Theemergence and spread of Christianity can be dated back to the 31stto 33rd A.
D when Jesus Christ embarked on his mission to spread theGood news to the Jewish population which was gradually spread globally by theapostles and missionaries. This mission was bestowed upon the apostles when theRoman Empire crucified Jesus Christ to order to end the emergence of a newleader & religion. The history of Christianity covers the faith andteachings of the vast Christian denominations from the 1st centuryto the 21st century. The history is categorized into the Earlyperiod, Medieval era and the Modern era. EarlyChristianity can be classified into apostolic age and Ante-Nicene period. Theform of Christianity spread during the apostolic period was considered to beJewish Christianity while Judaism was gradually rejected by the public in theAnte-Nicene period. The end of Early Christianity is marked by the FirstCouncil of Nicaea in 325 A.
D. Following this early Christianity lies the Middleage also termed as the medieval era during which can be classified into Earlymiddle, High middle and late middle ages which is marked by the fall of theroman empire until the protestant reformation. Patristic Period Apostolic Era and Post ApostolicEraTheperiods of early Christianity along with the periods of early middle age areclubbed together as patristic period. The apostolic age covers the lifetime ofthe Twelve apostles who were chosen by Christ himself. The conception of theChristian faith and its entire history is believed to be established during”the Apostolic Age”.
It is during this period of time, (to be morespecifically the 1st century) that the Gospel and letters byapostles of Christ were contributed which was organized as the New Testament. Inthe early periods of Christianity the religion became accustomed to Jewishbeliefs in which one’s soul unite with God while the body perishes after one’sdeath. Initially Jewish population surround the Mediterranean Sea were focusedand within a decade of Jesus’ departure Christianity was spread across majorcities and trade routes including Ephesus, Corinth, Antioch, Cyprus, Thessalonica,Crete, and Rome. During this era the converted Christians did not fail inparticipating in Jewish traditions, practices and festivals which is elucidatedin the Acts of the Apostles and canonical Gospel. Thiswas common until the latter period of the 1st century where the teachings of Paulof Tarsus did not encourage the Gentiles to pursue all of the Jewish laws(including Circumcision) in Antioch which marked a revolution in earlyChristianity.
The Council of Jerusalem overlooked this controversy around 50A.D since Paul was backed up by Peter who also emphasized that circumcision neednot be practiced. It has been documented in the letter to the Galatians 4 yearslater that even though the council approved of this exception the other Lawsand practices were meant to be considered necessities and be followed by the converts.
Thecouncil of Jamnia in 85 A.D opposed to the fact that the Messiah had come and until135 A.D the Jews persecuted heretics among which the Christians were included.Christianity was legalized only in 313 A.D while Judaism was laundered in the endof 1st century by the Roman Empire. Even though Jewish Christianitywas the earliest form of Christianity where the people simultaneously followedTorah and Jewish laws and venerated in synagogues and it was in the 5thcentury that the complete take over ensued. Theperiod of history that lies between the 2nd century and the councilof Nicaea are termed as post apostolic or ante-Nicene era. In spite of thisperiod considered to be highly significant in the growth of Christianity, thereis only limited knowledge of this era due to the lack of evidence compared tothe other eras.
It was in this period that the Christians dissuaded fromfollowing Jewish traditions unlike 1st century Christians. Theexquisite and distinct features of the church were formed during this era andbecame robust around 5th century. 9 volumes of scriptures byante-Nicene fathers and 2 volumes by post Nicene and Nicene fathers werefollowed in the early periods. By the dawn of the 2nd century commonscriptures were accepted by the gentiles and in turn led to the organization ofthe New Testament. The chain of command or the hierarchy and structure of thepresent church emerged from this period that took command from a centralauthority (bishop). Duringthe apostolic and post apostolic era Christianity spread throughout the RomanEmpire and parts of Asia and Africa by mercenaries, mercantile andmissionaries. Armenia was the first to announce their official religion asChristianity in 301 A.D.
The fall of the Roman regime fell in 476 A.D whichmarked the beginning of the medieval period.Middle AgesEarly Middle Age Odoacer who became the first emperorof Italy marked the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West while it stillprevailed in the East. Since the influence of the Roman regime remained in theWest for a long period of time, this fall of empire was considered as atransformation rather than a downfall.
The Latin (West) and Greek (East)Christians differed among themselves due to the invasion of the Muslims. Transformationof the Eastern Church was steadier when compared to the west since the westernchurch was compelled to become accustomed to the current state of affairs. Whencombat struck Italy Rome was left helpless which pushed the Bishop of Rome(Pope) to appeal to the Franks for provisions and support. By the initialperiod of the 5th century St.Patrick contributed much in spreadingChristianity to Ireland from Britain with the help of his missionaries, priestsordained by him where Penitence was introduced as a private practice ratherthan a public one. Anglo Saxons who are considered tobe barbarians looted the Irish land once the Roman Empire departed and wereeventually converted by St.Augustine around the latter period of the 5thcentury.