Updated date:

The History of Christianity: Constantine to Augustine

James Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, historian, and author of three non-fiction books. James enjoys people, music, film, and reading

CONSTANTINE THE GREAT

CONSTANTINE THE GREAT

Emperor Constantine the Great

Constantine the Great (b. 272) was a Roman general from Serbia, who became the first Emperor (306-337) of Rome that was a Christian.

His father, Constantius, had been Western Emperor, and had refused direct orders to murder innocent Christians solely because of their Faith, which was customary at the time. Constantine had an epiphany in 312 leading to his conversion to Christianity, a religion that had experienced enormous growth since the death of Jesus Christ about A.D. 30—despite incredible persecution by the Romans for over 250 years—from a few thousand Believers to more than a million.

I would like to state here what Constantine did not do: He did not "invent" Christianity; didn't write the Bible; didn't influence what books are in the New Testament; didn't tell Church Councils what to do; did not make Sunday the day of worship for Christians; did not make Christianity the "official" religion of the Roman Empire.

What he did do was end centuries of persecution and cruel execution of Christians; printed Bibles to make up for the thousands of them his predecessors confiscated and destroyed; built churches to replace the hundreds of them that previous Caesars had burned down; proclaimed religious freedom for all religions including Christianity and Paganism; banned gladiatorial games, the facial branding of slaves, child slavery, infanticide; and made sweeping prison reforms.

He did make Sunday an official day of rest—not worship—for all Romans. 99% of the Christians worshiped on Sunday by then, and Pagans worshiped the Sun on this day of the week; so it seemed practical for everybody—except for Jews; and Christians who preferred to worship on the Sabbath.

ATHANASIUS

ATHANASIUS

The Nicene Creed

The 4th Century is a fascinating time in the history of Christianity, as it proved to be a big adjustment from being an outlawed religion at the beginning of the century to becoming a favored religion by its end.

The first big controversy was between the followers of Arius and those of Athanasius. This was not merely a debate among theologians or the clergy. Regular citizens of the day were more knowledgeable about religious doctrines than today, and this dispute engaged people of all walks of life around the Roman Empire.

Arius (253-336) was a popular pastor from Alexandria. His belief was that Jesus was subordinate and separate from God the Father. Arius said, "God has not always been a Father. Once God was alone."

His novel teachings were that Jesus had attained his title Son of Go" by his own virtue during his life on Earth. That he could have failed, in other words—but didn't.

Athanasius (295-373) was the bishop of Alexandria, and he opposed these teachings of Arius.

Constantine was worried about the church splitting in half (keeping in mind that Jesus commanded unity among Believers) and so summoned the first worldwide council of bishops to Nicea in 325, to resolve the dispute. 300 bishops came from Gaul to Persia, many of whom were disfigured from torture suffered in persecutions.

Constantine politely asked to sit in on the proceedings, but was not allowed to vote since he was not clergy. The council voted nearly unanimously—there were 2 nays—to depose Arius and declare his doctrine heretical. Their official pronouncement became known as the Nicene Creed.

"We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made, both in heaven and on earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven. From thence he shall come to judge both the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit."

EUSEBIUS

EUSEBIUS

Eusebius

Eusebius (263-339) was present at the Council of Nicea, and later became known as the Father of Church History, for his books chronicling the early history of Christianity, in particular the succession of bishops from the Apostles. He established by verifiable historical facts, the unbroken line from the church of 300 AD directly back to Jesus and His Apostles.

ST ANTHONY

ST ANTHONY

St. Anthony

An important development in the history of Christianity is Monasticism. It developed first in Egypt.

St. Anthony (251-356) is considered the Father of All Monks. He was a rich man who gave all of his possessions to the poor and went to live alone in the Sahara Desert, devoting his life to prayer. He lived 105 years.

Many others followed his example, though eventually monasteries were built where monks and nuns could live a life of celibacy, poverty, study of the Word, and prayer, to show God their complete and utter surrender of this life to Him. Soon, monasteries began farming for self-sufficiency and to feed the poor; while many provided hospitals as well. This may sound unappealing to moderns, but studies of these people show that they lived in communities of love, joy, peace and spiritual growth.

GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS

GREGORY OF NAZIANZUS

Gregory of Nazianzus

Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390) was Bishop of Constantinople. He was a classically trained philosopher, the first Christian poet, and the first man to be called a theologian. Gregory was one of three monastic bishops who became known as the Cappadocian Fathers.

They were influential in the development of Trinitarian doctrine. Gregory taught that heology is not science, and the understanding of Scripture is influenced by one's spiritual health. Divine Truth will not be understood by "they who make it a matter of pleasant gossip, idle jests and petty contradictions about these subjects are part of their amusement. They delight in profane babblings and enjoy strife about the Word that tend to no profit."

Speaking of the Holy Spirit, "He gradually came to dwell in the disciples, measuring himself out to them according to their capacity to receive him. Now the Spirit himself dwells among us."

Basil the Great

Basil the Great (330-379) studied for six years in Athens, majoring in the art of rhetoric, There he became friends with the aforementioned Gregory. Basil became a bishop (in modern day Turkey) and developed into a strong leader; a fine theologian; he established monastic communities; and was well known for his emphasis on hospitals and charity for the poor.

He wrote that "created existence is not conceived by chance and without reason." It is a "school where reasonable souls exercise themselves, the training ground where they learn to know God."

Basil taught that the Holy Spirit was God because he does what only God can do, and therefore must be divine.

GREGORY OF NYSSA

GREGORY OF NYSSA

Gregory of Nyssa

Gregory of Nyssa (335-394) was the younger brother of Basil, and also a bishop in Cappadocia. He taught that Jesus' crucifixion was a sacrifice—an atonement—for us; and that Jesus' resurrection to immortality was a promise of salvation for Believers. Gregory also explicated the infiniteness of God.

Regarding the Trinity, he explained, "The Father is the source of power, the Son is the power of the Father, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of power."

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom (348-407) was Archbishop of Constantinople. Chrysostom means "golden mouth."

After receiving an excellent education, he chose to live in utterly harsh conditions for six years as a hermit in the mountains. In 381, Chrysostom returned the city of his birth, Antioch (Syria) and became a deacon, then a priest; and founded a number of hospitals to care for the poor.

In his teachings, he compared Christian pastors to physicians, providing medicine—and surgery, if necessary—for the soul.

Chrysostom taught the necessity of living right and having solid doctrines. He wrote of the Apostle Paul, "For his writings cast down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God. Those wonderful Epistles, so full of divine wisdom, are useful for the refutation of false doctrine and the establishment of the true."

Regarding the New Testament books, he said, "Swim in them. Keep them constantly in your mind. The cause of all evil is the failure to know the Scriptures well."

He also had an interesting take on the Crucifixion. Whereas the crowd mocks Jesus and refuses to believe who He is based on what their physical eyes see—a man dying on a cross; the thief crucified with Jesus perceives Him with the "eyes of his heart," and thus accepts Him as the Savior.

Thedosius

In 356, a Pagan, Julian, ascended to the throne of Rome. Immediately he restored Paganism as the public religion of the Empire; removed Christians from military and government offices; forbade them to teach school; and instituted heavy taxation specifically on Christians.

When he died, eight years later, a Christian general named Jovian was crowned emperor.

The final victory over Paganism was led by Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, Theodosius.

The last pagan Emperor of the Western Empire was Eugenius, who rode out of Rome in 394 to attack Theodosius in the name of the Roman gods. In what many considered to be a miracle at the time, the Christian army won, and the Pagans were vanquished.

ST AMBROSE

ST AMBROSE

Ambrose

Ambrose (338-397) was the bishop of Milan and mentor to St. Augustine. He was born into a wealthy, distinguished Roman family; grew up in Rome; knew Virgil and Cicero by heart.

He moved to Milan after his appointment as governor, and he established an impeccable reputation as a godly Christian statesman. Ambrose was unexpectedly named bishop and he reluctantly accepted, first donating his great wealth to charity. He became widely known for his understanding of the Bible and powerful preaching.

No lackey for imperial power, Ambrose famously said, "The emperor is in the church, not above it."

His theology established that Christ lived a sinless life because He was born to a virgin. Ambrose: "Even though he assumed the natural substance of this very flesh, he was not conceived of the will of a man, but of the Holy Spirit."

