As Christianity spread, it acquired certain members from well-educated circles of the Hellenistic world; they sometimes became bishops, but not always. They produced two sorts of works: theological and " apologetic ", the latter being works aimed at defending the faith by using reason to refute arguments against the veracity of Christianity.
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These authors are known as the Church Fathers , and study of them is called patristics. Christian art only emerged relatively late, and the first known Christian images emerge from about AD,  though there is some literary evidence that small domestic images were used earlier. The oldest known Christian paintings are from the Roman Catacombs , dated to about AD , and the oldest Christian sculptures are from sarcophagi , dating to the beginning of the 3rd century.
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Although many Hellenised Jews seem, as at the Dura-Europos synagogue , to have had images of religious figures, the traditional Mosaic prohibition of "graven images" no doubt retained some effect, although never proclaimed by theologians. This early rejection of images, and the necessity to hide Christian practise from persecution, leaves us with few archaeological records regarding early Christianity and its evolution. Galerius , who had previously been one of the leading figures in persecution, in issued an edict which ended the persecution.
Victory allowed him to claim the emperorship of the Western Roman Empire. How much Christianity Constantine adopted at this point is difficult to discern. Roman coins minted up to eight years later still bore the images of Roman gods. Constantine supported the Church financially, built various basilicas , granted privileges e.
Between and , Constantine built, virtually from scratch, a new imperial capital that came to be named for him: Constantinople. It had overtly Christian architecture, contained churches within the city walls, and had no pagan temples. Constantine also played an active role in the leadership of the Church.
In , he acted as a judge in a North African dispute concerning the Donatist controversy. More significantly, in he summoned the Council of Nicaea , the first ecumenical council. Constantine thus established a precedent for the emperor as responsible to God for the spiritual health of their subjects, and thus with a duty to maintain orthodoxy. The emperor was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity. Constantine's son's successor, his nephew Julian , under the influence of his adviser Mardonius , renounced Christianity and embraced a Neo-platonic and mystical form of paganism shocking the Christian establishment.
Julian's short reign ended when he died while campaigning in the East. Some, such as John Chrysostom and Athanasius , suffered exile, persecution, or martyrdom from Arian Byzantine Emperors. A popular doctrine of the 4th century was Arianism , the denial of the divinity of Christ, as propounded by Arius. Although this doctrine was condemned as heresy and eventually eliminated by the Roman Church it remained popular underground for some time.
In the late 4th century Ulfilas , a Roman bishop and an Arian, was appointed as the first bishop to the Goths , the Germanic peoples in much of Europe at the borders of and within the Empire. Ulfilas spread Arian Christianity among the Goths firmly establishing the faith among many of the Germanic tribes, thus helping to keep them culturally distinct.
During this age, the first ecumenical councils were convened. They were mostly concerned with Christological disputes. After its establishment, the Church adopted the same organisational boundaries as the Empire: geographical provinces, called dioceses , corresponding to imperial governmental territorial division.
The bishops, who were located in major urban centres as per pre-legalisation tradition, thus oversaw each diocese. The bishop's location was his "seat", or " see ". Among the sees, five came to hold special eminence: Rome , Constantinople , Jerusalem , Antioch , and Alexandria. The prestige of most of these sees depended in part on their apostolic founders, from whom the bishops were therefore the spiritual successors. Though the bishop of Rome was still held to be the First among equals , Constantinople was second in precedence as the new capital of the empire.
Theodosius I decreed that others not believing in the preserved "faithful tradition", such as the Trinity, were to be considered to be practitioners of illegal heresy ,  and in , this resulted in the first case of capital punishment of a heretic, namely Priscillian. During the early 5th century the School of Edessa had taught a Christological perspective stating that Christ's divine and human nature were distinct persons. A particular consequence of this perspective was that Mary could not be properly called the mother of God, but could only be considered the mother of Christ.
The most widely known proponent of this viewpoint was the Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius. Since referring to Mary as the mother of God had become popular in many parts of the Church this became a divisive issue. The councils ultimately rejected Nestorius' view. Many churches who followed the Nestorian viewpoint broke away from the Roman Church, causing a major schism. The Nestorian churches were persecuted and many followers fled to the Sasanian Empire where they were accepted. The Sasanian Persian Empire had many Christian converts early in its history tied closely to the Syriac branch of Christianity.
The Empire was officially Zoroastrian and maintained a strict adherence to this faith in part to distinguish itself from the religion of the Roman Empire originally the pagan Roman religion and then Christianity. Christianity became tolerated in the Sasanian Empire and as the Roman Empire increasingly exiled heretics during the 4th and 6th centuries, the Sasanian Christian community grew rapidly.
