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Ιστορία της Καθολικής Εκκλησίας

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Η Ιστορία της Καθολικής Εκκλησίας καλύπτει μια περίοδο 2.000 χρόνων, κάνοντας την Εκκλησία ένα από τους παλαιότερους θρησκευτικούς θεσμούς στην ιστορία. Η ιστορία της Καθολικής Εκκλησίας είναι μεγάλη και πολύπλοκη, καλύπτει πολλές διαφορετικές εποχές στις οποίες η Εκκλησία πρωτοστάτησε στην διαμόρφωση του Δυτικού πολιτισμού όπως τον ξέρουμε σήμερα.

Η αρχικά ενιαία εκκλησία των αποστολικών χρόνων διασπάστηκε με το σχίσμα του 1054 σε Ανατολική Ορθόδοξη Εκκλησία και δυτική Καθολική Εκκλησία. Η δεύτερη μεγάλη διάσπαση επήλθε τον ΙΣΤ' αιώνα με το κίνημα των Διαμαρτυρομένων. Η Καθολική Εκκλησία υπήρξε κινητήρια δύναμη σε μερικά από τα σημαντικότερα γεγονότα της παγκόσμιας ιστορίας όπως ο εκχριστιανισμός της Ευρώπης και της Αμερικής και η ίδρυση Πανεπιστημίων, ο μοναχισμός και η ανάπτυξη των Τεχνών, της Μουσικής και της Αρχιτεκτονικής, η Ιερά Εξέταση, οι Σταυροφορίες και η αναλυτική φιλοσοφική μέθοδος.

Πίνακας περιεχομένων

Prologue: The ministry of Jesus of Nazareth (c. 1 — AD 33)

Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus of Nazareth

Η Καθολική Εκκλησία αναγνωρίζειτον ιδρυτή της στο πρόσωπο και τη διδασκαλία του Ιησού Χριστού από τη Ναζαρέτ. Jesus was a carpenter from the region of Galilee and observed the Jewish faith. Catholicism thus considers itself a successor religion to Judaism with the Christian God and the God of the Jews seen as one and the same.

When Jesus was about thirty years of age (Luke 3:23), he left the town of Nazareth and began a ministry of preaching and miraculous healing. In his preaching, he called for repentance (Mark 1:15), presenting God as a loving Father always ready to forgive. He also called on people to imitate the goodness and love of God towards all. He gained a following of people who saw him as a Rabbi, and in some cases wondered if he could be the Messiah; but he provoked the opposition of the religious leadership, who saw his teaching as contrary to traditional doctrine and practice, and felt that his hints about his own personal identity were blasphemous.

The final days of Jesus occurred in Jerusalem when Jesus was approximately in his mid 30s. Arrested by the Sanhedrin and charged with blasphemy, Jesus proclaimed himself the Messiah to the Sanhedrin, and he was handed over to authorities of the Roman Empire, who ruled the region as Iudaea Province, and who sentenced him to death after much persuasion from Jewish authorities. So began the Passion of Christ where Jesus was scourged, beaten, and crucified.

Three days after Jesus died, He rose from the dead and sought his disciples out as recorded by the historian Josephus. To Simon Peter, Jesus had earlier stated that he would entrust to him the keys to Heaven and that upon the rock of Peter he would found his Church. The Catholic Church sees its history as beginning at this point, with Saint Peter as the first Pope.

Σημαντικές Ημερομηνίες

  • c. 1 μ.Χ.: Ο Ιησούς ο Ναζοραίος γεννήθηκε στη Βηθλέεμ. Η εκκλησία δηλώνει, ότι ο Ιησούς ήταν ο γιος της παρθένου Μαρίας και ότι ήταν πεπεισμένος από τη δύναμη του Αγίου Πνεύματος, κάνοντας έτσι τον Ιησού το Γιο του Θεού.

Although the calculations of Dionysius Exiguus put the birth of Jesus in the year that in consequence is called AD 1, history places his birth more likely some time between 6 and 4 BC.

