The History of the Church in Review
By Hailey Schmitt
The Roman Empire
Stoicism was a popular moral teaching at the time of the Empire. It taught that one should be guided by reason alone and not to allow emotion to influence one's actions. This balanced the Roman systems of virtue, order, and law as well as the Church philosophy.
Slavery was the backbone of Roman society. It was a convenient form of cheap labor and allowed an affluent lifestyle for political leaders. Over two million were enslaved at any given point, most were prisoners from conquered lands. This led to the spread of Christianity because it appealed to those who needed hope in an afterlife and equality of all people.
Jesus and the founding of the Church
1. The Church is One meaning we profess one Faith
2. The Church is Holy meaning it is on a journey to become holy
3. The Church is Catholic allowing all people to come to Christ
4.The Church is Apostolic coming from the Apostles directly.
The Early Christians
Persecution of "The Way"
The Church Fathers and Heresies
Church Fathers were great theological leaders that combated heresy. It is a traditional title not bestowed by the Church. The general characteristics of a Church Father are orthodox doctrine, holiness, notoriety, and antiquity.
In the fourth and fifth centuries saw the rise of Arianism. Arianism taught that Jesus was below God and was more of a glorified being. Arianism became such a widespread problem that the Council of Nicaea and the Nicene Creed were created to halt it.
Light in the Dark Ages
The Rise of Monasticism brought light to the Dark Ages. Monasticism is based on prayer and self-denial separated from society. Eremitical monks were hermits to live alone in nature. Others stay in monasteries and worked to support a life of prayer. Monasticism started in the fourth century with St. Paul of Thebes and St. Antony. Monasteries provided education and the spread of Christianity after the disintegration of Rome and many invading tribes were converted. Greco-Roman literature was preserved and agriculture grew. Germanic and Greco-Roman culture fused.
The Great Schism
The High Middle Ages
The Mendicant Orders also grew in the High Middle Ages. St. Francis of Assisi went from a rich merchant's son to a monk that founded the Franciscan Order devoted to poverty after he heard God ask him to rebuild his church. St. Dominic also formed a Mendicant Order, the Dominicans, who taught against heresy and lived strict lives.
The Hundred Years War
St. Joan of Arc
The Protestant Reformation
The English Reformation
Exploration and Missionary Movements
Missionaries also flocked to the New World. Though the distance and foreign climate made travel difficult, many people came to convert the Native Americans. It was slow work because many settlers provided poor examples of the Catholic Faith and local religious leaders of the Native Americans resisted conversion. Spanish missions in California were more successful and run mostly by the natives. Bl. Junipero Serra founded 21 missions alone. Maryland on the East Coast was founded as a refuge for English Catholics which began religious toleration in the coming United States.
The Age of Enlightenment
The Scientific Revolution dramatically changed how the world was thought of. What wasn't provable was considered false, disdaining religion. Man was praised and religion was no longer considered a powerful force though this did allow religious toleration and difference of opinion.
Descartes, a mathematician, brought back St. Augustine's line of philosophy on doubting human knowledge and searching for truth. He and Francis Bacon developed modern day scientific thought.