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The Early Church

c. 30 Distinctives of “Jesus People” in Jerusalem include daily temple worship, prayers, apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, baptism

c. 33 First “deacons” appointed in the church, later to become those who take Communion to the sick

c. 37 Christian worship spreads; a church established in Antioch

c. 55 Paul describes Lord’s Supper and informal worship in 1 Corinthians (ch. 11, 14)

c. 90–100 Jewish Christians virtually excluded from synagogue services

c. 95 “Book of Revelation” written, a Christian prophecy given “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day”

c. 96 1 Clement (a letter from the church of Rome to the church of Corinth) echoes Communion prayers

c. 100 (or earlier) Didache, earliest church service book, describes agape meal (and Communion?)
Scandalous rumors begin that Christians in their worship practice cannibalism and incest
Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, in letters against the Docetists (those who say Christ only seemed human), stresses the “reality” of Christ’s flesh and blood in the Eucharist

c. 112 Pliny, Roman governor in Bithynia, interrogates Christians about their meetings

c. 125 2 Clement, the earliest extant Christian sermon

c. 150–180 Controversy over the proper day (Sunday or weekday?) to celebrate Easter (quartodeciman controversy)

c. 150–250 Development of “rule of faith,” a loose summary of Christian belief, especially for use against gnostics

c. 155 Justin’s Apology explains Christian worship to critics

c. 170 Melito, bishop of Sardis, writes sermon “On the Pascha.” First evidence of Christians’ venerating martyrs’ remains and celebrating anniversaries of their deaths (“birthdays”); Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, martyred; memorials to Peter and Paul at Rome ...

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