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Lesson 25 of 50 - Church History (part three of eight)

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Written Notes (410 AD)

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2004 mp3 Audio

2009 mp3 Audio:
Church History 330-400 AD
Church History 400-600 AD

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Church History 330-400 AD
Church History 400-600 AD

Chapter Tests:
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Church History 330-400,
Constantius, Julian 
audio .mp3 - Church History 330-400,
Constantius, Julian

Church History 337-397, Ambrose  



Church History 350-450  

Church History 367 AD

Church History 416-622  (2017)

Church History (part three):

311-314         Melchiades, Bishop of Rome (Miltiades)

  • Suffered under Emperor Diocletian and Galerius persecutions
  • Became bishop of Rome in 311
  • When Constantine came to power Melchiades saw the end of persecution and the beginning of the new age of Christiandom.
  • He was given the Lateran Palace by Constantine.  The Lateran Palace was the ancient palace of the Roman Empire.  It became the residence of the popes for the next 1,000 years. It is from this center that the Western Church would direct its affairs.  Today it holds the Pontifical Museum of Christian Antiquities

313     Donatists

  • Six months into his reign the Donatists asked Constantine to intervene in Church affairs over a decision concerning who should be bishop.  When the Donatists refused his councils verdict Constantine threatened to go to Africa and settle things himself:

“I am going to make plain to them what kind of worship is to be offered to God. . .What higher duty have I as emperor than to destroy error and repress rash indiscretions, and so cause all to offer to Almighty God true religion, honest concord and due worship?”

  • Constantine ordered the Donatist churches to be confiscated and their leaders banished. 
  • Constantines efforts were to no avail and he revoked his order.  The Donatists survived for 300 more years


    • Athanasius
  • Bishop of Alexandria, Egypt and a friend of Anthony of Egypt, the famous hermit
  • Defender of the Christian faith who opposed Arian and Arianism before, during and after the Council of Nicea
  • After the Council of Nicea his enemies (the Arians and Eusebius of Nicomedia) lied about him to Constantine who had him banished.
  • Athanasius was restored from banishment by Emperor Julius I but was forced into exile four more times between 335-366

312     Arius

  • The bishop of Alexandria put him in charge of one of the big churches in the city, Baucalis
  • As a pastor he found success and gained a large following with his teaching and ascetic life
  • Arius published  “Thalia” where he established the unity and simplicity of the eternal God and the superiority of the Son over other created beings.  The Son being created by God before time began.
  • The new bishop of Alexandria, Alexander, had began to teach what Arius thought was blasphemy.  Alexander taught “as God is eternal, so is the Son – when the Father, the Son, - the Son is present in God without birth, ever-begotten, an unbegotten-begotten.”
  • Eusebius of Bicomedia and Eusebius of Caesarea defended Arius
  • Bishop Alexander excommunicated him.
  • Emperor Constantine arrived in the East in 324 and attempted himself to settle this “trifling and foolish verbal difference, the meaning of which would be grasped only by the few.”

325     Council of Nicea

  • Emperor Constantine ordered this church council
  • It was the second church council
  • Nicea is modern Iznik, Turkey, a little town near the Bosporus Straits which flows between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
  • July 4, 325 about 300 bishops and deacons from the Eastern half of the empire
  • Constantine arrived in his imperial clothing overlaid with jewels but without his customary train of soldiers.
  • Constantine spoke only briefly saying that “Division in the church is worse than war.”
  • At stake was the most profound church question yet, “Who is Jesus Christ?”
  • It was a new day for the church.  Many of the bishops and deacons had scars from previous persecution from the emperors.  A pastor from Egypt was missing an eye.  One was crippled in both hands as a result of red-hot irons.
  • Most of the bishops were impressed with Constantine and were willing to compromise.
  • A young deacon from Alexandria, Athanasius, was not willing to compromise.  Athanasius insisted that Arius’s doctrine left Christianity without a divine Savior.
  • Also present was the church historian, friend of the emperor, and half-hearted supporter of Arius, Eusebius.  Eusebius put forward his own creed for council approval.
  • The council wanted something more specific and added, “True God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father. . .”
  • The expression “one substance” was the “homoousion.”
  • After long debate only two bishops did not agree with “in one Lord Jesus Christ, . . .true God of true God.”
  • Constantine was pleased thinking the issue was settled.
  • For the next 100 years the two views of Christ, the Nicene (Athanasius’) view and the Arian (Arius’) view battled for supremacy.
  • Church people were banished, exiled and killed as power shifted as the emperor’s and church leadership switched.
  • The Council of Nicea laid the cornerstone for the orthodox understanding of Jesus Christ
  • The next council at Chalcedon would develop it further.
  • Other issues decided at Nicea were:
  • The celebration of Passover (now called Easter) was to be observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after March 21
  • Validity of baptism by heretics
  • Lapsed Christians