Jesus Christ dies on the cross
Jesus Christ dies on the cross
  • c. 30: Major preachings of Jesus, such as the Sermon on the Mount.
  • c. 33: Jesus of Nazareth is crucified by Roman Empire authorities after Jewish leaders in Jerusalem accuse Jesus of blasphemy. According to his followers, three days later, "God raised him from the dead"[1], or, as they also express it, he "has risen."[2] After his resurrection, he is believed to have instructed his disciples to baptize and form disciples who would constitute his Church, with Saint Peter as its leader, a position that passed to the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. The teachings of Jesus spread by the Apostles form much of the material of the Gospels.
  • c. 110: Ignatius of Antioch uses the term Catholic Church in a letter to the Church at Smyrna, one of the letters of undisputed authenticity attributed to him. In this and other genuine letters he insists on the importance of the bishops in the Church and speaks harshly about heretics.
  • c. 150: First known versions of the Vetus Latina are circulated among non-Greek-speaking Christian communities: these Latin translations of the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures.
  • c. 155: The teachings of Marcion, the gnostic Valentinus and pentecostal Montanists cause disruptions in the Roman community. Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire continues.
  • c. 180: Irenaeus's Adversus Haereses brings the concept of "heresy" further to the fore.
  • c. 195: Pope Victor I, first Latin Pope, excommunicated the Quartodecimans in an Easter controversy.
  • c. 200: Tertullian, first great Christian Latin writer, coined for Christian concepts Latin terms such as "Trinitas", "Tres Personae", "Una Substantia", "Sacramentum"
  • January 20, 250: Emperor Decius begins a widespread persecution of Christians in Rome. Pope Fabian is martyred. Afterwards the Donatist controversy over readmitting lapsed Christians disaffects many in North Africa.
  • c. 250: Pope Fabian is said to have sent out seven bishops from Rome to Gaul to preach the Gospel: Gatien to Tours, Trophimus to Arles, Paul to Narbonne, Saturnin to Toulouse, Denis to Paris, Austromoine to Clermont, and Martial to Limoges.
  • October 28, 312: Emperor Constantine leads the forces of the Roman Empire to victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. Tradition has it that, the night before the battle, Constantine had a vision that he would achieve victory if he fought under the Symbol of Christ; accordingly, his soldiers bore on their shields the Chi-Rho sign composed of the first two letters of the Greek word for "Christ" (ΧΡΙΣΤΌΣ). After winning the battle, Constantine legalized Christianity. He himself was not baptized until shortly before death.

Church of the Roman Empire (313 AD — 476 AD)

Key Dates

  • 313: The Edict of Milan declares the Roman Empire neutral towards religious views, in effect ending the persecution of Christians.
  • 321: Granting the Church the right to hold property, Constantine donates the palace of the Laterani to Bishop Miltiades, with its Basilica of San Giovanni for his episcopal seat.
  • C 325: The Arian controversy erupts in Alexandria, causing widespread violence and disruptions among Christians, inspiring Constantine to evoke
  • 325: The First Council of Nicaea, which establishes the Nicene Creed, declaring the belief of orthodox Trinitarian Christians in the Holy Trinity. The form of the Nicene Creed has undergone controversy over the Filioque clause but is still used by the Catholic Church to this day.
  • November 24, 380: Emperor Theodosius I is baptised a Christian and declares Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire.
  • 382: The Council of Rome under Pope Damasus I sets the Canon of the Bible, listing the accepted books of the Old Testament and the New Testament. No others are to be considered scripture. See also Biblical Canon.
  • 391: The Theodosian decrees outlaw most Pagan rituals still practiced in Rome, thereby encouraging much of the population to convert to Christianity.
  • 400: Jerome's Vulgate Latin Bible translation is published. This is a highly influential compilation of Old Testament and New Testament bible books that become the basis for the Bible which is known today.
  • 431: The Council of Ephesus declares that Jesus existed both as Man and God simultaneously, clarifying his status in the Holy Trinity. The meaning of the Nicene Creed is also declared a permanent holy text of the early church.
  • September 4, 476: Emperor Romulus Augustus is deposed in Rome, marked by many as the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The focus of the early Church switches to expanding in the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as the Byzantine Empire, with its capitol at Constantinople. Eventually the Church splits into Orthodox Christianity and Catholicism in the 11th Century.

Church of the Early Middle Ages (476 AD — 800 AD)

Key Dates

  • 480: St Benedict begins his Monastic Rule, setting out regulations for the establisment of monasteries.
  • 496: Clovis I pagan King of the Franks, converts to the Catholic faith.
  • 502: Pope Symmachus ruled that laymen should no longer vote for the popes and that only higher clergy should be considered eligible.
  • 590: Pope Gregory the Great. Reforms church structure and administration. Establishes Gregorian Chant.
  • 596: Saint Augustine of Canterbury sent by Pope Gregory to evangelise the pagan English.
  • 638: Christian Jerusalem and Syria conquered by Muslim armies.
  • 642: Egypt falls to the Muslims, followed by the rest of North Africa.
  • 664: The Synod of Whitby unites the Celtic Church in England with the Catholic Church.
  • 711: Muslim armies invade Spain
  • 718: Saint Boniface, an Englishman, given commission by Pope Gregory II to evangelise the Germans.
  • 726: Iconoclasm begins in the eastern Empire. The destruction of images persists until 843.
  • 732: Muslim advance into Western Europe halted by Charles Martel at Poitiers, France.
  • 756: Popes granted independent rule of Rome by King Pepin the Short of the Franks.
  • 793: Sacking of the monastery of Lindisfarne marks the beginning of Viking raids on Christian Europe.

