Category Archives: Early Church History

#326 – A History of the Catholic Church – Natalia And The New Eve

annunciation

Just as the Early Church arose from its belief that Christ has risen from the dead, so did the Church believe that those Christians who died would inherit eternal life – first those who were martyrs and then the rest of the faithful. These saints, especially the Virgin Mary, would play an important role in the spiritual life of the Church and in the teaching of its doctrines.

Links:

Image: Painting of the Mary nursing Jesus in the Catacomb of Saint Priscilla

Examples of Acts of the Martyrs

Carvings of prayers to the saints from the catacombs

Painting of the Annunciation in the Catacomb of Saint Priscilla

Painting of the Adoration of the Magi from the Catacomb of Priscilla

Image of the Adoration of the Magi from a Christian sarcophagus

The Sub Tuum Praesidium Prayer

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#326 – A History of the Catholic Church – Natalia And The New Eve

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#325 – A History of the Catholic Church – If You Wish To Be Perfect

anthonyofthedesert

The Little Peace of the Church meant a near forty year pause in the empire wide persecution of the Christians. During this time, the number of Christians continued to grow, but it meant a end, at least temporarily, to the possibility of martyrdom. Thus, Christians like Paul of Thebes and Anthony of the Desert will seek new opportunities to seek God and wrestle with the Devil.

Links:

Image: Cave of Saint Anthony of the Desert by LorisRomito

Saint Jerome’s Life of Saint Paul the Hermit

The Monastery of Saint Paul of Thebes

Statue of Saint Paul in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica

Saint Athanasius’ Life of Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony Resource Page

38 Sayings of Saint Anthony

Statue of Saint Antony in front of Saint Peter’s Basilica

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#325 – A History of the Catholic Church – If You Wish To Be Perfect

#324 – A History of the Catholic Church – Divine Procurator

gregorythaumaturgus

The Synod of Alexandria finally discovers a way to solve the problem of Paul of Samosata but it will require persuading a pagan Emperor to help. Christian bishops begin taking large roles in Roman civil society with mixed results.

Links:

Image: Gregory Thaumaturgus

Patrick Hurley. “Some Thoughts on the Emperor Aurelian as “Persecutor”.” Classical World 106.1 (2012): 75-89.

Millar, Fergus. 1971. “Paul of Samosata, Zenobia and Aurelian: The Church, Local Culture and Political Allegiance in Third-century Syria”. The Journal of Roman Studies 61. Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies: 1–17.

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#324 – A History of the Catholic Church – Divine Procurator

#323 – A History of The Catholic Church – The Dionysii

dionysiusofrome

Different understandings about the nature of the relationship between the Father and the Son create new tensions for the Church as Sabellianism moves into Alexandria and causes problems both for Dionysius of Alexandria as well as Dionysius of Rome. Just as that issue is resolved, Paul of Samosata comes to Antioch.

Links:

Image: Bishop Dionysius of Rome by Mattana

Dionysius of Rome “Against the Sabellians”

Michael Slusser – “Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus”, Expository Times, Vol 120, No 12, pp. 573-585.

Daniëlle Slootjes. “Bishops and Their Position of Power in the Late Third Century CE: The Cases of Gregory Thaumaturgus and Paul of Samosata.” Journal of Late Antiquity 4, no. 1 (2011): 100-115.

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#323 – A History of the Catholic Church – The Dionysii

#322 – The History of the Catholic Church – With Hearts Laid Open to God

dionysiusofalexandria

Pope Dionysius the Great of Alexandria was known for his erudition and pastoral care. But it will take all his skill to deal with the problem of millenarianism in his church and how to best understand the Book of Revelation.

Links:

Image: Pope Dionysius the Great of Alexandria

Stephen Broyles – The Scribes and the Book of Revelation

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#322 – A History of the Catholic Church – With Hearts Laid Open To God

#321 – A History of the Catholic Church – All Things Within Its Compass

oransandphilosopher

Continuing our look at the importance of faith and reason in the Early Church, we move to the Theological Library of Caesarea Maritima and the importance of Sextus Julius Africanus and Anatolius of Laodicea.

Links:

Image: Orans and Philosopher from Santa Maria Antiqua Sarcophagus

Andrew James Carriker “The Library of Eusebius of Caesarea”

Christopher Jones “The Life and Works of Sextus Julius Africanus”

Resources on Sextus Julius Africanus

Resources on Anatolius of Laodicea

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#321 – A History of the Catholic Church – All Things Within Its Compass

#320 – A History of the Catholic Church – How Man Should Become Godly

teacherandstudents

As Christians move to play a greater part of the Greco-Roman culture, they not only sought to demonstrate that the Christian faith was compatible with the best of human reason, but to show Christ as the source and fulfillment of the quest for wisdom.

Links:

Image: Teacher and pupils from Catacomb of Saint Priscilla

Willem H. Oliver “The Catechetical School in Alexandria” and “The Heads of the Catechetical School in Alexandria”

Willem H. Oliver and Mokhele J. S. Madise “The Formation of Christian Theology in Alexandria”

Tadros Y. Malaty “The School of Alexandria: Before Origen” and “The School of Alexandria: Origen”

Frances M. Young. (2006). Towards a Christian paideia. In: Margaret M. Mitchell and Frances M. Young (eds.) The Cambridge History of Christianity. pp. 484-500. [Online]. Cambridge History of Christianity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps Podcast

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#320 – A History of the Catholic Church – How A Man Should Become Godly

#319 – A History of the Catholic Church – “Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds”

zoroaster

Christianity in the Sassanid Empire developed against the large and powerful Zoroastrian and Manichaean faith traditions as well. The relationship between these three groups was not always friendly and we will see the beginnings of persecution in the Sassanid Empire.

Links:

Image: Zoroaster from Raphael’s School of Athens

Wikipedia article on Zoroastrianism

Wikipedia article on Manichaeism

About the martyrdom of Qndyr’/Candida

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#319 – A History of the Catholic Church – “Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds”

#318 – A History of the Catholic Church – The Church of the East

sassanidmap

While the Christianity was expanding in the Roman Empire, it was also expanding to the east, in the Parthian and Sassanid Empires. The Syriac Christianity dominant in these territories will develop differently than Church of the West and offer new ways to think about the faith.

Links:

Image: Map of the Sassanid Empire

Christianity in the Parthian Empire

Christianity in pre-Islamic Persia

Early Christianity in Asia

Anaphora of Addai and Mari

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#318 – A History of the Catholic Church – The Church of the East

#317 – A History of the Catholic Church – The True Treasures Of The Church

lawrence

The Church once again finds itself facing Empire-wide persecutions as the leaders of the Christian faithful find themselves targeted for exile and execution. Yet, for those who endure will come the promise of peace – for at least a little while.

Links:

Image: Lawrence before Valerianus by Fra Angelico

Papyrus fragment ordering arrest of a Christian under reign of Valerian

Haas, Christopher J.. 1983. “Imperial Religious Policy and Valerian’s Persecution of the Church, A.D. 257-260”. Church History 52 (2). Cambridge University Press: 133–44.

Fr. Seraphim’s Christmas Wish List at Amazon

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#316 – A History of the Catholic Church – The True Treasures of the Church