The Nicean Creed from 325

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance (homoousios) with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which is in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the living and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not, or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion--all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.



The Church Councils






Council of Jerusalem


Circumcision, Jewish Law, Gentiles


Council of Nicea


Condemn Arianism


Council of Constantinople


Settle Apollinarianism


Council of Ephesus


Nestorian Controversy; Nestorius deposed


Council of Chalcedon


Eutychian Controversy


Council of Constantinople II


Monophysites Controversy


Council of Constantinople III


Doctrine of the two wills of Christ


Council of Nicea II


Sanctioned Image Worship


Council of Constantinople IV


Final Schism between East and West


Council of Rome I (Lateran I)


Decide Bishops are appointed by Popes


Council of Rome II (Lateran II)


Effort to heal the East and West Schism


Council of Rome III (Lateran III)


To Enforce Ecclesiastical Discipline


Council of Rome IV (Lateran IV)


Bidding of Innocent III


Council of Lyons I


Settle Quarrel with Pope and Emperor


Council of Lyons II


Attempt to Unite East and West


Council of Vienne


Suppress Templars


Council of Constance


Heal Papal Schism; Burn Jon Huss


Council of Basal


Reform Church


Council of Rome V


Another Reform Effort


Council of Trent


Counter Reformation; Latin Vulgate Sole Translation; Apocrypha Canonized; Reaffirm purgatory, relics, & more


Council of Vatican I


Declare Pope Infallible


Council of Vatican II


Effort to bring Christendom into one Church



Early Church Fathers (300-500)




Life and Works




Church historian
Taught in theological school in Caesarea
Friend of Constantine and recorded Constantine’s Life




Defended Trinitarian Doctrine
Championed the cause against Arius
Important speaker at Council of Nicea
Exiled five times



(Asia Minor)

Raised as a Christian; studied philosophy in Athens; lived as an ascetic; 358 he established a monastic community to replace individual monks; Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia; opposed Arius; established a hospital for lepers along with a school, a hospice, and social programs.

Gregory of


(Asia Minor)

Great theologian. Instrumental in doctrine of the Trinity
Bishop of Nyssa in 372
Leader at the Council of Constantinople (381)

Gregory of



Born in a Christian family. His father was a bishop
Friends with Basil and Gregory of Nyssa
Preached 5 Theological Orations in Constantinople
A theologian. Presided over Council of Constantinople




Father was a Praetorian Prefect of Gaul
Studied in Rome and became consul in Milan
Elected Bishop of Milan in 373 by the people before he had been baptized
Powerful preacher who influenced the Roman emperors

John Chrysostom



Born in Antioch
A priest in Antioch and bishop at Constantinople
Called “chrysostomos”, or “golden mouthed”, because of his eloquent preaching ability
Followed the natural meaning of scripture not allegorical
Preached right through the books of the Bible
Exiled for criticizing the church and calling for reform 




Studied in Rome; lived as a hermit for 3 years; was at the Council of Constantinople in 381; served as secretary to Roman Bishop Damascus; moved to Bethlehem and establishes a monastery; conflict with Origen’s teaching;

Theodore of



Born in Antioch
Influential representative of the thinking and interpretation of scripture practiced in Antioch
He was the leader of exegetical biblical learning
He was ascetic
His doctrine of Incarnation was condemned at Council of Ephesus in 431.  Judged a heretic in 553 at Council of Constantinople. (Too close to Nestorius)
Contributed to Christology the human soul of Christ and Christ’s free moral activity in the work of redemption



North Africa

Next to Paul, the most influential man in church history
His view of the church and the sacraments developed into the Roman Catholic doctrine.
His ideas are still studied: faith and reason, predestination, trinity, the problem of evil.