ST JEROME

ST JEROME

Jerome

Jerome (347-420) was gifted intellectually and spiritually; and fluent in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. He is eminent today for his translation of the Bible into Latin known as the Vulgate (common translation), which is still used today by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vulgate differs from the Protestant Bible in that Jerome included 14 Jewish religious books (in a separate section) he called the Apocrypha, which means he did not accept them as part of the God-inspired Canon.

Jerome pronounced, "Grace, which is not a payment due to merit, but has been granted as a gift, whereby we have been reconciled to God, having as propitiator the Lord Jesus, who forgave us our sins and expunged what was the handwriting of death against us, nailing it to the cross."

ST AUGUSTINE

ST AUGUSTINE

Augustine of Hippo

St. Augustine (354-430) will be our last subject in this article. His spiritual autobiography Confessions has long been considered a must-read for Christians, addressing as it does culture, love, lust, sin, evil, suffering, and how to understand the Bible.

Augustine was a rebel in his youth, attempting to satisfy his soul through sex. He says, "So I polluted the stream of friendship with the filth of lust. . . Bodily desire . . . obscured my heart." Later, he realized he had not found satisfaction and sought it with a Persian gnostic cult, the Manichees, who revered Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus and their cult leader Mani. This cult justified his immorality since they taught as long as you are a "good person" it doesn't matter.

Eventually, the triteness, superficiality, and half-baked mumbo-jumbo of the Manichees caused him to leave them and seek success in the world. Augustine moved to Rome; studied philosophy and science; became a public speaker, official orator, and professor of rhetoric. Even this did not make him happy, as he felt anxious and guilty over the sinful life he was leading.

Although very familiar with the Bible, it was not until he met St. Ambrose that his mind was illuminated as to what it really meant. His intellectual pride and carnal appetites had been more important to him than the high standards of holiness required for disciples of Jesus.

Augustine says he used to pray, "Grant me chastity and continence—but not yet." He wrote that he was afraid God would heal him of the disease of lust too soon, which he preferred to hang on to a while longer. The clincher seems to have been when he saw Ambrose baptizing new Christians—and this world famous bishop would then kneel down and wash their feet as a humble servant.

Augustine did not want to be a pastor, but he was called to be the bishop of Hippo, a prominent city on the Mediterranean, and went on to serve there for nearly 40 years. He fought against legalism and pride, calling the church a "hospital for sinners." His main theme was the Love of God.

Augustine was a proponent of infant baptism because of the doctrine he developed, Original Sin. He also taught Predestination saying, "God proposed to save by faith alone those about whom he foreknew that they would believe." It was to the church, he wrote, that one should look for grace, and guidance, since the church had apostolic authority. Augustine taught that the one sin that threatened the church was schism, because of the need for Christian unity of "one baptism and one church, just as there is one faith."

Augustine firmly believed that Jesus existed with His Father before he came to Earth, and that His Incarnation had to have been a hypostatic union of the divine and the human, in order to redeem humankind through a New Covenant. He taught that grace is God's unmerited love and favor, that draws a person's soul to repentance and faith; and transforms the human will to do good; relieves anxiety by forgiveness and the gift of hope; and establishes Christian humility by abolishing pride.

Comments

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on March 03, 2010:

Alexander Mark--- You are most welcome, my friend. I am glad you enjoyed this article. I've always thought it was a pretty good one for me. I so appreciate you for taking the time to read this and leave your remarks for me to read. Thank you, my brother.

Alexander Silvius from Portland, Oregon on February 28, 2010:

So I followed your answer to my question on whether you tackled Predestination and finally read this hub which I meant to get to when you first wrote it, so I got a great double dose.

The statement from St. Augustine, "God proposed to save by faith alone those about whom he foreknew that they would believe," hit home. That's exactly what I have concluded in the context of various verses in the Bible and my own godly reasoning.

Although I have honestly not spent serious attention to this issue in prayer, it is nevertheless an issue that fundamental Baptists bring up. But because I know my salvation is secure because of God's works and not mine, I know that I have nothing to worry about (that was a little redundant, but it's 5am in the morning).

And because I know God is merciful and just, and more than that he is righteous and loving, so he will not and has not ever let a single soul that desires or has desired to be saved, to be lost.

Okay, that was not a shining example of proper English, but one must write these comments when one can :-)

Thanks very much for shedding light on historical facts, I will be doing some research in the future about this, but at the very least, I now understand what the Nicene Creed was all about. God bless you my friend.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on January 12, 2010:

Marquis— Thank you. I look forward to reading your work. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community. We have a great bunch of folks here. Good writers and steady readers.

