History of Christianity
Page last modified 3/9/2020
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“Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it.” Voltaire
“He who begins by loving Christianity better than Truth will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity, and end by loving himself better than all” Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“Fanaticism consists of redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.” George Santayana
Abbeys and Cathedrals (foundation)
Church condemnation of socialism
Origins of Church doctrines and practices
Church reform, 16th century
Bible and Prayerbook Developments – see appendix 1
Jesuits – see appendix 3
2016, In Britain, acordimng to the Social Attitudes Survey, the number of people with no religion reached 53%, up from 48% in 2015. In 1983 the figure was 31%. The number of non-Christians was 6%, down from 8% in 2015. The 41% of Christians was comprised of 15% Church of England (down from 37% in 1983), 9% Roman Catholic, down from 10% in 1983, their numbers bolstered by immigration, and 17% ‘other Christian’, up from 16% in 1983.
26/1/2015, The Church of England appointed its first woman bishop. The Reverend Libby Lane became suffragan Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony in York Cathedral.
16/9/2010, Pope Benedict XVI commenced the first Papal visit to Britain since King Henry VIII split with Rome.
19/10/2003, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was beatified.
6/8/2003, Gene Robinson became the first openly gay Anglican bishop.
7/7/2003, Canon Jeffrey John, first would-be gay bishop in the Church of England, withdrew his acceptance of the post of the Bishop of Reading, after discussions with church leaders.
14/8/2002, Pope John Paul II drew a crowd of two million at a papal Mass in Krakow, on his 9th visit to his native Poland.
22/11/2001, Pope John Paul II sent the first Papal email from a laptop in his office.
12/3/2000, Pope John Paul II at St Peters, Rome, prayed for forgiveness of past sins of the Catholic Church, including the burning of heretics during the Inquisition, the slaughter of Muslims during the Crusades, being silent during the Nazi massacre of the Jews, and professing hatred for groups such as the Travellers.
15/6/1994, Israel and The Vatican established full diplomatic relations.
12/3/1994, The Church of England ordained its first women priests. 32 were ordained.
25/4/1993. Pope John Paul II made the first Papal visit to Albania, until then the world’s only officially atheist state.
21/3/1993, Pope John Paul II declared Duns Scotus a saint.
10/2/1993. The Pope, John Paul II, called for an end to the persecution of Christians in Sudan.
11/11/1992. The UK General Synod voted for ordination of women. Several hundred male clergy left the Church in protest and even in 2000 there were some 1,000 Church of England congregations that were refusing to accept female priests. The first female priests were ordained in 1994 and by 2001 around 20% of the Church of England clergy was female. Some saw this as progressive, others as blasphemous..
31/10/1992. The Vatican admitted that Galileo was right when he said the Earth revolved around the Sun.
26/4/1992, Worshippers celebrated Easter at the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow for the first time in 74 years.
6/3/1991. Dr George Carey was elected Archbishop of Canterbury.
24/6/1990, The Anglican Church ordained its first two women deacons, at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast. Kathleen Young, a 50-year-old physiotherapist from Carrickfergus, County Antrim, and Irene Templeton, 49, from Belfast, were ordained.
24/10/1989, Fake US TV preacher Jim Bakker was sentenced to 45 years in prison and fined US$ 500,000 for swindling millions of dollars out of his followers.
8/3/1989, The Vatican dismissed Archbishop Paul Marcinkus from his position as chief of the Vatican’s bank. which had made losses of US$ 88 million.
4/3/1989, Pope John Paul II branded Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses blasphemous for suggesting that part of the Koran was inspired by the Devil.
28/2/1989, Hereford Cathedral dropped plans to sell the Mediaeval Mappa Mundi to raise money.
30/10/1988, The head of the Unification Church, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, presided over a mass wedding of 6,516 couples in Korea.
13/10/1988, The Turin Shroud was declared to be a fake; it was dated to between 1260 and 1390.
30/10/1988, The head of the Unification Church, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, presided over a mass wedding of 6,516 couples in Korea.
25/9/1988, In the USA, Barbara Harris, a divorcee, was elected first woman bishop in the Anglican Church, to serve as Bishop of Massachusetts (inaugurated 11/2/1989).
5/7/1988, The Church of England voted for the ordination of women.
19/9/1987, The Pope concluded his visit to the US.
10/3/1987. The Roman Catholic Church banned contraception by artificial means.
13/4/1986, Pope John Paul II visited a synagogue in Rome, the first time a modern Pope had visited a synagogue.
2/7/1985, The General Synod of the Church of England approved the ordination of women, despite strong opposition within the Church.
3/6/1985. In Italy, compulsory Roman Catholic instruction in schools ended and Catholicism was no longer the state religion.
30/3/1984, Karl Rahner, German Jesuit priest, died aged 80.
27/12/1983, Pope John Paul II met his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali, in a prison cell in Rome after conducting a Christmas service at the prison. There were growing rumours that the Bulgarian secret services were involved in the assassination attempt. Ali had been imprisoned for life for the crime.
9/5/1983, Pope John Paul II retracted the ban on Galileo Galilei.
1982, The Roman Catholic Church ceased automatically excommunicating Freemasons.
21/7/1982. The Reverend Moon, of the Unification Church or Moonies, married 4,000 in a mass ceremony in New York.
17/6/1982, The body of Roberto Calvi, a key figure in the Banco Ambrosiano scandal, was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge, London. Archbishop Marcinkus, President of the Vatican Bank, was also linked to the affair.
29/5/1982. Pope John Paul II visited Canterbury Cathedral with the Archbishop. On 30/5/1982 he visited Coventry Cathedral, and spoke of his hope for an end to war.
28/5/1982, Pope John Paul II landed at Gatwick Airport, becoming the first Pope to visit the United Kingdom for 450 years.
12/5/1982, A Spanish priest, Juan Hernandes, tried to stab Pope John Paul II with a bayonet as he visited the Fatima shrine on a pilgrimage.
5/12/1981. Elizabeth Canham, a British theology teacher, was ordained priest in the USA. She was the first British woman to become a priest.
13/5/1981. Pope John Paul II, seriously injured in the stomach, survived an assassination attempt in St Peter’s Square in Rome, by a Turkish terrorist, Mehmet Ali Agca, in front of 20,000 people. Agca had escaped from Turkey where he was being held for murder; he shot the Pope ‘in protest at American and Russian imperialism’.
25/3/1980, Robert Runcie became the 102nd Archbishop of Canterbury.
29/9/1979, Pope John Paul II arrived in Ireland, the first ever papal visit there.
2/6/1979. Pope John Paul II visited his native Poland. He was the first Pope to visit a Communist country.
25/1/1979, Pope John Paul II visited Latin America.
25/8/1978, The Shroud of Turin went on public display for the first time in 45 years.
6/8/1978, Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) died, aged 80.
17/6/1977. The feminist claim that God is a woman was supported by no less than the Jesuit journal Civitta Cattolica, published fortnightly in Rome.
15/1/1976. The Roman Catholic Church condemned sex outside marriage and said homosexuality could not be condoned.
1975, The Anglican Church in Canada approved of women being ordained as priests.
14/9/1975, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was canonised by Pope Paul VI to become the first American ‘saint’.
24/1/1975, Dr Donald Coggan was enthroned as the 101st Archbishop of Canterbury, succeeding Michael Ramsey.
1974, In the US, Church attendance stood at 40%. Amongst Roman Catholics it was 55%, down from 71% in 1963.
14/5/1974, Dr Donald Coggan was made Archbishop of Canterbury.
16/4/1973. The Church of England said that practising homosexuals would not be accepted for training as priests after a radio statement by the Archbishop of York said that many clergymen were homosexuals.
5/10/1972. The Congregational Church and the Presbyterian Church of England combined to form the United Reformed Church.
1970, Pope Paul IV declared that priestly celibacy was a fundamental principle of the Catholic Church.
27/11/1970. Pope Paul IV was unharmed after a knife-wielding assailant dressed as a priest attempted to attack him at Manila Airport.
22/6/1970, The Methodist Church said it would ordain female ministers.
1969, A Gallup Poll in the US showed that 70% of people felt the influence of religion was declining in the USA.
29/7/1968, The Pope condemned all forms of birth control.
1966, The Vatican rescinded the rule that Catholics could eat no meat, only fish, on Fridays.
23/3/1966. In Rome the first official meeting for 400 years between the heads of the Catholic and Anglican Churches took place, Pope Paul VI met with Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.
1965, The Salvation Army, now 100 years old, had 27,000 members.
4/10/1965, Pope Paul VI visited New York City; the first Papal visit to America.
6/1/1964. Pope Paul VI finished a three-day tour of the Holy Land, the first Pope to visit there since Christianity began. He was also the first Pope to leave Italy for over 150 years. On 5/1/1964 Pope Paul VI met the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in Jerusalem, the first meeting between the heads of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches for 500 years.
3/1/1962, Pope John XXIII excommunicated Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
27/6/1961, Dr Ramsey was enthroned as the 100th Archbishop of Canterbury in Canterbury Cathedral.
19/1/1961, Michael Ramsey was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, following the retirement of Archbishop Fisher.
23/5/1957. The Church of England broke with tradition by allowing divorcees to take Communion. The Bible taught that marriage was for life, but Britain’s legal system allowed divorce.
8/12/1956, The Polish government completed a process of reconciliation with the Catholic Church. Cardinal Wyszynski had been released from prison on 26/10/1956, and on this day the Church was now free to make its own ecclesiastical appointments. Religious teaching in schools, and religious posts in hospitals and the army, were restored. Criticism of government policies in church sermons was permitted.
24/2/1954, The American evangelist Billy Graham arrived in London on a three-month ‘crusade’.
10/1953, The first Scientology church was founded in Camden, New Jersey, USA, by L. Ron Hubbard, his wife Mary Sue Hubbard, and John Galusha.
2/1/1952, Pope Pius X declared that television was a threat to family life.
11/3/1951, In Northern Ireland, the Reverend Ian Paisley founded the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster.
1/11/1950, The Assumption, the belief that Mary mother of Jesus bodily ascended to heaven when she died, was declared dogma for Roman Catholics by Pope Pius XII. This belief is not considered doctrine in the Eastern Orthodox Churchand is resisted by many Protestants.
23/8/1948, The World Council of Churches was formed.
1947, In the UK, only 10% of the population regularly attended church, two thirds never attended one. However only 5% of the population were committed atheists; 80% of women and 67% of men believed in some kind of deity.
25/1/1944, In Macao the Reverend Florence Tim-Oi Lee became the first woman Anglican Priest
6/11/1942. The Church of England relaxed its rule that women must wear hats in church.
26/9/1942, Wilson Carlile, British clergyman who founded the Church Army in 1882, died aged 95.
31/5/1939, Terry Waite, envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury, was born.
4/5/1938. The Vatican recognised Franco as leader of Spain.
17/12/1936, Pope Francis I was born.
13/11/1935, George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury 1991-2002, was born.
24/5/1935. Pope Pius IX condemned the German sterilisation of 56,244 ‘inferior’ German citizens.
25/9/1933, 25,000 visited Turin Cathedral to gaze at the Turin Shroud, revealed to the public for the first time in 400 years, which purportedly showed the face of Jesus.
20/9/1933, Annie Besant, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, died.
8/7/1933, The Vatican signed a concordat with Nazi Germany; this did not protect German Catholics from persecution.
20/9/1932, At the Royal Albert Hall, London, UK, the three Methodist Churches – Wesleyan, Primitive and United – agreed to merge.
1931, The International Bible Students Association adopted the name Jehovah’s Witnesses.
2/9/1931, Mussolini made a pact with The Vatican.
31/5/1931. The Pope denounced Mussolini’s Fascists following attacks on priests and church property.
15/5/1931. Pope Pius XI condemned Communism.
25/7/1929. Pope Pius XI became the first Pope for 59 years to leave the Vatican. The creation of the Papal state under the Lateran treaties had clarified the politico-legal position of the Pope, who until then had been a virtual prisoner within the Vatican.
