during which time the Orthodox Churches of the East parted ways with the Western Church over doctrinal issues (see the filioque) and papal primacy, and in 1517 with the Protestant Reformation. This Church has been the driving force behind some of the major events of world history including the Christianization of Western and Central Europe and Latin America, the spreading of literacy and the foundation of the universities, hospitals, the Western tradition of monasticism, the development of art and music, literature, architecture, contributions to the scientific method, just war theory and trial by jury. It has played a powerful role in global affairs, including the Reconquista, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Investiture Controversy, the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in the late 20th century.

Ministry of Jesus and founding

Byzantine image depicting Jesus as Christ pantocrator
  • The calculations of Dionysius Exiguus put the birth of Jesus in the year that in consequence is called 1 BC, history places his birth some time between 6 and 1 BC.
  • 28 AD: Jesus' baptism, start of ministry, and selection of the Apostles. The Gospel of Luke indicates that Christ was baptized during the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar which is dated in 28 AD (found in Luke 3:1,21,22). Christian Gospels strongly suggest Peter as leader and spokesman of the Apostles of Jesus, being mentioned the most number of times in the Gospels. Peter, and the sons of Zebedee, James and John, constitute the inner circle of the Apostles of Jesus, being witnesses to specific important events of the life of Jesus; preachings of Jesus, such as the Sermon on the Mount; and performance of miracles, such as raising the dead back to life, feeding five-thousand, walking on water, etc.
  • 30 AD: Peter declares and other followers believe Jesus of Nazareth to be the Jewish Messiah promised by Yahweh according to the Jewish Scriptures and the predictions of the Hebrew prophets. Entry into Jerusalem, start of Passion of Christ. Jesus of Nazareth is crucified in Jerusalem under Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea during the reign of Tiberius and Herod Antipas, after the Sanhedrin, under the High Priest Caiaphas, accuse Jesus of blasphemy. He was then crucified under Pontius Pilate. According to his followers, three days later, "God raised him from the dead". Forty days after his resurrection (Ascension), the Christian Gospels narrate that Jesus instructed His disciples thus: "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of time." (Matthew 28:18–20). Ten days later (Pentecost) Peter makes the first sermon converting 3,000 to be baptized.

Early Christianity

  • 52 AD: Traditional arrival of St. Thomas to Kerala, the Apostle in India.
The Crucifixion of Saint Peter (1601) by Caravaggio
  • 64 AD: The Neronian Persecution begins under Nero after the great fire of Rome. Martyrdom of Saint Peter. Persecution of Christians continues intermittently until 313 AD.
  • 67 AD: Martyrdom of Saint Paul outside of Rome. Pope Linus becomes the first official pope.
  • 68 AD: Neronian Persecution ends with the suicide of Nero.
  • 70 AD: Fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple.
  • 76 AD: Martyrdom of Pope Linus.
  • 110 AD: Ignatius of Antioch uses the term Catholic Church in a letter to the church at Smyrna, in one of the letters of undisputed authenticity attributed to him. In this and other genuine letters he insists on the importance of the bishops in the church and speaks harshly about heretics and Judaizers.
  • 150 AD: Latin translations (the Vetus Latina) from the Greek texts of the Scriptures are circulated among non-Greek-speaking Christian communities.
  • 180 AD: Irenaeus's Adversus Haereses brings the concept of "heresy" further to the fore in the first systematic attempt to counter Gnostic and other aberrant teachings. In the same work, he taught that the most reliable source of apostolic guidance was the episcopacy of Rome.
  • 250 AD: Emperor Decius begins a widespread persecution of Christians in Rome. Pope Fabian is martyred. Afterwards the Donatist controversy over readmitting lapsed Christians disaffects many in North Africa.
  • 312 AD: Emperor Constantine leads the forces of the Roman Empire to victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. Tradition has it that, the night before the battle, Constantine had a vision that he would achieve victory if he fought under the Symbol of Christ; accordingly, his soldiers bore on their shields the Chi-Rho sign composed of the first two letters of the Greek word for "Christ" (ΧΡΙΣΤΌΣ).


Head of Constantine's colossal statue at Musei Capitolini


Justinian I depicted on a mosaic in the church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy


Blessed Charlemagne
Notre-Dame Cathedral – designed in the Gothic architectural style.


Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City



19th century

20th century

21st century

Benedict XVI, the first Pope elected in the 21st century
  • March 5, 2000: Beatification of Pedro Calungsod by Pope John Paul II held at the Vatican is a second Filipino martyred of the Philippines.
  • April 30, 2000 : Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina and designated the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday in the General Roman Calendar, with effect from the following year.
  • January 1, 2001: The 21st century and the new millennium begin. The Church solemnizes the start of the third Christian millennium by extending into part of the year 2001 the jubilee year that it observes at 25-year intervals and that, in the case of the year 2000, it called the Great Jubilee.
  • January 6, 2001: John Paul II issues Novo Millennio Ineunte, a program for the Church in the new millennium, wherein he placed sanctity through a training in prayer as the most important priority of the Catholic Church in consonance with its purpose.
  • January 18, 2002: Former American priest John Geoghan is convicted of child molestation and sentenced to ten years in prison, as part of the ongoing sex abuse scandal. The Geoghan case was one of the worst scandals of the Catholic Church in the USA.
  • 2004: Cambridge University Press publishes Hans Urs von Balthasar's The Cambridge Companion to Hans Urs von Balthasar.
  • April 2, 2005: Pope John Paul II dies at the age of 84. His funeral is broadcast to every corner of the globe through the modern media. Millions of Catholic pilgrims journey to Rome to pay final respects.
  • April 19, 2005: German-born Cardinal Joseph Alois Ratzinger is elected by the College of Cardinals as Pope Benedict XVI, thus becoming the first Pope elected during the 21st century and the 3rd millennium.
  • August 18, 2005: Pope Benedict XVI attends the World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, his first trip outside Italy.
  • January 09, 2006: The 400th Year Anniversary of the Translacion of the Black Nazarene were held at Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila, Philippines was arrival from Acapulco, Mexico since 1606.
  • September 12, 2006: Pope Benedict XVI delivers address on Faith, Reason in University of Regensburg. Benedict maintained that in the Western world, to a large degree, only positivistic reason and philosophy are valid. A concept of reason which excludes the divine, is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures, according to Benedict.[31] He quoted negative views of Emperor Manuel II Paleologus, regarding Islam, which several weeks after it was delivered, created violent reactions among Muslims in several parts of the world.[32][33][34][35][36]
  • June 11, 2007 Pope Benedict XVI reverted the decision of his predecessor regarding papal elections, and restored the traditional two-thirds majority required[37]
  • July 7, 2007: With his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict XVI explicitly allows all priests of the Latin Church to use the 1962 Roman Missal when celebrating Mass privately and, under certain conditions, publicly rather than the post-Vatican II Mass, and expressed the wish that this measure would lead to healing the division between the Society of Saint Pius X and the Catholic Church.
  • October 28, 2007: Pope Benedict XVI authorizes the largest beatification ceremony in Church history involving 498 Spanish Martyrs who were killed during the Civil War in Spain.
  • 2007: James MacMillan composes The Sacrifice. In 1992, he composed Veni, Veni, Emmanuel.
  • May 2008: A solemn declaration agreed on between Pope Benedict XVI and Muslims, led by Mahdi Mostafavi, stressed that genuine religion is essentially non-violent and that violence can be justified neither by reason nor by faith.[38]
  • July 2008: Pope Benedict XVI participates in Sydney Australia in the World Youth Day and announces Spain as the country to host the next one.
  • January 2009: The Holy See remitted the excommunications of the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, which has been criticized for its schimatic nature with the Magisterium.
  • October 11, 2009: Father Damien, a Belgian priest known as the "Apostle of the Lepers," is canonized by Pope Benedict XVI.
  • October 17, 2010: Mary MacKillop, Australian nun of Scottish descent, is canonized by Pope Benedict XVI. She is the first Australian saint to be canonized. Also canonized is Holy Cross lay brother, Andre Bessette of Montreal, Canada, whose efforts and inspiration led to the building of Saint Joseph's Oratory, Montreal.
  • October 21, 2012 Kateri Tekakwitha, Algonquin- Mohawk laywoman known as the "Lily of the Mohawks," is canonized by Pope Benedict XVI.
