The term "Great Church" (Latin: ecclesia magna) is a term of the historiography of early Christianity describing its rapid growth and structural development 180–313 AD (around the time of the Ante-Nicene Period) and its claim to represent Christianity within the Roman Empire. The term is primarily associated with the Roman Catholic account of the history of Christian theology, but is also used by non-Catholic historians.
The "epoch of the Great Church" is counted as beginning around the end of the second century when, despite the persecution of Christians, the religion became established numerically and organizationally, eventually becoming the state church of the Roman Empire in 380. However, at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, an Oriental Orthodox branch parted ways with the Great Church due to Christological differences.
In contrast, in modern Catholic usage, the "Great Church" broadly means the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic" unity of the Catholic Church (Latin Church) - continuing in authority from the apostles to today - and all bishops who remained in fellowship with the Pope.
The sees of Rome and Constantinople, both applying the Chalcedonian Definition, remained in full communion throughout the First seven ecumenical councils (325–787) and until the East–West Schism (1054).
Cunningham, and separately, Kugel and Greer state that Irenaeus's statement in Against Heresies Chapter X 1–2 (written c. 180 AD) is the first recorded reference to the "Great Church" as the existence of a worldwide Christian church with a core set of shared beliefs. Irenaeus states:
The Church, though dispersed through the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: ... As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it. ... For the churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe or hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But as the son, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shineth everywhere, and enlightens all men that are willing to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Cunningham states that two points in Irenaeus' writing deserve attention. First, that Irenaeus distinguished the Church singular from "the churches" plural, and more importantly, Irenaeus holds that only in the larger singular Church does one find the truth handed down by the apostles of Christ.
At the beginning of the 3rd century the Great Church that Irenaeus and Celsus had referred to had spread across a significant portion of the world, with most of its members living in cities (see early centers of Christianity). The growth was less than uniform across the world. The Chronicle of Arbela stated that in 225 AD, there were 20 bishops in all of Persia, while at approximately the same time, surrounding areas of Rome had over 60 bishops. But the Great Church of the 3rd century was not monolithic, consisting of a network of churches connected across cultural zones by lines of communication which at times included personal relationships.
The Great Church grew in the 2nd century and entered the 3rd century mainly in two empires: the Roman and the Persian, with the network of bishops usually acting as the cohesive element across cultural zones. In 313, the Edict of Milan ended the persecution of Christians, and by 380 the Great Church had gathered enough followers to become the State church of the Roman Empire by virtue of the Edict of Thessalonica.
Justin Martyr (100–165) wrote (Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics 30 and Adv. Marcionem, 4.4) that when Marcion was excommunicated from the fellowship of the "Great Church" in 144 AD, he had to return the funds he had gathered.
Towards the end of the 2nd century, Irenaeus wrote about the heretical office holders in the "Great Church". In Contra Celsum 5.61 Church Father Origen mentions Celsus' late 2nd century use of the terms "church of the multitudes" or "great church" to refer to the emerging consensus traditions among Christians at the time, as Christianity was taking shape.
In the 4th century, as Saint Augustine commented on Psalm XXII, he interpreted the term to mean the whole world, writing: "The great Church, Brethren, what is it? Is a scanty portion of the earth the great Church? The great Church means the whole world." Augustine continued to expound on how various churches all considered themselves "the great Church," but that only the whole world could be seen as the great Church.
The epoch of the Great Church witnessed the development of key theological concepts which now form the fabric of the religious beliefs of the large majority of Christians.
Relying on Scripture, prevailing mysticism and popular piety, Irenaeus formalized some of the attributes of God, writing in Against Heresies Book IV, Chapter 19: "His greatness lacks nothing, but contains all things." Irenaeus also referred to the early use of the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" formula which appeared as part of Christian Creeds, writing in Against Heresies (Book I Chapter X):
The Church ... believes in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit.
Around 213 AD in Adversus Praxeas (chapter 3) Tertullian provided a formal representation of the concept of the Trinity, i.e., that God exists as one "substance" but three "Persons": The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Tertullian also discussed how the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. The First Council of Nicaea in 325 and later the First Council of Constantinople in 381 then formalized these elements.
In 451, all the bishops of the Great Church were ordered to attend the Council of Chalcedon to discuss theological issues that had emerged. This turned out to be a turning point at which the Western and Eastern churches parted ways based on seemingly small Christological differences, and began the fracturing of the claim to the term Great Church by both sides.