7/6/1929. The Papal State, extinct since 1870, was revived as the Vatican City State in Rome under the Lateran Treaty.
11/2/1929. The 109 acres of the Vatican in Rome were made an independent state under the Lateran Treaty, which was signed by Benito Mussolini and Pietro Gasparri, Pope Pius XI.
1928, Opus Dei was founded in Spain. In 2020 it had around 99,000 members.
21/5/1928. In Italy, Catholics were told to disassociate themselves from Fascism.
8/4/1926, Jurgen Moltmann, German theologian, was born.
10/7/1925, The Scopes trial began in Dayton Tennessee. Mr Scopes, a science teacher, was accused of teaching evolution and so breaching State laws against teaching ideas contradicting the Bible. The real issue was the role of the State in determining the religious nature of school education. The outcome was inconclusive. Scopes was found guilty on 21/7/1925 but the US$100 penalty was set aside on a technicality.
23/3/1925. US Tennessee law prohibited the teaching of evolution.
18/12/1924, Pope Pius XI denounced the USSR.
4/6/1923, In Spain, the Archbishop of Saragossa was murdered.
2/3/1923, Cardinal Basil Hume, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster from 1976, was born.
2/10/1921, Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury 1980-1991, was born (died 2000).
18/5/1920. Pope John Paul II was born as Karolum Wojtyla in the market town of Wadowice, near Krakow, Poland. He was the son of a junior officer in the Polish Army.
16/5/1920, Joan of Arc was canonised.
7/11/1918. Billy Graham, US evangelist, was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, the son of a diary farmer.
11/12/1917, Owen Snedden, Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Wellington from 1962 to 1981, was born in Auckland (died 1981).
13/5/1917, At Fatima, a small town in north east Portugal, three shepherd girls aged 10 - 13 saw a vision of a lady outside the town. The vision reappeared at monthly intervals and on 13/10/1917 declared itself to be ‘Our Lady of the Rosary’
31/10/1916, Charles Taze Russell, who founded the modern-day Jehovah’s Witnesses, died.
1914, Bournemouth finally permitted Sunday trains. Sunday steamers, however, remained forbidden until 1929.
19/8/1912. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, born on 10/4/1829, died aged 83. He was succeeded as leader of the Salvation Army on 21/8/1912 by Mr Bramwell Booth.
16/5/1912, MPs backed a Bill that would disestablish the Church in Wales, despite opposition by church leaders.
12/11/1911. Rev. Chad Varah, founder of The Samaritans, was born
11/1/1911, The Jehovah’s Witnesses released their film, The Photodrama of Creation, in New York. By the end of 1911 nine million people had seen it, mainly in N America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
3/12/1910. Mary Baker Eddy, American founder of the Christian Scientists, died.
26/5/1910, Pope Pius X issued the encyclical Editio Saepe. This angered many German Protestants because of its derogatory comments about Luther and the Reformation. On 11/6/1910, after protests by Prussia, the Pope expressed regrets over the encyclical and ordered bishops in Germany to stop circulating it.
3/4/1910, While in Rome, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt announced that he would not meet with Pope Leo XIII because of the Vatican's request that Roosevelt not meet first with local Methodists. In March, former Vice-President Charles W. Fairbanks declined an audience for the same reason.
18/4/1909, Joan of Arc was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church; she was canonised in 1920.
30/4/1907, King Edward VII of Britain visited Rome and The Vatican.
2/1/1907. Anti-clerical laws in France forbade the crucifix in schools.
2/2/1906. 530 injured in Paris in dispute over Church property.
9/12/1905, In France, the Church and State were legally separated.
1/8/1905, The founder of the Salvation Army, General William Booth, began a 2,000 mile crusade round Britain.
14/11/1904, Michael Ramsey, 100th Archbishop of Canterbury, was born (died 1988)
12/10/1904, The Polish Archbishop, Wincenty Popiel, condemned socialism as being subversive of all institutions.
18/3/1903, An anti-clerical French Government dissolved all religious orders.
3/6/1902, In France, Rene Waldbeck-Rousseau resigned, despite having a majority on the Chamber, over disputes with extremists. He was succeeded by Emile Combes, who pursued a strongly anti-clerical policy.
1901, The modern Pentecostalist movement began when Agnes Osman started speaking in tongues at Topeka, Kansas, USA.
11/12/1901, The American Federation of Catholic Societies was founded at a meeting in Cincinnati after members amended the initial proposal to exclude women from a federation of all the Roman Catholic societies in the United States.
1/7/1901, France enacted its anti-clerical Association Law, which outlawed all religious institutions not formally registered with the State.
2/1/1901, The first municipal crematorium was opened in Britain, by the Lord Mayor in Hull.
31/10/1900, In Scotland, the Free and the United Presbyterian Churches merged.
1899, The International Gideons Association was founded. They are best known for their placing of Bibles in hotel rooms.
26/9/1897, Pope Paul V was born in Concessio, as Giovanni Battista Montini.
31/12/1891, Samuel Adjai Crowther, African missionary bishop, died.
15/5/1891, A Papal Encyclical urged employers to fulfil their moral duty to improve conditions for their workers.
21/11/1890, The Lincoln Judgment, concerning the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Canterbury, was delivered.
6/10/1890, The Mormons in Utah renounced polygamy.
11/8/1890, Cardinal Newman (born 1801) died in Birmingham, UK. He was appointed as a Cardinal in 1879, and believed in the romantic vision of the Mediaeval Church.
29/10/1885, James Hannington, first Bishop of eastern Africa, died
2/6/1883, Rioting at Stromeferry, Scotland, to try to prevent fish being despatched to London as so desecrating the Sabbath.
7/3/1882, The UK Parliament was presented with a Bill to prevent atheists becoming MPs. The Bill failed.
1881, Pubs in Wales were forbidden from opening on Sundays, contributing to the growth in illegal drinking dens.
25/11/1881, Pope John XXIII was born in Sotto il Monte, near Bergamo, Italy, as Angelo Guiseppe Roncali, the son of a peasant.
1880, In Britain, at least 25% and probably nearer 30% of the population regularly attended Sunday church services.
14/7/1880. Bismarck ended his Kulturkampf, or anti-Catholic policy.
11/5/1879, Samuel Gobat, Bishop of Jerusalem, died (born 26/1/1799)
1878, Pope Leo XIII banned castrati, males who had been subject to castration in order to retain high clear voices for singing, from the papal choir.
28/12/1878, Pope Leo XIII issued an encyclical, Quod apolostici muneris, condemning the rise of socialism, communism, the nihilists and anarchists.
29/8/1877. The Mormon leader Brigham Young died.
2/3/1876, Pope Pius X was born in Rome, as Eugenio Pacelli.
30/10/1875. In the USA, Mary Baker Eddy published Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, arguing that illness is illusory and laying the basis for Christian Science.
24/7/1875, Athanase Coquerel, French theologian, died.
2/10/1871, Mormon leader Brigham Young was arrested for bigamy.
12/7/1871. In New York, 31 civilians and 2 policemen were dead after fighting between Scots/Irish Presbyterians and Irish Catholics.
8/7/1871. Bismarck launched a cultural offensive against the Catholic Church, abolishing the Catholic Department for Spiritual Affairs.
1870, Charles Taze Russell and others formed a Bible Study Group, which later became the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
7/8/1870, Jozef Brems, Bishop of Roskilde, was born.
18/7/1870. Pope Pius IX, 78, obtained a declaration from the Vatican General Council that the papacy was infallible in all its pronouncements, per se and not by virtue of the assent of the Church. Papal nuncios persuaded the bishops to vote 533 to 2 in favour of Papal infallibility. This move provoked much anti-Church legislation in Germany.
2/10/1870 In a plebiscite, the Papal States voted to unite with Italy. The capital of Italy was moved from Florence to Rome. This was under the reign of Pope Pius IX.
1869, Pope Pius IX declared that abortion of any kind was an excommincatory sin.
1865, The Seventh Day Adventist Church was founded by Ellen G White (nee Harmon, born 1827) and her husband.
2/7/1865. The Salvation Army was founded, by William Booth, with a revival meeting in Whitechapel, London.
6/11/1861, James A Naismyth, American physical educator and director of the International YMCA in Springfield Massachusetts, inventor of basketball, was born.
9/7/1860, Massacre of Christians in Damascus.
15/6/1858, Christians were massacred in Jeddah.
11/2/1858. At Lourdes, a 14 year old peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous, claimed to have seen a vision of a lady surrounded by light in a grotto.
31/5/1857, Pope Pius XI was born.
8/12/1854. Pope Pius IX settled an ancient controversy by declaring that Christ’s mother, Mary, was free of all sin the moment she was born. This doctrine is known as the ‘Immaculate Conception’.
1853, Until this year only Roman Catholicism, introduced by the Spanish, was the permitted religion in Colombia. The Roman Catholic religion was disestablished from Colombian State patronage in 1936.
16/2/1852, Charles Taze Russell, American who organised the start of modern-day Jehovah’s Witnesses, was born in Pittsburgh.
30/3/1851, In Britain this day, 7.25 million out of a total population of 17 million reportedly attended Church. This was thought to be a disturbingly small proportion.
1848, The Christadelphians were founded by John Thomas (1805-1871).
27/6/1848, Denis Affre, Archbishop of Paris (born 27/9/1793) died.
1847, A Papal Bull again reiterated the need for Catholic Priests to be celibate.
3/9/1847, James Hannington, first Bishop of Equatorial Africa, was born.
24/7/1847. A group of Mormons under Brigham Young founded a settlement on the banks of the Great Salt Lake, Utah. The Mormons had been driven by mobs from their former homes in Illinois.
14/1/1847, Wilson Carlile, English clergyman who founded the Church Army, was born in Buxton, Derbyshire.
14/12/1844. China relaxed a ban on the Roman Catholic Church.
8/8/1844. The Mormons chose Brigham Young as leader to replace Joseph Smith, see 27/6/1844.
27/6/1844. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, died. He was killed, along with his brother Hyrum, by a 200-strong mob in Carthage prison, Illinois, where they had been held on riot charges. The brothers had destroyed the offices of a rival Mormon newspaper. This followed months of tension between the Mormon settlers, who came to Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1839, and locals who resented Mormon political and economic power. Mormon polygamy was also a contentious issue.
6/6/1844. George Williams founded the YMCA at 72 St Paul’s Churchyard, London.
25/12/1843. The first Christmas card was designed by John Calcott Horsley for Sir Henry Cole. The design was of three generations of a Victorian family sitting round a festive table, toasting an absent guest. Some objected that the illustration encouraged drunkenness. Sir Cole said he was too busy at business to send letters to all his friends as was his custom, so he had 1,000 cards printed up, selling the surplus for 1 shilling each. By 1862 cards featured ‘A Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year’; then holly and robins appeared in the illustrations, and by 1871 a daily newspaper complained that people were trying to outdo each other in how many cards they received, and the consequent delay in other post. The GPO adopted the slogan ‘Post Early For Christmas’ for the first time in 1880. Christmas crackers appeared in the 1840s. However Christmas trees date back to around 1605 where they were seen in Strasbourg. In Alsace fir trees, or maien, were set up on May Day as far back as 1521.
23/9/1840, Nathanael Emmons, US clergyman, died (born 20/4/1745)
10/5/1840. Mormon leader Joseph Smith moved his followers to Illinois to escape hostility in Missouri.
5/4/1840, Lant Carpenter, English Unitarian Minister, died (born 2/9/1780)
13/8/1839, Michael Corrigan, Archbishop of New York, was born.
13/5/1839, Joseph Fesch, Cardinal, died (born 3/1/1763)
2/6/1835, Pope Pius X was born.
15/7/1834, The Spanish Inquisition, founded in 1478, was disbanded.
19/6/1834, C H Spurgeon, Victorian preacher, was born.
4/9/1832, Antonio Agliardi, Papal diplomatist, was born in Bergamo, Italy.
6/4/1831, The Mormon leader, Brigham Young, married his 27th and final wife.
6/4/1830. Joseph Smith, in Fayette, New York State, founded the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, whose adherents are better known as Mormons.
