Europe has had almost 2000 years of Christian history, from the 1st century to today. There have been many high and low points but God has been faithful! Here is a simple summary:
Our history begins of course in Israel, with the patriarchs and the prophets; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah; and the birth of the church in Jerusalem.
In Antioch, the Holy Spirit calls Saul (Paul) and Barnabus to be set apart to take the gospel to the Gentiles. They set off on the first missionary journey, going first to Cyprus.
Following a dream, the Apostle Paul crossed from Asia Minor to Macedonia to bring the gospel to Europe
Paul planted the first European church in Lydia’s house in Philippi
Paul was shipwrecked on Malta. Afterwards he landed in Sicily and then made his way to Rome
Over the next few centuries Christianity spread around the Roman empire, with many martyrs
Emperor Constantine converted and made Christianity legal throughout the empire. Over the next few centuries, many councils were held to agree orthodox (correct) doctrine
480 – 1386
The church slowly spread from the boundaries of the Roman empire northwards to reach all of Europe. It spread typically in three ways: a) by converting the local chieftain or king who then influenced his people; b) through the service of many monks who worked faithfully to establish new communities in remote areas; c) through martyrdom: many laid down their lives for the good news, which impressed and softened the hearts of the people
Celtic Christianity flourished in Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and many missionaries were sent out
Cyril & Methodius translated the Bible into Slavonic, which greatly helped the growth of the church in Bulgaria, Serbia & Russia. Over the next few centuries, Orthodox churches were established in the Slavic countries
Vladimir, ruler of Kiev, was baptised, marking a significant step in the growth of the gospel in Russia and Ukraine
The final sad split between the eastern church centred on Constantinople and the western church centred on Rome
1095 – 1272
The Crusades to the Holy Land
1100s – 1400s
Orders of friars (missionary monks) played a big part in strengthening church life, mission and preaching campaigns – the Carmelites, Augustinians, Dominicans & Franciscans.
1100s – 1400s
Precursors to the Reformation: Peter Waldo & the Waldensian church in Italy; John Wycliffe’s Bible translation in England; Jan Hus’ reform movement in Bohemia & Moravia, Czech
The Lithuanian ruler Jagiello was baptised – the last region of Europe to convert from paganism to Christianity
The Russian church became independent of Constantinople
A much-needed time of reform – the ministry of Martin Luther, the Reformation, the Huguenots in France, Jean Calvin in Geneva, Zwingli in Zurich, England & Scotland convert to Protestantism, the Counter-Reformation, Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits
The Herrnhut community in Saxony, Germany, Count Zinzendorf, 24-7 prayer maintained for over 100 years and many, many Moravian missionaries sent out
1700s & 1800s
Evangelical awakenings, George Whitefield, John & Charles Wesley, 1859 revival in Wales, UK
Revival in Wales and the spread of Pentecostal churches
1968 – now
A decline in church attendance in many countries, growth of materialism and individualism. Political correctness as a new force
The charismatic renewal begins
God is at work in Europe today!!
This is a simple summary, please let me know your comments!