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An Orthodox Christian Historical Timeline

 

 


Dates are approximations

This timeline was adapted from an extensive table compiled by an old-calendarist Christian
and it has been edited to reflect a general Orthodox perspective. If you
find anything out of the ordinary in this timeline, this may be an editing omission
and we request that you notify the editor.

From
Adam

BC / AD

Event (approximate dates given)

 

445 BC

—Walls of Jerusalem are rebuilt by Nehemiah.

 

334 BC

Alexander the Great conquers the Persian Empire. Judah brought under Hellenic rule.

 

200 BC

—Books of the Prophets, previously kept as tradition, are officially declared as canonical.

 

141 BC

—After several years of revolt, Jerusalem is finally liberated.

 

120 BC

—Hebrew scriptures are translated into Greek by 72 elders, creating the Septuagint.

 

63 BC

Romans led by Pompey the Great capture Jerusalem and annex Syria and Judea.

 

40 BC

—Marc Antony in Rome appoints Herod the Great as King of Judea.

 

27 BC

—The Roman general Octavian declares himself Roman Emperor and changed his name to Augustus Caesar. It is at this point that the Roman Empire is established.

 

20 BC

—Herod begins to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem.

5500

8 BC

The Incarnation of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. The Virgin Mary conceives of the Holy Spirit on March 25 according to the Roman (Julian) calendar, which, in this year, corresponds with Nisan 15 (the first day of Pascha) according to the Hebrew Calendar.

 

7 BC

—Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ is Born of the Virgin Mary

 

14 AD

—Tiberius becomes Roman Emperor.

 

18 AD

—Caiaphas is elected High Priest in Jerusalem.

 

26 AD

—John the Baptist begins preaching. He baptizes Jesus in the River Jordan. A great voice is heard from the Father in heaven "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased," and the Holy Spirit descends upon Christ in the form of a dove. Christ begins His ministry.

 

31 AD

Jesus Christ is crucified under Pontius Pilate at the behest of the Scribes and Pharisees. On the third day, Sunday, March 25 according to the Roman (Julian) Calendar and Nisan 15 (first day of Pascha) according to the Hebrew Calendar, our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, rises from the dead. He ascends into heaven forty days later. Fifty days after His resurrection, he sends down the Holy Spirit which proceeds from the Father. The Holy Spirit enlightens the Apostles and the Church on earth is born.

 

32 AD

—The 11 apostles convene a council in Jerusalem to select a disciple to replace Judas Iscariot as the 12th apostle. Lots are drawn and Matthias is elected and ordained.

 

33 AD

—The 12 apostles convene a council to elect seven deacons to serve the Church.

 

45 AD

Council of Jerusalem, presided over by St. James, the Brother of the Lord, Bishop of Jerusalem, and attended by Sts. Peter, Paul, Barnabas, and other apostles and elders. The council condemns the Judaizers, and declares that Gentiles need not convert to Judaism, or be circumcised, nor follow the Mosaic Law, to become Christians (Acts 15).

 

56 AD

—Council of Jerusalem, presided over by St. James, and attended by St. Paul and his disciples, as well as all the elders of the Church in Jerusalem (Acts 21).

 

70 AD

—Following a revolt, the Romans sack Jerusalem and destroy the Temple. Hebrews are exiled. Christian spiritual center is moved from Jerusalem to Antioch, whereas the Jews and those Christians of the circumcision (Judaizers) travel to Arabia and elsewhere. It is at this point that the Jews and Judaizers are scattered and divided from the Church.

 

155 AD

—Council of Rome, presided over by Bishop Anicetus and attended by St. Polycarp of Smyrna and others, in order to settle the issue concerning the date of Pascha. An agreement is not met, but the two opposing camps maintain ecclesiastical communion.

 

193 AD

—Council of Rome, presided over by Bishop Victor, condemns the celebration of Pascha on Nisan 14, and addresses a letter to Polycrates of Ephesus and the Churches in Asia.

 

193 AD

—Council of Ephesus, presided over by Bishop Polycrates, and attended by several bishops throughout Asia, reject the authority of Victor of Rome, and keep the Asian paschal tradition.

 

217 AD

—St. Callistus is elected Bishop of Rome, but St. Hippolytus objects and has himself elected. After St. Callistus's repose, his successors Urban and Pontianus take the throne. St. Hippolytus continues as rival bishop of Rome until he is reconciled and later martyred.

 

251-6 AD

—Council of Carthage, presided over by St. Cyprian, and attended by 71 fathers from Numidia and other parts of Africa. This council holds five sessions over the course of five years, but is considered one council. It condemns Novatians (those who refuse to accept sinners or to receive Christians who had lapsed during the persecution) and sets requirements for readmission into the Church for those who had lapsed. This  council also rejects the teaching of Bishop Stephen of Rome in regards to baptism outside the Church. The baptism of heretics is declared invalid. Heretics are to be readmitted into the Church through baptism and chrismation, and priests through the laying-on of hands.

 

258 AD

—Council of Iconium, presided over by St. Firmilian of Neo-Caesarea, and attended by fathers from Cappadocia, Lycea, Galatia and other parts of Asia. It rejects the teaching of Pope Stephen of Rome, and confirms the decrees of Carthage in regards to the rebaptism and re-ordination of converts baptized or ordained by heretics.

 

264 AD

—Council of Antioch, presided over by St. Firmilian of Neo-Caesarea, and attended by several fathers, condemns the Paulians (later known as Sabellians), who believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one and the same person (prosopon).

 

306 AD

—Council of Elvira, presided over by St. Hosius of Cordova, and attended by 19 bishops all together, imposes celibacy on clergy and forbids converts from heresy to ever be ordained to the priesthood. This local council is never accepted by the Easterners.

 

311 AD

—Council of Carthage, presided over by Donatus, and attended by several African bishops, rejects the ordination of Pope Caecilian of Carthage by Felix of Aptunga, owing to the latter's supposed lapse during the persecutions, and elects Majorinus as rival Pope of Carthage. This council causes the Donatist schism.

 

312 AD

—Roman Emperor Constantine the Great converts to Christianity.

 

313 AD

—Constantine signs the Edict of Toleration in Milan, ending the persecution of Christians.

 

314 AD

—Council of Ancyra, presided over by St. Vitaly, Patriarch of Antioch, and attended by 18 fathers. It is the first council to be held after the end of the persecutions. It condemns those Christians who lapsed from the faith in order to escape persecution; It formulates punishments for the lapsed, and also punishments for various types of immorality.

 

314 AD

—Council of Arles, attended by bishops from Gaul and Britain, condemns Donatism (the schism of Carthage) and establishes 22 canons concerning church order and discipline.

 

315 AD

—Council of Neo-Caesarea, presided over by St. Vitaly, and attended by 23 fathers all together. It establishes punishments for immorality and outlines the qualifications and criteria of worthiness for the election of clergy to the sacerdotal list.

 

325 AD

Council of Nicea, (First Ecumenical - Imperial Council), convened by Roman Emperor, St. Constantine the Great. It is attended by 318 fathers, including Sts. Athanasius the Great, Nicholas of Myra, Spyridon of Trimythus, Alexander of Constantinople, Alexander of Alexandria, Eustace of Antioch, Macarius of Jerusalem, and the legates of St. Sylvester of Rome. It condemns the Arians (also known as Lucianists, who believe the Son was created), Paulians (also known as Sabellians, who believe the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the same person), Quartodecimans (those who celebrate Pascha on Nisan 14) and Meletians (those who caused a schism and parallel hierarchy in Egypt). This council also formulates the Nicene Creed, sets a united date for celebrating Pascha, condemns mandatory celibacy for clergy, establishes regulations on morality and discipline, decides Christians ought to stand, not kneel, while praying on Sunday, and establishes Rome, Alexandria and Antioch as the three centers (Patriarchates) of Christianity.

 

330 AD

The Capital of the Roman Empire is moved to New Rome (Constantinople). The Imperial Court and a large part of Old Rome's population moves to the new capital.

 

335 AD

—Council of Tyre, convened by Emperor St. Constantine the Great, presided over by Eusebius of Caesarea, and attended by 120 bishops. Although it does not reject the decisions of Nicea, this council does at least incline towards Semi-Arianism, and manages to depose St. Athanasius the Great and several other Orthodox bishops.

 

340 AD

—Council of Gangra, presided over by Eusebius and attended by 13 bishops all together, condemns a form of Manichaeanism (those who forbid marriage, the partaking of meat, obedience to lawful authority), and prohibits Christians from fasting on Sundays.

 

341 AD

—Council of Antioch, convened by Roman Emperor Constantius, presided over by Eusebius of Constantinople (New Rome), and attended by 120 fathers all together. It reinforces the rule of Nicea for the common celebration of Pascha, establishes regulations regarding the organization of local (regional) churches, and the use of canonical letters by travelers for verification of their canonical standing in the Church.