10/4/1829, William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was born in Nottingham, the son of a builder.
22/9/1827. Joseph Smith, son of an impoverished New England farmer, announced that he had received golden plates from an angel. From this he translated the Book of Mormon, leading to the founding of the Mormon religion.
25/2/1825, Quote from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “He who begins by loving Christianity better than Truth will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity, and end by loving himself better than all”
11/10/1821. Sir George Williams, founder of the YMCA in 1844, was born in Dulverton, Somerset.
16/7/1821, Mary Baker Eddy, American religious leader who founded the Christian Scientists, was born in Bow, New Hampshire.
3/12/1815, John Carroll, US Roman Catholic prelate, died (born 8/1/1735)
1814, Pope Pius VII returned to Rome, after Napoleon was vanquished, and restored the Inquisition.
2/3/1810, Pope Leo XIII was born, as Gioacchino Vincenzo Pecci, in Carpineto, the son of a Count.
1808, Napoleon abolished the Inquisition in Spain and Italy.
23/12/1805, Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), was born in Sharon, Vermont.
28/8/1805, Alexander Carlyle, Scottish religious leader, died (born 26/1/1722)
2/8/1803, Nicolas Wiseman, first Archbishop of Westminster, was born.
1/6/1801, Brigham Young, American Mormon leader, was born in Whittingham, Vermont.
26/1/1799, Samuel Gobat, Bishop of Jerusalem, was born (died 11/5/1879).
21/6/1792, Ferdinand Baur, theologian, was born in Schmiden (died 1860).
13/5/1792, Pope Pius IX was born.
2/3/1791. John Wesley, founder of Methodism, died in London aged 87. He was born on 17/6/1703 at Epworth Rectory. His brother Charles Wesley, a hymn writer and preacher, was born on 18/12/1707 and died in 1788.
12/9/1788, Alexander Campbell, US Christian religious leader (died 1866) was born.
29/3/1788. The evangelist Charles Wesley, younger brother of John Wesley, died. He wrote over 5,000 hymns.
8/9/1784, Ann Lee, religious leader and founder of the US sect of the Shakers, died.
28/2/1784. John Wesley signed the Deed of Declaration of the Wesleyan faith.
2/9/1780, Lant Carpenter, English Unitarian Minister, was born (died 5/4/1840).
1779, The Religious Tract Society was founded in London. Its aim was to distribute religious literature in the British colonies and other lands.
5/2/1775, Eusebius Amort, German Catholic Theologian, died in Pulling, Bavaria (born 15/11/1692 in Bibermuhle, Upper Bavaria).
1772, The Inquisition was abolished in France.
18/9/1765, Pope Gregory XVI was born.
3/1/1763, Joseph Fesch, Cardinal, was born (died 13/5/1839).
20/11/1761, Pope Pius VIII was born.
22/8/1760, Pope Leo XII born.
25/10/1757, Antoine Calmet, French Benedictine monk and teacher (born 26/2.1672) died.
20/8/1745, Francis Asbury, US clergyman, was born (died 31/3/1816)
20/4/1745, Nathanael Emmons, US clergyman, was born (died 23/9/1840).
1744, The first general conference of the Methodists was held.
14/8/1740, Pope Pius X was born
24/5/1738, During a reading of Martin Luther’s preface to the Bible Book of Romans, John Wesley had a religious inspiration that led him to found the Methodist Church.
28/4/1738. Pope Clement XII condemned freemasonry.
8/1/1735, John Carroll, US Roman Catholic prelate, was born (died 3/12/1815).
26/1/1722, Alexander Carlyle, Scottish religious leader, was born (died 28/8/1805).
27/12/1717, Pope Pius VI was born.
1713, Jansenism, the Christeian sect originally led by Bishop Cornelius Jansen, Bishop of Ypres, was finally eradicated by Pope Clement XI. Similar to Calvinism, it had been condemned as heresy by Pope Innocent IV in 1654.
21/1/1710, Johann Gichtel, German preacher, died (born 14/3/1638).
17/6/1703. The founder of Methodism, John Wesley, was born at Epworth, Lincolnshire. He was the 15th child of a rector who fathered 19 children.
1698, In London the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) was formed by Dr Thomas Bray (1656 – 1730).
15/11/1692, Eusebius Amort, German Catholic Theologian, was born in Bibermuhle, Upper Bavaria (died 5/2/1775 in Pulling, Bavaria).
13/1/1691, George Fox, English religious leader who founded the Society of Friends in 1648 (often known as the Quakers from 1650) died in London.
25/2/1686, Abraham Calovius, German Lutheran theologian (born 16/4/1612) died.
26/2/1672, Antoine Calmet, French Benedictine monk and teacher (died 25/10/1757) was born.
1662, In Britain the Uniformity Act stated that all Church Ministers must be ordained by the Anglican rite. This aliented more Dissenters.
18/1/1664, Moses Amyraut, Protestant theologian (born 1596) died.
13/5/1655, Pope Innocent XIII was born.
30/10/1650, ‘Quakers’, the more common name for the Religious Society of Friends, came into being during a court case at which George Fox, the founder, told magistrates to “quake and tremble at the word of the Lord”.
14/3/1638, Johann Gichtel, German preacher, was born (died 21/1/1710).
5/8/1633, George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, died (born 19/10/1562).
18/11/1626. St Peter’s Church in Rome was consecrated.
8/9/1624, Marco Dominis, Italian theologian, died (born 1560).
17/9/1621, Roberto Bellarmine, Italian Cardinal, died in Rome (born in Tuscany 4/1/1542).
9/7/1618, Religious dispute in Holland between Jacobus Arminius and Gomarus. Gomarus supported the doctrine of predestination; Arminius opposed it. The Arminians, or Remonstrants, were supported by the local State-Princes; the Contra-Remonstrants (Gomarus) were supported by Maurice, who also had the Army on his side. Maurice moved to eliminate the waard-gelders, the local militia possessed by the State-Princes. Supporting the Remonstrants were Hugo de Groot (Grotius) and Hoogerbeets.
13/3/1615, Pope Innocent XII was born.
16/4/1612, Abraham Calovius, German Lutheran theologian (died 25/2/1686) was born.
16/5/1611, Pope Innocent XI was born.
1609, The Catholic League was founded.
19/10/1609, Jacobus Arminius, Dutch religious reformer, died in Leiden (born 10/10/1560 in Oudewater, south Holland).
1604, In Britain, the Hampton Court Conference attempted to enforce religious practices that the Puritans would not accept. They became the first of the Dissenters.
29/2/1604, John Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, died.
27/12/1603, Thomas Cartwright, English Puritan reformer, died.
2/4/1602, Maria Agreda, Spanish religious visionary and Franciscan nun (died 1665) was born.
See also Great Britain; religious conflict, 16th and 17th centuries
25/7/1587. The Japanese Emperor Hideyoshi banned Christianity, and ordered the Jesuits to leave within 20 days. The Jesuits were accused of selling the Japanese as slaves.
1/1/1583, Simon Episcopius, Dutch theologian, was born (died 1643)
5/10/1582. Pope Gregory XIII cancelled 10 days from the 5th to the 15th October 1582 to bring back the Spring Equinox to the 21st March and ensure that Easter fell on the proper date. Under the old Julian calendar, established in 46 BC, the calendar gained a whole day every 128 years. The new system cut out three leap years every 400 years to maintain accuracy.
24/2/1582, Pope Gregory XIII announced a change from the Julian calendar to the new Gregorian calendar, entailing a forward move of 11 days, see 5/10/1582.
25/6/1580, Publication of the Lutheran Book of Concord. This set out the essential foundations of the Lutheran faith.
2/5/1576, Bartolome Carranza, Spanish theologian, died (born 1503).
17/5/1575, Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, died.
6/5/1574, Pope Innocent X was born.
16/2/1568. The death sentence was passed on an entire country when the Spanish Inquisition condemned The Netherlands for heresy. During the first week of the plan to kill 3 million people, 800 were hanged, burnt, or killed by other means.
1/10/1567, Pietro Carnesecchi, religious reformer, was executed (born 1508).
22/9/1566, Johannes Agricola, German Protestant reformer (born 20/4/1494) died.
14/5/1565, Nicolaus von Amsdorf, German Protestant reformer, died in Eisenach (born 3/12/1483 in Torgau).
1564, The term ‘Puritan’ was first used, according to Thomas Fuller. It was a somewhat pejorative term, having a sense of both ‘Protestant-extremist’ (rather like the Cathars) and ‘pedantic’, as in stickler for detail or tradition’. The Puritans were a group of Protestant Christians who felt that the Reformation of the Church had not gone far enough.
13/11/1564, The Tridentine Creed was promulgated.
27/5/1564, John Calvin, French theologian who helped spread the Protestant revolution, died.
26/1/1564, Pope Pius IV confirmed the declarations of the Council of Trent.
1563, The Council of Trent reiterated the celibacy rule for priests.
19/10/1562, George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury, was born (died 5/8/1633).
1/3/1562, Hugenots massacred at Wassy.
18/1/1562, The Council of Trent reconvened, after a suspension of ten years.
20/12/1560, The first assembly of the Church of Scotland.
12/11/1560, Caspar Aquila, German religious reformer, died (born in Augsburg 7/8/1488).
10/10/1560, Jacobus Arminius, Dutch religious reformer, was born in Oudewater, south Holland (died in Leiden 19/10/1609).
30/9/1560, Melchior Cano, Spanish theologian (born 1525) died.
25/9/1555, The Peace of Augsburg was signed between Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the Schmalkaldic
League, at the city of Augsburg. It cemented the division within Christendom between Catholicism and Protestantism, and allowed German states to choose either Roman Catholicism or Lutheranism as their State Religion.
9/1/1554, Pope Gregory XV born.
27/10/1553, Michael Servetus, theologian, was burnt at the stake.
17/9/1552, Pope Paul V was born.
24/11/1548, The English Parliament voted to allow clergymen to marry.
11/2/1548, English churches were ordered to remove all images of saints, as the Reformation proceeded.
18/2/1546. Martin Luther, Augustinian friar and instigator of the Reformation, died (see 31/10/1517), at his birthplace of Eisleben, Germany, at the age of 63, apparently of overwork.
13/12/1545, The Council of Trent began.
20/4/1545. The Waldensians were massacred in Provence.
1543, The first Protestants burned at the stake by the Spanish Inquisition. The Pope issued a list of books that it was forbidden for Roman Catholics to read.
10/2/1543, Johann Maier Eck, opponent of the reforms of Martin Luther, died (born 13/11/1486).
4/10/1542, Roberto Bellarmine, Italian Cardinal, was born in Tuscany (died in Rome 17/9/1621).
21/7/1542, Pope Paul III established the Universal Inquisition in order to halt the Reformation by repression.
24/12/1541, Carlstadt, German religious reformer, died (born 1480).
25/7/1539, Lorenzo Campeggio, Italian Cardinal, died (born 1464).
2/6/1537, A Papal Bull issued by Pope Paul III prohibited enslavement of American Indians, contrary to King Charles V’s policies. Paul excommunicated Catholic slave traders.
6/10/1536, William Tyndale, English religious reformer and translator of the Bible, was burned at the stake as a heretic in Vilvarde, Brussels, on the orders of King Henry VIII.
30/4/1536, The Inquisition was implemented in Portugal.
25/2/1536, Berthold Haller, Swiss religious reformer, died (born 1492).
11/2/1535, Pope Gregory XIV was born.
See also Great Britain for religious conflicts during 16th century and Dissolution of the Monasteries
15/1/1535, The Act of Supremacy was passed in England. This made King Henry VIII head of the Church.
1534, Pope Paul III acceded, and began the process called the Counter-Reformation.
9/8/1534, Cardinal Cajetan (Tommaso de Vio) died (born 1470). He was a staunch defender of papal privilege, in the face of Protestant reform.
