The history of the Catholic Church is integral to the history of Christianity as a whole. It is also, according to church historian, Mark A. Noll, the "world's oldest continuously functioning international institution."[1] This article covers a period of just under two thousand years.

Over time, schisms have disrupted the unity of Christianity. The Catholic Church considers that major divisions occurred in c. 144 with Marcionism,[2] 318 with Arianism, 451 with the Oriental Orthodox, 1054 to 1449 (see East–West Schism) during which time the Orthodox Churches of the East parted ways with the Western Church over doctrinal issues (see the filioque) and papal primacy, and in 1517 with the Protestant Reformation, of which there were many divisions, resulting in over 200 denominations.

The Catholic Church has been the driving force behind some of the major events of world history including the Christianization of Western and Central Europe and Latin America, the spreading of literacy and the foundation of the universities, hospitals, the Western tradition of monasticism, the development of art and music, literature, architecture, contributions to the scientific method, just war theory and trial by jury. It has played a powerful role in global affairs, including the Reconquista, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Investiture Controversy, the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire, and the Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in the late 20th century.

Ministry of Jesus and founding

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Main article: Chronology of Jesus

Byzantine image depicting Jesus as Christ pantocrator
Byzantine image depicting Jesus as Christ pantocrator
  • The calculations of Dionysius Exiguus put the birth of Jesus in the year that in consequence is called 1 BC; most historians place his birth between 6 and 4 BC.

First millennium

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Early Christianity

Main article: History of early Christianity

Dates in the Apostolic Age are mostly approximate, and all AD, mostly based on tradition or the new testament.

The Crucifixion of Saint Peter (1601) by Caravaggio
The Crucifixion of Saint Peter (1601) by Caravaggio

313–476

Eastern Orthodox icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea
Eastern Orthodox icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea
Constantine the Great summoned the bishops of the Christian Church to Nicaea to address divisions in the Church (mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Constantinople (Istanbul), ca. 1000).
Constantine the Great summoned the bishops of the Christian Church to Nicaea to address divisions in the Church (mosaic in Hagia Sophia, Constantinople (Istanbul), ca. 1000).

477–799

Justinian I depicted on a mosaic in the church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy
Justinian I depicted on a mosaic in the church of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy

800–1001

Blessed Charlemagne
Blessed Charlemagne

Second millennium

1001-1453

Notre-Dame Cathedral – designed in the Gothic architectural style.
Notre-Dame Cathedral – designed in the Gothic architectural style.

1454–1599

Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
Pope Paul III

1600–1699

Louis XIV of France

1700–1799

John Carroll

19th century

Napoleon Bonaparte

20th century

Blessed Karl of Austria.
Blessed Karl of Austria.
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI

Third millennium

21st century

See also: History of the Catholic Church since 1962

Benedict XVI, first Pope elected in 21st century
Benedict XVI, first Pope elected in 21st century

See also

References

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Further reading