Patriarch of Alexandria in 412
Vigorously opposed pagans, Novatianist, Judaizers
Involved Hypatia’s murder, a famous Pagan Philosopher
His emphasis on Christ’s divine nature evolved into the monophysite view that Christ only had one nature




Born in Britain after Rome had abandoned it
Taken captive by pirates as a boy and sold into Ireland
Escaped back to Britain and entered ministry
After a vision he returned to evangelize Ireland in 432

Leo the Great



Roman Bishop in 440 and became the first pope
His Christological (nature of Christ) teaching adopted by the church at council of Chalcedon in 451
He Negotiated with Attila the Hun for the removal of his barbarians from Italy in 452
Taught that the bishop of Rome held the same position as Peter which established the basis for the papacy

Benedict of Nurcia



Born in Nurcia, Italy to a wealthy and influential family Studied in Rome
Lived as a hermit in caves but joined with other hermits
He saw the need for an organized monastic structure
His efforts became known as the Rule of St. Benedict
Benedict developed pattern for Byzantine monasticism

353     Emperor Constantius

  • Constantine’s three sons:                                                                           
  • Constantine II                  
  • Constans             
  • Constantius
  • They killed hundreds of their father’s offspring (except Gallus and Julian who were sick and a youth when their father died in 337
  • Constans slew Constantine II and then was killed by a barbarian in battle
  • Constantius became sole emperor in 353
  • Constantius began a violent suppression of heathen religion:               
  • pillaged and destroyed temples                                                                       
  • gave booty to the church                                                                       
  • prohibited all sacrifices and worship of images in Rome, Alexander, and Athens
  • Obviously, many people became “Christian” (lip service)
  • Constantius was an Arian and punished those who held to Nicene orthodoxy
  • Athanasius said at this time:

 “Satan, because there is no truth in him, breaks in with axe and sword. But the Savior is gentle, and forces no one, to whom he comes, but knocks and speaks to the soul . . . If we open to him, he enters; but if we will not, he departs.   For the truth is not preached by sword and dungeon, by might of an army, but by persuasion and exhortation.  How can there be persuasion where fear of the emperor is uppermost?  How exhortation, where the contradicter has to expect banishment and death?”

331- 363        Emperor Julian the Apostate

  • Cousin of Constantius and nephew of Constantine
  • He survived the slaughter by Constantine’s sons of Constantine’s descendents because he was only six years old at the time.  His father died in the slaughter.
  • Although he hated the “Christianity” of Constantius he was forced to reciev a Christian education from the Arian bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia
  • Julian was baptized, educated for the clerical order, ordained as a lector and prayed, fasted, celebrated the martyrs, paid reverence to the bishops and sought the blessings from the hermits
  • This forced, pseudo-Christianity led the intelligent and vigorous Julian to rebel and become the heathen anti-christ known to history as Emperor Julian the Apostate.  He was the last non-“Christian” emperor
  • In 355, age 24, Julian became Emperor and was initiated into the Eleusianian mysteries (uniting Julian with the god’s for power) and entered Greek idolatry by practicing Theurgy (magical rituals to invoke the gods to action)
  • From his position as emperor he revived mythology by spiritualizing it and uniting it with a few Christian and Oriental ideas.
  • Julian was very intelligent but also believed he received direct communication with the god’s (Mupiter, Apollo, Hercules) through dreams, visions, oracles and sacrifices.
  • His moral character was kept simple and embraced stoic virtues
  • Julian forced the churches to return the plunder they had taken from pagan temples, decreased the public influence Christian bishops held, removed the bishop’s rights to travel at public expense and gave church property to pagans
  • In his attempt to stamp out Christianity he visited the site of the temple in Jerusalem and ordered it to be rebuilt.  Earthquakes and reported balls of fire from the foundation caused the work on the temple to stop.
  • Julian was killed retreating from battle with the Persians in 363
  • The family of Constantine was extinct upon Julian’s death
    • Emperor Jovian
  • Jovian, a Roman general, replaced Julian
  • He restored the crosses and the church’s privileges
  • He avoided interfering with the church business but favored Athanasius

364-375         Emperor Valentinian I

  • Held to the policy of religious freedom
  • Held to Nicene orthodoxy but stayed out of doctrinal controversies
  • Valens, his brother, ruled in the East and favored Arians and persecuted the supporters of Athanasius (Nicean orthodoxy).  With the death of Valens Arianism died out in the East
  • People practicing pagan religions (the priests) with magical arts, bloody sacrifices or divination were burnt alive while those joining in the worship were beaten to death with straps loaded with lead.
  • Paganism died out in the city and was reported to only exist in remote villages.