Official Catholic publications, and other writers, sometimes consider that the concept of the "Great Church" can be found already in the Epistles of Paul, such as in "This is my rule in all the churches" (1 Corinthians 7:17) and in the Apostolic Fathers such as the letters of Ignatius of Antioch. Exegesis has even located the ecclesia magna in the Latin Vulgate translations of the "great congregation" (kahal rab) of the Hebrew Bible. This interpretation was also offered by Pope Benedict XVI, and by Martin Luther.
Dennis Minns (2010) considers that the concept of a "Great Church" was developed by polemical heresiologists such as Irenaeus. The presentation of early Christian unity and orthodoxy (see Proto-orthodox Christianity), and counter presentation of groups such as those sects labelled "Gnostic", by early heresiologists such as Irenaeus is questioned by modern historians.
Roger E. Olson (1999) uses the term to refer to the Great Church at the time of the Council of Chalcedon (451) when the Patriarch of Constantinople and Bishop of Rome were in fellowship with each other.
The term is contrasted with Jewish Christians who came to be more and more clearly separated from the Great Church. Wilhelm Schneemelcher and others writing on New Testament Apocrypha distinguish writings as being sectarian or from the Great Church.
Gabriele Waste (2005) is among German scholars using similar references, where the "Große Kirche" ("Great Church") is defined as "Ecclesia ex gentibus" (Church of the Gentiles) in comparison to the "Ecclesia ex circumcisione" (Church of the Circumcision).
In the anglophone world, Bruce J. Malina (1976) contrasted what he calls "Christian Judaism" (usually termed "Jewish Christianity") with "the historically perceived orthodox Christianity that undergirds the ideology of the emergent Great Church."
In francophone scholarship, the term Grande Église (French: Ecclesia magna) has also been equated with the "more hellenized" as opposed to "Judaizing" sections of the early church, and the Bar Kokhba revolt is seen as a definitive stage in the separation between Judaism and the Christianity of the "Grande Église". Those stressing this binary view of early Christianity include Simon Claude Mimouni and François Blanchetière.
In Catholicism, the cantor, sometimes called the precentor or the protopsaltes (Greek: πρωτοψάλτης, lit. 'first singer'; from Greek: ψάλτης, translit. psaltes, lit. 'singer') is the chief singer, and usually instructor, employed at a church, a cathedral or monastery with responsibilities for the ecclesiastical choir and the preparation of liturgy.
The cantor's duties and qualifications have varied considerably according to time, place, and rite, and often its prestige was so high that it came close to the highest offices in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, for instance monastic cantors promoted to the office of an abbot or abbess. Sometimes the office was connected with administrative, militaric, and governmental duties (the "Maestro di Capella" at San Marco di Venezia), even with those of a schoolteacher, as in case of the Thomaskantor in charge of the Thomasschule zu Leipzig, educating a boys' choir that served four churches.
Generally a cantor must be competent to choose and to conduct the vocals for the choir, to start any chant on demand, and to be able to identify and correct the missteps of singers placed under him. He may be held accountable for the immediate rendering of the music, showing the course of the melody by movements of the hand(s) (cheironomia), similar to a conductor.Church Fathers
The Church Fathers, Early Church Fathers, Christian Fathers, or Fathers of the Church were ancient and influential Christian theologians and writers. There is no definitive list. The era of these scholars who set the theological and scholarly foundations of Christianity largely ended by AD 700 ( John of Damascus died in 749 AD, Byzantine Iconoclasm began in 726 AD ).In the past, the Church Fathers were regarded as authoritative and more restrictive definitions were used which sought to limit the list to authors treated as such. However, the definition has widened as scholars of patristics, the study of the Church Fathers, have expanded their scope.Cyril V of Constantinople
Cyril V Karakallos (Greek: Κύριλλος Ε΄ Καράκαλλος), (? – 27 July 1775) was Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople for two periods from 1748 to 1751 and from 1752 to 1757.
A controversial figure, often blamed for his ideas about the baptism, in 1755 he issued the Oros, a canonical document which, superseding the previous use of accepting Christian converts by Chrismation, stated that all non-Orthodox (including Catholic) baptisms were not valid and all converts needed to be re-baptized.Dauntsey
Dauntsey is a small village and civil parish in the county of Wiltshire, England. It gives its name to the Dauntsey Vale in which it lies and takes its name from Saxon for Dantes- eig, or Dante's island. It is set on slightly higher ground in the flood plain of the upper Bristol Avon.
