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Highlights in Christianity Timeline: 202 , 635

Adherents of the Christian faith underwent a period of persecution under the leadership of various emperors. Under Septimus Severus, Christians were persecuted for their beliefs. In this article, you will learn more about this ruler, as well as information regarding St. Peter’s Basilica and the Christian Bible.

202 , Septimus Severus persecutes Christians

The Roman Emperor ruled from 193 to 211. In his younger years, he was an ambitious man who enjoyed great advancements with the help of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. After Emperor Pertinax died in 193, Severus seized power during a period called the Year of Five Emperors. Following the murder of the current ruler, Severus went against a host of rival claimants to the throne , defeating them at different times.  

He then went about creating a solid stronghold over the western provinces. He waged a quicker, more victorious war in the east against the Parthian Empire , sacking the capital in 197 and expanding the eastern frontier to reach the Tigris River.

During his reign, Christians were persecuted. He was permitted to allow the enforcement of policies that had already been in existence. Therefore, Roman authorities did not intentionally seek out Christians to persecute, but when people were accused of being Christians , the authorities could react against them. Sometimes, they were forced to curse Jesus and make an offering to the Roman gods. Some still faced execution. Severus also tried to limit the spread of Christianity and Judaism by making it against the law to convert.

324 , The construction of St. Peter’s Basilica begins.

Constructed on the site of Circus of Nero, building starts on St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome at this time. The church offers a glimpse into the Late Renaissance. St. Peter’s Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church across the globe, and is considered one of the holiest Catholic sites in the world. The Roman Catholics know the basilica as the final resting place of Saint Peter, who was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. According to tradition, he was the first Bishop of Rome and the first in the line of papal succession. Historical accounts state that the location of St. Peter’s tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. Since the Early Christian period, it was customary to bury Popes at St. Peter’s. Since the 4th century, a church has been found on the site with construction of the basilica you see today that was finished in November of 1626. St. Peter’s is famous as a place for pilgrimages.

~ 380 , The Christian Bible takes shape.

The final decision on which books would be included in the Christian Bible takes place during this time. The Bible has 66 books that were written by an array of authors that came from different times and places. The authors worked on the Bible from around 1450 BC to 100 AD. Within it, you will find an assortment of literary approaches, including myths, poetry, prophecy, narratives and even letters.

~ 635 , The Muslims conquer Christian-associated lands.

Jerusalem and the majority of the Middle East (including Israel) are conquered by the Muslims. While the Jews were allowed to move back into Jerusalem, the Muslims constructed their mosques on top of the holiest site for the Judaic faith , the Temple Mount. Christians would not move back to the city until after they defeated the Muslims and killed the Jews in Jerusalem many centuries later.