25/1/1533. King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn were secretly married by the Bishop of Lichfield, and became the future parents of Queen Elizabeth I. Anne Boleyn was crowned at Westminster on 1/6/1533, shortly after Thomas Cranmer (who was appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury on 30/3/1533) had declared Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon null and void. On 23/5/1533 Henry VIII actually divorced Catherine of Aragon, resulting in a break between England and the Church of Rome.
18/1/1532, English Parliament banned payment by English churches to Rome.
11/10/1531, Ulrich Zwingli, Swiss Church reformer, was killed in a fight with soldiers from the Catholic-supporting Forest Cantons at Kappel, near Zurich. Zwingli was Chaplain to the Protestant troops from Zurich.
1530, The Inquisition in Portugal stepped up its efforts, in reaction to the spread of Protestantism, which damaged the Portuguese economy.
25/6/1530, The Confession of Augsburg was read to the Diet.
19/4/1529, At the Diet of Speyer, an alliance of German principalities and city states protested against the reinstatement of the Diet of Worms, so beginning the Protestant movement.
8/11/1527, Jerome Emser, opponent of Martin Luther’s reforms, died (born 20/3/1477)
17/6/1527, The Protestant Reformation began in Sweden.
1525, The original Mennonite movement started in Switzerland. It later took the name of a former Roman Catholic priest, Menno Simons, Later an offshoot developed, called the Amish after its founder, Jacob Amman. They subsequently migrated from Germany and Switzerland into Pennsylvania in the early 1700s.
1525, The Capuchin order was founded.
19/1/1523, Huldreich Zwingli published his 67 Articles in Zurich. They attacked the authority of the Pope, and the concept of Transubstantiation.
11/10/1521. Pope Leo X (217th Pope) conferred the title of Defender of the Faith on King Henry VIII. Twelve years later Henry VIII broke with Rome to marry Anne Boleyn.
18/4/1521, Martin Luther ended his defence at the Imperial Diet of Worms with the words “I cannot and will not recant anything. God help me. Amen”.
17/4/1521, Martin Luther, 38 years old, was excommunicated at the Diet of Worms.
16/4/1521, Martin Luther arrived at the Diet of Worms.
28/1/1521, The Diet of Worms began.
3/1/1521, Pope Leo X issued a Papal Bull excommunicating Martin Luther, after a deadline by which Luther had been ordered to recant his ‘heretical’ views expired. Martin Luther had condemned the sale of Indulgences (Papal forgiveness for sins) to raise funds for the Papacy.
11/8/1519, Johann Tetzel died in Leipzig Priory, aged 54. He defended the Church practice of selling indulgences (forgiveness), promoted by the Archbishop of Mainz as a way of raising money for rebuilding St Peters in Rome.
31/10/1517. Martin Luther, born 10/11/1483 in Eisleben, Germany, nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenburg, so starting the Reformation. He died on 18/2/1546. These theses condemned the sale of indulgences granting forgiveness of sin. On 15/6/1520 Pope Leo X condemned Luther’s theses as ‘heretical and scandalous’.
16/3/1517, The Fifth Lateran Council ended. The doctrine of ‘Immortality of the Soul’ was made Church dogma.
1515, The Fifth Lateran Council forbade the printing of any books without the permission of the Roman Catholic Church.
16/4/1515, Roman Catholic mass was banned in Zurich as the Lutheran Revolution spread across Europe.
28/3/1515, St Teresa of Avila was born. A Spanish noblewoman, she joined the Carmelite nuns in 1533, and reformed the order.
11/4/1514, Italian architect Donate Bramante died whilst still building St Peters in Rome, which he had begun in 1506.
11/10/1513, The Church reformer Huldrych Zwingli died (born 1/1/1484). He was killed, as Army Chaplain for the forces of Zurich, in battle during the War of Kappel, against the Forest Cantons.
1513, The Inquisition was introduced into Sicily.
3/5/1512, The Fifth Lateran Council began.
10/7/1509, John Calvin, French priest who spread the Reformation, was born at Noyon, Picardy.
1506, The Vatican City Swiss Guard was formed. Pope Julius II mad a contract with the Swiss Confederacy that no other country could recruit soldiers from Switzerland or emply Swiss mercenaries without Papal permission. The original Guard was 6,000 strong but now has just 100 men.
6/8/1504. Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, was born. He had a very long nose, and was extremely inquisitive, hence the expression ‘nosey parker’.
See also Great Britain; religious conflict, 16th and 17th centuries
17/1/1504, Pope Pius V was born.
7/1/1502, Pope Gregory XIII born.
31/3/1499, Pope Pius IV was born.
19/12/1498, Andreas Osiander, religious reformer, was born.
16/9/1498, Tomas de Torquemada, Inquisitor-General, died.
20/4/1494, Johannes Agricola, German Protestant reformer (died 22/9/1566) was born.
24/12/1491, Ignatius Loyola, Spanish priest who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), was born in Azpeitia.
28/6/1490, Albert, Archbishop of Mainz (died 24/9/1545) was born.
7/8/1488, Caspar Aquila, German religious reformer, was born in Augsburg (died 12/11/1560).
10/9/1487, Pope Julius III was born.
29/1/1487, Richard Foxe became Bishop of Exeter.
13/11/1486, Johann Maier Eck, opponent of the reforms of Martin Luther, was born (died 10/2/1543).
5/12/1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued the Papal bull Summis desiderantes affectibus giving the Inquisition a mission to hunt heretics and witches in Germany, led by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger.
1/1/1484, The Church reformer Huldrych Zwingli was born in Switzerland (died 11/10/1513).
3/12/1483, Nicolaus von Amsdorf, German Protestant reformer, was born in Torgau (died 14/5/1565 in Eisenach).
10/11/1483, Martin Luther, German religious reformer, leader of the Protestant Reformation, was born in Eisleben, the son of a miner.
9/8/1483. Pope Sixtus IV (212nd Pope) celebrated the first mass in the Sistine Chapel, which was named after him.
28/7/1480, (1) An Ottoman Army landed near Otranto, Italy. Pope Sixtus IV called for a crusade to drive them out.
(2) Mohammed II failed in an attempt to take Rhodes from the Knights of Rhodes.
20/3/1477, Jerome Emser, opponent of Martin Luther’s reforms, was born (died 8/11/1527)
28/6/1476, Pope Paul IV born.
11/12/1475, Pope Leo X was born.
28/2/1468, Pope Paul III was born.
23/10/1456, Giovanni di Capistrano, Italian theologian, died (born 1386).
21/9/1452, Girolamo Savonarola, Church reformer, was born.
1447, Pope Nicholas V acceded (died 1455).
15/6/1447, The Inquisition was revived in Spain.
6/3/1447, St Colette, founder of the Colettine Poor Clares, died at Ghent (born 13/1/1381). She founded 18 convents.
23/2/1447, Pope Eugene IV died.
1434, Insurrection in Rome; Pope Eugene IV was forced to flee to Florence. Florence Cathedral (begun 1420) was completed.
6/7/1439, Emperor John III of Constantinople (by then he ruled very little outside Constantinople, Salonika and Morea, and was known in western Europe as ‘Emperor of the Greeks’, not as he was officially, Roman Emperor) travelled to an Ecumenical Council in Florence and accepted papal primacy and union with Rome. The Decree of Union (Laetentur Caeli) formally uniting the Latin and Greek churches was issued. This was a last-ditch attempt to save his dominions from the Ottoman Turkish advance. However the Greek clergy rejected this union; there were too many fundamental differences of doctrine between the two Churches. Those who had formally accepted the union recanted upon return home. They preferred, in the words of a Byzantine dignitary, ‘the power [in Constantinople] of the Turkish turban rather than the Latin tiara.
29/5/1439, Pope Pius III was born.
26/1/1431, Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, died.
1420, Torquemada, the Spanish Grand Inquisitor, was born (died 1498).
6/7/1415.. Jan Hus, preacher and religious reformer, arrested on 28/11/1414, was burnt at the stake in Constance, Germany
18/10/1405, Pope Pius II was born.
27/9/1404, William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, died.
1398, Jan Hus, Church reformer, was lecturing on theology at Prague university.
15/11/1397, Pope Nicholas V was born.
31/12/1384, John Wycliffe, religious reformer (born 1328), died.
4/12/1383, Anti-Pope Felix V (Amadeus, Duke of Savoy) was born (died 7/1/1451).
20/5/1381. A council was held in Paris to find a way of ending the scandal of two Popes existing at once; After Pope Gregory XI died (1378) two rival Popes had been elected, Pope Urban VI at Rome and Pope Clement VII at Avignon. This Great Schism persisted until 1417.
13/1/1381, Birth of St Colette, founded of the Coletttine Poor Clares, in Corbie, France. See 6/3/1447.
29/4/1380, Death of Catherine of Siena, who became the patron saint of Italy. She was born in 1347 in Siena as Caterina Beninasca and became an ascetic. She campaigned against the Papal split (Avignon) and corruption, and was canonised by Pope Pius II in 1471, and is a noted Mediaeval female writer.
31/12/1378, Pope Callixtus III was born.
17/1/1377, The Papal See was transferred back to Rome from Avignon.
20/10/1349, Pope Clement VI outlawed the flagellants.
1322, Pope John XXII forbade the use of counterpoint in Church music.
1317, The Papacy outlawed alchemy.
18/3/1314, Jacques de Molay, the 23rd and the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was burned at the stake.
5/5/1313, Pope Celestine V was canonised.
22/3/1312, The Pope abolished the Order of the Templars.
11/5/1310, In France, 54 members of the Knights Templar were burned at the stake for heresy.
15/8/1309, The city of Rhodes surrendered to the forces of the Knights of St. John, completing their conquest of Rhodes. The knights established their headquarters on the island, and renamed themselves as the Knights of Rhodes.
9/3/1309. Pope Clement V (French) arrived at Avignon to set up court there. Rome was no longer the Papal Seat.
2/11/1308, Castellar, last of the Templar’s strongholds, fell.
10/1/1308, The Templars were suppressed in England.
13/10/1307, The Knights Templars in Paris were arrested.
5/9/1307, Pope Clement V confirmed the Knights Hospitaller possession of Rhodes, although only Feracle had fallen to their attacks.
5/8/1305. Bertrand de Got, Archbishop of Bordeaux, was elected Pope and took the name Clement V.
1302, The Papal Bull, Unam sanctam, reiterated the Pope’s claim to be the supreme authority on earth.
18/5/1291, Al-Ashraf Khalil of Egypt captured Acre, the last Christian stronghold in the Holy Land. Christians in Acre, who had broken a truce by massacring all Muslims in the town, scrambled for places on boats to Cyprus. Most Christians in Acre were captured, and sent to the slave market in Damascus.
27/4/1289, Fall of Tripoli: Mamluk Sultan Qalawun captured the County of Tripoli (in present-day Lebanon) after a month-long siege, thus extinguishing the Crusader state.
8/8/1288, Pope Nicholas IV (died 1292) proclaimed a Crusade against Ladislaus IV of Hungary. who had lost credibility by favouring his semi-pagan Cuman subjects and in general refusing to conform to the social standards of western Europe.
25/4/1285, Mamluk Sultan Qalawun began a siege of the Crusader fortress of Margat (in present-day Syria), a major stronghold of the Knights Hospitaller thought to be impregnable; he captured the fortress a month later.
6/1/1285, Archbishop Jakub Swinka ordered all priests subject to his bishopry in Poland to deliver sermons in Polish rather than German, thus further unifying the Catholic Church in Poland and fostering a national identity
7/3/1274. Thomas Aquinas died. He was born into a Lombard-Norman family in 1225. A controversial figure, he became a notable philosopher and theologian of the Catholic Church. He died at Fossanuova Abbey in the Roman Campagna whilst on the way to the Council of Lyons.
8/4/1271, Mamluk Sultan Baibars continued his territorial expansion, capturing the strategically important castle Krak des Chevaliers from the Knights Hospitaller in present-day Syria.
18/5/1268, The Principality of Antioch, a crusader state, fell to the Mamluk Sultan Baibars in the Battle of Antioch;
24/3/1267, ‘Saint’ Louis of France called his knights to Paris in preparation for his second Crusade.