 

347 AD

—Council of Sardica, convened by Roman Emperors Constantius of New Rome and Constans of Old Rome, presided over by Hosius, bishop of Cordova, and attended by 370 fathers. It is convened to exonerate Sts. Paul of New Rome, Athanasius the Great of Alexandria and Maximus of Jerusalem, as well as Marcellus of Ancyra and Asclepas of Gaza, who had been deposed in 335 at the Council of Tyre under Eusebius of Caesarea. The Easterners agree to be present at the council of Sardica, but upon discovering that the deposed clergymen are to be given seats at the council, the Easterners depart for Philippoupolis where they hold a council of their own. The Westerners continue at the council of Sardica at which they confirm the Nicene Creed and establish several canons concerning church discipline. They proceed to depose 11 of the Easterners who departed for Philippoupolis on the charge of Arianism, whereas they exonerate and annul the depositions of Paul, Athanasius, Maximus, Asclepes and Marcellus. However, this council errs in its exoneration of Marcellus in that the latter is indeed a heresiarch (Marcellianism). 

 

347 AD

—Council of Philippoupolis, attended by 76 bishops who had departed from Sardica. It confirms the Nicene Creed and condemns the extreme form of Arianism, as well as Tritheism and Sabellianism. In addition to re-deposing Paul, Athanasius, Maximus, Asclepas and Marcellus, they also depose Pope Julius of Rome, Hosius of Cordova, Protogenes of Sardica, and several others who participated in the Sardican council. Thus, the Easterners and Westerners excommunicate each other on the grounds of heresy.

 

359 AD

—Council of Seleucia, attended by several bishops, including St. Meletius, rejects the Nicene Creed and adopts the Acacian formula, which inclines towards Arianism. St. Meletius later rejects this formula and confesses the Nicene Creed, after which he is installed as Patriarch of Antioch in 360. Shortly thereafter he is exiled, and Euzoius (an Arian) is appointed to succeed him. Simultaneously, Paulinus (an extreme Anti-Arian who inclined towards Sabellianism) is ordained bishop of Antioch by Lucifer of Calaris, and leads the Eustathian faction. Later, Vitaly is ordained bishop of Antioch by the heretical Apollinaris. Each of the four rival bishops of Antioch are recognized by different Local Churches. For instance, the majority of the Easterners recognize the Arian Euzoius; the Churches of Egypt, Cyprus, Arabia, Africa and the West recognize Paulinus; the Cappadocians recognize Meletius, but the Asians recognized Vitaly. 

 

362 AD

—Council of Alexandria, attempts but fails to bring an end to the Antiochian schism.

 

363 AD

—Council of Antioch, presided over by St. Meletius, attended by 26 bishops, confirms the Nicene Creed and attempts but fails to bring an end to the Antiochian schism.

 

364 AD

—Council of Illyricum, convened by Roman Emperor Valentinian, condemns Arianism and confirms the Nicene Creed. It also addresses the Churches in Asia, Phrygia, Carophrygia and elsewhere, to convene a similar council against the Arian persuasions which had arisen among them. Thus, the council of Laodicaea is held the same year.

 

365 AD

—Council of Laodicaea, condemns Arianism, confirms the Nicene Creed and established several canons concerning church order and discipline.

 

369 AD

—Council of Rome, presided over by Pope Damasus, signs a tome confirming Nicea, condemning Arianism and calling the Easterners towards healing the schism.

 

378-9 AD

—Council of Antioch, presided over by St. Meletius, and attended by 150 bishops, recognizes the tome of the Westerners in regards to healing the Antiochian schism.

 

381 AD

Council of Constantinople (Second Ecumenical), convened by Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great, presided over at first by St. Meletius of Antioch, and, following his repose, by St. Gregory the Theologian, Patriarch of New Rome, and attended by 150 bishops of both east and west.

 

382 AD

—Council of Rome, presided over by Pope Damasus, attended by Jerome, Epiphanius of Salamis, Paulinus of Antioch and others, attempts but fails to heal the Antiochian Schism.

 

394 AD

—Council of Constantinople, local council, presided over by St. Nectarius of Constantinople (New Rome), and attended by 20 bishops all together, establishes regulations for church discipline, especially in regards to ordinations and depositions.

 

395 AD

—Roman Emperor Theodosius I divides the Roman Empire into East and West to be governed by his twin sons, the Roman Emperors Arcadius and Honorius, respectively.

 

400 AD

—Council of Toledo, condemns Priscillianism (a form of Gnosticism or Manichaeanism, which follows dualistic ideas, of good and evil, light and darkness, spirit and flesh).

 

410 AD

—Council of Seleucia, at which the Assyrian Church declares itself independent of St. Flavian of Antioch, thus forming the autocephalous archdiocese of Seleucia-Ctisephon.

 

410 AD

—Vandals sack Old Rome, marking beginning of barbarian invasion of Empire's West.

 

415 AD

—Council of Antioch, presided over by St. Flavian, and attended by Evagrius and the Eustathian faction, finally brings a successful, permanent end to the Antiochian schism.

 

419-24 AD

—Council of Carthage, local council, presided over by Pope Aurelius of Carthage, and attended by 217 bishops all together. It condemns the Pelagians (who deny original sin and grace) and Donatism (who reject the ordination of those who had lapsed during the persecution), denies the jurisdiction of the Pope of Rome in the African Church, enumerates canon of Holy Scriptures (Old and New Testaments), and prohibits the rebaptism or re-ordination of those baptized or ordained by Donatists.

 

431 AD

Council of Ephesus (Third Ecumenical), convened by Emperor Theodosius II, presided over by Pope St. Cyril of Alexandria, and attended by more than 200 fathers. It condemns Nestorianism (the belief that the person of Christ consists of two hypostases, a human and a divine, and that the Theotokos is therefore to be called Christotokos, as if Christ is not God). It also confirms the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, and declares any additions or subtractions to it are henceforth forbidden. It is also declared that bishops are not to interfere in the vicinities and dioceses of other bishops.

 

441 AD

—Council of Orange, local council, presided over by St. Hilary of Arles, and attended by 17 bishops all together, formulates canons concerning Church order and discipline.

 

448 AD

—Council of Constantinople, local council, presided over by Patriarch St. Flavian of Constantinople (New Rome), condemns Eutychianism (the belief that the person of Christ consists of one hypostases but also only one nature).

 

449 AD

—Council of Ephesus (Robber Synod), convened by Emperor Theodosius II, presided over by Pope Dioscorus of Alexandria, and attended by 127 bishops. It falsely styles itself the so-called "Fourth Ecumenical Council."  It exonerates Eutyches who had been deposed by the local Council of Constantinople a year earler, condemns Eutyches' accuser, St. Flavian of Constantinople, and also Domnus of Antioch, Eusebius of Dorylaeum, Ibas of Edessa and others, on the charge of supposed Nestorianism.

 

450 AD

—Council of Nicea, local council, presided over by Dioscorus of Alexandria and attended by 11 bishops, excommunicates Pope St. Leo of Rome on the charge of Nestorianism.

 

451 AD

Council of Chalcedon (Fourth Ecumenical), convened by Emperor Marcian and his wife Empress Pulcheria, presided over by Eusebius of Dorylaeum, and attended by 630 bishops all together. It condemns Eutychianism as well as the Monophysitism of Dioscorus (the belief that the two natures of Christ had become one nature after the Incarnation), exonerates those who had been unlawfully deposed by the Robber Council, rejects the acts of that council, except those found to be Orthodox and canonical.

 

453 AD

—Barbarians under Attila the Hun invade Italy.

 

457 AD

—Following the murder of Proterius, the Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, the Monophysite faction within Egypt uncanonically elects Timothy Aelurus in his place. This is followed by a struggle between the Orthodox and Monophysites for the patriarchal throne. Similar rivalry also arises at the Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem.

 

476 AD

—Western Roman Emperor Romulus Augustulus, residing in Ravenna, is deposed by Odoacer, the commander of the Western army. Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno proposes Odoacer to be the new Western Emperor, but Odoacer declines the offer, returning the Imperial Regalia to Constantinople. Upon receiving the Western Regalia, the Roman Empire is reunited, and Zeno becomes sole Roman Emperor of both East and West. 

 

482 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened by Emperor Zeno, presided over by Patriarch Acacius, and attended by several Orthodox and Monophysite bishops. It formulates an henoticon (union) which compromises both the Orthodox and Monophysite positions in order to form a swift union between the two opposing camps. At this time the sees of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem are occupied by the Monophysites Peter Mongus, Peter the Fuller and Theodosius respectively, and they accept the henoticon with the Orthodox Patriarch Acacius of Constantinople. The Monophysites who reject the henoticon sever communion with their patriarchs and become known as Acephali. The Orthodox who rejected the henoticon, partiularly the Pope of Rome, sever communion with Acacius and the patriarchates of the Eastern Empire. This schism lasts until 519 when the Easterners reject the henoticon and return into communion with Rome.

 

484 AD

—Council of Seleucia, presided over by Acacius, and attended by 12 bishops. It rejects the Council of Ephesus, the Robber Council, as well as the Council of Chalcedon. It also establishes canons regarding marriage after ordination to the deaconate, and celibacy for priests. It is at this point that the Assyrian (Nestorian) Church of the East falls into schism.

