Church History

Dear Reader,

Catholics belong to the oldest institution in the world. Catholics believe that their Church is both human and divine – a Church of saints and sinners. Because it has divine origin, not only has it survived many attacks from within and without, it has remarkably grown and developed in the 2,000 years of its existence. It is currently the spiritual home for 1.2 billion people around the world. Because the Church is human, it has, and will always have, in every era, imperfect and sinful leaders and members.

Writing about the 2000 years of our Church’s history is quite a challenge particularly with regard to what to include and what not to include. I am hoping my articles will introduce you to all of the main events and key figures in our history and motivate you to explore them in more depth. A bibliography at the end of the first article will enable you to look more closely into the making of the Catholic Church.

In Christ, 
Fr. Eamon Tobin

Fr. Eamon Tobin


(All articles are in PDF format unless otherwise noted)

Article One: The Apostolic Age: Part One: Birth of the Church 

Article Two: The Apostolic Age: Part Two: Hierarchy, Heresies, Apologists, Persecutors

Article Three: Fourth to Seventh Centuries: Part One: Constantine, Church Councils, Heresies and Monasticism

Article Four: Fourth to Seventh Centuries: Part Two: Church Fathers, Liturgical Developments and Missionaries of the Era 

Article Five: Fourth to Seventh Centuries: Part Three: Fall of Rome and Rise of the Western Church

Article Six:The Early Middle Ages (600-1050AD): Feudalism, Lay Investiture, Eastern Schism

Article Seven: The High Middle Ages – Age of Christendom (1000-1200AD): Crusades, Inquisition & Mendicant Friars

Article Eight: The Late Middle Ages- Decline of Christendom (1300-1517AD): Avignon Papacy, Great Western Schism, Renaissance 

Article Nine: The Protestant Reformation (1517-1603AD): Luther, Reformation in England and France

Article Ten: The Catholic Reformation (1545-1648AD): The Council of Trent, The Jesuits, Catholic Mystics and Activists

Article Eleven: To The Ends of the Earth: Missionaries in New Worlds (1500-1850AD)

Article Twelve: From the Catholic Reformation to the French Revolution (1648 – 1789AD)

Article Thirteen: From the French Revolution to Vatican Council I (1789 – 1869AD)

Article Fourteen: From Vatican Council I to Vatican Council II (1878 – 1962AD): Part One: The pontificates of Leo XIII, Pius X and Benedict V

Article Fifteen: From Vatican Council I to Vatican Council II (1878 – 1962AD): Part Two: The pontificates of Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII

Article Sixteen: Catholicism in the United States (1565 – 1830 AD): Part One: Evangelization of America and Canada 

Article Seventeen: Catholicism in the United States (1830 -1900 AD): Part Two: The Immigrant Church

Article Eighteen: Catholicism in the United States (1900 – 1960 AD): Part Three: The Catholic Church in America 

Article Nineteen: Pope John XXIII and Vatican Council II (1958-1965)

Article Twenty: From Vatican Council II to the Present