Timeline of the Catholic Church

Philippines Enlarge Pope Francis

As traditionally the oldest form of Christianity, along with the ancient or first millennial Eastern Orthodox Church, the non-Chalcedonian or Oriental Churches, and the Church of the East,[1] the history of the 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, 451 with the Oriental Orthodox, 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, of which there were many divisions, resulting in over 200 denominations. 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; most historians place his birth between 6 and 4 BC.

Early Christianity

Dates in the Apostolic Age are mostly approximate, and all AD.

The Crucifixion of Saint Peter (1601) by Caravaggio


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

Blessed Karl of Austria.
Pope Pius XI

21st century

Benedict XVI, first Pope elected in 21st century

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.
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  34. ^ Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Melchites" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
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