25/5/1261. Death of Pope Alexander IV (181st Pope). Rinaldo Conti was elected Pope Alexander IV at Naples, after the death of Pope Innocent IV, (180th Pope) on 12/12/1254. He attempted to unite the Greek and Latin churches, and established the Inquisition in northern France.
1260, The first Flagellants appeared in southern Germany and northern Italy.
1256, The Order of Augustine Hermits was founded.
9/10/1253, Robert Grosseteste, theologian, died.
1252, The Inquisition began to use instruments of torture. Pope Innocent IV sanctioned torture as a means of forcing heretics to confess. The actual torture was carried out by local lay thugs, but in 1256 Pope Innocent IV allowed priests to do the torture themselves and absolve each other for the deed.
16/3/1244, Following their successful siege of Montségur, French royal forces burned about 210 Cathars.
22/9/1236, Battle of Saule. In the Northern Crusades, Livonian Kights had fought against Baltic pagan peoples such as the Samogitians of Lithuania. The Pope had previously criticised the Livonian Knights for their rather more materialistic acquisitive as opposed to spiritual agenda. Having taken much loot from the Samogitians in an expedition in 1236, they found themselves blocked at a river crossing this day on the way home. They did not wish to dismount and fight, nor to ride through marshy ground and attempt a breakthrough. The Livonians footsoldiers, perhaps forcibly recruited, deserted, and the light Livonian cavalry cut down the heavily-armoured Livonians. The remnant of the Livonian Order was forced to join with the Teutonic Knights,by Papal order.
30/7/1233, Conrad of Marburg, German Inquisitor, was assassinated near Marburg.
3/6/1232, St Anthony of Padua was canonised.
13/6/1231, St Anthony of Padua died.
17/3/1230, The Archbishop of Bremen, Gerhard II, convened a Great Church Gathering at Bremen. There he organised the excommunication of the Stedinger for such crimes as worshipping wax images of the Devil and consulting evil spirits. In reality the Stedinger had been granted permission, in 1106 by an earlier Archbishop of Bremen, to reclaim the marshlands at the estuary of the River Weser for agriculture. The work was hard, digging drainage ditches and building dikes but the inhabitants of this land, called Stedingen, were at least free from Feudalism. They paid a nominal tax to the Archbishop but owned no feudal duties to any Lord. Over time the feudal Lords of the region and the Archbishops of Bremen came to see the freedom of the Stedinger as a threat. Relations deteriorated as the Counts of Oldenburg built two fortresses in Stedingen, at Lechtenburg and Luneberg, kidnapping local people from the area, and in turn the Stedinger formed local militias for their own protection. Gerhard II went to Rome to secure Pope Gregory II’s agreement for a Crusade against the Stedinger, which began in Spring 1233. By the end of 1234 the Stedinger society had been eradicated, although some families claiming descent from the Stedinger remain today in Germany and the USA.
1229, The Inquisition inToulouse forbade the reading of the Bible by lay people.
12/4/1229, The Treaty of Paris brought the Albigensian Crusade to an end.
18/3/1229, King Frderick II of Germany had himself crowned King of Jerusalem.
12/3/1229. Frederick II of Germany finally arrived in Jerusalem, having been twice excommunicated by the Pope for delaying his Crusade. He had intended to depart in 1215 but was delayed by domestic problems including the Mongol invasion. He reached Acre, with only a small army, but he had been (2/1229) in clandestine negotiations with the Sultan of Egypt, Al-Kamil, who had been shaken by the fifth Crusader’s advance into Egypt. The Sultan was happy to surrender Bethlehem and Nazareth, and a corridor of territory from Jerusalem to the coast as well as much of Jerusalem itself. The Vatican, however, disapproved of Frederick’s negotiating with a non-Christian.
19/7/1228, St Francis of Assissi was canonised.
9/7/1228, Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, died.
29/9/1227, Pope Gregory IX excommunicated King Frederick of Germany a second time, for delaying his Crusade.
8/9/1227, Frederick II, King of Germany, departed from Brindisi on a Crusade. However an epidemic in his fleet caused him to abandon the project 3 days later. This was his second abandonment; the first intended departure, in 1215, was delayed by Frederick having to deal with disorder in Sicily.
3/10/1226, Saint Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Order, died. He was canonised 19/7/1228.
1221, Death of St Dominic (born ca. 1170), founder of the Dominican Order. In England, from their black robes they
were also known as Black Friars. By 1221 there were 60 Dominican Houses.
31/8/1221, Under a peace deal, the Franks left Egypt.
6/8/1221, Saint Dominic, Spanish priest and founder of the Dominicans, born ca. 1170, diedin Bologna, Italy. He was canonised in 1234.
6/11/1219. The Egyptian port of Damietta fell to the Crusaders (Franks) after a siege.
24/5/1218, The Fifth Crusade left Acre for Egypt.
1217, Death of Peter Waldo, or Valdez, born ca. 1140, founder of the Waldensians.
22/12/1216, The Dominican Order of monks was founded.
11/11/1215, Pope Innocent III opened the Fourth Lateran Council in Rome.
24/8/1215, Pope Innocent III declared the Magna Carta (forcibly signed by King John at Runnymede) invalid.
1/7/1215, The number of monks in England had grown considerably, from about 1,000 in 1066, on the eve of the Norman Conquest, to around 13,000 by 1215.
4/3/1215, King John of England made an oath to Pope Innocent III as a crusader to gain his support. John also technically passed authority of his kingdom over to the Pope, thereby making anyone who tried to depose him an enemy of the Pope and liable to excommunication. This move was a precaution by John who was facing rebellion by his barons. This healed the rift between King John and Pope Innocent III, see 15/7/1207.
12/9/1213, Battle of Muret: The Toulousain and Aragonese forces of Raymond VI of Toulouse and Peter II of Aragon were defeated by the Albigensian Crusade under Simon de Montfort.
4/11/1212, Felix of Valois, founder of the monastic order of Trinitarians (Redemptionists) died (born 19/4/1127).
1209, The Franciscan Order of monks was founded. The Carmelites were founded.
22/7/1209. The Crusade against the Cathars, The Cathars, also known as Albigensians after the French town of Albi, held beliefs heretical to the Catholic Church. They also denied the divinity of Jesus, and the Pope. The Papacy declared them heretics in 1176, and Pope Innocent sent preachers to convert them. However in January 1208 his legate, Pierre of Castelnau, was killed by the Albigensians; the Pope then declared a Crusade against them. Many joined this Crusade, attracted by promises that they could keep any land seized from the Albigensians. In 1209 the 10,000 strong Crusader army gathered in Lyon and marched south under the command of another Papal legate, Arnauld Amalric, Abbot of Citeaux.. The Cathars were massacred in Beziers, but remained active elsewhere for another 20 years.
12/3/1208, St Peter of Castelnau was canonised, see 15/1/1208.
15/1/1208, St Peter of Castelnau died, see 12/3/1208.
15/7/1207, King John expelled the monks at Canterbury who were supporters of Stephen Langton. The dispute between John and Pope Innocent led to King John being excommunicated in 1008; an interdict was placed upon England, meaning Church services could not officially be held there. In 1213 Pope Innocent III authorised King Philip II of France to invade England and depose King John. However see 4/3/1215.
17/6/1207, Pope Innocent III consecrated Stephen Langton as Archbishop of Canterbury, following the death of the previous incumbent, Hubert Walter, in 2105. However King John of England preferred John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich, to succeed to the post.
13/4/1204, The Crusaders captured Constantinople. Venice had provided the shipping to carry the Fourth Crusade eastwards, but in order to repay Venice the Crusaders were obliged to seize, on behalf of Venice, the port of Zara on tye Adriatic from Christian Hungary. Meanwhile the exiled Byzantine Prince Alexius Angelus , son of the deposed King Isaac II, also offered to pay the Crusaders if they would restore him to the Byzantine throne. In June 1203 therefore, the Crusaders arrived in Cinstantinople and set up Alexius as Emperor. However in February 1204 Emperor Alexius was murdered, and replaced by courtier Alexius Doucas, who told the Crusaders to leave. Moreover the promised 200,000 Marks fee for installing Alexius Angelus was never paid. The Crusaders responded by besieging and attacking Constantinople. The Crusader nobleman Baldwin of Flanders was installed as Byzantine ruler, but most of Byzantium refused to recognise him, and the Empire fragmented into four disunited States.
1202, The Pope issued the Decretal Venerabiliem, asserting the superiority of the Papacy over secular Emperors. See 4/3/1075. See also 754.
2/11/1192. Peace was concluded between Richard I (Lionheart) of England and Saladdin of Jerusalem (see 2/12/1187). The Crusades never achieved their objective of liberating the Holy Land from the Muslims but because they caused the death of so many noblemen the system of serfdom and landholding in Europe was gradually dismantled. Feudalism gradually ended over the period from 1300 to the Thirty Years War, 1618-48.
5/8/1192, Final battle of the Third Crusade, at Jaffa. After victory at Arsuf, Richard I had spent months capturing castles and winning minor fights, but never managed to attain his ultimate objective of gaining Jerusalem. In late July 1192 he was in Acre, planning his return trip to England when Saladin unexpectedly attacked Jaffa. Saladin took the town but not the citadel, Richard I arrived at Jaffa by sea and managed to drive the Muslims away from Jaffa. Saladin and Richard I then opened peace negotiations. The end result was a deal that left the Christians with just a narrow coastal strip in the Holy Land, but did at least ensure their presence there for another century.
6/9/1191. Richard I defeated the Saracens at the Battle of Arsouf. Richard I then marched on Jaffa.
4/7/1191. The Crusaders under Richard I captured Acre from Saladdin, during the Third Crusade.
4/10/1189, Saladin returned to Acre witu a larger army tio relieve the Crusader siege. Both sides lost heavily, and the siege continued.
15/9/1189, Saladin attempted to relieve the siege of Acre, which was wanted by Guy of Jerusalem so he could use the port as a base for the expected Third Crusade. However the Muslim forces were driven off.
21/1/1189. Henry II of England, with Philip Augustus and Frederick Barbraossa, assembled troops for a third Crusade.
2/12/1187. Jerusalem surrendered to Saladdin (see 2/11/1192). Saladdin was born in 1138, in Tikrit (Saddam Hussein’s native town) of Kurdish parents and was educated in Syria. In 1164 he accompanies his uncle on a military campaign in Egypt. The aim was to substitute Sunni for Shia Islam there, and also to drive the Crusader Franks out of the Levant. The local Syrian leader died in 1174 and Saladdin defeated his 11 year old successor and seized power. The Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad gave Saladdin power over all the lands from Morocco to Syria; Saladdin later extended his rule into Mesopotamia. Saladdin also subdued the Assassins, a Muslim sect that had twice tried to kill him. He now attacked the Crusaders, and on 1 July 1187 captured Tiberias after a six day siege.
After the capture of Jerusalem by Saladdin, the Franks were almost evicted from the region, holding on only at Antioch, Tripoli, and Tyre. European states set aside their differences in panic and three rulers; Richard I of England, Frederick Barbarossa of Germany, and Philip Augustus of France, set out on a third Crusade. The Crusaders marched on Muslim-held Acre, Saladdin arrived, and there ensued a long battle, control swinging back and forth. After two years, Acre fell to the Crusaders. Peace negotiations began, (see 2/11/1192), the end result being a marriage of his daughter with Saladdin’s brother, Al-Malik, who was knighted by Richard. The peace gave the coast to the Europeans and the interior to the Muslims. In February 1188 Saladdin fell ill with a fever and died 12 days later aged 55.
4/7/1187, The Battle of the Horns of Hattin (an extinct volcano crowned with two rocky outcrops). Saladin’s 20,000 strong army defeated Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem. Guy de Lusignan had made a tactical error in attempting to relieve Saladin’s siege of Tiberias. Thirst drove Lusignan’s troops to drink at a nearby lake, where Saladin then attacked them.
1/5/1187, Battle of Cresson: Saladin defeated the Crusaders.
29/12/1177, The Order of Alcantara (founded 1156 as the Order of Saint Julian) received Papal approval. It was a military order of crusading knights, and played a part in the Reconquista of Spain from the Muslims.