  • October 21, 2012 Pedro Calungsod, Young Layperson of the Archdiocese of Cebu, Philippines is canonized by Pope Benedict XVI and became the Second Filipino Saint and First Visayan.
  • 2012: Hildegard of Bingen is made a Doctor of the Church.
  • February 2013: Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI
  • March 2013: Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina elected as Pope Francis and is the first Latin American and the first Jesuit to be elected Pope.
  • May 12, 2013 : Pope Francis canonized over 800 Catholics that were killed by Turks in Otranto, 1480. With this he surpassed the record of John Paul II in canonizing the most saints in a pontificate.
  • October 16, - 18, 2013: First Philippine Conference of New Evangelization by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle at the Quadricentennial Pavilion of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila for the video message of Pope Francis.
  • January 15, to 19, 2015: Pope Francis visit to the Philippines for the fourth time of Papal Visit.
  • February 2015 : Charles Maung Bo and Soane Patita Mafi are the first cardinals from Myanmar and Tonga.
  • May 23, 2015: Oscar Romero, the asissinated Archbishop of San Salvador, was beatified by Pope Francis.
  • 2015: Beatification (by Pope Francis) of the Three Martyrs of Chimbote, murdered in 1991 in Chimbote, Peru, by members of the communist guerrilla group, the Shining Path.
  • April 12, 2015: on Divine Mercy Sunday, during a Mass for the centennial of the Armenian Genocide at St. Peter's Basilica, Pope Francis officially proclaimed Gregory of Narek as Doctor of the Church[39] in attendance of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II, Catholicos of Cilicia Aram I, and Armenian Catholic Patriarch Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni.[40]
  • December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016 : The Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, Rome received 21.3 million pilgrims, shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe received 22 million pilgrims, and World Youth Day in Krakow received 3 million pilgrims. According to archbishop Fisichella, president of Pontifical Council for New Evangelization, between 56% and 62% of all Catholics participated in the events while pilgrims in Rome mostly came from Germany, US, Poland, Spanish speaking countries and there were many who came from China, Chad, Rwanda, Nepal and Cook Islands.
  • January 24, to 31, 2016: The 51st International Eucharistic Congress held in Cebu City, Philippines by Papal Legate Charles Maung Bo of Myanmar is a pontiff of Pope Francis. Since the second time in the Philippines include Manila after 1937.
  • July 26, 2016: Jacques Hamel French priest, is murdered in the parish of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray by two extremists who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Diocese of Rouen has officially opened his canonization cause.
  • Nov. 2, 2017: Pope Francis suggests recruiting "proven" married men to become priests for dioceses in the Roman/Latin/Western Church where there are few priests. [41] Eastern Catholic Churches do allow married clergy, among other traditions.[42]
  • May 13, 2017: Pope Francis canonized Francisco and Jacinta Marto, witnesses to the Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal.
  • Dec. 18, 2017: Pope Francis named priest-communicator, Patrick Peyton, C.S.C., venerable. Fr. Peyton founded the international Family Rosary Crusade and Family Theater.
  • May 18, 2018: Bishops of Chile offer their resignations to Pope Francis owing to criminal negligence in dealing with child sexual abuse among some clerics. Francis also accepts the resignations of other bishops and cardinals in other countries for similar reasons. Like Pope Callixtus II, who, in 1123, convoked the First Ecumenical Lateran Council to reckon with widespread concubinage and other abuses among clergy, Francis faces a far worse crisis among clergy -- child abuse and lack of effective episcopal oversight. [43] [44]
  • August 2, 2018: Pope Francis declares the death penalty is unacceptable in all cases because it is "an attack" on human dignity. [45]
  • July 1, 2019: with an affirmative vote the canonization of John Henry Newman was authorized and the date for the canonization ceremony was set for 13 October 2019.[46]
  • July 2, 2019: it was announced that Pope Francis had transferred the nine bone fragments which were displayed during the 'Year of Faith' Mass to Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.[47] Bartholomew, who serves as head of the Eastern Orthodox Christian church, described the gesture as “brave and bold.”[47]

