Timeline of the Catholic Church

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The history of the Catholic Church is integral to the history of Christianity as a whole. It is also, according to church historian, Mark A. Noll, the "world's oldest continuously functioning international institution." [1] This article covers a period of just under two thousand years.


Over time, schisms have disrupted the unity of Christianity. The Catholic Church considers that major divisions occurred in c. 144 with Marcionism, [2] 318 with Arianism, 451 with the Oriental Orthodox, 1054 to 1449 (see East–West Schism) during which time the Orthodox Churches of the East parted ways with the Western Church over doctrinal issues (see the filioque) and papal primacy, and in 1517 with the Protestant Reformation, of which there were many divisions, resulting in over 200 denominations.

The Catholic Church has been the driving force behind some of the major events of world history including the Christianization of Western and Central Europe and Latin America, the spreading of literacy and the foundation of the universities, hospitals, the Western tradition of monasticism, the development of art and music, literature, architecture, contributions to the scientific method, just war theory and trial by jury. It has played a powerful role in global affairs, including the Reconquista, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Investiture Controversy, the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in the late 20th century.

Ministry of Jesus and founding

Byzantine image depicting Jesus as Christ pantocrator Christ pantocrator daphne1090-1100.jpg
Byzantine image depicting Jesus as Christ pantocrator
  • The calculations of Dionysius Exiguus put the birth of Jesus in the year that in consequence is called 1 BC; most historians place his birth between 6 and 4 BC.

First millennium

Early Christianity

Dates in the Apostolic Age are mostly approximate, and all AD, mostly based on tradition or the new testament.

The Crucifixion of Saint Peter (1601) by Caravaggio Martirio di San Pietro September 2015-1a.jpg
The Crucifixion of Saint Peter (1601) by Caravaggio


Eastern Orthodox icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea THE FIRST COUNCIL OF NICEA.jpg
Eastern Orthodox icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea
Constantine the Great summoned the bishops of the Christian Church to Nicaea to address divisions in the Church (mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Constantinople (Istanbul), ca. 1000). Byzantinischer Mosaizist um 1000 002.jpg
Constantine the Great summoned the bishops of the Christian Church to Nicaea to address divisions in the Church (mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Constantinople (Istanbul), ca. 1000).


Justinian I depicted on a mosaic in the church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy Mosaic of Justinianus I - Basilica San Vitale (Ravenna).jpg
Justinian I depicted on a mosaic in the church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy


Blessed Charlemagne Charlemagne denier Mayence 812 814.jpg
Blessed Charlemagne

Second millennium


Notre-Dame Cathedral - designed in the Gothic architectural style. Paris Notre-Dame, July 2001.jpg
Notre-Dame Cathedral – designed in the Gothic architectural style.


Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City Michelangelo's Pieta 5450 cropncleaned edit.jpg
Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
Pope Paul III Titian - Pope Paul III - WGA22962.jpg
Pope Paul III


Louis XIV of France Louis XIV of France.jpg
Louis XIV of France


John Carroll John Carroll Gilbert Stuart.jpg
John Carroll

19th century

Napoleon Bonaparte Jacques-Louis David - The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries - Google Art Project.jpg
Napoleon Bonaparte

20th century

Blessed Karl of Austria. Charles I of Austria.jpg
Blessed Karl of Austria.
Pope Pius XI Papst Pius XI. 1JS.jpg
Pope Pius XI

Third millennium

21st century

Benedict XVI, first Pope elected in 21st century Pope Benedictus XVI january,20 2006 (20).JPG
Benedict XVI, first Pope elected in 21st century

See also

Related Research Articles

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Further reading