17/9/1176, Emperor Manuel of Byzantium was defeated by the Muslims, in the Crusades. Without Byzantium the Crusader hold on Palestine was untenable.
5/9/1174, Fire gutted the Choir of Canterbury Cathedral. It was rebuilt using the pointed arch, the first known use of this type of arch in England.
1173, The Waldensian Movement began in Lyons, France.
1170, Dominic de Guzman, founded of the Dominican Order, was born at Calahorra, Spain.
1170, Pope Alexander III established rules for the canonisation of Saints.
29/12/1170. The murder of Thomas Becket, 40th Archbishop of Canterbury, by four knights in his own Cathedral. The knights (Reginald Fitzurse, William de Tracy, Hugh de Merville, and Richard de Breton) believed they were acting on King Henry II’s orders. Becket, far from being the docile cleric Henry believed him to be on appointing him as Archbishop of Canterbury, was a firm upholder of ecclesiastical privileges. Henry, furious at Becket’s excommunication of the six bishops who had assisted the Archbishop of York at the crowning of Henry II’s son in Westminster Abbey, uttered the fatal cry. “Who will rid me of this turbulent priest”. The four knights gave Henry his answer.
2/12/1170, Thomas Beckett returned to Canterbury from his voluntary exile. He had left England on 2/11/1164.
14/6/1170, King Henry II’s son was crowned, not as was custom by the Archbishop of Canterbury but by the Archbishop of York. This was a major snub to Thomas Beckett, and against Papal instructions. Henry then made verbal reconciliation with Beckett, who, impatient to return to England, did so without proper guarantees of safety.
3/6/1162, Thomas Becket was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury.
1161, Pope Innocent III was born.
1/9/1159. Death of Pope Adrian IV, elected Pope on 4/12/1154. He was formerly Nicholas Breakspear, and was the only English Pope. In 1155 he authorised King Henry II of England to invade Ireland and hold it as a hereditary fief of the Papacy. Breakspear was born at Bedmond Farm in Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire, around 1100. His father became a monk of St Albans abbey, presumably after the death of his wife. Nicholas Breakspear also applied to join the Abbey at age 18 but was refused admission because of too little schooling. He went abroad as a wandering scholar and finally became a monk in the Augustinian Abbey of St Rufus in Avignon in 1130. He was elected Abbot in 1137 and came to the notice of the Pope, Eugenius III. The Pope recognised his qualities and made him a bishop and a cardinal; Breakspear was sent on a trip to war-torn Scandinavia where he restored peace. After 4 years Breakspear returned to Rome to find that Eugenius III had died and was succeeded by Anastasius IV, a man of 90. Within the year Anastasius IV was dead and Nicholas Breakspear was unanimously elected Pope, taking the name Adrian IV.
1155, The Carmelite Order was founded.
18/6/1155, Rioting in Rome as English born Pope Adrian crowned Frederick Barbarossa as Holy Roman Emperor; 1,000 died.
2/11/1148, ‘Saint’ Malachy, Church reformer, died.
28/7/1148, The Crusaders failed to capture Damascus. The troops of Louis II of France and Conrad III of Germany suffered considerable losses at the hands of the Turks on the way to the Holy Land, even before they arrived to join with Baldwin III of Jerusalem. They arrived at Damascus on 23/7/1148 and occupied the large orchards and fields west of Damascus, suffering further losses at the hands of the skilled Damascene archers. Failing to take Damascus from this angle, on 27/7/1148 they moved to the more open ground east of Damascus. The army leaders then began to argue over the best plan of attack, and who should rule Damascus once captured; news also broke of a large Muslim army now in Homs under the command of skilled General Nur-ad-Din. Local Christian lords deserted, taking their men away, and on 28/7/1144 Louis, Conrad and Baldwin began their own retreat back to Jerusalem, having accomplished nothing.
25/10/1147, Battle of Dorylaeum, the Seljuq Turks defeated German crusaders under Conrad III.
24/12/1144, The city of Edessa fell to the Muslims, sparking the Second Crusade. Zengi had been informed that Count Joscelin of Edessa had argued with Prince Raymond of Antioch, and had then taken most of his army to Diyarbakir to interfere in a local dispute there. Therefore Zengi moved to capture Edessa at ths time. Arriving on 28/11/1144, Zengi began undermining the city walls and battering them with trebuchets. Queen Melisende of Jerusalem sent a relief force, but Prince Raymond of Antioch refused to help. On 24/12/1144 a section of Edessa’s walls fell. Zengi separated local Christians from the foreign ones, then executed the latter. Edessa’s citadel held out until 26/12/1144, surrendering on condition that their lives would be spared, just before Joscelin and Melisende’s troops arrived. These relief troops did hold onto lands west of the Euphrates River. When Pope Eugene III heard of the fall of Edessa, he called for the Second Crusade to begin.
1140, The Trappists were founded.
6/2/1140, Thurstan, Archbishop of York, died.
1139, The Second Lateran Council abolished the practice of Agapetae. This was a practice of monks cohabiting with virgins, both professing celibacy and ‘bonded by spiritual love’. This, and the First Lateran Council (1123) enforced more strongly a rule of celibacy on the clergy as a means of protecting the Chirch’s power and wealth.
25/12/1130. The Norman King Roger II was crowned King of Sicily by the anti-Pope Anacletus II (died 1138), who thereby gained a powerful supporter for his claim on the Papacy against Pope Innocent II (died 1143). Anacletus II in fact had the better claim on the Papacy but lost secular support because he was the son of a wealthy Jew, founder of the Pierleani family.
1128, Zengi of Mosul captured Aleppo.
19/4/1127, Felix of Valois, founder of the monastic order of Trinitarians (Redemptionists) was born (died 4/11/1212).
7/7/1124, Tyre fell to the Crusaders.
18/3/1123, The First Lateran Council began.
23/9/1122. The Diet of Worms. A council is held at the German town of Worms, to settle a dispute between Church and State that went back to 1076, when Pope Gregory VII excommunicated King Henry IV of Germany, seeking to impose papal power over the king. Both Henry IV and his son, the present King Henry V set up anti-Popes and forced the Pope to flee to refuge in a monastery. Pope Calixtus II and King Henry V agreed at this Diet that the King would not force the election of Bishops but allow their free election by the Church; in return the King will be present at the election of Bishops and have some influence over disputes within the church.
1118, The Templars were founded.
21/12/1118, Thomas Beckett was born in Cheapside, London.
11/12/1118. The Christians captured Saragossa, Spain, from the Muslims.
4/12/1110, First Crusade, the Crusaders conquered Sidon.
7/5/1104, Battle of Harran. The Crusaders were about to lay siege to Harran to distract the Seljuk forces of Sokman of Mardin and Jikirmish of Mosul, who wree themselves besieging Edessa. At this point the forces of Sokman and Jikirmish appeared, and drew the Crusaders under Count Baldwin and Prince Bohemond of Antioch. Jikirmish’s cavalry charged and inflicted heavy casualties; Baldwin was taken prisoner. He was freed after paying a ransom, in 1108 and later became King of Jerusalem.
25/12/1100, Baldwin was crowned King of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem by Dagobert.
18/7/1100, Godfrey de Bouillon, first Crusader king of Jerusalem, died.
15/7/1099. Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders, (see 27/11/1095). 40,000 people, both Jews and Muslims, were slaughtered in two days, an event European scholar-monks acclaimed as ‘the greatest event since the Crucifixition’. On 12/8/1099 the Crusaders defeated Al-Afdal, the Fatimid Vizier of Egypt, at Ascalon. He was bringing an army to recapture Jerusalem, which the Egyptians had earlier lost to the Turks.
7/6/1099, The Crusaders arrived at Jerusalem.
1/8/1098, Adhemar de Monteil, Criusader, Bishop of Puy en Velay from 1077, died during the plague in Antioch.
3/6/1098, The Crusaders took Antioch.
21/3/1098, Cîteaux Abbey became the origin of the Cistercian Order. The Benedictine Abbott, Robert of Champagne, wished to reform the secularised monastic life. His first attempt at this was in the Forest of Molesme. In 1098 he founded, in the Forest of Citeaux (Cistercium), an Anbbey, at a small hamlet near Dijon, where the rules of St Benedict would be strictly observed. The new Abbey nearly became extinct when in 1113 it was joined by St Benedict with thirty companions. In 1115 St Benedict became the first Abbott of Clairvaux, which henceforth became the centre of the revived Benedictine Movement.
21/10/1097, The Crusaders arrived at Antioch.
24/6/1097, The Crusaders took Nicea.
4/1097, The knightly Crusader force now assembled in Constantinope totalled between 150,000 and 300,000 men.
23/12/1096, Crusader leader Godfrey of Bouillon, along with his brother Baldwin, arrived in Constantinople.
15/8/1096, The forces of the First Crusade departed from Europe, to rendez-vous at Constantinople.
5/1096, The zealous Peter the Hermit travelled throughout France and the Rhine Valley, recruiting peasants to the First Crusade. As these forces gathered together in 8/1096, they also began a persecution of the Jews in the Rhine area, a Judenhetze. By October 1096 this peasant army had perished in what is now Turkey, at the hands of te Seljuk Turks.
3/1096, The European knights began to assemble for their Crusade.
27/11/1095. Pope Urban II called for a Crusade to the Holy Land, at the Council of Clermont. He talked of how, due to Turkish misrule, it was no longer safe for Christian pilgrims to visit the holy sites of Jerusalem. The Crusaders defeated the Turks at Dorylaeum on 30/6 1097, opening the way to Jerusalem. Jerusalem fell to the Crusaders on 15/7/1099.
19/11/1095, The Council of Clermont began. The council was called by Pope Urban II to discuss sending the First Crusade to the Holy Land. See year 1071, Jerusalem.
1084, The Carthusian Order was formed.
24/3/1084, Palm Sunday. Henry IV of Germany, having captured Rome, installed Pope Clement III. In turn Clement III crowned Henry IV as Emperor on Easter Sunday 1084.
5/1081, Henry IV of Germany marched south across the Alps to confront Pope Gregory VII; no reconciliation was possible, so Henry decided to occupy Rome.
15/10/1080, Rudolf of Swabia was killed in battle, leaving Henry IV as unchallenged ruler of Germany.
7/3/1080, King Henry IV of Germany was excommunicated a second time by Pope Gregory VII, see 27/1/1080. In response Henry IV summoned an assembly of bishops to Brixen and declared Pope Gregory VII deposed and appointed Wilbert, Archbishop of Ravenna, in his place. However not everyone, even in Germany, accepted the right of Henry IV to judge a Pope ‘appointed by God’.
27/1/1080, King Henry IV of Germany defeated Saxon rebels at Flarchheim. Emboldened by this, he rejected the mediation efforts of Pope Gregory VII to settle the rulership dispute between him and Rudolf of Swabia, see 25/10/1077 and 7/3/1080.
25/1/1077, German King Henry IV, who was losing popular support because of his excommunication by Pope Gregory VII, arrived at Canossa Castle, northern Italy, to do penance in reconciliation. He knelt in the snow in a monk’s hair shirt for three days before the Pope admitted him. “Going to Canossa” became a saying for reluctant penance, especially in Germany. Henry IV had faced a rebellion by Saxons, and had to reach Pope Gregory by a roundabout route via Burgnndy and Provence. Pope Gregory VII wanted, politically, to refuse forgiveness, but as head of the Christian Church he had no choice but to dispense it. The rebels, feeling betrayed by Gregory VII, rejected the kingship of Henry IV anyway and elected Rudolf of Swabia in his place. Germany faced effective civil war. Pope Gregory, to restore his influence over Germany, sent a Papal Legate northwards in 1079 to settle who was the rightful ruler of Germany, decreeing that if either Rudolf or Henry rejected the findings of this legate they would be excommunicated. However see 27/1/1080.