Marquis from Ann Arbor, MI on January 12, 2010:

You did well here. I also write about history, but, it is elsewhere.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 02, 2009:

S. Holte— Nowhere in my article did I say or infer that Constantine was a holy man.

I don't believe the celebration of Christmas was going on yet during this time period of 300-400 A.D.

The early Christians did celebrate the day of resurrection (Easter) back to the earliest times of Christianity but as exactly just that—a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus; the central event in history. Now if you are referring to Easter Bunny and egg hunts and all that, I don't believe that was going on yet in the 4th Century. I may address these issues in a later article when they in fact onto the field of play (history).

I know some people who celebrate the Jewish Feasts and I think that is just dandy. I believe God is pleased by this.

I am a Christian but not of any particular denomination. I share with you the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I'm not too sure about your pagan gods theory—I haven't heard Zeus, or Mars or Odin mentioned at any churches I have attended. We should recall that God is a reader of hearts and is not about to burn somebody because they got some doctrine or ritual wrong innocently.

I am learning and growing. And I'm going to keep writing for a while longer anyway. I appreciate your insightful comments.

S. Holte on September 02, 2009:

While it's great that you offer some good history of Christianity, you seem to have an affinity for a man that you don't really know quite enough about; Constantine, who is not the wonderful 'holy man' you portray in this article.

Also, I've noticed that you don't go into facts about why the Pagan feasts of Easter and Christmas are regularly being celebrated by Christians, while the TRUE feasts of YHVH (God) are not, which most Christians don't even really know and understand about.

I'm an avid Christian myself and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I deeply study both scripture and history. I am of no particular 'religion' anymore because I discovered that though there are truths in many, the things that keep each of them apart are the lies within them. This also includes most of the main-stream, 'born again' Christian churches too, because they all still serve and worship pagan gods (intermingled with some truth) without even knowing it - which is an abomination to God.

Thank God for His grace though so that we all may continue to learn more truth through the never ending process of growing up in Him.

Keep learning, growing, and sharing because I know there are many who have learned some new truths by reading your articles.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 01, 2009:

Kaie Arwen— Great! These are longer than usual and that's after I cut a quarter of it out! Thanks so much for visiting and commenting.

Kaie Arwen on September 01, 2009:

No, I did get there first. Baby steps for me, but I'm a quick learner! Very nicely done. A lot of information, and very well written.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on September 01, 2009:

Kaie Arwen— There is a step missing in between this Hub and the first one you commented on. I covered the area between Apostolic Church and Constantine in this Hub, which for reasons I haven't figured out, has been by far the most popular in this series:

https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Origin-of

As you can see, the Hub on this Page ends with St. Augustine. I have not written further on this topic yet. When I do, it will probably be the origins of the Roman Catholic Church in the 5th, 6th & 7th centuries.

I am also interested in a study of denominations and I will get to that eventually.

I appreciate your interest and thank you for your comments. And, you are welcome. :)

Kaie Arwen on August 31, 2009:

Thank you for leading me here! I wish I had read this earlier. Scrolling through your comments I believe that you could have kept this a longer piece, but I understand breaking it down. I've been chopping up my own very long story into sections; not an easy task.

I'll be interested to see what you do in regards to the comparison of Christian denominations, so alike, and yet so different,

Thanks again!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 14, 2009:

Sufidreamer— Thank you for your kind words. I have been requested to back up to the period when the Apostles walked the Earth so maybe I should do that next before moving forward. Though I am anxious to get to the split of the Church in half. Maybe I'll do both soon. I appreciate your support.

Sufidreamer from Sparti, Greece on August 14, 2009:

Sorry it took a while to get here - a couple of jobs came up, and I wanted to enjoy this rather than rush!

Well worth the wait, and a worthy addition to your series. There certainly is a lot of interesting history in this part of the world, and I do hope to visit Constantinople/Istanbul, one day.

Looking forward to the next installment :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 13, 2009:

Tina Irene,

Thank you very much indeed! I am basking in the afterglow of your approval. :-)

I appreciate you for taking the time to read my articles and leave your gracious words.