375-383         Emperor Gratian

  • Favored Christianity and was the first emperor rejected the Roman emperor’s title of Pontifex Maximus
  • Gratian removed the Altar of Victory, the gold statue of the goddess Victory, from the Roman Senate.  It had been placed there by Octavian (Augustus Caesear) in 29 BC to honor his defeat of Antony and Cleopatra.  The statue itself had been captured by the Romans in 272.
  • Gratian confiscated the pagan temple property, abolished the privileges of the temple priests and the vestal virgins and withdrew public support of pagan religion

“By this step heathenism became like Christianity before Constantine and now in the American republic, dependent on the voluntary system, while unlike Christianity,
it had no spirit of self-sacrifice, no energy of self-preservation.
The withdrawal of the public support cut its life string, and
left it still to exist for a time by inertia alone.”

- Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. III, p.62, 1889

    • Valentinian II
  • Ambrose, bishop of Milan, responded for the Emperor Valentinian to a senator who had approached the emperor on behalf of the heathen party.  Ambrose response for the emperor to the heathen senator’s request to restore worship to the pagan gods in order to restore the glory of Rome had four points of rejection:
    • Granting the heathen request would renunciate Christian convictions
    • Rome’s greatness was not due to idolatry, since many lands conquered by Rome worship idols also
    • Made the contrast between Christianity which had advanced during its time of persecution and heathenism which could not maintain its own numbers without state support
    • Compared Christianity’s multitude of consecrated virgins and ascetics with Heathenism’s lack of works of benevolence and lack of mercy for the oppressed

392-395         Theodosius the Great

      • Theodosius was one of Rome’s best emperors
      • Supported the Nicene orthodoxy and at the Council of Constantinople in 381 he secured for the supporters of Nicene orthodoxy all the privileges of the state religion.   
      • Rigid laws against heretics were established which included punishment for visits to heathen temples
      • Heathens were allowed to hold public office and allowed free speech.  A heathen was appointed as prefect of Constantinople and educated Theodosius’ son
      • During this time fanaticism of monks and Christians reached a peak of rage and destruction:
  • Christians believed the pagan gods were demons that occupied the temples.
  • Great works of heathen architecture were destroyed by the Christians
  • The colossal statue was destroyed by Christians
  • Marcellus, a bishop in Syria, was accompanied by an armed band of soldiers and gladiators that destroyed monuments and centers of heathen worship in his area.
  • Hypatia, a beautiful and intelligent lady of in Alexandria and teacher of Neo-platonic philosophy, who was respected by Christians and Heathens, was seized one day in the street by fanatical monks and Christians who drug her out of her carriage then took her to the cathedral where they tore her apart and burnt her.  Cyril the bishop of Alexandria had encouraged this.

“Christians are not to destroy error by force and violence, but
should work the salvation of men by persuasion, instruction and love.” 
- John Chrysostom from Antioch

“Let us first obliterate the idols in the hearts of the heathen, and once they become Christians they will either themselves invite us to execution of so good a work or anticipate us in it.  Now we must pray for them, and not exasperate them.” 
- Augustine

310-383         Ulfilas

  • Ulfila raised as a Goth (his parents had been enslaved by the Goths).
  • Ulfila had lived inside the Roman Empire and was sent as a  missionary to the Goths, a barbaric tribe.
  • In order to translate the Greek Bible into the language of the Goths Ulfilas had to first create a Gothic alphabet.
    • Basil the Great
    • Educated in Athens and became a teacher of rhetoric in 356
    • In 357 he became a Christian, was baptized and became a hermit.
    • As a hermit he wrote against heresies.  He defended the deity of the Holy Spirit, explained the Trinity as one substance (ousia) but three persons (hypostasis)
    • He became a bishop by 370 and established the Rule of St. Basil for monasticism that is still used in the Eastern church today

