325 The Council of Nicaea defines the Trinity

  1. 340-420 The Christian writer Jerome lives

347-407 The theologian John Chrysostom lives

380 The Emperor Theodosius makes Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire

381 The Council of Constantinople meets

354-430 Augustine of Hippo the great theologian lives. His writings have a great influence on the Church in the Middle Ages

431 The Council of Ephesus meets

410 AD Led by Alaric the Goths capture Rome

432 Patrick goes to Ireland

451 The Council of Chalcedon meets

476 AD The Western Roman Empire ends completely

Christianity in the Middle Ages

496 Clovis king of the Franks (in France) converts to Christianity

529 Benedict founds the first monastery in western Europe at Monte Cassino, Italy.

563 Columba the Irish missionary sails to Scotland

597 Augustine lands in Kent and begins the work of converting the Anglo-Saxons of southern England to Christianity

  1. 675-754 Boniface, an Englishman lives. He is a missionary to the Germans

846 Boris I, King of Bulgaria converts to Christianity and his people follow

871 Alfred the Great become king of Wessex (Southern England)

910 The Cluniacs, an order of monks is founded at Cluny in France

960 Harald Bluetooth, King of Denmark converts to Christianity and his people follow

966 Mieszko I, King of Poland converts to Christianity and his people follow

988 Russia converts to Christianity



Everyday Faith in the Middle Ages: Christian History Timeline

DANIEL boorstin



. 1000 Christian laity seek a more active religious role

  1. 1050Growing popularity of pilgrimages to Rome, Santiago de Compostela (in Spain), and the Holy Land


1000 Society composed of three orders: those who pray, those who fight, those who work

1008 Olof Skotkonung, King of Sweden converts to Christianity and his people follow

1054 The Church splits into the eastern (Orthodox) part and the western (Catholic) part

1066 The Normans conquer England



1073–1085 Pope Gregory VII presses to end simony (sale of church offices), enforce clerical celibacy, and establish papal supremacy


1088-1179 Hildegard the female theologian and writer lives

1098 The Cistercians, an order of monks is founded

1095 Pope Urban II calls for a crusade to aid Eastern Christians threatened by Muslims


  1. 1150Universities of Paris and Bologna founded; they take the lead in scholastic theology and canon law

Mid–1100s Cathar and Waldensian movements spread
Bernard of Clairvaux inspires reform in the Cistercian order



1175 Peter Waldo, a merchant of Lyons gives his wealth to the poor and begins preaching. His followers are called Waldensians. The Waldensian movement spreads to Italy, Germany, Austria and Poland despite persecution by the Catholic Church.



1198–1216 Innocent III, greatest lawyer pope, raises papacy’s power to its height


1215 Fourth Lateran Council declares transubstantiation, obliges Christians to confess sins and receive Communion once a year, and proclaims a crusade against heretical Cathars

1294 In reaction to church legalism and bureaucracy, pious hermit Peter Morone is elected pope (Celestine V); after five disastrous months, he resigns


1300 Pope Boniface VIII proclaims first jubilee year; offers plenary indulgence to pilgrims who come to Rome; thousands come

1305–1377 The “Babylonian Captivity”—the pope resides at Avignon, France

1377 Pope returns to Rome; the next year Great Papal Schism opens—Christendom divided between two (and after 1409, three) rival popes


1414–1418 The Council of Constance restores church unity; burns Jan Hus for heresy.




1096 Peter the Hermit leads the “People’s Crusade” to disaster


  1. 1200The doctrine of purgatory takes shape

Early 1200s Francis of Assisi and Dominic of Calaruega found religious orders dedicated

1182-1226 Francis of Assisi lives. In 1210 he founds the Franciscan friars. (Friars were like monks but instead of withdrawing from the world they went out to preach).

1215 King John seals the Magna Carta

1220 Dominic de Guzman founds the Dominican friars

1225-1275 The theologian Thomas Aquinas lives

1329-1384 John Wycliffe the English reformer lives. His followers are called Lollards.

1415 Jan Hus the Czech reformer is martyred but his followers continue his teachings. In 1420 a crusade is launched against the Hussites but it fails.

1439 The Russian and Greek Orthodox Churches are separate

1452-1498 The Italian reformer Girolamo Savonarola lives

1457 The Moravians are founded

1488 A crusade is launched against the Waldensians. It fails.

1492 Christopher Columbus sails across the Atlantic

Christianity in the 16th Century

1517 Martin Luther begins the Reformation