Hundreds of events, large and small, momentous and seemingly insignificant, have helped mold what Christianity is today.
Much has happened in the more than 2,000 years Christianity has existed. World leaders like Marcus Aurelius persecuted believers, wars such as the Crusades were fought, and famous evangelists like Billy Graham became a household name.
Here are some Christianity fast facts and seven key events in the religion’s history:
3B.C.—30 A.D.: Birth, life, death, and believed resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is perhaps the most important event in religion’s history as it is the one on which Christianity is based and around which it revolves. Christianity does not exist without Christ.
1095: Pope Urban II authorizes the Crusades to recover the Holy Land from Muslims. The Crusades were a holy war promoted by the papacy to take back the Holy Land for Christ. Catholic indulgences were offered to soldiers who participated in any of the nine crusades, which ultimately failed at saving eastern Christendom from the Muslims.
1382: John Wycliffe creates the first complete English Translation of the Bible. Originally written in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, The Bible was translated into Latin in 405, but translations into common languages made it available to common people who could finally read it for themselves.
1456: Johann Gutenberg produces the first printed Bible, making it more widely accessible. Up until his press, the Bible was anything but the household commodity it is today. It became readily available not only to scholars, monks, and clerics, but the general population, spreading Christian teachings, according to the Christian History Institute.
1517: Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses, challenging many of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther is the first to publicly denounce the church’s practice of selling indulgences to renounce sin, stating that it was the Bible, not the church that was the central religious authority, according to Christianity Today. He says only faith and not deeds could bring salvation.
1947: The Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest set of Biblical manuscripts, are discovered. These scrolls predate others of their kind by centuries, offering scholars older manuscripts of the Scriptures. They date from the third century BC to the first century AD.