317-397         Martin of Tours

  • Martin was named for Mars, the god of war, by his pagan father who was an officer at a Roman garrison in Gaul.
  • After three years in the military, Martin became a Christian in 339.  He remained in the Roman military until 356.
  • He returned home and led his mother to Christ
  • Around 360 he started the first monastery in France
  • He became bishop of Tours in 370 and continued to evangelize the country and start monasteries

367     New Testament Canon

  • There were several letters or books available for use in the church.  Some came from the apostles, some from the disciples of the apostles, some came from heretics like the Gnostics, Arianians, etc. to promote their doctrines.
  • Each bishop had to choose which ones they would allow to be used in their church, but the list was generally the same.
  • Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandris, sent an annual letter out.  On January 7, 367 he sent a letter discussing which books should be read in his local churches.  We have a copy of that letter.  In it he recognizes the New Testament Canon and lists the same books that we recognize

Part of the Text of Athanasius’ Letter from January 7, 367

Again, it is not tedious to speak of the books of the New Testament. These are: the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. After these, The Acts of the Apostles, and the seven epistles called Catholic: of James, one; of Peter, two, of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen epistles of Paul the apostle, written in this order: the first, to the Romans; then, two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians, then, to the Philippians; then, to the Colossians; after these, two of the Thessalonians; and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John.

These are the fountains of salvation, that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone the teaching of godliness is proclaimed. Let no one add to these; let nothing be taken away from them. For concerning these the Lord put to shame the Sadducees, and said, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures. And he reproved the Jews, saying, Search the Scriptures, for these are they that testify of me.”

But for the sake of greater exactness I add this also, writing under obligation, as it were. There are other books besides these, indeed not received as canonical but having been appointed by our fathers to be read to those just approaching and wishing to be instructed in the word of godliness: Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, and that which is called the Teaching of the Apostles, and the Shepherd. But the former, my brethren, are included in the Canon, the latter being merely read; nor is there any place a mention of secret writings. But such are the invention of heretics, who indeed write them whenever they wish, bestowing upon them their approval, and assigning to them a date, that so, using them as if they were ancient writings, they find a means by which to lead astray the simple-minded.

Other Early Writings that Identify the Recognized New Testament:

381     Council of Constantinople

  • Third Council produced four canons:
  • Condemnation of all forms of Arianism, Macedonianism, Apollinarianism
  • Imposed boundaries upon bishops so they did not interfere with other bishops territory
  • Declared that because Constantinople is the new Rome, the Bishop of Constantinople is has the second highest position after the bishop of Rome
  • Declared Maximus the rival bishop of Gregory the bishop of Constantinople.

339-397         Ambrose

  • Bishop of Milan who was gifted in administration, preaching and theology.
  • His father had been the prefect of Gaul.  His family was in the imperial class in Rome
  • Ambrose studied law, entered politics and became the governor of the area around Milan.
  • In 374 the bishop of Milan died in the midst of an Arian conflict.  Ambrose realized a riot could break out at the basilica where the election for the new bishop was to be held so he attended it himself. As Ambrose addressed the crowd they began to shout, “Ambrose for bishop!”
  • Ambrose was drawn into the political arena when Emperor Valentinian sent Ambrose to successfully negotiate peace in Gaul with a usurpor to Valentinian’s throne
  • In 390 the Theodosius, the emperor in the East, massacred 7,000 people in Thessalonica.  Ambrose withheld the communion from Theodosius and threatened him with excommunication until he had publicly repented for seven months.
  • On another occasion Ambrose withheld communion from the entire community until the emperor did what Ambrose demanded.
  • The church now confronts the state when necessary to protect Christian teaching and oppose evil actions of the state
  • Ambrose taught allegorically, introduced congregational singing of hymns.
  • Ambrose’s preaching was influential in leading Augustine to an understanding of Christianity