James

Tina Irene on August 13, 2009:

Dear James,

Excellent! The history is "right on", Constantine was indeed a fence straddler, and kudos for sticking up for the facts on reply.

Blessings,

Tina Irene

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 13, 2009:

oscarwms— Hey! It is a pleasure to have you visit with me. I am honored that a fine divider of the Word as yourself has left me a compliment. Thank you! :D

Dr. Oscar A. Williams, Jr. from PA on August 13, 2009:

Great hub, great history lesson. Makes me feel like I was back in Bible College

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Erick Smart— hmmm . . . I can do that. I had been contemplating a comparison of Christian denominations.

Thank you for reading and for your comments. Good idea.

Erick Smart on August 10, 2009:

You have done some serious research to tackle this subject. Maybe your next hub should be a comparison to Christianity with other religions.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Liberal Proud— I did attempt to play to absolute Truth. I am a rather prolific reader of secular histories. I have never heard anyone assert that Helena was a murderer. What is your source for that?

She died with Constantine at her side in 330. Constantius did divorce her so he could go through with an arranged political marriage, if that is what you are referring to. You can't blame that on her son. He was not close to his father.

I humbly request you reveal your sources of Constantine playing a very big role in the "forming" of Christianity.

Since there were over a million Christians (your little group of nomads of perhaps 20-30% of all Romans) before he was born—with at least a 100,000 being thrown to the lions, burned alive, raped by bulls, hacked to pieces, and crucified for their belief in the resurrection—it would have been hard for him to "form" them. Nero falsely blamed Christians for burning down Rome in 64 AD—quite a spell before Constantine the Great was conceived.

There are hundreds of extant writings for and against Christians from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries.

I never said Constantine had "nothing to do" with the SPREAD of Christianity after they became as free as pagans to hold their beliefs and confess them without fear of torture and death. But formed? Absolutely not.

I cannot attest to his personal religion. It is generally thought he was the typical fence straddler—sort of like Bill Clinton.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Kim Garcia— Thank you for your gracious words. I do appreciate the affirmation. And, you are most welcome. :-)

Liberal Proud on August 10, 2009:

Nice article how ever my research proves Constantine had a very big roll in the forming of Christianity, he as taken back by this little group of nomads who proclaimed a belief in a living god with after life. His fellow conspirator whom he stained after bring the radicals together to establish his Empire. He never converted to Christianity but stay true to Sol Leviticus. He banished his Mother to what is now the Middle East because she Murder some one.

It was she who found the Christ tomb the mount of Olives the Cross the Christ was hung and mount Calvary Oh! did i mention she was trying to get back into her sons good graces. now lets see he Organizes the translation to bring complete control to stabilize his government, finds the cross three hundred years after the alleged death. Yet you claim he had nothing to do with it. Ever wonder why Amen is at the end of those prayers, hint Amen Ra was considered one of the most powerful gods even in Constantine's time. So please do not play to the Christians instead play to the truth in History

Kim Garcia on August 10, 2009:

Wonderful Hub James!! Steeped in history and religion! I love studying about the Saints and their lives of dedication. I believe I can relate to St. Augustine the most, his lifestyle and his heart. Most fascinating study!! Thanks for posting this one!! Peace n' Blessings! ~ K

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Hammerj— Welcome to the Hub Pages Community! I look forward to reading your work.

I am pleased that you enjoyed my article. Thank you for saying so.

Hammerj from Cebu City on August 10, 2009:

wow you are a great historian of this article...i really like to read this article..a great history of a Christianity..nice hub dude..

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

rcisophie— You have cut right to the heart of my message with your incisive comments. We do only see through the glass darkly. But all things will be made clear on that Day. Thank you for your fine remarks.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

cristina327— Coming from a woman as yourself, with a pure heart, these words of encouragement mean a lot to me. Thank you!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Deltachord— I kept it as short as possible for a 100-year period. Thank you for the recognition! :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 10, 2009:

Nemingha— Thank you! I appreciate your support and encouragement. :-)

rcisophie from Lisbon, Portugal on August 10, 2009:

Thanks for your work here. Its a very good page, with the most important figures from the beginning of Christianity. The Patristic and the early developments in religion are not only really interesting but important, because it helps us to understand how this religion grew up. Things were never clear and the Christian Religion presented to our days is the result of the efforts and discussions of many. It was not only a question of faith and believe it was also to put the reason at the service of faith in order to clear the mystery.

