The history of the Church began a very long time ago with the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. The Apostles – mostly fishermen, without any education, started to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ very successfully in different places and cities. The consequence of that was the emergence of the apostolic preaching of Christian societies in different cities. Later, they transformed into churches. Thus, five ancient churches were founded: (1) Jerusalem, (2) Antioch, (3) Alexandria, (4) Roman and (5) the Church of Constantinople. The first ancient Church was the Church of Jerusalem and the last one – the Church of Constantinople. Jesus Christ is at the head of the Orthodox Church. Every ancient Orthodox Church is led by its patriarch. Individual churches are also called patriarchates. The patriarch of the Church of Rome is called the Pope.
Back in those days, all the churches were equal. Roman Church believed that it was a leading church, and the Pope was the head of all five churches).
After the fall of Jerusalem, the terrible persecution of Christians by the pagan Romans began. Christianity morally elevates and purifies man and directs all his activities for the good. Back then, Christianity was banned and severely punished; Christians were tortured and then killed. In 313, the Emperor Constantine not only freed the Christians, but also made Christianity the official faith.
When it was necessary to resolve any disputes or work out general approaches, the Church gathered councils. The first church council was convened by the apostles in ’51 and was called the Apostolic Council. Many bishops attended these councils, as well as other representatives of the churches. The churches were all equal at such councils, and different issues were addressed after debate and praying.
First Council was held in year 325 in the city of Nicaea. 318 bishops and preachers were present. Second Ecumenical Council was held in 381 in Constantinople. Creed, as the shortest definition of the Christian faith, was approved at the first and second ecumenical councils. 7th Ecumenical Council was held in 787 also in Nicaea. It was attended by 150bishops. The use of icons was approved at this council. 7th Ecumenical Council was the last attended by all the churches.
The Roman Church separated in 1054. From the beginning of Christianity, the Roman Church was developing a desire for primacy in the church. The reason for this was the glory of Rome and the Roman Empire. In 1054, the Roman Church separated from other churches and became known as the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1517, the Reformation began, and people began to leave the Church of Rome and formed a new, Protestant Church.