Early this week I uploaded Episode Two in our new video and podcast series, The War on Christianity. This episode is part one (of 2) in A Summary History of the Church from the Day of Pentecost Until Now, in which I review the growth of the Church from its birthday at Pentecost (Acts 2) through its spread into Northern Europe in the 12th C. There are 17 illustrations from the 6th to the 20th C. The episode attempts to put the expansion of Christianity into context, giving credit to the major saints along the way, including the original Apostles and the bishops, archbishops, clergy and scholars who were the driving force, even in the face of the risk of death.
One of the most interesting illustrations is a 19th C. fresco depicting the martyr’s death of St. Ignatius of Antioch from the Monastery of Elijah in Melnica, Republic of Macedonia. It is attributed to artist Avram Dichov and was created in 1872 A.D. following the two-year-long construction of the building. Viewers also get glimpses of later saints, such as Cyril and Methodius (7th C.) and the Venerable Bede (8th C.), plus a recent photograph of the Monastery of St. Michael, Kiev, Ukraine, opened in 1999 A.D. to replace the early 12th C. original building which was destroyed by the Soviet Union under Stalin’s rule in the late 1930s. Both the Elijah Monastery and the rebuilt St. Michael’s are a tribute to Eastern Church Christians who maintained their faith through the terrible anti-Christian persecution after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 A.D. and the spread of Soviet-style Communism across eastern and southeastern Europe. The survival or restoration of both buildings demonstrates the benefits derived when modern Christians stand up to the anti-religious forces from within and from outside their communities, a message which underpins The War on Christianity series.
Early next week I will upload the completed Episode Three in which the Summary History is carried from the spread of the Church across North Africa, into Africa below the Sahara, across the Atlantic into the Western Hemisphere, and, since the 17th C. across the Pacific, extending the reach of Christianity to an estimated 2 billion-plus people worldwide (as of 2010 A.D.).
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