Sometimes is important to see things at the Light of History and Time.

Cristine Santander from Manila on August 10, 2009:

This is another excellent hub from you James. Thank you for sharing it.

Deltachord from United States on August 09, 2009:

Excellent short history. Your research, writing, and effort shines.

Nemingha on August 09, 2009:

Fantastic as usual James!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 09, 2009:

Kebennett1— Thank you so much. I am very pleased that you both enjoy my Hubs.

That last one on this subject, the "Origin of Christianity" has easily been my number one Hub out of 52—it has drawn the most visitors. That stunned me! I had no idea that that many people were interested. I might just have to do another one, one of these days. :D

I appreciate your encouragement.

Kebennett1 from San Bernardino County, California on August 09, 2009:

Awesome information James! I love the subject of coarse. The quality of your Hubs is always fantastic. I can count on your information to be thorough and accurate. I talk so much about your Hubs, I think my husband is getting jealous :) Kidding of coarse. He enjoys hearing about them. He too loves the subject matter! Always waiting for more! Thanks.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 09, 2009:

b4u2c— Gosh, I am humbled by your praise. :)

It warms the heart to receive affirmation such as you offer. Thank you very much for the support.

b4u2c from The Kingdom of God's Dear Son on August 09, 2009:

I do enjoy the interaction and hearing what God is teaching people. I look forward to the day when I have more time for spending online at HubPages. I'll start leaving the comment boxes in when I can keep up with them all. But for now, I just trust that people are still finding some good food to chew on in those unattended to barrage of words [grin]. I know that God is the one who gives us understanding and I pray that He can still use my hubs in that regard for some folks. Thanks again James, you're the best!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 09, 2009:

Royal Diadem— I am pleased to receive affirmation and encouragement from you, a woman who serves the Lord. It means a lot to me and I thank you. :-)

Royal Diadem on August 09, 2009:

James this is another hub page that I will need to refer back to time and time again, for information, when I teach and preach out in town. Yes, Historians do try to make it look like Constantine, did more than what he actually did. Another outstanding Hub and I am glad you are still with us.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 09, 2009:

b4u2c— You are welcome. I am pleased that you enjoyed it. I have been visiting your Hubs but there is no room for comments, as you know. I appreciate the compliment! :-)

b4u2c from The Kingdom of God's Dear Son on August 09, 2009:

Thank you James for all the work you put into your hubs. This one put a big smile on my face. It reminded me of how God has been sooooooo faithful for sooooo many years to preserve His Word (even as He promised in Psalms 12:6-7).

Ps. You certainly have an classy artistic flare about you!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 09, 2009:

no body— I am humbled and pleased at the love that shines through you. Thank you for your graciousness. And you are very welcome, too. :D

Robert E Smith from Rochester, New York on August 09, 2009:

Thank you for helping put a perspective on history. I already knew a lot of this stuff, here and there but this is so much more. I notice how each has contributed a little progress to our knowledge and a little hurt. We have a great deal of knowledge at our disposal now to the business of winning the lost at any cost. I love you so much brother.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

Carrie Bradshaw— It is illuminating how the quotes from these old-timers could easily come from Christians of today. Constantine stopped the torture and killing of Christians and that was a blessing. Thank you for your gracious words. I appreciate the visit knowing how busy you are with your own prolific Hubs. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

Hxprof— Thank you for your kind comments. And you are most welcome, too. I wrote this to counter substantial misinformation and misunderstandings among my fellow Hubbers, as well as to answer some of their questions. Mostly this was in regard to Constantine, but I carried on from there.

Carrie Bradshaw from Manhattan on August 08, 2009:

I love knowing our roots and how the faith in our Lord has been sustained and consistent over the generations! Thanks for more information on Constantine ~ I don't see him as "bad" at all. It's something how for every good soul out there, there's a handful that start a war against them with accusations. Praise God, we need to do our own study and not just listen to "people". James, you are well-respected as read up, articulate and accurate. God bless you!

Hxprof on August 08, 2009:

I haven't thought about this area of history in a while-I don't spend much time with the late Roman Empire, and I delve into early Christian history only when I need it to help me understand something in the gospels. This article is one I will use as a reference. Thanks!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

countrywomen— Thank you. That is ironic justice.

