He spent much of his ministry by the Sea of Galilee, preaching in such towns as Capernaum John , Bethsaida Mark , and Magdala Matthew , and surrounding places such as Cana John and Tyre Mark When his hour came near, he headed toward Jerusalem Luke Jesus often taught in parables , an ancient Eastern literary genre. A parable is a narrative that presents comparisons to teach an important moral lesson. Some parables are common to all three Synoptic Gospels, such as the Parable of the Sower Matthew , Mark , and Luke Jesus performs many miracles , demonstrating his power over nature and spirits, and thus confirming that the Kingdom of God is at hand Mark In a physical miracle, such as making the blind see, or walking on water, or calming a storm, the laws of the universe are suspended through divine intervention.
In a moral miracle, such as forgiveness of sins or driving out demons, the blessing of Jesus purifies the spirit. In Mark , Jesus performed a physical miracle, healing the paralytic, to demonstrate a moral miracle, the forgiveness of sins. Only three miracles appear in all four Gospels - the Resurrection of Christ, the greatest miracle of them all, the healing of the blind, and the feeding of the through the multiplication of the loaves.
His public ministry lasted about three years Jesus taught transformation of the inner person. His mission was one of love, mercy, and peace John Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of salvation history and the mediator and fullness of all revelation. See our home page Jesus Christ for further discussion. Following the Resurrection, Matthias was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot.
Prior to his Ascension, Jesus commissioned his disciples to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth Acts This strengthened the Apostles to spread the word of Christ Jesus. The Acts of the Apostles describes the infancy period of the Church, a time following the Pentecost when Christianity spread like wildfire.
The Apostles all gathered in Jerusalem Acts 15 to discuss whether Gentiles who had been converted to Christianity had to observe all the ceremonial precepts of the Mosaic Law. This gathering of the Apostles became known as the Council of Jerusalem , and set the pattern of future Councils to resolve issues that arose within the Church. To the question of Jesus, "Who do you say that I am?
Whereupon Jesus responded, "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" Matthew Peter became the first Patriarch of Antioch and ultimately Bishop of Rome. Saul persecuted the Church and consented to the death of the first martyr Stephen. He had men and women who lived the Way thrown into prison. But while going to Damascus, Saul was struck from his horse by a great light and a voice asked "Why do you persecute me?
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Christ identified himself with his Church: "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Paul, as Apostle to the Gentiles, became just as passionate spreading Christianity as he was in persecuting Christians before his conversion. Peter was crucified upside down and St.
Paul was beheaded, both probably in AD. In fact, all of the Apostles were martyred for having preached the Gospel, except for St.
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John the Evangelist. Heeding the message of Jesus Christ to Go therefore and make disciples of all nations Matthew , the Apostles traveled East and West to all parts of the known world to spread Christianity. Andrew , Peter's brother, was the first to be called to follow Jesus, and is called by the Byzantine Church the Protoclete , meaning the first called. Andrew evangelized Byzantium, appointed Stachys Romans the first Bishop there, and was crucified in Patras, Greece.
James , the son of Zebedee and brother of John, is believed to have preached in Spain; he is the only Apostle to have his martyrdom recorded in the Bible Acts John , the son of Zebedee and the brother of James, was the "one Jesus loved. Christ on the Cross entrusted his mother Mary to John , who took her with him to Ephesus; he was later exiled to the island of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation in his elderly years Revelation He stayed in Jerusalem and is believed to be the writer of the Letter of James in the Bible.
But when he put his hand in the Lord's side, he reacted with a beautiful profession of faith: "My Lord and My God" John Thomas traveled through Chaldea and Persia all the way to India!
Little is known about Simon the Zealot or Matthias. The early Christian Church was faced with spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ throughout the world, often during a time of martyrdom and intense persecution. The Apostolic Fathers were a group of early Christian writers who knew one of the Apostles and lived about AD, and sought to define, organize, and defend the faith, such as Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Rome, Polycarp of Smyrna, and the author s of the Didache.
Ignatius of Antioch was designated Bishop of Syria by St. Peter on his trip to Antioch to meet St.
