6th Century

One of the biggest splits in Christendom had its beginnings in this Century — it's called the Filioque Controversy.  "Filioque" is a Latin word for "and the Son". Sounds harmless enough. But put that word in the Church Creed, and it's holy war (literally). Part of the Creed normally reads "We believe in the Holy Spirit ... who proceeds from the Father". In 589 a Church Council approved adding the word "filioque" to the creed, so it read " ... who proceeds from the Father and the Son". To some, to include this phrase implies a serious underestimation of the Father's role in the Trinity; to others, to remove this phrase implies a serious underestimation of the role of the Son in the Trinity. The Church in Rome and the Church in Constantinople would eventually split over this one word.


St. Columba is born in Ireland.  He is sometimes remembered as the man who brought Christianity to Scotland. In 563 he and twelve companions established a monastery on Iona, a small island off the western coast of Scotland. It was here that Columba did his work as a priest among his flock. He baptised, married, buried and admonished his flock. No one was too mighty or too meek for Columba — friend of kings and commoners alike. St. Columba was historically revered as a warrior saint, and was often invoked for victory in battle.    [Read more ...]


Death of Dionysius Exiguus, the first to date history from the birth of Christ.  Strange name — translates to "Dennis the Little". Regardless of his size, he is credited with inventing the terms "BC" and "AD". Up to this time, events were usually dated like: "in the third year of the reign of our emperor Gaius Maximus". Dionysius didn't start out to make a new time system. He just wanted a calendar that would allow all Christian Churches to celebrate Easter on the same day. Churches celebrating Easter on different days existed for centuries and was considered a major problem during his time. To make his calendar work Dionysius needed to calculate the birth of Christ. And once he had that figured out, he started dating current events based on Jesus' birth.    [Read more ...]


Archbishop Isidore of Seville, author of "The Etymologies", is born.  Isidore is sometimes called "the last scholar of the ancient world". His "The Etymologies" is an encyclopedia — a huge compilation of 448 chapters and 20 volumes. It contained whatever information Bishop Isidore thought was worth keeping. Its subject matter was extremely diverse — ranging from grammar and rhetoric, to the earth and the cosmos, buildings, metals, war, ships, humans, animals, medicine, law, religions and even the hierarchies of angels and saints. It was the most used textbook throughout the Middle Ages.    [Read more ...]


Gregory the Great becomes pope.  He was a very effective and popular pope during a time when the government was weak. Gregory fed the peasants and protected farms and villages during barbarian invasions. His development of the doctrine of purgatory was instrumental in establishing the medieval Roman Catholic sacramental system. Gregory is well known for his writings, which were more prolific than those of any previous pope. Later he became known as the "Father of Christian Worship" because of his exceptional efforts in revising the Roman worship of his day.    [Read more ...]


Pope Gregory sends Augustine to convert the pagans in England.  Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury and considered the "Apostle to the English", led a party of around 30 monks to bring England under the influence of the Catholic Church. Even though the group was received cautiously by the King of Kent, Augustine still managed to establish a community of monks based in southeast England. He tried to impose the Roman liturgy on British Christians, but without much success. Augustine always had to struggle to keep his authority within the British Isles. He was proclaimed a Saint by popular acclamation almost immediately after his death.    [Read more ...]


Æthelbert of Kent is converted.  He was the King of Kent in southwest England, and a worshiper Odin, the god of his fathers. He knew of Augustine and considered his ability to convert people to devout Christians as black magic. According to tradition, St. Augustine requested an audience with Æthelbert to speak of the things of God. The King agreed, however the meeting had to be held outside. Æthelbert believed that Augustine's "magic" could only work inside a building. In spite of these precautions, Æthelbert was converted, and thousands more with him.    [Read more ...]