Pagan in this article refers to Roman polytheism. Eugenius rode into battle with a flag of Hercules. I think that word means different things to different people today.

I appreciate the visit and wise words.

countrywomen from Washington, USA on August 08, 2009:

Excellent hub. In brief I got the gist of the Christian history. Isn't it ironical that from the very place which used to persecute the Christians most (i.e., Roman power) but today we have the strongest representation in Christianity in Catholic sect at Vatican City near Rome.

And also does the word "Pagan" include even eastern religions like Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism and so on which were around in other parts of the world. But overall I really enjoyed the hub. Thumbs Up.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

Robert— Yes, the comments have been exemplary, haven't they? That is pleasing. I am humbled by your laudations, sir, and appreciate you coming by. I am so glad you enjoyed it, my Brother. :)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

Charia Samher— You are welcome and thank you. I am not trained as a theology—or anything else for that matter. A simple autodidact who never stops reading (and highlighting) and is blessed to own a good sized library.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

Duchess OBlunt— "The Christian Tradition: a History of Developmental Doctrine: Volume 1" by Jaroslav Pelikan

"One Year Book of Christian History" by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten

"A Short History of Christianity" by Stephen Tompkins

"Getting to Know the Church Fathers" by Bryan M. Litfin

"Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers" by Christopher A. Hall

These were the books from which I took notes before assembling my article; and kept handy during my writing.

Thank you

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

SirDent— I cannot thank you enough for your support and encouragement.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

quicksand— That is a gracious compliment, sir, and it is most appreciated.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

donnaleemason— Thank You for a capital T and a capital Y! :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

eovery— I see you changed your avatar! Cool! Thanks for reading and you are welcome.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 08, 2009:

50 Caliber— Yes. You are so right! With God, all things are possible indeed. I appreciate that illumination. Very good comments. Thank you! :D

Robert on August 08, 2009:

James,

My brilliant brother James, what an excellent way to learn about the path Christianity has taken. An excellent blog with plenty of intelligent people to comment and learn from as well. Just love it.

Charia Samher on August 08, 2009:

Wow you have known/studied your history so well. great great infos. I guess you'll pass as a theologian. =) Thanks for putting this together.

Duchess OBlunt on August 08, 2009:

This is one I must pass on to others. Great job. Heavy reading, but a wonderful history lesson. You must be well read.

Do you plan on citing your reference material? Or will that take up an entire hub all on its own?

SirDent on August 08, 2009:

Tweeted, posted on FB and blogged on blogger.

quicksand on August 08, 2009:

Thanks! Worthy of bookmarking to be read at leisure. :)

donnaleemason from North Dakota, USA on August 08, 2009:

Wow with a capital W!

eovery from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa on August 08, 2009:

Interesting information. Thanks for the history lesson.

Keep on Hubbing.

50 Caliber from Arizona on August 08, 2009:

Another great Hub, Sir!

GreatAmericans comment on the printing in my opinion is nitpicking a great piece of literature as well as questioning the ability of the possibilities that faith can provide when our God is involved. The same God who fed thousands from a mere amount of fish and bread and then collected up more than the original amount. With God sir, the possibilities are endless. I mean that respectfully and may peace and love be with you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

Peggy,

Thank you! Most of the three days I invested in this Hub was reducing it to its present form, by cutting 75% of what I started with! I wanted to get down to 1500 words but couldn't quite make it. Thank you so much for reading and your affirmation. :D

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 07, 2009:

Very interesting encapsulated form of religious history. I appreciate all the research and time that must have gone into producing this hub. Thanks!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

SirDent— I must confess I have always wondered WHO was in the land of Nod?

SirDent on August 07, 2009:

Yes it had to be James. But it was what split the two brothers. And think only after two sons were born to Adam and Eve did the first murder occur.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

SirDent— I suppose his gift was not well received because it was blemished.

SirDent on August 07, 2009:

Yes, it most certainly is James. The sad thing about it is that Cain could have dealt with the sin that was at the door instead of giving in to it.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

SirDent— I just watched, again, the movie "East of Eden" where the Cain and Able story is retold by John Steinbeck—twice, actually. It is outstanding.

The first brother killed the first brother. Quite the commentary on human nature, isn't it?