354-430         Augustine

  • Augustine’s father was a Roman official in North Africa.  His mother, Monica, was a Christian.  Augustine grew up and went to school in Carthage and lived the life of a pagan.  Augustine’s concubine gave him a son, Adeodatus, in 372 when he was 18.
  • When Augustine was 19 he joined the heretical group Manichean, a form of Gnosticism but found it unfulfilling and turned instead to philosophy.
  • For the next eleven years (until 386, age 32) Augustine taught rhetoric in Carthage and Rome.
  • According to Augustine’s autobiography, “Confessions”, he was in Milan in 386 (age 32) in his backyard thinking about his spiritual condition when he heard a voice next door say, “Take up and read.”  Augustine saw a Bible laying on the table and opened it and read Romans 13:13-14: “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
  • Augustine gave up his concubine, left his profession and was baptized along with his 14 year old son
  • Five years later, age 37, Augustine was ordained a priest and became the bishop of Hippo five years after that at the age of 42.
  •  Until his death at the age of 76 Augustine administrated the church and spent his time studying and writing.
  • His writings are numerous and become foundational for the next 1,000 years, even until today.  Two of his books are:
  • “Confessions”     
  • “The City of God” – As the Gothic barbarians sacked Rome in 410 the heathen blamed the Christians.   Augustine responded to this accusation by writing “The City of God” between the years 413-426.  In this book Augustine presents the best refutation of heathenism and vindication of Christianity until his time.

331-420         Jerome

    • Born in northeast Italy in a well-to-do family who sent him to study grammar and rhetoric in Rome
    • Jerome gathered an advanced library of the classics and other writings
    • He lived in Germany for a while then joined an ascetic group in Italy that did not last because of his:
  • harsh and sarcastic talk
  • lack of tact
  • fiery disposition and passion
  • In 372 he settled in Antioch and studied Greek then went into the desert to live as a hermit for the next three years.
  • He learned Hebrew from a Jewish Christian
  • Jerome returned to Rome from 382-385
  • Jerome became the secretary to the Roman Bishop in 382.
  • The Roman Bishop, Damascus, assigned Jerome to make a new, updated Latin translation of the Gospels and Psalms.  In the next twenty years Jerome would complete the entire New Testament and then the Old Testament into Latin.  It would be called the Latin Vulgate and become the official Bible of the Catholic church even to this day.
  • In Rome Jerome served as a Bible teacher to the wealthy aristocracy but his sharp criticism of the worldly church caused the clergy to require his removal from the city.
  • In 386 Jerome and Paula, a wealthy Christian woman from Rome, settled in Bethlehem where they each founded a monastery.
  • Jerome translated the Bible into Latin in a small room in a church built over the cave of Jesus birth.

Mosaic Floor from 326 in Bethlehem church
The preserved mosaic floor from the church commissioned in 326

by Constantine and who’s construction was oversaw by his mother Helena. 
This church was dedicated on May 31, 339.  It had an octagonal floor plan and was built above the cave of the nativity.  Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate in this church.


405     Latin Vulgate

  • To purify and correct the Latin translation of the Bible Damascus appointed Jerome to make a new accurate translation.  
  • Jerome’s Latin Bible becomes the standard for the next 1,000 years
  • The Old Testament was the first Latin translation taken directly from Hebrew instead of the Greek Septuagint.
  • The Latin word phrase “versio vulgate” means “the published translation”
  • Jerome included the apocrypha in his translation which were Jewish books not recognized by the Jews as scripture.  Jerome called them “non-canonical” books in his introduction to his translation.
  • By 600 Jerome’s translation was being used as much as the old Latin translations.
  • By 800 it was the most accepted translation of scripture.
  • It was declared authoritative and the sole Latin text of the Bible at the Council of Trent (1546).  It was at this council the apocrypha was canonized.