This church evolved into what is today known as the Church of the East. In the Council of Chalcedon was held to further clarify the Christological issues surrounding Nestorianism. The council ultimately stated that Christ's divine and human nature were separate but both part of a single entity, a viewpoint rejected by many churches who called themselves miaphysites. The resulting schism created a communion of churches, including the Armenian, Syrian, and Egyptian churches. Monasticism is a form of asceticism whereby one renounces worldly pursuits and goes off alone as a hermit or joins a tightly organized community.
It began early in the Church as a family of similar traditions, modelled upon Scriptural examples and ideals, and with roots in certain strands of Judaism. John the Baptist is seen as an archetypical monk, and monasticism was also inspired by the organisation of the Apostolic community as recorded in Acts 2. Eremetic monks, or hermits , live in solitude, whereas cenobitics live in communities, generally in a monastery , under a rule or code of practice and are governed by an abbot.
Originally, all Christian monks were hermits, following the example of Anthony the Great. However, the need for some form of organised spiritual guidance lead Pachomius in to organise his many followers in what was to become the first monastery. Soon, similar institutions were established throughout the Egyptian desert as well as the rest of the eastern half of the Roman Empire.
Women were especially attracted to the movement.
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Central figures in the development of monasticism were Basil the Great in the East and, in the West, Benedict , who created the famous Rule of Saint Benedict , which would become the most common rule throughout the Middle Ages, and starting point for other monastic rules. The transition into the Middle Ages was a gradual and localised process.
Rural areas rose as power centres whilst urban areas declined. Although a greater number of Christians remained in the East Greek areas , important developments were underway in the West Latin areas and each took on distinctive shapes. The Bishops of Rome , the Popes, were forced to adapt to drastically changing circumstances. Maintaining only nominal allegiance to the Emperor, they were forced to negotiate balances with the "barbarian rulers" of the former Roman provinces.
In the East the Church maintained its structure and character and evolved more slowly. The stepwise loss of Western Roman Empire dominance, replaced with foederati and Germanic kingdoms, coincided with early missionary efforts into areas not controlled by the collapsing empire. Prominent missionaries were Saints Patrick , Columba and Columbanus.
The Anglo-Saxon tribes that invaded southern Britain some time after the Roman abandonment, were initially pagan, but converted to Christianity by Augustine of Canterbury on the mission of Pope Gregory the Great. Soon becoming a missionary centre, missionaries such as Wilfrid , Willibrord , Lullus and Boniface would begin converting their Saxon relatives in Germania.
The largely Christian Gallo-Roman inhabitants of Gaul modern France were overrun by the Franks in the early 5th century. The native inhabitants were persecuted until the Frankish king Clovis I converted from paganism to Roman Catholicism in Clovis insisted that his fellow nobles follow suit, strengthening his newly established kingdom by uniting the faith of the rulers with that of the ruled. After the rise of the Frankish Kingdom and the stabilizing political conditions, the Western part of the Church increased the missionary activities, supported by the Merovingian kingdom as a means to pacify troublesome neighbour peoples.
After the foundation of a church in Utrecht by Willibrord , backlashes occurred when the pagan Frisian king Radbod destroyed many Christian centres between and In , the English missionary Boniface was sent to aid Willibrord, re-establishing churches in Frisia continuing missions in Germany. Following a series of heavy military reverses against the Muslims , the Iconoclasm emerged in the early 8th century. The Byzantine Iconoclast Council , held at Hieria in , ruled that holy portraits were heretical.
The movement destroyed much of the Christian church's early artistic history. The iconoclastic movement itself was later defined as heretical in under the Second Council of Nicaea the seventh ecumenical council , but enjoyed a brief resurgence between and The Carolingian Renaissance was a period of intellectual and cultural revival of literature, arts, and scriptural studies during the late 8th and 9th centuries , mostly during the reigns of Charlemagne and Louis the Pious , Frankish rulers. To address the problems of illiteracy among clergy and court scribes, Charlemagne founded schools and attracted the most learned men from all of Europe to his court.
pl.qetobekino.tk From the 6th century onward most of the monasteries in the West were of the Benedictine Order. Owing to the stricter adherence to a reformed Benedictine rule , the abbey of Cluny became the acknowledged leader of western monasticism from the later 10th century.
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Cluny created a large, federated order in which the administrators of subsidiary houses served as deputies of the abbot of Cluny and answered to him.