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

jiberish— You are welcome and thank you for your support! I am fascinated by religion. But this Hub and the last two along these lines were spurred on by the appalling lack of knowledge I have encountered on Hub Pages about what the truth is.

SirDent on August 07, 2009:

Yes I already knew that James. Am only having a little fun. Denominations started with Cain and Abel. Abel offered up a sacrifice and Cain offered up a sacrifice. You know the rest of the story.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

SirDent— You are right, sir. I picked the title based on keyword searches as to what people were most interested in. If people are wanting to know about the "History of Christianity" that is how I hoped to direct them here. At the very least, they might learn something, eh?

Thanks for reading and your correct interpretation.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

greatAmerican— I do apologize for the length of this Hub. I tussled with myself to leave out St Augustine, and save him for later, to keep it shorter. But, gee, this only covers 100 years as it is!

It is not known exactly how many Bibles Constantine had hand copied. But it is generally thought he tried to replace all those that had been destroyed, which is estimated to be over 1000 anyway. You make a valid point though, hand copying was extremely time consuming and expensive. Maybe it was in the hundreds.

Thank you for your insightful comments and reproofs. I appreciate your readership.

jiberish from florida on August 07, 2009:

James I'm a big fan of all your Hubs, and I can't help but notice your fascination with religion. Great read, again, thank you.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

write on target— I humbly accept your accolades, sir. But I had little to do with it, other than sitting in this chair for 3 days! :-)

I do appreciate your visitation!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

Sciantel— Thank you. The Da Vinci Code and the author Elaine Pagels and the apostate "Bishop" Spong have so polluted the waters of true Christianity, God moved my heart to tell the true story—warts and all. I appreciate your visit.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

R Burow— Why, thank you! I am very pleased and humbled to be of some service.

SirDent on August 07, 2009:

I just have to throw a wrench in the gears here. Christianity actually started in the Garden of Eden. The first denominations also started there.

greatAmerican on August 07, 2009:

My eyes are getting tired, but Constantine the Great,

Must have been elected for 'CHANGE' at least a few years before I was born... Ok maybe about 17 centuries,,,

I was surprised at this statement and perhap you can enlighten me.. 'printed Bibles to make up for the thousands of them his predecessors confiscated' I am not sure anyone had the capability to print thousands of anything much before 1400 more or less. Even to say large volumes of documents could be produced in some hand written form, sounds a little far fetched. I am not saying you are wrong, but I am a confused old coot..

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

advisor4qb— I am glad you learned this in school—it is not taught anymore. That's why I was compelled to write this Hub. There are so many misconceptions and misunderstandings—especially about Constantine. Thank you for your visit and comments. Always nice to hear from you!

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

Dolores Monet— I agree with you about Constantine. He was ahead of his time. And then . . . it kind of came and went. Which I will address later, of course. I intended to get through the 7th Century in this Hub but so much went on in the 4th I had to stop here.

Thank you for reading and leaving your insights. :-)

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 07, 2009:

Christofers Flow— Thank you first time commenter! Believe me, my big struggle over three days was the editing; as I had enough material for 10,000 words. I ended up at 2314—still perhaps too many?

To answer your question: Yes! I will eventually make it that far, but next I think I'll tackle the 5th, 6th and 7th centuries, which I hope to do in one Hub—shorter than this one. :-)

write on target on August 07, 2009:

Great article! OMG you've been a writing machine lately :-)Obviously a lot of research went into these articles. I appreciate your effort and the outcome (Hubs).Thanks Jim

Sciantel on August 07, 2009:

Good knowing how the faithful in Christ stayed to their guns back then, just as we are here in the now of our own Christian walk.

R Burow from Florida, United States on August 07, 2009:

Thanks for the history lesson. I will be back to this one. It will be an excellent resource for my kids.

advisor4qb from On New Footing on August 07, 2009:

What can I say? Another beautiful and informative hub! Always a pleasure to read....makes me miss Humanities classes!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on August 07, 2009:

Boy, it's been a long time since I've thought about such ancient history. Constantine was way ahead of his time with religious freedom. Too bad the concept did not last.

Christofer French from Denver on August 07, 2009:

Excellent history. Well put together. Put much into a small space. Summed up these people in elegant ways. Are you going to do a hub Albigensians or Cathars?