Church of the High Middle Ages (800 AD — 1499 AD)

  • 800: King Charlemagne of the Franks is crowned Holy Roman Emperor in the West by Pope Leo III.
  • 829: Ansgar begins missionary work in Sweden near Stockholm.
  • 863: Saint Cyril and Saint Methodius sent by the Patriarch of Constantinople to evangelise the Slavic peoples. They translate the Bible into Slavonic.
  • 910: Great Benedictine monastery of Cluny rejuvenates western monasticism. Monasteries spread throughout the isolated regions of Western Europe.
  • 1003: Pope John XVII dies 5 months after installation, making this year one of the few when 3 legitimate popes reigned.
  • 1012: Burchard of Worms completes his twenty-volume Decretum of Canon law.
  • 1054: Liturgical and other divisions cause a permanent split between the Eastern and Western Churches, known as the Great Schism.
  • 1095: Pope Urban II preaches a Crusade to defend the eastern Christians, and pilgrims to the Holy Land, at the Council of Clermont.
  • 1098: Foundation of the reforming monastery of Citeaux, leads to the growth of the Cistercian order.
  • 1099: Recapture of Jerusalem by the 1st Crusade.
Notre-Dame Cathedral - designed in the Gothic architectural style.
Notre-Dame Cathedral - designed in the Gothic architectural style.
  • 1144: The Saint Denis Basilica of Abbot Suger is the first major building in the style of Gothic architecture.
  • 1150: Publication of Decretum Gratiani.
  • 1205: Saint Francis of Assisi becomes a hermit, founding the Franciscan order of friars.
  • 1229: Inquisition founded in response to the dangerous Cathar Heresy, at the Council of Toulouse.
  • 1231: Charter of the University of Paris granted by Pope Gregory IX.
  • 1305: French influence causes the Pope to move from Rome to Avignon.
  • 1370: Saint Catherine of Siena calls on the Pope to return to Rome.
  • 1378: Western Schism. Opposing Popes elected in Avignon and Rome.

Church of the Renaissance (1500 AD — 1629 AD)

  • 1517 - Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses, protesting the sale of indulgences.
  • 1521 - Baptism of the first Catholics in the Philippines, the first Christian nation in Asia. This event is commemorated with the feast of the Sto. Niño.
  • 1531 - Our Lady of Guadalupe is believed to have appeared to Juan Diego in Mexico, the country with the second largest Catholic population in the world.
  • 1534 - Saint Ignatius of Loyola and six others, including Francis Xavier met in Montmartre outside Paris to found the missionary Jesuit Order.
  • 1536 To 1540 - Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, Wales and Ireland.
  • 1540 - Pope Paul III confirmed the order of the Society of Jesus.
  • 1545 To 1563 - Council of Trent convened, to prepare the Catholic response to the Protestant Reformation. Its rulings set the tone of Catholic society for in least three centuries.
  • 1568 - St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzus, St. Athanasius and St. Thomas Aquinas all made Doctor of the Church
  • 1577 - Teresa of Avila writes The Interior Castle, one of the classic works of Catholic mysticism
  • 1582 - Beginning of the Gregorian Calendar and adoption of it by Italy, Spain, and Portugal
  • 1593 - Robert Bellarmine finishes his Disputationes de controversiis christianae fidei
  • 1598 - Papal role in Peace of Vervins

Church in the Age of Reason (1630 AD — 1799 AD)

