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The Church Opens
its Doors
1. Christianity became the favoured religion in the Roman Empire when the Emperor
Constantine went into battle with the Chi-Rho symbol on his army’s armour. Even though his
army was outnumbered he won. As a result, Constantine allowed Christianity to come out in
the open. Later it became the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine later
converted to Christianity on his deathbed. Being the official state religion brought Christianity
both advantages and disadvantages.
2. Close ties developed between the popes and the kings making it possible for Christianity to
spread through Europe.
3. The Empire in the West was weakened and Rome was attacked by various German tribes in
the 5th Century. Later it was attacked again from the South by Muslims. As a result of these
attacks, strong Church leadership became important.
4. The Churches in the East and the West shared the same whakapono (faith) but over many
centuries a split developed between them – the first major break in Christiandom.
5. Because of Stephen’s martyrdom and the persecution of other believers of Jesus, the
followers went to other towns. Here they came into contact with Gentiles. They were faced
with a dilemma – should they baptise these people? There were reasons for this, e.g. the
Gentiles helped the early followers out, and reasons against this, e.g. Jesus had come to save
the Jews.
In the end the Gentiles were baptised as the Church began to grow.
The Christian
6. Wars that were fought under the banner of Christ to recover or defend Christian territory in
Palestine from the Muslims.
Safeguarding the
7. The monasteries allowed learning to continue, the arts to flourish and the faith to be passed
Collapse of the
Roman Empire
8. Mary is honoured as God-bearer-Mother of God by the Church. During the Middle Ages the
Hail Mary and Rosary were developed.
The Middle Ages
The Pope and the
East and West
The rise of the
The Crusades
Devotion to Mary
Cathedrals and
Popes and
9. The believers were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages. The
followers of Jesus were filled with courage and were no longer afraid of speaking about the
Good News. This event is also known as the Birthday of the Church, as from this point on the
followers began to spread the message about Christ.
10.These religious journeys were an important aspect of Christian and social life in the Middle
11.During the Middle Ages the Popes believed that their mana was linked to worldly power.
New forms of religious life and individual Christians challenged the Church to renew its life.
12. The Christians were at first tolerated by the Romans. The Romans were polytheistic and
so the Christian God was another god to protect the Romans. However, soon the Romans
grew suspicious of the Christians. The Christians only associated with other Christians, they
refused to acknowledge the emperor as divine, they refused to fight in the army, only Christians
could go to their meetings etc. The Romans began to blame the Christians for things such as
plagues and famines. They even accused the Christians of being atheists and cannibals!
Christians were required to carry certificates acknowledging the emperor.
13. These were designed by people of great faith who wished to give honour and glory to Te
Atua through their arts and crafts.
14. The continued persecution was too much for the Christians. They began to gather secretly,
in underground cemeteries. Here they would celebrate the Eucharist and have meetings.
Today we can see evidence of this by the early symbols painted on the walls. Popular symbols
were the fish, anchor, phoenix, and dove.
15. The Christian leaders gathered at Nicea to deal with heresy. They drew up the Nicene
Creed. The Nicene Creed expresses the essential beliefs of Christianity.
16. This is the period between the end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the modern
period in European history. It covers a period of about seven hundred years between around
800 and 1500. It was an important time for the Church. During this period Christianity grew
stronger in Europe, not just as a religious community, but as a force that dominated every
aspect of people’s lives.
17. The Jewish authorities did not like the followers of Jesus. They thought they were trying to
undermine the Jewish faith. As a result, several Christians were killed. Stephen was stoned to
death, his death watched by Saul. Today we remember these people who died for their faith in