 

491 AD

—Council of Varlasapat, at which the Armenians within the Persian Empire condemn the Council of Chalcedon. However, communion with the Orthodox is later restored.

 

493 AD

—Ostrogoths sack Ravenna, the last of the most important Roman cities in the West.

 

518 AD

—Council of Constantinople, at which Severus of Antioch is deposed for Monophysitism. He rejects his deposition and his followers divide into several groups. The Monophysite patriarch of Alexandria is also deposed, and his failure to recognize his deposition leads the Copts into schism from the Church.

 

519 AD

—Council of Constantinople, at which union is restored with the Church of Rome.

 

527 AD

—Council of Dovin, convened and presided over by Catholicos Nerses II of Armenia, embrace Monophysitism and causes the Armenian church to again fall into schism.

 

529 AD

—Council of Orange, local council, presided over by Caesarius of Arles, and attended by 14 bishops, condemns Semi-Pelagians (who deny the necessity of grace in salvation).

 

532-7 AD

—Roman Emperor Justinian I begins and completes the construction of the Great Temple of Holy Wisdom (Haghia Sophia) on the ruins of a previous temple. The new temple becomes the very center of Roman Orthodox Christianity for centuries to come.

 

541 AD

—Council in Antioch, convened and presided over by Jacob Bardaeus, officially accepts Monophysitism and forms the Jacobite Syrian Church, in schism from Roman Orthodoxy. 

 

553 AD

Council of Constantinople (Fifth Ecumenical), convened by Roman Emperor Justinian I, presided over by Menas of Constantinople, and attended by 165 bishops. It is convened firstly in order to condemn Origenism (belief in the preexistence of souls, reincarnation, that hell is only temporary, that demons will be saved, that there will not be a bodily resurrection, that various inanimate objects contain souls), and secondly in order to condemn the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret of Cyrus and Ibas of Edessa, on the charge of Nestorianism. These latter condemnations are hurled mainly to please the Monophysites, making union more possible. Thereby it appears that the council is siding with the Monophysites. Pope Vigilius of Rome disagrees at first but is later convinced to sign the edict. This, however, causes schisms in the West.

 

553 AD

—Council of Carthage condemns the edict that attempts to please the Monophysites and deposes Pope Vigilius of Rome for signing the edict.

 

553 AD

—Council of Aquileia, presided over by Macedonius, condemns Pope Vigilius for signing the edict, and declares Macedonius to be independent Patriarch of Aqueleia. 

 

559 AD

—Council of Toledo, convened by the Gothic King Richard, in order to combat Arianism which is widespread among the Gothic barbarians who had invaded from the north. In its attempt to dispel Arianism, this council adds the clause filioque ("and the Son") to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed in regards to the procession of the Holy Spirit. This addition is contrary to the Second Ecumenical Council which had forbidden any additions.

 

626 AD

—Avars lay siege to Constantinople, but Roman defense is successful. Akathist Hymn is composed in honor of the Holy Theotokos to thank her for her intercession during the war.

 

631 AD

—Cyrus, formerly bishop of the Lazi, is appointed Patriarch of Alexandria, and through his Monothelite teachings (his belief that Christ possesses only one, divine will, energy and operation), manages to draw the great majority of Coptic Monophysites back into the fold of the official Church. The Copts thus abandon Monophysitism, but at the expense of the official Church's Orthodoxy. The compromise on the part of both camps is welcomed by the Emperor and soon the Monothelite heresy spreads throughout the entire Empire. 

 

632 AD

—Adopting Christian, Arian, Gnostic, Jewish and Pagan elements, Mohammed of Arabia establishes a new heretical form of Christianity (Mohammedanism), which is declared a new religion under the banner of Islam (meaning "submission"). Its followers are called Muslims. Islam begins to spread rapidly throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

 

638 AD

—Council of Constantinople, local council, presided over by the Monothelite Patriarch Sergius, composes an exposition based on a heretical letter by Pope Honorius of Rome, and sends this to all the Patriarchates declaring it to be the official teaching of the Church. The Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem duly accept it, being occupied by Monothelites. Rome, after the death of the heretical Pope Honorius, returns to Orthodoxy.

 

643 AD

—Council of Cyprus, local council, presided over by Archbishop Sergius, condemns Monothelitism as expressed in the heretical exposition of Constantinople.

 

646 AD

—Council of Carthage, presided over by Pope Victor, also condemns the exposition. 

 

648 AD

—Council of Dovin, convened and presided over by Catholicos Nerses III of Armenia, accepts the Council of Chalcedon and enters again into communion with the Roman Orthodox Church, based however on the Monothelite compromise.

 

649 AD

—Council of Rome, local Lateran council, presided over by Pope St. Martin, and attended by 105 bishops, and St. Maximus the Confessor, condemns the Monothelite exposition, and the heretical Popes, Patriarchs and Bishops that adhered to and promoted it. 

 

664 AD

—Council of Whitby, convened by King Oswy of Northumbria, presided over by Bishop Agilbert of the West Saxons, and attended by hierarchs of both the Celtic and Roman Churches of Britain. It condemns the Celtic calculation of Pascha (first Sunday between Nisan 14 and 20) in favor of the Roman (Alexandrian) rule (first Sunday between Nisan 15 and 21), and replaces other Celtic practices with those used by the Christians of the Roman Empire. The Celtic Church of Britain submits to the Roman Orthodox Church.

 

680-81 AD

Council of Constantinople  (Sixth Ecumenical), convened by Emperor Constantine Pogonatus, presided over by St. George of Constantinople, and attended by 170 fathers. It condemns Monothelitism and anathematizes the Monothelite Patriarchs Cyrus of Alexandria, Sergius, Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter of Constantinople, Pope Honorius of Rome, and Bishop Theodore of Pharan. They are then replaced with Orthodox successors.

 

682 AD

—Council of Alexandria, at which the Copts who had compromised to Monothelitism during the times of controversy, reject the decisions of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, and return into schism, not as Monophysites as earlier, but this time as Monothelites.

 

686 AD

—Council of Antioch, at which several deposed Monothelite bishops attended, rejected the decisions of the Sixth Ecumenical Council, and elected John Maro as a rival Patriarch of Antioch, thus forming the Monothelite (Maronite) schism from the Orthodox Church.

 

692 AD

Council of Trullo in Constantinople (Quintisextine - Fifth-and-Sixth Council), convened by Roman Emperor Justinian II Rhinotmetus, presided over by Paul of Constantinople, and attended by 327 bishops, establishes canons regarding church order and discipline, canons which the Fifth and Sixth Ecumenical Councils had been unable to establish.

 

700 AD

—Council of Aquileia, at which the Patriarch of Aquileia reunites with the Pope of Rome.

 

751 AD

—Lombards sack Ravenna, the most important Roman stronghold in the West.

 

754 AD

—Council of Hiereia in Constantinople (also known as the Iconoclastic or Mock Council), convened by Roman Emperor Constantine V Copronymus, presided over by Archbishop Theodosius of Ephesus, and attended by 338 bishops all together. It falsely styles itself the "Seventh Ecumenical Council." It condemns the writing of icons, or the painting of pictures, and forbids the veneration of images on the charge of idolatry.

 

787 AD

Council of Nicea (Seventh Ecumenical), convened by Empress Irene and her infant son Constantine VI, presided over by Patriarch Tarasius of Constantinople, and attended by 350 Orthodox bishops, and 17 iconoclastic bishops who repent and are received back into Orthodoxy by the council itself. It annuls the decisions of the Mock Council of 754 and condemns Iconoclasm, while restoring the veneration of the sacred icons.

 

787 AD

—Council of the Carolingians (Iconoclastic Council), convened by the Frankish Barbarian King Charles the Great (Charlemagne), presided over by Patriarch Paulinus of Aquileia, and attended by bishops from the Carolingian Kingdom, Aquileia and Britain, rejects the Holy Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787 and insists upon the addition of the filioque in the Creed, following the error of the Gothic Council of Toledo in 559. The Carolingians also demand Pope Hadrian of Rome to accept their decision, but he refuses, not only by recognizing the Seventh Ecumenical Council, but also by rejecting the Carolingian Council, as well as rejecting the filioque clause that the false council promotes.

 

794 AD

—Council of Frankfurt (Iconoclastic Council), convened by Charlemagne. It condemns Adoptionism (the belief that God is the natural father of Christ's divinity, but is the Father of Christ's humanity only by adoption). However, this council also continues in the error of Charlemagne, in that it condemns the Seventh Ecumenical Council of 787. It also condemns Pope Hadrian due to his acceptance of the Seventh Ecumenical Council. Charlemagne declares the Roman Empire to no longer be Roman and Orthodox, but rather "Greek" and "heretical," while he, a Frankish barbarian, styles himself and his barbarian subjects "Roman."  This council also defends the heretical addition of the filioque to the Creed, despite its staunch rejection by Pope Hadrian of Rome.

