April 5, 33 First Easter: the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ
May 14, 33 Ascension of our Lord, forty days post resurrection: the glorified Jesus reigns as King
May 24, 33 Pentecost, fifty days post resurrection: the giving of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church
34-36 Stephen is martyred in Saul’s presence Ac 7 58.
no later than 44 James, the brother of John, is martyred at the hands of Herod Agrippa I Ac 12 2.
41-54 Claudius and the followers of Chrestus
62 James, the brother of Jesus, is martyred.
in the 60’s Peter and Paul martyred in Rome during the reign of Nero
July 64 following edict of Nero 54-68 as told by Tacitus: fierce, heinous persecutions but limited in time and place
81-96 Domitian. With the one exception during Nero’s reign in the 60’s at Rome, we have no evidence that Christians were being put to death on a widespread basis at this time.
90’s Christian documents, however, such as Re, imply persecution is increasing. Things are definitely getting worse for the Christians.
107-8 Things have changed and are now greatly amplified. Bishop Ignatius on the way to Rome for his martyrdom in the amphitheater (under Trajan 98-117). Seven letters.
110-111 The Great Change. Governor Pliny’s letter to Emperor Trajan. All Christians – not just the leaders – are being severely persecuted, even to the point of death – martyrdom – “not for something that they did but for something that they would not do.” They wouldn’t recant and offer sacrifices to the Roman gods. The Romans instituted a “sacrifice test” specifically for the Christians.
155/156 Polycarp is martyred in Smyrna.
165 Justin “Martyr” is martyred.
177 persecutions in Lyons and Vienne of Gaul (western Europe). Torture had been introduced: the iron chair.
180 persecutions in North Africa
early 200’s Tertullian: “If the Tiber rises to the walls, if the Nile does not rise to the fields, if the sky stands still, if the earth moves, if there is famine, if there is pestilence, the cry goes up, ‘Christians to the lions.’”
249-251 Decian persecution: sacrifice to the ancestral gods and receive a certificate (libellus) as proof, or die.
This was meant to appease the ancestral gods in time of crisis.
257-258 Valerian (253-260) persecution sought to destroy Christianity on an empire wide basis.
260 Christianity was given cult status in the Roman Empire, and persecution ended for a generation.
February 23, 303 Diocletian (284-305) began the Great Persecution.
303-310 the Great Persecution the greatest persecution of all
313 “Edict of Milan” restored Christian property and effectively ended imperial efforts against the Church.