See also


  1. ^ The Orthodox Church and some other predominantly non-Western Churches are also apostolic in origin — i.e., they also trace their origins back to the founding of the Church at the time of the Apostles
  2. ^ The New Shape of World Christianity, Mark A. Noll (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009), 191.
  3. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Marcionites" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.: "...they were perhaps the most dangerous foe Christianity has ever known."
  4. ^ Chadwick, Henry, pp. 23–24.
  5. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "St. John the Evangelist" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  6. ^ St. John the Evangelist,, retrieved September 30, 2006
  7. ^ EARLY CHRISTIAN FATHERS, ed., Cyril C. Richardson (New York: Touchstone, 1996), 230.
  8. ^ THE STUDY OF SPIRITUALITY. eds., Cheslyn Jones, Geoffrey Wainwright, and Edward Yarnold, S.J. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), 102-3.
  9. ^ Jones, Wainwright and Yarnold, 107.
  10. ^ McMullen, p. 44.
  11. ^ De Imperatoribus Romanis – Constantine I, retrieved February 23, 2007
  12. ^ S.R.E. Humbert, Adversus Graecorium calumnias 6, in Patrologie Cursus Completus, series Latina, e.d. J.P.Migne, 1844, p.143
  13. ^ Duffy, p. 29.
  14. ^ New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd edition, volume 3 (Washington: Catholic University Press, 2002), 556-557
  15. ^ Duffy, p. 30.
  16. ^ J. P. Rodriguez, with foreword by Orlando Patterson CHRONOLOGY OF WORLD SLAVERY (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 1999). 50.
  17. ^ Kristó, Gyula (2001). "The Life of King Stephen the Saint". In Zsoldos, Attila (ed.). Saint Stephen and His Country: A Newborn Kingdom in Central Europe – Hungary. Lucidus Kiadó. pp. 15–36. ISBN 978-963-86163-9-5.
  18. ^ Rule, Martin (1883), The Life and Times of St. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of the Britons, Vol. I, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, & Co.
  19. ^ "Waldenses | Description, History, & Beliefs". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  20. ^ Rodriguez, p. 53.
  21. ^ Jones, Wainwright and Yarnold, 317.
  22. ^ Rodriguez, 57.
  23. ^ Rodriguez, 61, 150.
  24. ^ Rodriguez, 62.
  25. ^ "Suave Molecules of Mocha" Archived March 9, 2005, at the Wayback Machine Coffee, Chemistry, and Civilization, New Partisan – A Journal of Culture, Arts and Politics, March 7, 2005, retrieved October 23, 2006
  26. ^ Jones, Wainwright and Yarnold, 382.
  27. ^ Jones, Wainwright and Yarnold, 425-6.
  28. ^ Rodriguez, 297.
  29. ^ Hubert Jedin, Church history, 619
  30. ^ Schism of SSPX Pete Vere, My Journey out of the Lefebvre Schism: All Tradition Leads to Rome, Catholic Education Resource Center, retrieved November 20, 2006
  31. ^ Benedict XVI, Meeting with the representatives of science in the Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg (September 12, 2006)
  32. ^ Faith, Reason and the University Memories and Reflections from official Vatican website, retrieved October 18, 2006
  33. ^ "Three Stages in the Program of De-Hellenization" by Pope Benedict XVI, Zenit News Agency, retrieved October 18, 2006
  34. ^ Pope Is Regretful That His Speech Angered Muslims, Sep. 17, 2006, L.A. Times, retrieved October 18, 2006[dead link]
  35. ^ Al Qaeda threat over pope speech, Sep. 18, 2006, retrieved October 18, 2006[dead link]
  36. ^ Qaeda-led group vows "jihad" over Pope's speech, Sep. 18, 2006, Reuters Archived October 25, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved October 18, 2006
  37. ^ Moto Proprio, De Aliquibus Mutationibus, June 11, 2007
  38. ^ Kleiber, Reinhard (2008). "Iran and the Pope Easing Relations". Quantara. Archived from the original on December 31, 2010. Retrieved June 24, 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  39. ^ "Message of His Holiness Pope Francis on the 100th anniversary of "Metz Yeghern" and proclamation of St. Gregory of Narek as a Doctor of the Church". April 12, 2015.
  40. ^ "Historic Mass dedicated to 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide begins at the Vatican (live)". Armenpress. April 12, 2015.
  41. ^ John Phillips, "Pope raises prospects of married men becoming priests,", Nov. 2, 2017.
  42. ^ Richard P. Mc Brien, THE CHURCH, The Evolution of Catholicism (New York: Harper One, 2008), 450.
  43. ^ William Dailey, C.S.C., "Would a mass resignation of bishops hurt the US Church? Quite the opposite,"
  44. ^ Thomas Reese, S.J., "Pennsylvania grand jury report is a new low for Catholic Church," 15,2018
  45. ^ Elisabetta Povoledo and Laurie Goodstein, "Pope Declares Death Penalty Always Wrong," NEW YORK TIMES, p.1.
  46. ^ "Ordinary Public Consistory for the Voting on Certain Causes of Canonization". Bollettino. Holy See Press Office (in Italian). Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  47. ^ a b Cindy Wooden (July 2, 2019). "Pope gives relics of St. Peter to Orthodox patriarch". Catholic News Service. Retrieved July 2, 2019.

Further reading

  • The History of the Catholic Church, From the Apostolic Age to the Third Millennium James Hitchcock, Ph.D. Ignatius Press, 2012 ISBN 978-1-58617-664-8
  • Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church. Crocker, H.W.
  • Bokenkotter, Thomas. A Concise History of the Catholic Church. Revised and expanded ed. New York: Image Books Doubleday, 2005. ISBN 0-385-51613-4

External links