 

796 AD

—Council of Frioul, convened by Charlemagne, presided over by Patriarch Paulinus of Aquileia, defends the insertion of filioque in Creed, despite Pope Hadrian's resistance.

 

800 AD

—Council of Rome, convened by Charlemagne, presided over by Pope Leo III, and attended by mostly Frankish bishops. The council restores Pope Leo III to his rank after he had been forced to flee Rome due to accusations of immorality held against him. However, Charlemagne captures and banishes Pope Leo's accusers. In return, Pope Leo III is forced to crown Charlemagne as "Holy Roman Emperor"

 

809 AD

—Council of Aachen, convened by Charlemagne, presided over by Patriarch Paulinus of Aquileia, and attended by Frankish bishops, again condemns the Seventh Ecumenical Council, requests Pope Leo III to annul the Western Church's acceptance of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and declares the filioque necessary for salvation. Pope Leo III, however, rejects this council, declares his acceptance of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and refuses to add the heretical filioque to the Creed. Pope Leo demonstrates this by ordering the Creed to be engraved in Greek and Latin and hung on the doors of St. Peter's according to the original Orthodox version, without the filioque clause.

 

815 AD

—Council of Constantinople (Iconoclastic Council), convened by Leo V the Armenian, presided over by Patriarch Theodotos, and attended by Eastern bishops, orders icons in churches to be placed beyond the reach of the faithful to prevent their veneration.

 

825 AD

—Council of Paris, convened by Frankish barbarians, again condemns the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and again insists that the filioque must be used by all Christians.

 

842-43 AD

Council of Constantinople ("Triumph of Orthodoxy"), convened by Roman Empress Theodora, presided over by Patriarch Methodius of Constantinople, and attended by several Orthodox hierarchs, annuls the Iconoclastic Council of 815 and restores the veneration of the holy icons. The iconoclasts and all other heretics are anathematized.

 

860-64 AD

—Roman Orthodox monks, Cyril and Methodius, travel to the Caucasus and Crimea in order to convert the pagan Turkic Khazars. However, the latter embrace Judaism and become the ancestors of the majority of the world's future Jews. Cyril and Methodius later travel to Moravia where they successfully convert the Moravian Slavs to Orthodoxy. Soon thereafter, they begin converting the Bulgarians who had invaded Macedonia and Thrace.

 

861 AD

—Council of Constantinople ("First-and-Second" or "Twice-Held" Council), convened by Roman Emperor Michael, presided over by Patriarch Photius, and attended by 318 bishops of both east and west, in order to resolve a dispute over Patriarch Photius of Constantinople who had been enthroned after the deposition of his predecessor, Ignatius. The council, including the Papal legates, confirms the deposition of Ignatius and declares Photius to be the lawful Patriarch. Several canons are also formulated. 

 

863 AD

—Council of Rome, convened and presided over by Pope Nicholas, uncanonically deposes Patriarch Photius and declares the deposed Ignatius to be Patriarch of Constantinople. This uncanonical council is rejected by the Easterners.

 

867 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened by Roman Emperor Michael, presided over by Patriarch Photius of Constantinople, and attended by 500 fathers from East and West (the Westerners were the Archbishops of Treves, Cologne and Ravenna). The Council condemns and deposes Pope Nicholas of Rome on the charges of introducing the heretical filioque clause in the creed, as used by the Pope's missionaries in Bulgaria, and for exercising beyond his authority by interfering in dioceses outside his jurisdiction. Pope Nicholas does not accept his deposition, but dies shortly after his condemnation.  

 

867 AD

—Basil the Macedonian usurps the throne after murdering Roman Emperor Michael. Patriarch Photius condemns the murder, refusing Emperor Basil communion. Basil thus deposes Patriarch Photius and replaces him with his predecessor, Ignatius.

 

868 AD

—Council of Rome, presided over by Pope Hadrian II, condemns Patriarch Photius.

 

869-70 AD

—Council of Constantinople (false council, later repudiated), presided over by Pope Hadrian's legates, attended at first by only 12 bishops, condemns Patriarch Photius.

 

877 AD

—Patriarch Ignatius of Constantinople reposes and Photius is again elected Patriarch.

 

879-80 AD

Council of Constantinople, convened by Roman Emperor Basil II, presided over by Patriarch Photius, and attended by 383 bishops of both east and west. It declares the Council of Nicea in 787 to truly be the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and anathematizes those who refuse to recognize it (particularly those in France). It also annuls the Councils of Rome and Constantinople which had condemned Patriarch Photius. In addition, it declares that the Creed, the Symbol of the Faith, must remain exactly as it was handed down by the Holy Fathers. Anyone who dares to make any additions or subtractions (especially in regards to the filioque clause) is anathematized. Finally, it is decreed that the Churches of East and West are not to interfere in one another's jurisdiction, that the west is to depose western bishops and the east is to depose eastern bishops, and that these depositions must be recognized by all of the Churches. This council is also accepted and fully embraced by Pope John VIII of Rome.

 

898 AD

—Council of Constantinople, presided over by Patriarch Anthony, and attended by local eastern bishops. The supporters of Patriarch Ignatius are reconciled with the Church.

 

907 AD

—Roman Emperor Leo VI desires to marry a fourth time since his three deceased wives failed to bear him a male successor. The ecclesiastics then divide into two camps over whether he should be allowed a fourth marriage. The moderates are led by Patriarch Nicholas Mysticus, whereas the extremists are led by a rival patriarch called Euthymius.

 

920 AD

—Council of Constantinople (Tetragamy Synod), presided over by Patriarch Theophylact, declares fourth marriages to no longer be acceptable, heels the schism of 907 and the reposed rival patriarchs Nicholas and Euthymius are both glorified as saints.

 

925 AD

—After conquering Macedonia and Thrace, the Bulgar Khan Symeon declares himself "Emperor of the Bulgars and Romans." This title is later recognized by the Pope of Rome.

 

941 AD

—Russian Prince Igor leads attack on Constantinople. However, the Romans succeed in defending the Imperial City.

 

960 AD

—St. Athanasius founds Great Lavra, forming the first monastic community of Mt. Athos.

 

988 AD

Prince Vladimir of Kiev converts and Russia becomes an Orthodox Christian state.

 

996 AD

—After the repose of Pope John XV, the Frankish King Otto III installs his relative, Bruno, as the first German (non-Roman) Pope, who takes the name Gregory V.

 

1010 AD

—After being blinded and imprisoned for several years by the Frankish Antipope Gregory V, John XVI of Rome, reposes in the Lord.

 

1024 AD

—Ecumenical Patriarch Eustachius of Constantinople (New Rome) and the three other Eastern Patriarchs refuse to insert the Pope's name in the diptychs.

 

1050 AD

—Council of Vercelli, convened by King Henry I and presided over by Pope Leo III, condemns Berengar of Tours (who believed that Christ is only spiritually present in the Sacred Gifts, rather than physically present in the form of his divine body and blood).

 

1052 AD

—The Archbishop of Canterbury flees from England due to political reasons. King Edward the Confessor and a council of British bishops elects and installs Bishop Stigand of Winchester as archbishop. The Pope of Rome refuses to recognize the new Archbishop of Canterbury and declares the British Church to supposedly be schismatic.

 

1052 AD

—The Frankish Norman rulers demand the Roman Orthodox Christians in Southern Italy and Sicily to abandon the eastern rite and adopt Frankish liturgical practices (the heretical filioque and the use of azymes — unleavened bread). This is an attempt to estrange the Romans of Italy with their compatriots in the free Eastern Roman Empire, in order to assimilate them with their barbaric Frankish rulers. In response, the Ecumenical Patriarch Michael Cerularius demands the Latin churches in Constantinople to abandon the Latin rite and adopt the Eastern liturgical practices. This causes the schism to widen.

 

1053 AD

—Ecumenical Patriarch Michael Cerularius writes to Pope Leo IX offering to restore his name to the diptychs of the Eastern Church if a council is convened to heal the schism.

 

1054 AD

—Pope Leo IX sends three legates to Constantinople, the chief of which is Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida. Before a council is convened, the latter marches into the Church of Hagia Sophia and places a papal bull of excommunication upon the altar, in which, without a trial, he uncanonically excommunicates Patriarch Michael because the latter supposedly "omitted" [sic] the filioque from the creed and does not accept the use of azymes in holy communion. Patriarch Michael responds by calling a Council of Eastern bishops at which Cardinal Humbert is anathematized, and the use of the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed and azymes in holy communion are condemned. Many scholars mark this event as the "Great Schism" between the Eastern Churches and the Papacy. However, the schism had already occurred in 1024. The events of 1054 only mark the failed attempt to restore communion and heal the already-existing schism. 

 

1066 AD

—Pope Alexander II of Rome blesses the Frankish King William of Normandy to invaded Britain and submit the Orthodox population to the Frankish Papacy. Thus, William the Conqueror and his Norman forces defeat the British natives at the Battle of Hastings.

