More notes at http://tanguay.info/learntracker
C O U R S E 
Christianity: From Persecuted Faith to Global Religion (200-1650)
Bruce Gordon, Yale University
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Great Church (180-313)
Notes taken on March 7, 2017 by Edward Tanguay
The Great Church (180-313)
a body of Christians living mostly in cities but also in rural areas
North Africa
Asia Minor
remained a minority in a hostile world
languages spoke
Syriac (dialect of Middle Aramaic)
Coptic (the latest stage of the Egyptian language, spoken in Egypt until the 17th century)
forms of worship varied enormously
some with bishops and presbyters
both men and women were deacons
new members of the faith were taught the essentials through catechisms before baptized
by the third century, Christians had grown up in the faith alongside those who had converted
forms of worship
reading of sacred texts
the Eucharistic meal
increasing associated with Christ's sacrifice on the cross
formed the body of Christ
there was not set of interpretations
third century
a sense of unity that extended beyond its graphical reach
not complete unity
a network of local churches stitched together by lines of communication and personal relationships
the bishops of Rome was seen as the senior figure in the Church
not yet an established hierarchy
no agreement on the canon of the Bible
bishops held considerable authority
many local divisions
the line between orthodoxy and heresy was not clear
leaders of the church
Tertullian of Carthage (155-240)
prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa
had to built churches
the faith had to adapt to different cultures and philosophies and languages
Roman Empire at this time stretched from Britain to Dura-Europos in Mesopotamia
by early 3rd century it was in decline
Christians sporadically suffered persecution
Perpetua, died in Carthage in 203
Origin (184-253)
lost his father at this time
Emperor Decius
the Decian persecution resulted from an edict issued in 250 by the Emperor Decius ordering everyone in the Roman Empire to perform a sacrifice to the Roman gods and the well-being of the Emperor
it was the first time that Christians had faced legislation forcing them to choose between their religious beliefs and death
it may not have been specifically to target Christians, but more as an edict appears to have been designed more as an Empire-wide loyalty oath
lasted a year before the death of Decius
Origin was tortured and died
Cyprian the Bishop of Carthage
executed following the renewal of persecution in 258 under Valerian
Pope Sixtus II, bishop of Rome died during this time
most well-known period of persecution
end of the 3rd century
empire was in serious economic decline
empire was divided into four sections and rulers
failed to stop the decline
persecutions were largely in the East where Christians were expected to sacrifice to the gods and to the emperor
churches were destroyed
property confiscated
holy books handed over
Christians were arrested
severity of persecution was particular in North Africa
third century
Persian Christians were able to live in relative peace
Christians were affected by the continuous war between the Persian Empire and Rome
Christians in Persia spoke Syriac
Persian Christians sent missionaries to both India and China
around 200
Christianity entered into what is now Afghanistan
there seems to have been a link between the churches of Syria and India
missionaries might have traveled the trade routes from Mesopotamia to India
conversion of the Kingdom of Armenia
the first conversion of a king and a royal household
the Bible was translated into Armenian
between the years 180-313, the Christian Church experienced a period of great growth but also a period of great persecution
during this time, it was not a legal faith in either the Persian or the Roman Empire
but this changed in Rome and the Roman Empire within a few decades