Christianity: the 500's
An Overview: What happened in this century?
- Monasticism began to grow in Europe.
- Southern Europe became stable under the rule of Emperor Justinian I in mid-century; then experienced chaos in the middle part of the century; and then stability at the end of the century under Pope Gregory I.
|Early 500s||Dionysius Exiguus (d. c. 550) introduced the method of dating years. He began with year one as the year of Jesus' birth. Later archaeologists realized that he was wrong by 4-7 years, which makes the birth of Jesus between 4-7 BC.|
|527||Justinian I became the Roman Emperor. He reconquered North Africa and Italy and built many basilicas. (See the year 537 below.)|
|532||Boniface II died and John II became Pope the next year. He was the first pope to change his name, Mercurius being his birth name and being the name of a pagan god.|
|537||Hagia Sophia consecrated. Known as "Holy Wisdom" (Greek "Hagia Sophia"; Latin "Sancta Sophia"), this church was the finest example of Byzantine architecture and was the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople for almost 1000 years. Constantinople was conquered by Muslims in 1453 and it was converted to a mosque. In 1935 it became a museum.|
|550||Benedict of Nursia died. He is known as the "Father of Western Monasticism." During his lifetime he established twelve monasteries with twelve monks apiece. He also wrote a Rule (c. 540), which contains regulations for maintaining a monastery and the monastic life; this Rule became exceedingly popular. To read one of Benedict's chapters, the one on living a holy life, go here.|
|553||Council of Constantinople II: the third of the Ecumenical Councils This Council was called to combat three different individuals, all of whom were accused of Nestorianism: Theodore of Mopsuestia (352-428), Theodoret (393-466), and against the letter of Ibas (Bishop of Edessa from 435-457)|
|565||Justinian I died.|
|570||Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was born in Mecca in present-day Saudi Arabia.|
|589||At the Third Council of Toledo in this year, the Filioque clause was added to the Nicene Creed.
|590||Pope Pelagius II died and Gregory I became Pope. He became the second pope known as "the Great." The first was Leo I who died in 461.
|596||Pope Gregory I sends Augustine (of Canterbury) to England to reestablish Christianity. To learn more about Augustine's mission, and why he settled in Canterbury, click here.|
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