 

1067 AD

—William the Conqueror is uncanonically crowned King of England by Pope Alexander II.

 

1070 AD

—Council of Winchester, false council, convened by William the Conqueror and presided over by Papal legates, uncanonically deposes the Orthodox Archbishop Stigand of Canterbury, replacing him with the barbaric Norman Bishop Lanfranc.

 

1072 AD

—The last English Orthodox Bishop, Ethelric of Durham, anathematizes the Frankish Pope and Norman usurpers and dies a Confessor in the prisons of Westminster.

 

1082 AD

Council of Constantinople, convened by Roman Emperor Alexius I Comnenus, and attended by several Eastern hierarchs. It condemns the heresies of John the Italian (who believes in Hellenic philosophy and ancient Greek doctrines of the soul, heaven, earth and creation; that creation is eternal or immutable; that creation is not the result of God's free will; that the world was not created ex nihilo - from nothing; that all of creation without exception will be restored; that heaven and hell are only temporary; that each individual soul exists prior to the conception of its body; that the soul is destroyed after bodily death; that Greek philosophy is capable of explaining exactly how the Logos united Himself to His human substance; and, who refuses to accept the miracles of Christ, the Theotokos and the Saints). The council also sends an epistle to the Frankish Pope Gregory VII, calling for a solution to the schism between east and west in order to form a military alliance against the Seljuk threat. Pope Gregory VII responds positively, provided that his name is restored in the diptychs of Constantinople and a council for union is convened.

 

1088-89 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened by Roman Emperor Alexius I, adds the name of Frankish Pope Urban II to the diptychs of Constantinople, regardless of Filioque and Azymes, in order to form a military alliance with the Franks against the Seljuks.

 

1092 AD

—Council of Clermont, convened by the Frankish Pope Urban II, calls the First Crusade.

 

1095 AD

—Council of Piacenza, presided over by Pope Urban II and attended by representatives of Roman Emperor Alexius I, forms military and religious alliance against Muslim Seljuks.

 

1097 AD

—Crusaders defeat the Seljuks and capture Nicea and surrounding areas.

 

1098 AD

—Crusaders capture Antioch, Edessa and Jerusalem from the Muslim Seljuks. Roman Orthodox Patriarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem are exiled and replaced with Frankish Latin Patriarchs. All Christians of Jerusalem unite under Latin Patriarch and form one communion. However, at Pascha, only the Roman Orthodox lamps are lit by the Holy Light, whereas the Latins receive it second, from the hands of the Roman Orthodox. In Antioch, however, the Roman Orthodox do not accept the Frankish Patriarch. Thus they are divided, some under the Roman Orthodox Patriarch, others under the Latin.

 

1099 AD

—Council of Bari, convened and presided over by Pope Urban II, and attended by Frankish Latin bishops, as well as by Greek-speaking Roman Orthodox bishops of Southern Italy, numbering 185 in total. The Roman Orthodox bishops present are forced to accept the addition of the filioque in the creed and unite with the Frankish Papacy.

 

1123

—Council of Lateran, convened and presided over by Pope Callistus II, and attended by 300 western bishops and abbots, condemns simony and carries out various reforms.

 

1139

—Council of Lateran, convened and presided over by Pope Innocent II, and attended by 500 western bishops, condemns simony and the followers of Arnold of Brescia, who refuse to accept the mysteries of the eucharist, priesthood, matrimony and infant baptism.

 

1147-48

—Second Crusade, called by Pope Eugenius III and led by Kings Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, in order to recapture Edessa which had been invaded by Muslims. Passing through Constantinople, the crusaders lay siege on Damascus, but fail to capture the city. However, they manage to seize Lisbon in Iberia from Muslim rule.

 

1157 AD

—Council of Blachernae, convened and presided over by Patriarch Luke Chrysoberges of Constantinople, condemns Baselakes and Soterichus, who believed that the sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy is only figuratively the sacrifice of the body and blood of Christ; that the sacrifice of the Eucharist is not one and the same with that of Christ on the cross; that men are reconciled with the Son through the incarnation and with the Father through the passion; that the deification of Christ's humanity destroyed His human nature; that His deified human nature is not worthy of worship; that Christ's humanity was swallowed up by His divinity and therefore His passion was a mere illusion; that Christ's human characteristics, such as His creaturehood, circumscription, mortality and blameless passions, are only hypothetical, since His humanity is considered in abstraction and not really and truly; and other heretical doctrines.

 

1166 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Luke Chrysoberges, condemns Constantine the Bulgarian, who believes that the phrase "My Father is greater than I" refers only to Christ's human nature taken in abstraction, and that Christ's human nature retained its properties in the hypostatic union.

 

1179 AD

—Council of Lateran, convened and presided over by Pope Alexander III, and attended by 300 western bishops, some eastern Latin bishops and one eastern Greek bishop, firstly in order to heal the schism formed 20 years earlier by the election of antipope Hadrian IV by the Frankish Emperor Frederick I, and secondly to condemn the Albigenses and Waldenses (Neo-Gnostic sects based on Manichaean principles).

 

1189-92 AD

—Third crusade, called by Latin pope and led by Frankish nobles, against Muslims.

 

1202-04 AD

—Fourth crusade, never reaches Middle East, but rather invades Roman territory.

 

1204 AD

Crusaders sack Constantinople and set up a Latin Kingdom in its place, destroying and pillaging the city's great riches. This causes contempt between Greeks and Latins, thereby widening the schism between the Papist west and Orthodox east.

 

1210 AD

—The Serbians declare themselves ecclesiastically independent of the archdiocese of Achris (Ochrid). In 1219, the Ecumenical Patriarchate recognizes the independence of the Serbs and consecrates St. Sabbas as Archbishop of Pec. The latter returns to Serbia and consecrates nine new bishops, thereby establishing the Serbian Orthodox Church.

 

1211 AD

—Council of Turnovo, convened by Boril, Emperor of the Vlachs and Bulgarians, presided over by Patriarch Basil of Ochrid, and attended by several bishops, condemns the heresy of the Bogomils (Cathars or Puritans), who hold a form of Gnosticism or Manichaeanism.

 

1215 AD

—Council of Lateran, convened and presided over by Pope Innocent III, and attended by 404 western bishops, one eastern bishop (the Patriarch of the Maronites), the delegates of the Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria, and several delegates of the eastern Latin Patriarchs, condemns the teachings of Abbot Joachim of Fiore, and accepts those of Peter the Lombard, who believes the persons of the Holy Trinity are united into a single person wherein there is neither begetting nor proceeding, thus heretically adding a fourth person to the Trinity. This council also declares it improper that the Greeks (Orthodox) rebaptize those who had been baptized by Latins (Franks), as practiced in the east.

 

1217-29 AD

—Fifth crusade called by Franco-Latin pope and led by Frederick II against Muslims.

 

1232 AD

—Council of Nicea-Nymphaeum, convened by Roman Emperor John Vatatzes, presided over by Patriarch Germanus II of Constantinople, and attended by Orthodox and Papist theologians, discussed the issue of the filioque clause in order to solve the schism.

 

1245 AD

—Council of Lyons, convened and presided over by Pope Innocent IV, and attended by 150 western bishops as well as three eastern Latin patriarchs, in order to discuss the problems surrounding the Muslim threat on the Holy Land and the sufferings of the Eastern Empire; to form a defense against the Tartars and other persecutors of the Christians; and to determine the position of the Church in regards to the State.

 

1248-54 AD

—Sixth crusade called by pope and led by Louis IX of France.

 

1250 AD

—Council of Nicea, convened by Roman Emperor Theodore Lascaris, and attended by eastern and western theologians in order to bring an end to the papist schism.

 

1261 AD

Roman Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus recaptures Constantinople from Latin rule.

 

1266 AD

—Ecumenical Patriarch Arsenius Autoreianus is deposed for not absolving the sins of Roman Emperor John Lascaris, but several clergy and  monks do not recognize this deposition and continue to commemorate Arsenius. Another patriarch, Gregory of Adranople, is elected, and the monk Joseph absolves the emperor's sins. This forms a division between "Arsenites" and "Josephites" which is to last 46 years.

 

1270 AD

—Seventh crusade called by pope, led by Louis IX of France, goes no further than Tunisia.

 

1274 AD

—Council of Lyons, convened and presided over by Pope Gregory X, and attended by 300 western bishops as well as the legates of Ecumenical Patriarch John Beccus, in order to heal the schism between the Latint west and the Orthodox east.

 

1285 AD

—Council of Blachernae, convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory II the Cypriot, condemns the actions of the eastern delegation at the council of Lyons.

 

1302 AD

—The Frankish Pope Boniface VIII issues a papal bull called the Unam Sanctam, in which it is decreed that two powers rule the Church, one is the spiritual power led by the pope himself, the other is the temporal power of the secular rulers. The bull also declares that all human beings ought to be subject to the Frankish pope in order to attain salvation.

 

1309 AD

—Due to political situation in Italy, the papacy moves from Rome to Avignon in France.

