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Timeline of Church History
Eras Timeline of Church History (Abridged article)
Eras New Testament Era | Apostolic Era (33-100) | Ante-Nicene Era (100-325) | Nicene Era (325-451) | Byzantine Era (451-843) | Late Byzantine Era (843-1054) | Post-Roman Schism (1054-1453) | Post-Imperial Era (1453-1821) | Modern Era (1821-1917) | Communist Era (1917-1991) | Post-Communist Era (1991-Present) |
(Main articles)

This article forms part of the series
Introduction to
Orthodox Christianity
Holy Tradition
Holy Scripture
The Symbol of Faith
Ecumenical Councils
Church Fathers
The Holy Trinity
God the Father
Jesus Christ
The Holy Spirit
The Church
Holy Mysteries
Church Life

The History of the Church is a vital part of the Orthodox Christian faith. Orthodox Christians are defined significantly by their continuity with all those who have gone before, those who first received and preached the truth of Jesus Christ to the world, those who helped to formulate the expression and worship of our faith, and those who continue to move forward in the unchanging yet ever-dynamic Holy Tradition of the Orthodox Church.

Post-Roman Schism (1054-1453)

  • 1054 Cardinal Humbert excommunicates Michael Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, a major centerpoint in the formation of the Great Schism between East and West; First Letter of Michael Cerularius to Peter of Antioch.
  • 1059 Errors of Berengar of Tours condemned in Rome; term transubstantiation begins to come in to use, ascribed to Peter Damian.
  • 1064 Seljuk Turks storm Anatolia taking Caesarea and Ani, conquering Armenia.
  • 1066 Normans invade England flying banner of Pope of Rome, defeating King Harold of England at Battle of Hastings.
  • 1066-1171 Beginning reformation of English church and society to align with Latin continental ecclesiology and politics.
  • 1068 By the time of the arrival of the first Seljuk Turks to Anatolia, the religious war between Byzantium and Islam had run a course of four centuries.
  • 1071 Seljuk Turks defeat Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert, beginning Islamification of Asia Minor; Norman princes led by Robert Guiscard capture Bari, the last Byzantine stronghold in Italy, bringing to an end over five centuries of Byzantine rule in the south.
  • ca. 1071-1176 Byzantine epic poem "Digenes Akrites".
  • 1073 Hildebrand becomes Pope Gregory VII and launches the Gregorian reforms (celibacy of the clergy, primacy of papacy over empire, right of Pope to depose emperors); Seljuk Turks conquer Ankara.
  • 1074 Death of Theodosius of the Kiev Caves.
  • 1075 Dictatus Papae document advances Papal supremacy.
  • 1077 The Seljuk Turks capture Jerusalem and kill 3,000 citizens; Seljuks capture Nicea.
  • 1082 Council of Constantinople.
  • 1084 Antioch is captured by the Seljuk Turks from the Byzantines.
  • 1087 Translation of the relics of Nicholas of Myra from Myra to Bari.
  • 1088 Founding of monastery of John the Theologian on Patmos; election of Pope Urban II, a prominent member of the Cluniac Reform movement .
  • 1095 Launching of the First Crusade.
  • 1096 Persecution of Jews by Crusaders.
  • 1098 Anselm of Canterbury completes Cur Deus homo, marking a radical divergence of Western theology of the atonement from that of the East.
  • 1098 Crusaders capture Antioch.
  • 1099 Crusaders capture Jerusalem founding the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and other crusader states known collectively as "Outremer."
  • 1108 Death of Nicetas of Kiev Caves, Bishop of Novgorod.
  • 1113 Latin Order of Knights Hospitaller founded as a religious/military order under its own charter, charged with the care and defense of the Holy Land and pilgrims.
  • 1118 Latin Order of Knights Templar founded.
  • 1118-1137 Imperial monastery of Christ Pantocrator founded.
  • ca. 1131-45 Coptic Pope of Alexandria Gabriel II initiates addition of Arabic as a liturgical language with his Arabic translation of the Liturgy.
  • ca. 1120-1220 Spread of Aristotelian philosophy throughout Western Europe, mostly via the translations of Averroes and Maimonides.
  • 1120 Council of Nablus is held in Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.
  • 1127-1145 Constantinople largest city in the world by population.
  • 1144 Bernard of Clairvaux calls for a Second Crusade to rescue the besieged Latin kingdom of Jerusalem; Kings Louis VII of France and Konrad III of Germany join Crusaders, but are defeated by Muslims; Muslims take Christian stronghold of Edessa.
  • 1147 Moscow founded by Prince Yuri Dolgoruki, a ruler of the northeastern Rus'; Roger II of Sicily takes Corfu from the Byzantine Empire, and pillages Corinth, Athens and Thebes.
  • 1149 Crusaders begin to renovate Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Romanesque style, adding a bell tower.
  • 1156-57 Council of Constantinople (Synod of Blachernae) is held under Patr. Luke Chrysoberges to condemn the errors of Soterichus Pantengenus, patriarch-elect of Antioch, and of some others, who asserted that the Sacrifice upon the Cross was offered to the Father and to the Holy Spirit alone, and not to the Word, the Son of God.
  • 1159 John of Salisbury authors Policraticus, a treatise on government drawing from the Bible, the Codex Justinianus, and arguing for Divine Right of Kings.
  • 1164 Uncovering of the relics of Leontius of Rostov.
  • 1166 Council of Constantinople.