24/1/1076, German King Henry IV called an assembly of German Bishops to Worms to complain about the interference of Pope Gregory VII (Hildebrand) in the rulership of Milan. Earlier, a revolutionary faction called the Pataria had usurped Henry IV’s control over Milan, which included the right to appoint the Archbishop of Milan. Milan was very strategically important to Henry IV as it controlled the Alpine passes between Italy and Germany. Pope Gregory VII sided with the rebels against King Henry IV and insisted that he, Gregory, had the right to appoint the Archbishop (see 4/3/1075, Dictatus Papae). The German Bishops signed a letter of protest from Henry IV calling for Hildebrand “that false monk, who had forsaken the cloisters” (see 22/4/1073) to resign as Pope and that Henry IV did not recognise him as Pope. The message caused an uproar in Rome, in fact the messenger was nearly killed, saved only by the intervention of Hildebrand himself. Two days later Gregory VII (Hildebrand) excommunicated and nominally deposed King Henry IV. See 25/1/1077.
4/3/1075, Hildebrand issued the Dictatus Papae, 27 short propositions setting out the powers of the Roman Catholic Church. These propositions, aimed at curbing the Greek Church and the temporal power of European Kings, included, (I) that the Roman Catholic Church was founded by God alone, i.e. it was more than ‘just’ apostolic (III), only the Pope can dismiss or reinstate Bishops, (XII), the Pope has the authority to depose Emperors, (XVI), That only the Pope had the authority to call Councils (i.e. the Greek Church didn’t), (XIX), The Pope can be judged by no-one except God himself, (XXII), The Roman Church has never erred and is in fact infallible, See 1202.
1074, Married priests were excommunicated by Pope Gregory VII. He also decreed, at the Council of Rome, that all laymen who received Communion from a married priest should be excommunicated. Nevertheless, instances of married Catholic priests still occurred down into the 12th and 13th centuries.
22/2/1072, Pietro Damiani, ecclesiastic, died. He was opposed to simony, but reserved his main energies for attacking the marriage of clergy.
1071, Jerusalem was captured by the Seljuk Turks from the Egyptian Arabs. The Turks were less tpolerant of Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem than its previous rulers. Even before this the schism between the Byzantine and Roman Churches had begun to make thinhgs difficult for Western European pilgrims – excessive ‘taxes’ were levied on Roman Catholic pilgrims by the Byzantine Church. See also years 671 and 807 below. These developments were the primary cause of the Crusader Movement from Western Europe. See year 1095.
1167, The Council of Tours forbade the clergy from practising surgery, so this skill was taken over by the barber-surgeons.
23/8/1059, Pope Nicholas II (1059-61) met with Robert Guiscard, leader of the Normans of southern Italy, at Melfi, and accepted Robert’s vassalship. Robert pledged that if Pope Nicholas died before him, he would assist the Cardinals in the elction of a new Pope. In effect, Robert was pledging to protect the Cardinals from political interference by the Roman nobility. In return Pope Nicholas bestowed upon Robert the title of Duke of Calbria and Apulia. This infuriated the (Byzantine) Roman Emperor, who claimed all of Italy as part of his domain, and insisted that Nicholas could not give away lands he had no title to.
1054, Schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
1/10/1049, Pope Leo IX (1048-54), noted for his attempts to eradicate simony, arrived at Reims, France. In March 1049 he had begun a tour of the Christian lands of Europe, to assert his authority over these regions. He left Rome and travelled via Florence, Pavia and Cologne to Reims. Whilst still Bishop of Toul, Pope Leo IX had pledged to be present at the Consecration of the Cathedral of Reims, built to honour St Remigius, who had baptised Clovis and played a large role on converting the Franks to Christianity. In fact due to opposition to Leo’s visit by the King of France, only 20 bishops and 40 abbots attended at Reims, a clear sign of Leo’s limited authority on France. After parading an effigy of the Saint around the town, before setting in in its place in the Cathedral, Leo set it on the high altar as a ‘witness’ and asked all present to declare, individually one by one, that they had not paid money for their office. Many of those present would not make such a statement.
1046, Emperor Constantine Monomachos of Constantinople sanctified the exclusion of women from Mount Athos.
1022, The Synod of Pavia ordered that higher clergy must be celibate.
19/4/1012. St Alpheage, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered by the Danes. He had been captured by the Danes who sacked Canterbury in 1011 and kept in prison for 7 months, and killed when a ransom was not paid.. Born in 954, St Alphege was elected Abbot at Bath, and in 984 became the Bishop of Winchester. In 1006 he succeeded Aelfric as Archbishop of Canterbury.
21/6/1002, Pope Leo IX was born.
25/12/1000, Stephen I became King of Hungary, which was established as a Christian kingdom.
2/11/998, The Abbot of Cluny, France, instituted this day as All Soul’s Day, when prayers are said for the dead. This way the Church co-opted the ancient pagan festival of Samhain, at the beginning of November, when the souls of the dead were said to return to roam the Earth.
29/2/992, Saint Oswald, Archbishop of York, died.
13/2/990, Ethelgar, Archbishop of Canterbury, died.
19/5/988, Saint Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury (born near Glastonbury ca. 910) died in Canterbury. He was appointed to Archbishop by King Edgar in 959.
2/6/959, Odo, Archbishop of Canterbury, died.
910, The Cluniac order was founded.
904, Pope Sergius III acceded (died 911). His mistress, Marioza, became the mother of Pope John XI (931-936), the aunt of Pope John XIII (965-971) and the grandmother of Pope Benedict VI (973-974)
862, St Swithin (Swithun), Bishop of Winchester 852-62, died.
848, Pope Leo IV erected the Leonine Wall around the Vatican, to protect it from attack.
845, Arab pirates sacked the Vatican.
840, Paschasius Radbertus, Abbott of Corbie (France), established the Doctrine of Transubstantiation – that the Communion bread literally becomes the Body of Christ.
813, The Council of Mainz stipulated that burials within the church were to be only for bishops, abbots, or notable priests and worthy laymen (see Council of Braga, 563)
807, Harun al Rashid, Arab ruler of Jerusalem, acknowledged Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor, as spiritual guardian of the Christian heritage of Jerusalem. He was tolerant towards Christian pilgrims visiting the city. See also years 638 and 1071.
19/5/804. Death of Alcuin, a learned churchman of the eight century. He was born at Eboracum (York) in 735 and became head of the Episcopal school of York in 766. Between 781 and 790 Alcuin helped Charlemagne teach church and other knowledge to the Frankish nobility.
25/12/795. Death of Pope Adrian I, Pope from 772 to 795. He halted the trend against the use of images in Church which was taking place in the east of Christendom. In 726 Emperor Leo III of Constantinople had banned the use of religious images in Christendom. This trend was upheld by a meeting of churchmen in Constantinople in 730; all visible symbols of Christ, other than the eucharist, were forbidden and anyone using icons or statues would be accused of idolatry and paganism. Leo felt that what were symbols of the divine have become divinities in themselves, and the seemingly inexorable spread of Islam made Christians wonder about the power of their images. Leo wanted to strengthen Christianity’s appeal against Islam, which forbids any portrayal of the human form. Leo was also concerned about the growing power of the monasteries, which threatened the divide between church and state.
8/1/794, Vikings again raided Lindisfarne.
8/6/793. Vikings raided the monastery at Lindisfarne, killing many of the monks.
787, The Council of Nicea abandoned iconoclasm and ordered resumption of image-worship.
758, Death of Cuthbert, Archbishop of Canterbury from 741. He introduced into England the custom of burying the deasd in the precincts around the church, or church-yard. On the Continent, church-yards began to be used as customary burial places for the dead from the 500s, although a few cases of this occurred from the 300s. Early Christians, from the time when this religion was still under persecution in the Roman Empire, usually met at the tombs of martyrs, since Roman Law strictly protected these memorial grounds from violation. Early churches grew up, therefore, adjacent to these memorial grounds. However the dead would then have been buried in separate areas of ground, away from the church. See 563.
754, The start of the Papal States as an independent political entity, when Pepin le Bref presented the Exarchate of Ravenna to Pope Stephen II. Benevento was added in 1053, and in 1102 Matilda of Tuscany left Parma, Modena and Tuscany to the Pope. In 1202 the Papal States were formally constituted an independent monarchy.
726, Pope Gregory II attacked the iconoclasm prevailing in Constantinople, where icons and images had been banned to discourage superstition and miracle-mongering, and the spread of monasticism checked because the tax-exempt monasteries were draining the economy of both money and productive labour. In 730 Byzantine Emperor Leo III was excommunicated by Pope Gregory II for this iconoclasm.
25/5/709. Death of Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne. Born around 640, Aldhelm was educated by an Irish scholar and monk, Meldun (or Maildulf), who had settled in the British stronghold of Bladow, on the site of Malmesbury. Aldhelm succeeded Meldulf as head of the Christian community at Malmesbury when Meldulf retired due to ill health in 675. Under Aldhelm, the community at Malmesbury increased and he founded two other centres of learning at Frome and at Bradford on Avon.
700, Earliest recorded use of Easter Eggs by Christians.
692, The Council of Constantinople adopted the Crucifix as the symbol of Christianity. At first this was a picture of Christ with arms outstretched, without the Cross.
20/3/687, Cuthbert died on Farne Island.
8/8/676, Death of St Colman, Bishop of Lindisfarne from 661. An Irish monk, he attended the Synod of Whitby in 664, where he supported the Celtic method of calculating Easter date against the Roman, but was overruled by King Oswy.
637, Jerusalem was captured by the Arabs under Osman. For the history of the city before this year see Jewish History. Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem were still tolerated, but see years 807 and 1071 above.
5/5/614. The Persians completed the conquest of Syria by capturing Jerusalem. They seized the ‘true cross’, the most holy relic of Christendom. However on 3/4/628 the Persian ruler Kavadh sued for peace with Byzantium. He handed back Armenia, Byzantine Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, as well as the ‘true cross’. This cross is restored to Jerusalem by Heraclius on 21/3/630.
12/3/604. Pope Gregory the Great (64th Pope) died in Rome. Aged 64, he had been Pope for 14 years. He was the son of a Senator, and wealthy, but at the age of 33 sold off his property and gave the money to the poor. He founded several monasteries, and entered one himself. Pope Gregory had appointed Bishop Augustine of Hippo to begin the work of introducing Christianity to the Anglo-Saxons.
566, The Council of Tours decreed the suspension, for a year, of all secular priests and deacons found to be married. Whilst several of the Apostles themselves had been married, from the 4th century onwards, celibacy same to imposed on Church officials, firstly the higher ones, then gradually spreading down the ranks.
563, St Columba left Ireland and landed on Iona (Hebrides) where he founded a monastery.
563, The Council of Braga authorised burial not only within the churchyard but within the church itself. See 758, 813.
563, The Church in Europe forbade the free movement of lepers. A priests had to make any leper in their congregation lie ion a coffin in front of the altar and have some soil thrown on them. Now, legally dead, they were outlaws, obliged to beg for support, to carry a bell to warn of their approach, and a stick to point for items they wanted, to wear gloves and shoes to protect barefooted travellers behind them. All this was unnecessary because in fact leprosy has very low infectivity.
529, The Benedictine Order was formed at Monte Cassino, near Naples, by Benedict of Nursia, aged 49.
7/12/521, St Columba was born at Gartan, Donegal, Ireland.
507, At the Battle of Vouille, near Tours, France, Clovis King of the Franks defeated Alaric II ruler of the Visigoths. Clovis’s victory ensured the supremacy of Catholicism over the Arianism of the Visigoths,
500, Incense began to be used in Church services.
500, The first plans for the Vatican Palace in Rome were drawn up. St Romanos (Melodos) wrote hymns especially for Christmas, Easter and the Passion.
25/12/496, Clovis I was baptized into the Catholic faith at Rheims, by Saint Remigius. The conversion strengthened the bonds between his Gallo-Roman subjects, led by their Catholic bishops.
3/1/492, Pope Felix III died after a 9-year reign in which he excommunicated Patriarch Acacius of Constantinople, thus dividing the Western Church and Eastern Church (Acacian Schism). He was succeeded by Gelasius I as the 49th pope.