 

1311 AD

—Council of Ravenna, convened by Pope Clement V, and attended by several Western bishops, against the ancient tradition, declares baptism by immersion to no longer be necessary, and legalizes baptism by affusion (pouring) or aspersion (sprinkling).

 

1311-13 AD

—Council of Vienne, convened and presided over by Pope Clement V, and attended by 120 western bishops and 4 eastern Latin patriarchs, in order to assess the crisis in the Holy Land, to judge the Templars of Jerusalem, and to carry out various church reforms. This council also condemns the Beghards and Beguines who believe that a person in this present life can acquire a degree of perfection which renders him utterly impeccable and unable to make further progress in grace; that it is not necessary to fast or pray after gaining this degree of perfection; that those who have reached the said degree of perfection and spirit of liberty, are not subject to human obedience nor obliged to any commandments of the church; that a person can gain in this life final beatitude in every degree of perfection that he will obtain in the life of the blessed; that any intellectual nature in itself is naturally blessed, and that the soul does not need the light of glory (theosis) to elevate it to see God and enjoy him blissfully; that the practice of the virtues belongs to the state of imperfection and the perfect soul is free from virtues; and that the rational or intellectual soul is not essentially and of itself the form of the human body.

 

1312 AD

—Arsenite schism of Constantinople is brought to an end by the reconciliation of the Arsenites to the Josephites. The reposed Patriarch Arsenius is glorified as a saint. Later, five Arsenite biships again sever communion with the Patriarch and die in schism. But one of these schismatic bishops, Theoleptus of Philadelphia, is later glorified as a saint.

 

1341 AD

Council of Haghia Sophia (sometimes called Ninth Ecumenical) convened by Roman Emperor Andronicus III, presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch John Calecas, and attended by the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, and several bishops and abbots, including St. Gregory Palamas. This council condemns Barlaam of Calabria, who believes the light of Mt. Tabor is created, and who criticizes the mystical Jesus Prayer as a supposed practice of the Bogomils, and charges it for not proclaiming Christ as God. Emperor Andronicus dies after the council's first session, and the second session is convened by de facto Roman Emperor John VI Cantacuzene, and presided over by Patriarch John Calecas. This council condemns Acindynus, who takes the opposite extreme to Barlaam of Calabria, believing that the light of Mt. Tabor is the divine essence itself, rather than God's uncreated grace and energy, distinct from His divine essence.

 

1345 AD

—King Stephan Urosh VI Dushan of Serbia elevates the archbishop of Pec to the status of patriarch, and is then crowned by him as "Emperor of the Serbs and the Romans."

 

1346 AD

—Council of Adrianople, convened and presided over by Patriarch Lazarus of Jerusalem, and attended by several Thracian bishops, deposes Ecumenical Patriarch John Calecas for supporting and ordaining the condemned heretic, Acindynus.

 

1347 AD

Council of Constantinople (Palamite), convened by Roman Empress Anne of Savoy and her infant son Emperor John V, deposes Calecas and confirms the Tome of 1341.

 

1351 AD

Council of Blachernae (Palamite), convened by Roman Emperor John VI Cantacuzene, presided over by Patriarch Callistus of Constantinople, and attended by several bishops, the most prominent of which was St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessalonica. This council condemns the Anti-Palamites, and brings a final end to the Acindynite heresy.

 

1378 AD

—Pope Gregory XI returns the papacy from Avignon back to Rome and dies shortly thereafter. The residents of Rome cause riots and havoc demanding the election of a Roman pope, as opposed to a Frankish one. Fearing their safety, the cardinals elect an Italian, Bartholomew of Bari, who takes the name Urban VI. However, due to Urban's ill treatment of his cardinals, 13 of them declare his election flawed due to the riots preceding it, and elect a new, Frankish pope, Clement VII, who eventually resides in Avignon. Henceforth there are two popes, two papacies, two papal lineages, two sets of cardinals and two hierarchies: those of Rome and of Avignon. This event is referred to by historians as either the "Great Schism," the "Western Schism" or the "Avignon Schism." 

 

1409 AD

—Council of Pisa, convened and presided over by Cardinal de Malesset, bishop of Palestrina, and attended by 4 Latin patriarchs, 22 cardinals, 80 bishops and hundreds of lower clergy, condemn and depose the two rival popes, Gregory XII of Rome and Benedict XIII of Avignon, and declare both to be schismatics. This council then ordains a new pope, Alexander V. However, the two other popes do not recognize their deposition, and henceforth there are three popes, three papacies, three papal lineages, three sets of cardinals and three hierarchies: those of Rome, those of Avignon and those of Pisa.

 

1414-18 AD

—Council of Constance, convened by the German Emperor-elect Sigismund, presided over by Pope John XXIII, successor to Pope Alexander V of Pisa, and attended by 3 Latin Patriarchs, 29 Cardinals, and 150 bishops representing all three popes, in order to bring an end to the "Western Schism." This council declares itself, and all general councils, superior in authority to the pope and forces all three popes to resign. Pope Gregory XII of Rome soon abdicates; Pope John XXIII of Pisa departs the council, which in turn deposes him, but he later resigns and his deposition is lifted; Pope Benedict XIII of Avignon, on the other hand, refuses to abdicate, and even after his condemnation and deposition, continues to serve in Spain as an antipope. The council elects Martin V as the new pope, who is to reside in Rome. The final sessions of the Council of Constance are attended by the Roman Emperor Michael Palaeologus, along with 19 Eastern Orthodox bishops. In addition to resolving the "Western Schism," this council also condemns the heretical teachings of the protestant reformers, John Wycliff of England and John Hus of Bohemia. 

 

1431-49 AD

—Council of Basel, convened by Pope Martin V, presided over by his legate, Cardinal Julian Caesarini, and attended by several cardinals and bishops. It confirms the decisions of the Council of Constance in that general councils are to be convened as often as possible, that these councils are the highest authority in the Church, even higher than the pope, and that the pope does not have the power to prematurely dissolve the council or make any such decisions without the majority vote of the council members. Pope Martin dies shortly after the council begins, and Eugene IV is promptly elected. The council sessions continue under the presidency of Cardinal Julian, until Pope Eugene dissolves the Council of Basel in 1437 in favor of holding a council in Ferrara. However, the majority of bishops attending the Council of Basel, not accepting the pope's authority in making this single-handed decision, refuse to dissolve and demand the pope to appear before them on the charge of disobedience. After warning the pope several times but to no avail, they condemn him of schism and heresy, depose him, and elect  a new pope, Felix V, in his stead. Pope Eugene does not recognize his deposition by the Council of Basel, nor the election of the antipope Felix, but convenes a new council in Ferrara.

 

1438-39 AD

—Council of Ferrara, convened and presided over by Pope Eugene IV, and attended by several cardinals and bishops. It declares the Council of Basel to be officially dissolved, condemns  the bishops who remained thereat of schism and heresy, and nullifies their council decisions from the time of the dissolution onwards. The purpose of the Council of Ferrara is to unite with the Eastern Churches and thereby strengthen the Christian front against Islam. The Roman Emperor John Palaeologus eventually arrives at the council, followed by Ecumenical Patriarch Joasaph of Constantinople and representatives of the Roman Orthodox Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, numbering about 700 in total. The question of the filioque clause and the use of azymes is not discussed, but rather only the issue in regards to purgatory. After countless debates, neither side could be persuaded to accept the other's position. With the permission of the Easterners, Pope Eugene dissolves the Council of Ferrara and a new council is convened at Florence, at which the religious debates between Easterners and Westerners continues.

 

1439-42 AD

—Council of Florence, convened by Roman Emperor John Palaeologus, presided over by Pope Eugene IV, and attended by Ecumenical Patriarch Joasaph and several bishops representing both Eastern and Western Churches. The question of the filioque clause is discussed and debated but to no avail, for neither side would concede to the other’s position. However, Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim suddenly dies, and the Westerners produce a document claiming that the late patriarch had conceded to all the western doctrines and had signed a declaration of union before his death. The Easterners follow suit and sign the declaration of union, all except St. Mark Eugenicus, Archbishop of Ephesus. Upon returning to the East, most of the bishops who had signed the union withdraw their signatures and again confess their fidelity to the Orthodox Faith. In the meantime, back at Florence, a union is formed between the Westerners and the Armenian Monophysites, after the latter accept the definition of the Council of Chalcedon. Later a union is formed with the Jacobite Syrian Monophysites along similar guidelines. After this, a union is formed with the Coptic Monophysites of Egypt, again along the same guidelines as the other Monophysites, with the sole addition that the Copts are required to discontinue neonatal circumcision, which had been a prominent tradition among them, despite the decision of the Apostolic Council of Jerusalem. The Armenians, Syrians and Copts reject the union years later and return to their previous Monophysite tendencies.