  • 1170 Miracle of the weeping icon of the Theotokos "of the Sign" at Novgorod; Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland; city of Dublin captured by the Normans.
  • 1176 Sultanate of Rum defeats Byzantine Empire in the Battle of Myriokephalon, marking end of Byzantine attempts to recover Anatolian plateau; Al-Adil I, Muslim ruler of Egypt, suppresses a revolt by Christian Copts in city of Qift, hanging nearly 3,000 of them.
  • 1177 Latin King Baldwin of Jerusalem and his knights, with Templars, defeat Muslim army of Saladin at Battle of Montgisard.
  • 1179 Death of Hildegard von Bingen.
  • 1180 Last formal acceptance of Latins to communion at an Orthodox altar in Antioch.
  • 1182 Maronites, who assisted the Crusaders during the Crusades, reaffirm their affiliation with Rome in 1182; dedication of Monreale Cathedral in Sicily, containing the largest cycle of Byzantine mosaics extant in Italy.
  • 1185 Second Bulgarian Empire founded; Death of John, Bishop of Novgorod.
  • 1186 Byzantine Empire recognizes independence of Bulgaria and Serbia.
  • 1187 Saladin retakes Jerusalem after destroying crusader army at Battle of Hattin, and returns Christian holy places to Orthodox Church.
  • 1189 Third Crusade led by King Richard the Lion-Hearted of England, King Philip Augustus II of France, and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.
  • ca. 1189 Ethiopian Emperor Gebre Mesqel Lalibela orders construction of Lalibela.
  • 1191 Cyprus taken from Byzantines by English King Richard I the Lion-hearted.
  • 1198 Cyprus sold by England to Frankish crusaders.
  • 1204 Fourth Crusade sacks Constantinople, laying waste to the city and stealing many relics and other items; Great Schism generally regarded as having been completed by this act; Venetians use the imperial monastery of Christ Pantocrator as their headquardters in Constantinople; Theodore I Lascaris establishes the Empire of Nicaea; death of Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides, author of Guide for the Perplexed which harmonized the Old Testament with Aristotle.
  • ca.1207 Stephen Langton divides the Bible into the defined modern chapters in use today.
  • 1211 Venetian crusaders conquer Byzantine Crete, retaining it until ousted by Ottoman Turks in 1669.
  • 1212 Children's Crusade, led by 12-year-old Stephen of Cloyes, sets out for Holy Land from France.
  • 1213 Death of Tamar of Georgia.
  • 1216 Latin Dominican Order formally recognized.
  • 1217-21 Fifth Crusade.
  • ca.1220 English Bp. Richard Le Poore is said to have been responsible for the final form of the "Use of Sarum", which had the sterling reputation of being the best liturgy anywhere in the West.
  • 1223 Latin Franciscan Order formally recognized.
  • 1226 Latin Carmelite order formally recognized.
  • 1228 Sixth Crusade results in 10-year treaty starting in 1229 between Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and Egyptian sultan; Jerusalem ceded to Franks, along with a narrow corridor to the coast, as well as Nazareth, Sidon, Jaffa and Bethlehem.
  • 1231 Papal Inquisition initiated by Pope Gregory IX, charged with suppressing heresy.
  • 1235 Death of Sava of Serbia.
  • 1237 Golden Horde begin subjugation of Russia.
  • 1240 Mongols sack Kiev; Prince Alexander Nevsky defeats Swedish army at Battle of the Neva.
  • 1242 Alexander Nevsky's Novgorodian force defeats Teutonic Knights in Battle of Lake Peipus, a major defeat for the Catholic crusaders.
  • 1244 Jerusalem conquered and razed by Khwarezmian mercenaries (Oghuz Turks) serving under the Ayyubid ruler of Egypt Salih Ayyub, triggering Seventh Crusade.
  • 1245 First Council of Lyons in the Roman Catholic Church mandates red hat for cardinals and a levy for the Holy Land.
  • 1247 Ayyubids conquer Jerusalem, driving out the Khwarezmian Turks.
  • 1248-54 Seventh Crusade.
  • 1258 Michael VIII Palaiologos seizes the throne of the Nicaean Empire, founding the last Roman (Byzantine) dynasty, beginning reconquest of Greek peninsula from Latins; Salisbury Cathedral is consecrated.
  • 1259 Byzantines defeat Latin Principality of Achaea at the Battle of Pelagonia, marking the beginning of the Byzantine recovery of Greece.
  • ca. 1259-80 Martyrdom by Latins of monks of Iveron Monastery.
  • 1260 Subjugation of Church of Cyprus to the Roman Catholic Church.
  • 1261 End of Latin occupation of Constantinople and restoration of Orthodox patriarchs; Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos makes Mystras seat of the new Despotate of Morea, where a Byzantine renaissance occurred.
  • 1268 Egyptian Mamelukes capture Antioch.
  • 1269 Orthodox patriarch returns to Antioch after a 171-year exile and usurpation by Latin patriarch.
  • 1270 Eighth Crusade launched by King Louis IX of France.
  • 1271-72 Ninth Crusade led by Prince Edward of England to Acre, considered to be the last of the medieval Crusades to the Holy Land.
  • 1274 Second Council of Lyons held, proclaiming union between the Orthodox East and the Roman Catholic West, but generally unaccepted in the East; death of Thomas Aquinas, Latin scholastic philosopher and theologian, author of the Summa Theologica.
  • 1275 Unionist Patriarch of Constantinople John XI Bekkos elected to replace Patriarch Joseph I Galesiotes, who opposed Council of Lyons; 26 martyrs of Zographou monastery on Mt. Athos, martyred by the Latins.
  • ca. 1280 Kebra Nagast ("Book of the Glory of Kings") compiled, a repository of Ethiopian national and religious feelings.