  • 1638 - Shimabara Rebellion leads to a repression of Catholics, and all Christians, in Japan.
  • 1655 - Queen Christina of Sweden confirmed in baptism by Pope Alexander VII
  • 1685 - Louis XIV revokes The Edict of Nantes in hopes of currying Papal favor
  • 1691 - Pope Innocent XII declares against nepotism and simony
  • 1713 - Encyclical Unigenitus condemns Jansenism
  • 1715 - Clement XI rules against the Jesuits in the Chinese Rites controversy
  • 1721 - Kangxi Emperor bans Christian missions in China
  • 1738 - Grey Nuns founded
  • 1769 - Passionist order granted full rights by Clement XIV
  • 1769 - Junípero Serra establishes Mission San Diego de Alcala, the first of the Spanish missions in California
  • 1773 - Suppression of the Jesuits
  • 1789 - John Carroll becomes the Bishop of Baltimore, the first bishop in the United States
  • 1793 - French Republican Calendar and anti-clerical measures
  • 1798 - Pope Pius VI taken prisoner

19th century Catholic Church (1800 AD — 1899 AD)

  • 1847 - The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem resumes residence in Jerusalem.
  • 1850 - The Archdiocese of Westminster and twelve other dioceses are erected, reestablishing a hierarchy in the United Kingdom.
  • 1852 - The First Plenary Council of Baltimore was held in the United States.
  • 1870 - First Vatican Council issues the dogma of papal infallibility among other issues before the fall of Rome in the Franco-Prussian War causes it to end prematurely and brings an end to the Papal States. Controversy over several issues leads to the formation of the Old Catholic Church.

20th century Catholic Church (1900 AD — 1999 AD)

  • 1929: The Lateran treaties establish an independent Vatican City resolving the dispute with Italy since the seizure of the Papal States in 1870.
  • 1939: World War II begins in Europe. The Vatican declares neutrality to avoid being drawn into the conflict and also to avoid occupation by the Italian military.
  • 1944: The German Army occupies Rome. Adolf Hitler proclaims he will respect Vatican neutrality; however several incidents, such as giving aid to downed Allied airmen, nearly cause Nazi Germany to invade the Vatican. Rome is liberated by the Allies after only a few weeks of occupation.
  • 1950: The Assumption of Mary is defined as dogma.
  • 1962-1965: Second Vatican Council, the 21st ecumenical council of the Catholic church brought many changes in practices, including an increased emphasis on ecumenism; fewer rules on penances, fasting and other devotional practices; and initiating a revision of the services, which were to be slightly simplified and made supposedly more accessible by allowing the use of native languages instead of Latin. Opposition to changes inspired by the Council gave rise to the movement of Traditionalist Catholics who disagree with changing the old forms of worship.
  • 1970: Novus Ordo Mass in vernacular languages introduced. This replaces the Tridentine Mass which was said principally in Latin.
  • 1978: Pope John Paul II becomes the first non-Italian pope in 450 years.
  • 1992: A Catechism of the Catholic Church is first printed in French.

21st century Catholic Church (2000 AD — PRESENT)

The Catholic Church began the 21st century by celebrating the third Christian millennium with the motto "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever."

It faces the challenge of upholding its religious doctrine in a typically liberal society, in which it comes under heavy criticism from some quarters for its traditional teaching on such issues as birth control, abortion, and women in the priesthood.

While still maintaining that the Church "is necessary for salvation", and that "they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it",[1] it continues its dialogue with other religious traditions, even outside Christianity, in search of greater mutual understanding and in the hope of attaining greater visible unity among Christians.

It suffered a major scandal in the United States of America when, in 2002, widespread reports began to circulate of several priests who had been involved in molesting teenagers and in child abuse.

In the spring of 2005, the Catholic Church was placed in the centre of world attention following the death of Pope John Paul II. In the age of modern media, the Pope's death and funeral were broadcast for the world, while millions of Catholic pilgrims journeyed to Rome to pay final respects.

Key Dates

  • January 1, 2001: The 21st century and the new millennium begin. The Church solemnizes the start of the third Christian millennium by extending into part of the year 2001 the jubilee year that it observes at 25-year intervals and that, in the case of the year 2000, it called the Great Jubilee.
  • January 18, 2002: Former priest John Geoghan is convicted of child molestation and sentenced to ten years in prison. The Geoghan case was one of the worst scandals of the Catholic Church in modern times.
  • April 2, 2005: Pope John Paul II dies at the age of 84. His funeral is broadcast to every corner of the globe through the modern media. Millions of Catholic pilgrims journey to Rome, Italy to pay final respects.
  • April 19, 2005: German-born Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is elected by the College of Cardinals as Pope Benedict XVI, thus becoming the first Pope elected during the 21st century and the 3rd millennium.

Further reading

Bokenkotter, Thomas. A Concise History of the Catholic Church. Revised and expanded ed. New York: Image Books Doubleday, 2005. ISBN 0-385-51613-4