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Ignatius was the first to use the term Catholic Church in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans. The word catholic means universal and refers to the universal Church of Jesus Christ. Ignatius of Antioch would not worship the Emperor Trajan, and thus was placed in chains and martyred in Rome when thrown to the lions in the Coliseum. He wrote seven letters on his trip to Rome, which proved to be a unifying event for all of the early Churches. He established the Church hierarchy of bishop, priest, and deacon for the early Churches, the pattern which still exists today.
In his First Apology written in , he described the Memorial of the Last Supper on Sunday, one that would be called the Divine Liturgy in the East and the Mass in the West, an event which has remained essentially the same for nearly years. For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these, but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior, having been made flesh by the Word of God Christianity spread throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa.
The Eastern Christian Churches are characterized by a rich heritage with Apostolic origin, and are treasured by the universal Church, for the East was the home of Jesus Christ our Redeemer!
Jerusalem is the birthplace to all of Christianity throughout the world. The Levant, the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, served as the cradle of Christianity. Antioch, Syria became an early center for Christianity, especially following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Indeed, followers of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch Acts They also became known as Nazarenes Acts , particularly in the East. Mark the Evangelist founded the Church of Alexandria, Egypt. Eusebius of Caesarea in his Ecclesiastical History reported that King Abgar of Edessa was afflicted with illness and contacted Jesus in the hope of a cure. Upon his healing by St. Jude Thaddeus , King Abgar converted to Christianity. Edessa became home to such writers as St. Ephrem wrote his beautiful hymns and religious poetry in Syriac, a dialect of the Semitic language of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
Syriac became the biblical and liturgical language of early Christian Churches in the East. The theology of Eastern Churches often developed independently, outside the sway of Roman and Byzantine thought. Eastern Christian Churches allow clerical marriage , for they accept the gift of human sexuality given by God, who said, "It is not good for the man to be alone" Genesis Christians were severely persecuted through three centuries of the Roman Empire, especially at the hands of Nero 64 AD , Trajan , right up to Diocletian But their powerful witness through martyrdom only served to spread Christianity!
Constantine became Emperor of the West in As he was in Gaul at the time, he still had to capture Rome where Maxentius held sway. Welcome relief from Christian martyrdom came with the Edict of Milan in , through which Constantine and Licinius, the Emperor of the East, granted Christianity complete religious tolerance. His defeat of Licinius in made him sole Emperor of the entire Roman Empire, and he moved the seat of the Empire to Byzantium in and renamed it Constantinople.
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Constantine considered himself Christian and did much to protect and support Christianity. Sunday as the Lord's Day was made a day of rest, and December 25 was celebrated as the birthday of Jesus. He restored property that once belonged to Christians. Peter in Rome. Christianity remain undivided until mankind sought to define the hidden nature of God and the mystery of Christ.
A dispute concerning the relation of the Father and the Son arose in Egypt known as the Arian controversy. The Nicene Creed was expanded and finalized at the Council of Constantinople in to include homoousios for the Holy Spirit as well, by quoting John , "the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father," to form the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed still called the Nicene Creed.
HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY
Constantine considered himself both head of state and father of the Christian Churches. There were three stages in the formation of the Gospels: the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the oral tradition of the Apostles, and the written word. The Tradition of the Fathers of the Church was important to early Christianity, for they were the ones who chose those inspired books which best reflected the life and teachings of Jesus Christ in the formation of the canon of the New Testament, and were also involved in the interpretation of Scripture. Jerome that "Matthew put together the sayings of the Lord in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could" Papias, in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History , III, 39, Catherine's Monastery on Mt.
Jerome was commissioned by Pope Damasus in to produce a new Latin translation of the Bible. Jerome completed the translation of the New Testament Gospels into Latin in , and finished his translation from both Greek and Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament by In view of his work, St. Jerome was named the Father of Biblical Scholars. The Latin Vulgate Bible published by St.
Jerome served as the standard Bible for Western Christian civilization for over years. He was born in Tagaste, near Hippo, in north Africa. His mother St. Monica was a devout Christian and taught him the faith. However, when he studied rhetoric in Carthage, he began living a worldly life. He obtained a post as master of rhetoric in Milan, accompanied by an unnamed woman and child Adeodatus, born out of wedlock in The woman soon left him and their son, and Monica joined them in Milan.
Under the incessant prayers of his mother, and the influence of St.