  • 1281 Pope Martin IV authorizes a Crusade against the newly re-established Byzantine Empire in Constantinople, excommunicating Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos and the Greeks and renouncing the union of 1274; French and Venetian expeditions set out toward Constantinople but are forced to turn back in the following year.
  • 1285 Council of Constantinople (Second Synod of Blachernae) discussed and rejected the pro-western interpretation of the Trinity as enunciated by Patr. John XI Bekkos, as well as rejecting the decisions of the Council of Lyons of 1274, and condemning the Roman (Byzantine) "latinophrones".
  • 1287 Last record of Western Rite Monastery of Amalfion on Mount Athos.
  • 1291 Fall of Acre; end of crusading in Holy Land.
  • 1298 Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Pope Gregory I are named collectively as the first Great Doctors of the Western Church.
  • 1302 Papal Bull Unam Sanctum issued by Pope Boniface VIII proclaims Papal supremacy.
  • 1326 Metr. Peter moves his see from Kiev to Vladimir and then to Moscow.
  • 1309 Rhodes falls to the Knights of St. John, who establish their headquarters there, renaming themselves the "Knights of Rhodes."
  • 1311-12 Council of Vienne in the Roman Catholic Church disbands the Knights Templar.
  • 1332 Amda Syon, Emperor of Ethiopia begins his campaigns in the southern Muslim provinces, allowing for the spread of Christianity to frontier areas.
  • 1336 Meteora in Greece established as a center of Orthodox monasticism.
  • 1338 Gregory Palamas writes Triads in Defense of the Holy Hesychasts, defending the Orthodox practice of hesychast spirituality and the use of the Jesus Prayer.
  • 1340 Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra founded by Sergius of Radonezh.
  • 1341-47 Byzantine civil war between John VI Cantacuzenus (1347–54) and John V Palaeologus (1341–91).
  • 1341-51 Three sessions of the Ninth Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople, affirming hesychastic theology of Gregory Palamas and condemning rationalistic philosophy of Barlaam of Calabria.
  • 1342 Patriarchate of Antioch transferred to Damascus under Ignatius II.
  • 1344 Death of Amda Syon, Emperor of Ethiopia.
  • 1349 Prince Stephen Dushan of Serbia assumes the title of Tsar (Caesar); principality of Galicia (Halitsh) comes under Polish control.
  • 1352 Death of Ewostatewos (Eusthathius), Ethiopian monk and religious leader.
  • 1353 Death of Sergius and Herman, Abbots of Valaam.
  • 1354 Ottoman Turks make first settlement in Europe at Gallipoli.
  • 1359 Death of Gregory Palamas.
  • 1360 Death of John Koukouzelis the Hymnographer.
  • 1365 Crusaders under Latin King Peter I of Cyprus sack Alexandria, Egypt.
  • 1378 Death of Alexis of Moscow.
  • 1379 Western Great Schism ensues, including simultaneous reign of three Popes of Rome.
  • ca. 1380 English Church reformer John Wyclif writes that the true faith is preserved only in the East, "among the Greeks."
  • 1382-95 First English Bible translated by John Wyclif.
  • 1383 Stephen of Perm, missionary to Zyrians, consecrated bishop; appearance of Theotokos of Tikhvin icon.
  • 1385 Kreva Agreement provides for conversion of Lithuanian nobles and all pagan Lithuanians to Roman Catholicism, joining Grand Duchy of Lithuania with the Kingdom of Poland through a dynastic union.
  • 1387 Lithuania converts to Roman Catholicism, while most Ruthenian lands (Belarus and Ukraine) remain Orthodox.
  • 1389 Serbs defeated by Ottoman Turks of Sultan Murad I at the battle of Kosovo Polje; death of Lazar, prince of Serbia.
  • 1390 Ottomans take Philadelphia, last significant Byzantine enclave in Anatolia.
  • 1391-98 Ottoman Turks unsuccessfully besiege Constantinople for the first time.
  • 1410 Iconographer Andrei Rublev paints his most famous icon depicting the three angels who appeared to Abraham and Sarah, the angels being considered a type of the Holy Trinity.
  • 1414-18 Council of Constance in Roman Catholic Church represents high point for Conciliar Movement over authority of pope.
  • 1417 End of Western Great Schism at the Council of Constance.
  • 1418 Latin monk Thomas à Kempis authors The Imitation of Christ.
  • 1422 Second unsuccessful Ottoman siege of Constantinople.
  • 1423-24 Council of Siena in the Roman Catholic Church was the high point of conciliarism, emphasizing the leadership of the bishops gathered in council, but the conciliarism expressed there was later branded as a heresy.
  • 1439 Ecclesiastical reunion with West attempted at Council of Florence, where only Mark of Ephesus refuses to capitulate to demands of delegates from Rome.
  • 1440-41 Encyclical Letter of Mark of Ephesus.
  • 1444 Donation of Constantine proved forgery.
  • 1448 Church of Russia unilaterally declares its independence from the Church of Constantinople; Vatican Library formally established by Pope Nicholas V.
  • 1452 Unification of Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches in Hagia Sophia on West's terms, when Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos, under pressure from Rome, allows the union to be proclaimed.
  • 1453 Constantinople falls to invasion of the Ottoman Turks, ending Roman Empire; Hagia Sophia turned into a mosque; martyrdom of Constantine XI Palaiologos, last of the Byzantine Emperors; many Greek scholars escape to the West with books that become translated into Latin, triggering the Renaissance.