480, Saint Benedict was born, to a wealthy family in Nursia, near Spoleto.
20/5/325. The Emperor Constantine, dressed in purple to mark the sacred nature of his power, opened the Council of Nicea. He has summoned bishops from all over the Empire to settle violent controversies raging within the Church, especially over Arianism. Arius, a priest in Alexandria, argued in 318 that Christ was not equal to God; if Christ was the Son of God, said Arius, he had a beginning so could not be eternal and was inferior to his Father. Constantine was acting as peacemaker and favoured equality of Christ with God. In fact the creed was worded so as to be ambiguous enough for most Arians to accept it. The Council also attempted, unsuccessfully, to impose a celibacy rule on the clergy.
3/12/321. Sunday was made a day of rest throughout the Roman Empire. Under the Edict of Milan, 3/2/313, Christianity was now tolerated in the Empire. Persecution of Christians had begun under Diocletian in 303 and peaked under his successors Galerius and Maximian. Constantine, born in Naissus in what is now Yugoslavia, was son of a Christian mother, Helena. When Constantine (born 274) became Emperor in 306 he followed the cult of Sol Invictis, the Unconquered Sun. However in 312, whilst fighting Maxentius the son of Maximian, he saw a cross of light superimposed on the sun. From then on Constantine identified the sun with the God of the Christians. He ordered his men to fight Maxentius with Christian symbols painted on their shields, and they won a famous victory at the Milvian Bridge just outside Rome, on 28/10/312. Constantine became ruler of the western Roman Empire.
315, Christians now numbered about 10 million, one quarter of the population of the Roman Empire.
313, The Edict of Milan restored Christian property and freedom of worship.
28/10/312, Battle of Milvian Bridge. Maxentius had been declared Emperor in Rome, with the backing of the Senate. However Constantine was marching down from Gaul to claim title as Emperor. Constantine’s army was smaller, and relied on cavalry, performing best on open ground. Maxentius had dismantled the Milvian Bridge over the Tiber to halt Constantine’s advance; Maxentius’ troops had to ford the Tiber to attack Constantine, this move put them in the open, favouring Constantine’s cavalry. Maxentius fought in the name of Mars, the Roman God of War; Constantine saw a flaming cross in the sky and fought in the name of Christianity. Constantine’s cavalry charged, disrupting Maxentius’ ranks; Maxentius was killed and his head paraded through Rome the next day on a spear.
305, St Anthony established the first community of Christian monks at Fayum, Egypt. However this was not a ‘monastery’ in the established sense because the monks lived in separate huts, and lived their own lives, meeting for prayers. See 340.
24/3/303, St George was executed in Palestine. He was a Roman soldier from Cappadocia (now, Turkey) who refused to persecute Christians.
4/3/303, St Adrian was martyred.
24/2/303, Emperor Diocletian ordered a massive persecution of the Christians.
301, Armenia became the first country to make Christianity its official State religion.
300, The earliest Religious Plays.
249, Roman Emperor Decius ordeed a massive persecution of Christians across the Empire.
14/9/258, Saint Cyprian (born ca. 200) was martyred.
5/2/251, Saint Agatha was martyred
250, Christians now numbered about 1 million, one fortieth of the population of the Roman Empire.
200, The position of the ‘Bishop of Rome’ as supreme Pope, head of the Church, became established. The various Churches across the Roman world were organising themselves into a single ‘Catholic’ (Greek, Kata-Holos, ‘the entire whole’) Church.
See also Roman Empire
177, The elderly Bishop Ponthinus was martyred under the persecution of Christians by Marcus Aurelius.
155, The Bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp, was martyred by the Romans.
64, Persecution of the Christians began. Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome. Subsequently, Peter was counted as the first ‘Pope’ – however he himself would have rejected this title.
62, The Apostle James was stoned to death at the orders of High Priest Ananias.
60, Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, and taken to Rome.
45, Paul began the first of his major missionary journeys to preach Christianity to the non-Jews. His last such journey was in 57.
44, Peter was arrested by the Romans.
38, Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death.
34, The Apostle Paul was converted to Christianity from Judaism on the road to Damascus.
Passover. April 33, Jesus was put to death. This was to become the Church festival of Easter, with chocolate bunnies and Easter Eggs. Not really much to do with Jesus’ death, but everything to do with the old Pagan festival of rebirth, as spring life returned to the land. Even the name ‘Easter’ derives from the old fertility goddess, Astarte, from which we derive fertility-related words like Oestrogen and East, the direction the (lifegiving) sun rises from.
Ca. October 29, Jesus baptised and commenced his ministry
28/12/1 (AD). Herod ordered the slaughter of all the infants in Bethlehem to ensure the death of Jesus Christ, whom he saw as a possible future rival King. Earlier, a mysterious ***star*** had guided the Magi (wise men, or magicians) not directly to Jesus, but first to King Herod, then on to the baby Jesus. Herod ordered these Magi to report back to him as to where Jesus was, so he could kill him; however the Magi returned east by another route. It is this ***star*** that people put on their Xmas trees today.
Ca. October 2 BCE, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The climate in the Judean hills would have been too cold and snowy in late December for ‘shepherds to be out tending their flocks’ as the story goes; the idea of celebrating Jesus’ birthday on 25 December was that it would replace the old pagan festival of Saturnalia, a drinking festival held to celebrate the passing of the shortest day and the return of ‘Sol Invictis, the ‘unconquered Sun’. Pine trees, as life that had survived over winter, also came to symbolise Xmas (that’s why you’re cleaning pine needles off the carpet on Boxing Day).
See also Judaism
Appendix 1 – Bible and Prayerbook Developments
1990, In the US, the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible was published.
16/3/1970, The New English Bible was released, and quickly sold out.
14/3/1961, The New English Bible was published.
18/6/1960, Jehovah’s Witnesses released the New World Translation of the Bible.
19/3/1928, In Britain, the Revised Book of Common Prayer was published.
6/7/1927, The Church of England approved revisions to the Book of Common Prayer.
8/2/1927. The revised book of common prayer introduced sex equality to the Church of England wedding service.
1925, The London Bible Society distributed worldwide 10,500,000 Bibles, in 566 languages.
1901, Large demonstrations in Athens against the proposed publication of the Gospels in modern Greek. This caused the resignation of both the Metropolitan and the Government.
10/2/1889, The Church of England approved the use of the revised Bible.
1735, The Bible first translated into Lithuanian.
1671, The first Bible printed in Arabic produced, in Rome.
1666, First Armenian Bible printed.
2/5/1611, In Britain, the Authorised Version of the Bible was published.
1632, The ‘Adulterer’s Bible’ was published; the word ‘not’ in the 7th Commandment had been omitted, so it read ‘Thou shalt commit adultery’. London printers Robert Barker and Martin Lucas were fined £300 for this error.
16/1/1604, The Hampton Court Conference ended; at this conference, King James I had authorised preparations for a new translation of the Bible.
22/6/1576, Queen Elizabeth’s Prayer Book was issued.
4/12/1563, The Council of Trent was dissolved. It reaffirmed all major Catholic doctrines and declared the Apocrypha to be canonical along with the actual Bible.
1560, The Geneva Bible, published by followers of John Calvin, was the first to have numerical divisions for bith chapters and verses.
1550, King Christian III (1503-1559), King of Denmark and Norway 1534-59, brought out a Danish translation of the German Bible
8/4/1546, At the Council of Trent, the Roman Catholic Church declared the Apocrypha to be part of the Bible.
1541, The Gustav Vasa Bible was produced in complete form (New Testament produced in 1526). This was the first Swedish transpation of the Bible.
9/6/1549. The Church of England adopted the Book of Common Prayer, compiled by Thomas Cranmer.
20/5/1549, From this date, only the new Book of Prayer was allowed to be used in English churches.
6/5/1536, King Henry VIII ordered a copy of the Bible to be placed in every English church.
4/10/1535. The first English Bible was printed, translated and published by Miles Coverdale.
845, The Vivian Bible, an early illustrated manuscript, was produced.
397, At the Council of Carthage, the Bible Canon was finalised, with controversial decisions being made as to what Books were included, and which excluded. Inclusion, or not, of certain Books was crucial as it determined what doctrines the Church would accept, or not.
382, Pope Damasus requested Jerome to produce a ‘corrected’ version of the Bible, a number of errors having crept in over the centuries. His version, the Roman Psalter, was completed in 383.
98, The books of John (43), 1 John (62), 2 John (63), 3 John (64) were completed about this time.
96, The book of Revelation (66) was completed about this time/
65, The books of Mark (41), 2 Timothy (55), 2 Peter (61), Jude (65) were completed about this time.
61, The books of Acts (44), Ephesians (49), Philippians (50), Colossians (51), 1 Timothy (54), Titus (56), Philemon (57), Hebrews (58), James (59), 1 Peter (60) were completed about this time.
57, The book of Luke (42) was completed about this time.
56, The books of Romans (45), 1 Thessalonians (52), 2 Thessalonians (53) were completed about this time.
55, The books of I Corinthians (46), 2 Corinthians (47) were completed about this time.
51 ,The book of Galatians (48) was completed about this time.
41, The book of Matthew (40) was completed about this time. For the first 39 Bible book dates (Hebrew/Old testament) see Jewish history.
Appendix 3 – The Jesuits
1925, The Jesuits had 18,718 members in 32 countries.
1884, The Jesuits were expelled from Costa Rica, where they had previously been very influential.
30/3/1880. France expelled the Jesuits from its territory. Jules Ferry, the Minister of public instruction, wished to create a public education system free from Church domination.
30/1/1880, In France, the Jesuits were disbanded.
1879, Anti-Jesuit legislation enacted in France.
1872, Jesuits expelled from Germany.
1848, The Jesuits were suppressed in Italy.
1820, Jesuits expelled from Rome. They were suppressed in Spain, 1820-25, and again from 1835-44 and in 1868.
1817, The Jesuits were severely restricted in Russia, and expelled from there in 1820.
1815, The Jesuits were re-established in Naples, Sardinia and Spain.
7/8/1814, Pope Pius VII re-established the Jesuits’ ancient college, the Collegio Romano, in Rome.
1804, The Jesuits were reconstituted in Sicily.
1801, Pope Pius VII permitted the reconstitution of the Jesuits in Lithuania.
1799, The Duke of Parma allowed the reorganisation of the Jesuits; the Pope allowed this but did not approve.
8/2/1795, Pierre Beckx, Jesuit, was born in Sichem, Belgium (died in Rome 4/3/1887).
21/7/1773, Pope Clement XIV dissolved the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). This was the result of pressure from Spain and France, where the Jesuits had been found too unbending and zealous. They were also seen as a symbol of Papal interference in national secular affairs.
1768, The Jesuits were expelled
from Parma and Paraguay.
1767, The Jesuits were expelled from Spain, Parma, and the Two Sicilies.
26/11/1764, The Jesuits were suppressed in France.
3/9/1759, Jesuits expelled from Portugal and Brazil by royal decree. Some refused to leave and were violently deported tp the military, onto ships bound for the Papal States.
11/7/1742, A Papal Bull condemned Jesuit tolerance of Confucianism in China.
1685, French Jesuits established the first Jesuit mission in Brazil.
1632, The Jesuits were expelled from Ethiopia after a popular uprising against them.
1556, Jesuit Order established in Prague.
31/7/1556, Ignatius Loyola, Spanish soldier and priest, and founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), died.
1552, The Jesuits founded the Collegium Germanicum, Rome.
1551, The Jesuits founded the Collegio Romano in Rome, as the Papal University.
21/11/1551, Papal Legate Francis Xavier and fellow Jesuits returned from a two-year missionary trip to Japan. The Mikado was at first unimpressed with Xavier’s humble dress, but when he returned in more suitable attire, with gifts, he was even granted a disused Buddhist monastery for his work. Xavire left behind a community of 2,000 Christians, and was impressed with Japanese society.
21/7/1550, The Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, was approved by Pope Julius III.
15/8/1534, The Jesuits (Society of Jesus) was founded by Ignatius Loyola. They became the main counter-Reformation movement in the Catholic Church.