Today, the parish is split by the M4 motorway, with a chain of historic smaller settlements spread either side. Dauntsey Green is north of the motorway, along with Dauntsey Church at the entrance to Dauntsey Park; to the south are Greenman's Lane, Sodom and Dauntsey Lock. Dauntsey Lock is on the former Wilts and Berks Canal (presently being restored), the course of which runs alongside the Bristol-London mainline railway.Debrecen
Debrecen (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈdɛbrɛt͡sɛn] (listen)) is Hungary's second largest city after Budapest. It is the regional center of the Northern Great Plain region and the seat of Hajdú-Bihar county. It was the largest Hungarian city in the 18th century and it is one of the Hungarian people's most important cultural centres. Debrecen was also the capital city of Hungary during the revolution in 1848–1849. During the revolution, the dethronement of the Habsburg dynasty was declared in the Reformed Great Church. The city also served as the capital of Hungary by the end of the World War II in 1944–1945. It is home of the University of Debrecen.Donaghmore, County Tyrone
Donaghmore (pronounced DOH-nə-MOR, Irish: Domhnach Mor (great church)) is a village, townland and civil parish in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, about five kilometres (3 mi) northwest of Dungannon. In the 2011 Census it had a population of 1,122 people. The village is beside the River Torrent, formerly known as the Torrent Flow.Dunnamore
Dunnamore (formerly spelt Donamore; from Irish: Domhnach Mór, meaning "great church") is a village and townland in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is near the main A505 road between Omagh and Cookstown. It is Part of Cookstown District Council There is a stone circle within two miles of the village centre.
Also Spelt DunamoreEcumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (Greek: Οἰκουμενικόν Πατριαρχεῖον Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, Oikoumenikón Patriarkhíon Konstantinoupóleos, IPA: [ikumeniˈkon patriarˈçion konstandinuˈpoleos]; Latin: Patriarchatus Oecumenicus Constantinopolitanus; Turkish: Rum Ortodoks Patrikhanesi, "Roman Orthodox Patriarchate") is one of the fifteen autocephalous churches (or "jurisdictions") that together compose the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, currently Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople.
Because of its historical location as the capital of the former Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire and its role as the Mother Church of most modern Orthodox churches, Constantinople holds a special place of honor within Orthodoxy and serves as the seat for the Ecumenical Patriarch, who enjoys the status of Primus inter pares (first among equals) among the world's Eastern Orthodox prelates and is regarded as the representative and spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians.The Ecumenical Patriarchate promotes the expansion of the Christian faith and Orthodox doctrine, and the Ecumenical Patriarchs are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, and the defense of Orthodox Christian traditions. Prominent issues in the Ecumenical Patriarchate's policy in the 21st century include the safety of the believers in the Middle East, reconciliation of the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Churches, and the reopening of the Theological School of Halki which was closed down by the Turkish authorities in 1971.Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia (; from the Greek Αγία Σοφία, pronounced [aˈʝia soˈfia], "Holy Wisdom"; Latin: Sancta Sophia or Sancta Sapientia; Turkish: Ayasofya) is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum (Ayasofya Müzesi) in Istanbul, Turkey. Built in 537 AD at the beginning of the Middle Ages, it was famous in particular for its massive dome. It was the world's largest building and an engineering marvel of its time. It is considered the epitome of Byzantine architecture and is said to have "changed the history of architecture".The Hagia Sophia construction consists of mostly masonry. The structure is composed of brick and mortar joints that are 1.5 times the width of the bricks. The mortar joints are composed of a combination of sand and minute ceramic pieces displaced very evenly throughout the mortar joints. This combination of sand and ceramic pieces could be considered to be the equivalent of modern concrete at the time.From the date of its construction's completion in 537 until 1453, it served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, except between 1204 and 1261, when it was converted by the Fourth Crusaders to a Roman Catholic cathedral under the Latin Empire. The building was later converted into an Ottoman mosque from 29 May 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum on 1 February 1935. It remained the world's largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years, until Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.
The current building was originally constructed as a church between 532 and 537 on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and was the third Church of the Holy Wisdom to occupy the site, the prior one having been destroyed by rioters in the Nika Revolt. It was designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. The church was dedicated to the Wisdom of God, the Logos, the second person of the Trinity, its patronal feast taking place on 25 December, the commemoration of the birth of the incarnation of the Logos in Christ. Although sometimes referred to as Sancta Sophia (as though it were named after Sophia the Martyr), sophia being the phonetic spelling in Latin of the Greek word for wisdom, its full name in Greek is Ναός της Αγίας του Θεού Σοφίας, Naos tēs Hagias tou Theou Sophias, "Shrine of the Holy Wisdom of God". The church contained a large collection of relics and featured, among other things, a 15-metre (49 ft) silver iconostasis. The focal point of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly one thousand years, the building witnessed the excommunication of Patriarch Michael I Cerularius officially communicated by Humbert of Silva Candida, the papal envoy of Pope Leo IX in 1054, an act that is commonly considered the start of the East–West Schism.