406     Vandals in Gaul and Spain

410     The Visigoths led by Alaric Sack Rome

Pelagius and the Pelagian Controversy

    • Pelagianism is an early church heresy dealing with the nature of man
    • Pelegius came to Rome from Britain to teach about asceticism around 380.
    • While in Rome Pelegius became familiar with Augustine’s writings and disagreed with Augustine’s views on the sovereignty of God and the free will of man.
    • Pelegius fled from Rome to Carthage in 410 when Alaric sacked Rome.  In Carthage Pelagius’ ideas spread rapidly and here he meet Augustine.
    • Pelegius did not agree with Augustine’s concept of original sin or the process of salvation. 
    • Pelegius believed that mankind can choose to obey god.  With his freewill men could choose to do good without God’s help.  He went on to say that Adam’s sin did not effect the nature of mankind.  Each man is born with the pure nature Adam was created with and has the inner ability to do good.
    • Pelegius accused Augustine for being thinking like the Manichean (spirit is good and from God, flesh is corrupt and evil) that he had been and for teaching fatalism like a pagan philosopher.
    • Augustine said that Adam’s sin effected the nature of all men (original sin) and that without God’s intervention and grace man could not respond to God nor could man do good. Augustine said the will of man is enslaved to sin.
    • These Catholic and Protestant church councils and confessions have condemned Pelegianism: Carthage (412, 416, 418), Ephesus (431), Orange (529), Trent (1546), Helvetic (Swiss-German Reformed, 1561-66), Augsburg Confession (Lutheran, 1530), Gallican Confession (French Reformed, 1559), Belgic Confession (Reformed, 1561), The Anglican Articles (English, 1571), Canons of Dort (Reformed, 1618-19)


The Pelagian Controversy


Man is born pure without a sin nature and is able to obey God and do what is necessary to gain salvation


Man is dead in sin at birth, born with a sin nature. Salvation is given to man by God’s grace and only given to the elect chosen by God


The grace of God works with the will of man to save the man, but the process is initiated by the man


The grace of God is offered to all men.  This grace enables the man to choose and do what is required for the salvation of that man

425     Barbarians settle in Roman Provinces

431     Council of Ephesus

  • Fourth Council
  • Nestorian Controversy and Nestorius Deposed

432     Patrick to Ireland

  • Patrick is captured in Britain by pirates and take to Ireland as a slave in his youth
  • Patrick escapes back to Britain and goes through monastery training
  • Patrick returns as a missionary to Ireland in response to a vision
  • The people Patrick converted were Celts.  They had not been under Roman occupation and thus had not been influenced by the Roman way of life.
  • Patrick had to overcome the Druid religion and superstition of the Irish.
  • They had no cities or Roman order so the church that Patrick established did not look like the Roman church.  This became known as Celtic Christianity.  It would continue successfully in Ireland until the Roman church moved in two hundred years later.

436     The Last Roman Troops Leave Britain

451     Council of Chalcedon

  • Fifth Council
  • Eutychian Controversy
  • They confirm the orthodox teaching that Jesus was truly God and truly man and existed in one Person

440-461         Pope Leo the Great

  • Roman Bishop in 440 and often called the first Pope
  • Asserted the primacy of the Roman bishop, against the claims of the political capital, Constantinople.
  • His Christological (nature of Christ) teaching adopted by the church at council of Chalcedon in 451
  • He negotiated with Attila the Hun for the removal of his barbarians from Italy in 452
  • He clarified the doctrine of primacy of the bishop of Rome that taught that the Roman bishop held the same position as Peter which was authority over all the other bishops.  This established the basis for the papacy.
  • With the doctrinal conflicts and the barbaric invasions, Leo proved to be a great leader in difficult times

How the Church in Rome and the Roman Bishop Became Absolute

Matthew 16:17-19

Around 440 Leo I claimed that Jesus had given Peter authority over the whole church

Apostolic Succession

The apostles established churches and church leaders.  It was assumed that Peter had given his authority to the leader in Rome

Head of Empire

Rome was the head of the empire that the church began in so it was natural to look to Rome as the head of the church

Size of Rome

Rome’s population, both pagan and Christian, was greater than any other city

Latin Language

The Greek language offers more refined and precise expressions which was great for the preservation of scripture but could be very devisive at a church council.  The western world’s Latin was not as precise and so easier to align the splintered theological groups and build unity.  The Greek in the East would create divisions

Evangelism Success

While the barbarians were conquering the West, the church was converting them.  When the Muslims came into the East the eastern church did not equal the evangelism success of the West

City of Peter and
Paul’s Martyrdom

When the church began to seek after and honor the relics, the Roman church had the relics of the two superstars in their city


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QUESTIONS (back to the top)



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