TRS 220: Early Christian Communities and the Establishment of the Church

Topic 1

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Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum

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Colosseum in a Model of Ancient Rome

in the Museo di Roma

Gladiatorial Games took place in the Colosseum

Religion in the Ancient World

 Map of Roman Empire

Pax Romana = The Roman Peace

Emperors Hadrian (24 January 76-10 July 138), Marcus Aurelius (6 April 121 -17 March 180 )  last of the five "Good Emperors"

Religion in the Roman Empire during the First Three Centuries

Roman Traditional Religion

Mystery Religions

1. Mithraism

2. Magna Mater     

3. Isis

The God Mithras slaying a bull.  The blood of the bull played an important part in the religious rites of Mithraism, probably similar to the rite of baptism in Christianity.  This image captured this central element of Mithraic belief.   Mithraic rites were conducted  in a temple.  An altar with a sculpture of Mithras usually was in the center of the room.

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The Emergence of Christianity

The Roman Empire's Influence on the Christian Church

1. The Constitution of Constantine's Christian Church copies the Roman Empire

Civitas (City), Diocese, Province
Deacon, Priest, Bishop, Patriarch

2. The Emperor Constantine summoned the First Council of Nicaea (May-August 325) and established the Nicene Creed, the fundamental declaration of Christian faith accepted today by many Christians as a statement of their fundamental beliefs.  



The Development of Papal Primacy


The Three Pillars of Early Christianity that will shape the future Church

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Saint Benedict

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Saint Augustine (England)

Saint Boniface (Germany)

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San Lorenzo in Miranda, Rome

For Another Example of a Temple Turned into a Church: Santa Lucia, Siracusa --- Click on the Picture

(Temple dedicated to Faustina, wife of Antoninus Pius in 141 AD)

 Early Christian Architecture

Topic Two

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