A CHURCH TIMELINE for 2018AD
18AD – Jesus is (probably) aged 22 and has no doubt thought up ever more baffling questions and answers.
118 AD – Opening of the Pantheon in Rome, the ‘Temple of the Gods’, now the church of St. Mary and the Martyrs.
218AD – Persecution of Christians in Rome by the effeminate and insane Emperor Heliogabalus, himself high priest of the Syrian sun-god Elagabal. His reign fortunately ends in 222 when he is murdered by his grandmother and aunt.
318AD – Excommunication of Arius, a presbyter of the church in Alexandria, who denied the full deity of the pre-existent Son of God, making the Son the created agent through whom the universe itself was created. “There was a time when he was not”. This teaching, the Arian heresy, was rebutted by the Council of Nicaea (325); Christ was “begotten, not made”.
418AD – The Council of Carthage in N. Africa reinforces St. Augustine’s teaching that we all sin through the sin of Adam, and our salvation depends on God’s will, over against Pelagius, who maintained that we do not have sinful tendencies, and work out our own salvation or damnation.
518AD – The Patriarch of Antioch in Syria, one of the oldest Christian places in the world, where believers were first called “Christians”, has to leave the city through unrest, never to return; the Patriarchate spent centuries in Iraq and Turkey and is now located in Damascus.
618AD – Lawrence, second archbishop of Canterbury after Augustine, intends to leave the city after the king of Kent reverts to paganism but has a vision of St. Peter, rebuking him for thinking of deserting.
718AD – St. Boniface begins his evangelising work in northern Europe, which will continue until his death in 754.
818AD – The first clear statement of the doctrine that the material elements of bread and wine in the Eucharist are “”by divine power changed into the very body that was born of Mary”.
918AD – Norwegian Vikings sack the city of York, where Christianity is struggling to recover.
1018AD – At the Synod of Pavia in N. Italy, Pope Boniface VIII declares that “the sons and daughters of clergy, whether from free-women or slaves, whether from legal wives or concubines, are the property of the Church”.
1118AD – Foundation of the Knights Templar (of the Order of the Temple of Solomon) as part of St. Bernard’s plan to restore the Holy Land to the Christian faith.
1218AD – Death of Peter Waldo, a kind of proto-Protestant St. Francis of Assisi, stressing radical poverty, public preaching and dedication to the Bible. His movement, originating in Lyons in 1173, was condemned by the Catholic Church, but the ‘Waldensians’ still have a presence in Italy and elsewhere.
1318AD – The Franciscan Blessed Odoric Mattiuzzi (of Pordenone) leaves Italy to embark on the most ambitious preaching tour ever, a circuit taking in Armenia, Persia, Iraq, India, Java, Borneo, the Philippines, China, Mongolia and Tibet. He returns to die in his bed in 1330.
1418AD – End of the Council of Constance, whose high watermark was to end the Papal Schism of two (and eventually three) contenders, and whose low point was the burning of the Czech reformer Jan Hus who had gone there under a safe conduct.
1518AD – Taking his cue from Martin Luther, the Swiss reformer Zwingli begins in Zurich his attack on Church practices, leading to his replacing the Mass with a new liturgy.
1618AD – The so-called ‘Defenestration’ (Throwing Out of the Window) of Prague: three agents of the Catholic Emperor are ejected thus from the third floor of a palace by Protestant opponents. Crying to Our Lady for help, they land unharmed on a pile of manure. The event sparked off the deadly Thirty Years’ War in central Europe (to 1648).
1718AD – Death of Wu Yushan, one of the first three native Chinese priests, and a famed water-colour painter.
1818AD – A German priest psychiatrist is the first to propose the notion that the insane are ‘unfree’ and therefore not responsible for their actions, thus introducing the insanity plea into law.
1918AD – The Catholic Church introduces its Code of Canon Law, thus presenting the general principles of membership and the structure of the institution in one volume, replacing a series of disconnected decrees. The Code was revised in 1983.
2018AD – Church history waits to be made – by you?
A CHURCH TIMELINE for 2018AD