 

1443-45 AD

—Council of Lateran, convened and presided over by Pope Eugene IV, and attended by several cardinals and bishops, forms a union with the Nestorian Chaldeans of Cyprus, as well as those of Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, who are required to renounce the teachings of Nestorius and accept the Council of Ephesus and all subsequent ecumenical councils. A union is also formed with the Maronite Syrians of Cyprus, who are required to renounce the Monothelite teachings of Macarius of Antioch.

 

1448 AD

—Council of Kiev deposes Metropolitan Isidore who had participated in the false Council of Florence, and elects Metropolitan Jonah, declaring autonomy for the Russian Church.

 

1453 AD

—Turks led by Mehmet II capture Constantinople

 

1458 AD

—Frankish Pope Eugene IV of Rome sends a Latin Metropolitan of Kiev to replace the exiled Isidore. Thus the south-western Russians are in submission to the Pope and opposed to the Orthodox rival church under Metropolitan Jonah of Moscow and all Russia.

 

1461 AD

—Turks capture Trebizond, the last major Roman city, thus ending the Roman Empire.

 

1470 AD

—The Latin Metropolitan of Kiev and his Ruthenian subjects sever communion with the Pope of Rome and enter under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

 

1472 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Dionysius I and attended by several bishops representing the Orthodox patriarchates, condemns the decisions of the ouncil of Florence, declares the filioque clause and Latin doctrine of purgatory to be heretical, and sets requirements for Latin converts.

 

1472 AD

—Grand Duke of Moscow Ivan III the Great marries Sophia, the niece of the last Roman Emperor Constantine XI Dragases Palaeologus, and assumes the titles of Autocrat, Roman Emperor and Caesar (Czar). He also adopts the Roman Imperial emblem, the double-headed eagle, to symbolize the power of his newly established Russian Empire.

 

1484 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened by Ecumenical Patriarch Symeon I, and attended by several bishops, declares Latin converts to be received by the rite of chrismation.

7000

1492 AD

—Seventh age ends, eighth and last age begins.

 

1512-17 AD

—Council of Lateran, convened and presided over by Pope Julius II and attended by several cardinals and bishops, repudiates the Council of Pisa and annuls the French "Pragmatic Sanction." Pope Julius dies and Leo X is elected. The latter presides over the Council, which formulates several canons and anathematizes the philosopher Peter Pomponazzi, who had taught heretical Aristotelian doctrines in regards to the soul.

 

1517 AD

—Martin Luther nails his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenburg. Protestant Reformation begins in Germany with Lutheran schism (Lutheranism).

 

1534 AD

—King Henry VIII creates the independent Church of England, after separating from the Pope of Rome, due to the fact that the latter would not grant him permission to divorce his wife and remarry. The Church of England later reforms and becomes a protestant sect.

 

1541 AD

—Calvin leads Protestant Reformation in Geneva forming Calvinist schism (Calvinism).

 

1545-62 AD

—Council of Trent, convened and presided over by Pope Paul III and attended by several bishops, condemns Lutheranism, Calvinism and other heretical forms of Protestantism.

 

1551 AD

—Council of Moscow ( "Stoglav Synod" or "Council of the 100 Chapters"), convened by Russian Emperor Ivan IV the Terrible, presided over by Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow, and attended by several bishops of the Russian Church, formulates canons in regards to church discipline and liturgy, and glorifies (canonizes) numerous Russian saints.

 

1560 AD

—John Knox leads Protestant Reformation in Scotland and forms Presbyterian Church.

 

1569 AD

—Frankish Pope Pius V orders his subjects to no longer make the sign of the cross with three fingers and from the right shoulder to the left (as was the ancient tradition), but rather with the entire extended hand and from the left shoulder to the right, in order to be different from the Easterners. The signing of the cross with three fingers is preserved only for the Pope, for bishops, and for the Carthusian and Dominican monastic orders. 

 

1582 AD

—Robert Browne leads Reformation in Holland and forms Congregationalist Church.

 

1582 AD

—Frankish Pope Gregory XIII, with the help of pagan astronomers, formulates the new, papal, Gregorian Calendar, and demands its acceptance throughout the world.

 

1582 AD

—King Sigismund III of Poland, a Franco-Latin, adopts the Gregorian Calendar within the realms of his kingdom. Thus the Ruthenian Orthodox Church, centered at Kiev and under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, inquires whether it should also adopt the Gregorian calendar, but Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II calls a council and addresses a Patriarchal Sigilium (Bull) to the people of Trigovisty, under Polish rule, and to the entire Orthodox world in general, warning them not to adopt the new, papal, Gregorian calendar.

 

1583 AD

Council of Constantinople (Pan-Orthodox Synod), convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II, called the Illustrious, of Constantinople, and attended by Patriarchs Sylvester of Alexandria and Sophronius of Jerusalem and several other bishops, condemns those who uncanonically and heretically insert the filioque clause in the Nicene creed; those who do not administer both the body and blood in the Eucharist, bur rather only the body, claiming that it is sufficient, although Christ administered both kinds; those who administer the body in the form of unleavened bread, contrary to the gospels and ancient tradition; those who perform the mystery of holy baptism by sprinkling, rather than by triple immersion; that the Pope of Rome has certain rights to admit people into paradise by way of indulgences, passports or licenses to sin.

 

1589 AD

—Council of Moscow, convened by Russian Emperor Theodore I, presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II, and attended by several Greek and Russian bishops, raises Metropolitan Job of Moscow to the rank of Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, thereby restoring the ancient pentarchy, Moscow having replaced the fallen Old Rome.

 

1589 AD

—Council of Vilna, convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II, and attended by several bishops, formulates regulations for the administration of the Ruthenian Church and elects Metropolitan Michael Rahoza of Kiev as exarch and primate.

 

1593 AD

—Council of Constantinople (Pan-Orthodox Synod), convened by Russian Emperor Theodore I, presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Jeremiah II, and attended by Patriarchs Meletius Pegas of Alexandria, Joachim VI of Antioch, Sophronius of Jerusalem, Job of Moscow and several bishops, condemns the use of the new, Gregorian calendar.

 

1594 AD

—Council of Brest-Litovsk, convened by King Sigismund III of Poland, presided over by Metropolitan Michael of Kiev, and attended by the Ruthenian bishops, severs communion with Ecumenical Patriarchate and petitions for union with Pope Clement VIII.

 

1595 AD

—Council of Rome, convened and presided over byPope Clement VIII, and attended by several cardinals and bishops, receives the Ruthenians into communion, allowing them to recite the creed without the filioque clause and to retain the Eastern rite. This event forms the "Greek Catholic," "Byzantine Catholic" or "Uniate Catholic" Church.

 

1596 AD

—Council of Brest-Litovsk, convened by Prince Constantine of Ostrog, presided over by Bishop Gideon Balaban of Lemburg, and attended by Bishop Michael Kopystenski of Przemysl, Archimandrite Nicephorus (representing the Ecumenical Patriarch), Cyril Lucaris (representing the Patriarch of Alexandria) and several fathers, condemn the union of the Ruthenians with the Pope, declare the maintenance of the Old Calendar, and petition the Ecumenical Patriarchate to depose the Uniate metropolitan and bishops.

 

1605 AD

—John Smyth leads Protestant Reformation in Amsterdam and forms Baptist Church. 

 

1620 AD

—Council of Moscow, convened by Russian Emperor Michael, presided over by Patriarch Philaret, and attended by several bishops, declare Latin converts to be received by the rite of baptism, due to the fact that Latins baptize by aspersion rather than triple immersion.

 

1628 AD

—Council of Kiev, convened and presided over by Metropolitan Job of Kiev, and attended by bishops from throughout western Russia (at that time under Polish rule), condemn the union of Brest-Litovsk, depose and excommunicate the apostate Uniates, and declare their fidelity to the Orthodox Christian faith and loyalty to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

 

1628 AD

—Michael Jones leads Reformation in Holland and forms Dutch Reformed Church.

 

1638 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Patriarch Jeremiah II, and attended by several bishops, condemns the heretical Calvinism of Patriarch Cyril Lucaris.

 

1642 AD

—Council of Jassy, convened by the Duke of Moldavia, presided over by Metropolitan Peter Moghila of Kiev, and attended by several bishops representing all five Orthodox patriarchates, condemns the Latin and Calvinist heresies and especially the Uniates who had been converted by Latin and Calvinist missionaries, confirms various so-called Apocryphal books as being genuine parts of scripture, and corrects the Latin errors of the Confession of Peter Moghila, thereby permitting it to be used for Orthodox catechism.

 

1666-67 AD

Council of Moscow (Pan-Orthodox Synod), convened by Russian Emperor Alexis, presided over by Patriarch Païsius of Alexandria, and attended by Patriarchs Macarius of Antioch and Joasaph of Moscow, Metropolitans Athanasius of Iconium (representing the Ecumenical Patriarch), Ananias of Sinai (representing the Patriarch of Jerusalem), and several bishops and fathers, condemn the Old Ritualists (who refused to comply with corrections made in order to comply with the Church's liturgical unity, such as celebrating feastdays on the same day as the rest of the Orthodox Churches, making the sign of the cross with three fingers instead of two, not kneeling on Sundays, etc); allows heretics and schismatics to be received into the Orthodox Church by the rite of chrismation, as an act of economy (dispensation), instead of baptism; and forbids the iconographic depiction of the Holy Trinity with God the Father as an old man and the Holy Spirit as a dove, due to the fact that it transgresses the rules of Orthodox iconography as expressed by the Seventh Ecumenical Council, and because the form of this image is of unorthodox Western origin. 