In 1453, Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Empire under Mehmed the Conqueror, who ordered this main church of Orthodox Christianity converted into a mosque. Although some parts of the city of Constantinople were falling into disrepair, the cathedral was maintained with an amount of money set aside for this purpose. Nevertheless, the Christian cathedral made a strong impression on the new Ottoman rulers and they decided to convert it into a mosque. The bells, altar, iconostasis, and other relics were destroyed and the mosaics depicting Jesus, his Mother Mary, Christian saints, and angels were also destroyed or plastered over. Islamic features – such as the mihrab (a niche in the wall indicating the direction toward Mecca, for prayer), minbar (pulpit), and four minarets – were added. It remained a mosque until 1931 when it was closed to the public for four years. It was re-opened in 1935 as a museum by the Republic of Turkey. Hagia Sophia was, as of 2014, the second-most visited museum in Turkey, attracting almost 3.3 million visitors annually. According to data released by the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, Hagia Sophia was Turkey's most visited tourist attraction in 2015.From its initial conversion until the construction of the nearby Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Blue Mosque of Istanbul) in 1616, it was the principal mosque of Istanbul. The Byzantine architecture of the Hagia Sophia served as inspiration for many other Ottoman mosques, such as the aforementioned mosque, the Şehzade Mosque, the Süleymaniye Mosque, the Rüstem Pasha Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Pasha Complex.
On 24 March 2019, the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the Hagia Sophia might be reverted to a mosque.Hungarian Declaration of Independence
The Hungarian Declaration of Independence declared the independence of Hungary from the Habsburg Monarchy during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. It was presented to the National Assembly in closed session on 13 April 1849 by Lajos Kossuth, and in open session the following day, despite political opposition from within the Hungarian Peace Party. The declaration was passed unanimously the following day.Kossuth issued the declaration himself, from the Protestant Great Church of Debrecen. The declaration accused the Habsburgs of crimes, saying
The House of Lorraine-Habsburg is unexampled in the compass of its perjuries […] Its determination to extinguish the independents of Hungary has been accompanied by a succession of criminal acts, comprising robbery, destruction of property by fire, murder, maiming […] Humanity will shudder when reading this disgraceful page of history. […] "The house of Habsburg has forfeited the throne".
In a banquet speech before the Corporation of New York, Kossuth urged the United States to recognize Hungarian independence, saying
The third object of my humble wishes, gentlemen, is the recognition of the independence of Hungary. […] our Declaration of Independence was not only voted unanimously in our Congress, but every county, every municipality, has solemnly declared its consent and adherence to it; so it became not the supposed, but by the whole realm positively, and sanctioned by the fundamental laws of Hungary.John IX of Constantinople
John IX Agapetos or Hieromnemon (Greek: Ἰωάννης Θ΄ Ἀγαπητός or Ἱερομνήμων), (? – April 1134) was Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople between 1111 and 1134. John's nickname is because before his election to the Patriarchal throne he held the office of hieromnemon within the Patriarchate. He was the nephew of a prominent Metropolitan of Chalcedon.He was a cleric from within the scholarly, philosophical branch of the Church hierarchy, and had risen through the ranks of the patriarchal clergy. He sought to reverse the secularising trend within the clergy by banning them from acting as advocates in civil courts. A lifelong scholar, he sought to reclaim the great, but dispersed, collection of books within the capital, as there was no central library. He made it a practice to acquire the book collections of deceased powerful men, and then had the patriarchal staff recopy them. His measures greatly expanded the range of titles held in the Great Church to which teachers were attached.Within religious matters, he pushed the trend of making the patriarchal clergy, rather than the monastic community, the authoritative voice of Orthodoxy. He also convened a synod in Constantinople in 1117 which condemned the doctrine of Eustratius of Nicaea as Nestorian, despite the defence offered by the Patriarch. During his patriarchate some efforts were made by Emperor Alexios I Komnenos to bridge the schism between the Orthodox and the Catholic Church but these failed, as Pope Pascal II in late 1112 pressed the demand that the Patriarch of Constantinople recognise the Pope's primacy over "all the churches of God throughout the world". This was something the patriarch could not do in face of opposition from the majority of secular clergy, the monastic world, and the laity.Maassluis
Maassluis ([maːˈslœy̯s] (listen)) is a city in the western Netherlands, in the province of South Holland. The municipality had a population of 32,493 in 2017 and covers 10.12 km2 (3.91 sq mi) of which 1.63 km2 (0.63 sq mi) water.
