Brief History of the Byzantine Church

hagiasophialast

Below you will find a video and key dates

33AD

Pentecost event – Birth of the Church – Apostles as first presbyters (Acts 2)

319AD

Constantine the Great begins construction on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome

532AD

Emperor Justinian begins construction on Agia Sophia in Constantinople. Construction lasts 6 years

988AD

Conversion of the Rus (Russia)  by Greek missionaries from Constantinople, Saints Cyril and Saint Methodius. They developed the Cyrillic alphabet and translated parts of the Bible into Church Slavonic language

1453-1825AD

The Orthodox Church operates under the captivity of the Ottoman Empire

1864

Holy Trinity Church established as the first Orthodox parish in America in New Orleans, Louisiana, by Greeks. Still active.

1918

Bolshevik Revolution throws the Church of Russia into chaos, which leaves the fledgling Russian mission in America stranded which then organizes into the Metropolia

1937

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School founded in Pomfret, Connecticut;

33-313AD

The era of Christian persecutions

330AD

Constantine moves imperial residence to Byzantium (renamed Constantinople)

550AD

The Pentarchy was first tangibly expressed in the laws of Emperor Justinian particularly in Novella 131.

1054AD

The Great Schism occurs in which the Eastern and Western Churches excommunicate one another. Two major issues include Rome’s claim to a universal papal supremacy and her addition of the filioque clause to the Nicene Creed.

1715AD

The first Orthodox mission in China was established in Beijing by the priestmonk Hilarion

1895

Fr Raphael Hawaweeny is sent by Bishop Nicholas of Russia to establish the first Antiochian parish in America in Manhattan, NY to serve the Syrian Orthodox population

1922

Church of Greece transfers control of Greek parishes in America back to the Church of Constantinople, which then creates the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

1938

Founding of St. Vladimir’s Russian Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, New York) and St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary (S Canaan, Pennsylvania).

52-68AD

The Apostle Thomas brings Christianity to India and China

325AD

The first of the seven (7) great Ecumenical Councils to  formalize the dogma of the Christian faith

692AD

The Quinisext Council  gives formal recognition to the Pentarchy and ranks the 5 great Patriarchates

1094AD

The Crusades begun by the Roman Church. The Sack of Constantinople (1204) adds to the estrangement between East and West.

1898-1900

The Boxer Rebellion in China targets Christian missionaries and Chinese converts slaughtering 222 Orthodox Chinese, including Chinese born Father Mitrophan. The Church celebrates this on June 24 as the Holy Martyrs of China

1904

Fr Raphael is consecrated “Bishop of Brooklyn” at St. Nicholas Church in NY becoming the first Orthodox bishop of any nationality to be consecrated in North America.

1930

The Holy Synod and the Church of Romania proclaim the establishment of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America located in Ohio.

1946

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Theological School moves to Brookline, MA

33AD

Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan making Christianity the state religion and ending the period of Roman persecution of Christians

404AD

The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom is finalized. This Liturgy is based on the previous liturgies of St James and St Basil

787AD

The era of Ecumenical Councils ends at Nicea; the Seventh Council restores the centuries-old use of icons to the Church

1453AD

Ottomans overrun Constantinople. Byzantine Empire ends

1794

Russian missionaries, including St. Herman of Alaska, arrive at Kodiak Island, bringing Orthodoxy to Russian Alaska..

1908

Patriarch of Constantinople gives temporary care of American Greek parishes to the Archdiocese of Greece

1931

Bishop Athenagoras becomes Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

1955

Orthodoxy officially recognized as major faith by U.S. government;.

1959

Bishop Iakovos becomes Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Longest standing Archbishop from 1959-1996.

1970

Church of Russia grants autocephaly to the Metropolia and the Metropolia approves the new name of Orthodox Church in America (OCA).  Constantinople ceases all official contact with the OCA and declares it uncanonical.

2009

The 14 Autocephalous Orthodox Churches establish the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America to allow the so-called Orthodox Diaspora the authority to propose future administrative structures for the Church in their respective regions.  This Assembly replaces the former SCOBA.

Visit the Online Chapel for more daily readings, hymns, a monthly calendar of saints and feasts, and more.