  • Some of these dates are necessarily a bit vague, as records for some periods are particularly difficult to piece together accurately.
  • The division of Church History into separate eras as done here will always be to some extent arbitrary, though it was attempted to group periods according to major watershed events.
  • This timeline is necessarily biased toward the history of the Orthodox Church, though a number of non-Orthodox or purely political events are mentioned for their importance in history related to Orthodoxy or for reference.

See also

Published works

The following are published writings that provide an overview of Church history:

From an Orthodox perspective

  • Papadakis, Aristeides (with John Meyendorff). The Christian East and the Rise of the Papacy: The Church 1071-1453 A.D. The Church in History Vol. IV. Crestwood, N.Y. : St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1994. ISBN 9780881410587
  • Schmemann, Alexander. The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy.
  • Ware, Timothy. The Orthodox Church: New Edition. (ISBN 0140146563)

From a Heterodox perspective

  • Collins, Michael, ed.; Price, Matthew Arlen. Story of Christianity: A Celebration of 2000 Years of Faith. (ISBN 0789446057)
  • Gonzalez, Justo L. A History of Christian Thought, Volume 2: From Augustine to the Eve of the Reformation. (ISBN 0687171830)
  • Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Volume 1: The Early Church to the Reformation. (ISBN 0060633158)
  • Hastings, Adrian, ed. A World History of Christianity. (ISBN 0802848753)
  • Hussey, J. M. The Orthodox Church in the Byzantine Empire: Oxford History of the Christian Church. (ISBN 0198264569)
  • Jones, Timothy P. Christian History Made Easy. (ISBN 1890947105)
  • Noll, Mark A. Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity. (ISBN 080106211X)
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600-1700). (ISBN 0226653730)
  • Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 3: The Growth of Medieval Theology (600-1300). (ISBN 0226653749)
  • Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church. (ISBN 156563196X)
  • Walton, Robert C. Chronological and Background Charts of Church History. (ISBN 0310362814)

External links

This page uses content from the English OrthodoxWiki. The original article was at Timeline of Church History (Post-Roman Schism (1054-1453)). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.The text of OrthodoxWiki is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.