It received city rights in 1811. It was the setting for Spetters, filmed by director Paul Verhoeven in 1980.Oostzaan
Oostzaan (Dutch pronunciation: [oːstˈsaːn] (listen)) is a municipality and a town in the Zaanstreek, Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. The municipality had a population of 9,705 in 2017. Oostzaan has a total area of 16.08 km2 (6.21 sq mi) of which 4.55 km2 (1.76 sq mi) is water.
Oostzaan—together with Westzaan and Assendelft—are considered the "mother towns" of the Zaanstreek (the region around the River Zaan), of which they are the three oldest towns. Oostzaan also played a role in the VOC and WIC shipping and shipbuilding.
In the 17th century Oostzaan had its own pirate, named Claes Compaen. Originally sailing from the Netherlands as a legal pirate captain, in the possession of pirate letters, he soon began to raid ships for his private account, from the English Channel, to the Mediterranean Sea and the African-Atlantic coast into even the Caribbean Sea. He liquidated the booty on the coast of Ireland, later in Salé and the Barbary Coast. A street in Oostzaan is named for Claes Compaen.
The town has a Reformed church with a cruciform groundplan, the Great Church (1760), which contains two ship models that recall the days when Oostzaan was an important sea-faring community. In the Oostzijderveld area of Oostzaan stands a windmill, De Windjager (The Wind Hunter).St. Albert the Great Church (Weymouth, Massachusetts)
St. Albert the Great Church is a Roman Catholic parish located in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Its pastor is Father Charles J. Higgins, VF, and the parochial vicar is Father Peter J. Casey. It rose to recognition in 2004 after parishioners staged a 24-hour vigil at the church in response to announcements by the archdiocese that it would close. The parish shares its priests with nearby St. Francis Xavier Church and Masses are shared between the two parishes.St. Gregory the Great Church, Danbury
St. Gregory the Great is a Roman Catholic church in Danbury, Connecticut, part of the Diocese of Bridgeport.St. Gregory the Great Church (Manhattan)
The Church of St Gregory the Great is a Roman Catholic parish located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York City. The parish is part of the Archdiocese of New York. The church building, designed by architect Elliott Lynch, contains the church and parish offices on the ground floor with St. Gregory the Great Parochial School on the next two floors above, the final fourth floor is occupied by the rectory. The address of the church is 144 West 90th Street, New York, New York 10024-1202; the address of the school is 138 West 90th Street, New York, NY 10024.
On May 8, 2015, the parish was merged with that of Holy Name of Jesus, and on June 30, 2017, the church was deconsecrated.St James the Great Church, Wrightington
St James the Great Church is in Church Lane, to the west of Wrightington in Lancashire, England. It is an active Anglican parish church in the deanery of Chorley, the archdeaconry of Blackburn, and the diocese of Blackburn. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building.The Church's community also runs a theatre group, known as 'The St James Players', for people of all age to participate in, and performs an annual play or pantomime in the theatre building directly across from the Church itself.Storkyrkan
Storkyrkan (Swedish: [²stuːrˌɕʏrkan], "The Great Church"), officially named Sankt Nikolai kyrka (Church of St. Nicholas) and informally called Stockholms domkyrka (Stockholm Cathedral), is the oldest church in Gamla stan, the old town in central Stockholm, Sweden. Originally the main parish church of Stockholm, it currently also serves as the seat of the Lutheran Bishop of Stockholm within the Church of Sweden since the creation of the Diocese of Stockholm in 1942. It is an important example of Swedish Brick Gothic. Situated next to the Royal Palace, it forms the western end of Slottsbacken, the major approach to the Royal Palace, while the streets Storkyrkobrinken, Högvaktsterrassen, and Trångsund passes north and west of it respectively. South of the church is the Stockholm Stock Exchange Building facing Stortorget and containing the Swedish Academy, Nobel Library, and Nobel Museum.Typikon
Typikon (or typicon, pl. typica; Greek: Τυπικόν, "that of the prescribed form"; Slavonic: Тvпико́нъ Typikonə or Оуставъ, ustavə) is a liturgical book which contains instructions about the order of the Byzantine Rite office and variable hymns of the Divine Liturgy.
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