 

1670 AD

—Council of Jerusalem, convened and presided over by Patriarch Dositheus, condemns al the Franco-Latin heresies, including the new, papal, Gregorian calendar.

 

1672 AD

—Council of Jerusalem (Pan-Orthodox Synod), convened and presided over by Patriarch Dositheus, and attended by several bishops, condemns the Patriarch Cyril Lucaris.

 

1701 AD

—Metropolitan Athanasius of Transylvania (under Hungarian rule) accepts union with the Franco-Latins, thereby forming the Uniate Greek-Catholic Church in Romania.

 

1724 AD

—Due to Franco-Latin missionaries in Syria, the Roman Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch becomes tainted with pro-uniate, Latin-minded clergy. After the repose of the Roman Orthodox Patriarch Athanasius III Debbas of Antioch and all the East, the pro-Latin party headquartered in Damascus uncanonically elects Cyril VI as new patriarch. A week later, the Roman Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch elects Sylvester the Cypriot as rightful successor to the throne. The other Roman Orthodox patriarchates recognize the election of Sylvester, whereas Cyril and his party are condemned as schismatics. Having fallen into schism from the Orthodox communion, the schismatics unite withRome and form what came to be known as the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.

 

1754 AD

—The kyriakon of St. Anne's Skete on Mt. Athos is built and Orthodox faithful throughout the world send the names of their deceased relatives to be commemorated at the full services held in kyriakon. At first, the memorial services are only held on Saturdays, but due to the multitude of names to be commemorated, services begin to be held on other days of the week, including Sundays. This causes controversy as many fathers disagree with the practice of commemorating the dead on Sunday, the day of Resurrection. The fathers who disagree with the practice are scorned and called Kollyvades. Among these fathers, who are later glorified as saints, are Macarius Notaras of Corinth, Athanasius of Paros, Nicodemus of Athos and Arsenius of Paros (the latter had even died in "schism").

 

1755-56 AD

—Council of Constantinople (Pan-Orthodox Council), convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Cyril V, and attended by Patriarchs Matthew of Alexandria and Parthenius of Jerusalem, and several bishops representing the Orthodox patriarchates (the acts of this council are also later signed by Patriarch Sylvester of Antioch), decree that Western converts must be baptized upon their reception into the Orthodox Church. This council also condemns and anathematizes anyone that dares to change the calendar. 

 

1766 AD

—Council of Cetinje, convened and presided over by Metropolitan Sabbas of Zeta and Cetinje, declares the Archdiocese of Montenegro to be independent. The autocephaly is later recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Churches of Russia and Serbia.

 

1772 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Theodosius II, and attended by Patriarch Sophronius of Jerusalem and several bishops, declares the Kollyvades to be correct in serving memorials on Saturdays, but does not judge those who perform them on Sundays or any other day of the week.

 

1773 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Samuel Hantzeris, declares it proper to serve memorials for the dead on Saturday alone.

 

1780 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Sophronius II, and attended by several bishops, condemns the iconographic depiction of the Holy Trinity with God the Father as an old man and the Holy Spirit as a dove, due to its Franco-Latin origins, and because it transgresses the rules of Orthodox iconography.

 

1815 AD

—Council of Cyprus, convened and presided over by Archbishop Cyprian of New Justiniana, and attended by several bishops, condemns freemasonry.

 

1819 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Patriarch St. Gregory V, endorses the teachings of the Kollyvades (forbidding memorial services for the dead to be held on Sundays, recommending frequent communion, and observing the empirical experience of hesychasm, regardless of metaphysical speculations and rationalism).

 

1821 AD

—The Greek Revolution is sparked and spreads throughout the Ottoman Empire.

 

1827 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Patriarch Agathangelus I, and attended by several bishops, condemns any attempt to revise the church calendar.

 

1828 AD

—The Roman State is re-established in Peloponnesus under John Cappodistrias, with the provisional capital of Nauplia en Romania (Napoli de Romania, Naples of Romania).

 

1832 AD

—London Conference declares the "Kingdom of Greece" or Basileia tes Hellados in Greek, for Athens to be its capital, for its people to be called Greeks or Hellenes, and to be ruled by King Otto, a Bavarian royal.

 

1833 AD

—Council of Nauplia, declares the liberated areas to be ecclesiastically independent of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and to be governed by a five-member synod of bishops.

 

1848 AD

Council of Constantinople (Pan-Orthodox Synod), convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimus VI, and attended by Patriarchs Hierotheus of Alexandria, Methodius of Antioch, Cyril of Jerusalem and 33 bishops representing the Orthodox patriarchates, condemns all the Franco-Latin heresies that had arisen up until that time.

 

1850 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Patriarch Anthimus VI, and attended by several bishops, recognizes the autocephaly of the Church of Greece.

 

1865 AD

—The Romanian Church declares itself independent of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

 

1869-70 AD

—Council of Vatican I - Pope proclaims dogma of papal infallibility in bull "Pastor Aeternus"

 

1870 AD

—Slavic-speaking Orthodox Christians living in the Thracian and Macedonian regions of the Ottoman Empire, who up until this time had referred to themselves as Romans and had belonged to the Rum Milet (Roman sub-nation under Ottoman rule), begin calling themselves Bulgarians as a reaction to the Greek-speaking Orthodox Christians of the same areas who had forsaken their Roman name and identity by adopting the term Hellenes. This ethnic schism between Slavic and Greek speaking Roman Orthodox Christians soon leads to an ecclesiastical schism. The Bulgarians sever communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimus VI of Constantinople (New Rome), and in his place install their own Bulgarian patriarch in Constantinople, as well as their own Bulgarian Metropolitans and Bishops in every major town of Thrace and Macedonia.

 

1872 AD

Council of Constantinople (Pan-Orthodox Synod), convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Anthimus VI, and attended by Patriarchs Sophronius IV of Alexandria and Procopius II of Jerusalem and several bishops, condemn phyletism (ethnocentric belief that Orthodox Christians in a given place and time should be divided into separate exarchates, based on ethnicity), and the Bulgarian schism is condemned. The decisions of this council are later accepted by the other local Orthodox Churches.

 

1885 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Ecumenical Patriarch Joachim IV, and attended by several bishops, recognizes the autocephalous status of the Romanian Orthodox Church. The autocephaly is later recognized by the other Churches. 

 

1888 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Patriarch Dionysius V, and attended by several bishops, permits the reception of Western converts to Orthodoxy by the rite of chrismation as an act of economia (dispensation) in extreme circumstances.

 

1895 AD

—Council of Constantinople, convened and presided over by Patriarch Anthimus VII, and attended by 13 bishops in total.

 

1902-04 AD

Council of Constantinople (Pan-Orthodox Council), convened and presided over by Patriarch Joachim III, and attended by several bishops, addresses the local Orthodox Churches of Alexandria, Jerusalem, Cyprus, Russia, Greece, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, requesting each to convene a council to decide two issues: firstly, whether steps should be taken for the Orthodox Church to enter into dialogue and subsequent communion with the so-called Old Catholics who had separated from the Pope in 1870 because they refused to accept the decisions of the Vatican Council regarding papal infallibility; and secondly, if an agreement could be reached in regards to whether or not to revise the Julian calendar or accept the Gregorian calendar, as requested by many proponents of revision. The Local Orthodox Churches each convene councils to discuss the issues at hand. These councils are: the Council of Alexandria (1902), presided over by Patriarch Photius; the Council of Jerusalem (1903), presided over by Patriarch Damian; the Council of Moscow (1903), presided over by Metropolitan Vladimir; the Council of Bucharest (1903), presided over by the Metropolitan of Wallachia; the council of Athens (1903) presided over by Metropolitan Theocletus; the council of Karlovtsi (1904), presided over by Metropolitan Innocent; and the Council of Cetinje (1904), presided over by Metropolitan Metrophanes. The Council of Constantinople (1904) is then resumed under the presidency of Patriarch Joachim III.

 

1914-18 AD

—World War I.

 

1918 AD

—Council of Moscow, convened and presided over by Patriarch Tychon of Moscow, and attended by several bishops, condemns and anathematizes Militant Atheism (Marxism, Communism) which had taken control over Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. This council also confirms the earlier condemnation of the Onomatodoxi (name-worshippers).

 
1970
Moscow Patriarchate grants autocephaly to Russian Metropolia which becomes the Orthodox Church in America
 
1992
Synaxis of the Orthodox primates in Constantinople (Istanbul)
 
2005
Pan Orthodox council confirms removal of former Patriarch of Jerusalem.


* Based on a table by Stavros L. K. Markou