If you want to know what the orthodox church thinks about world history, you should start with its earliest doctrinal writers. These men, such as St. Irenaeus, St. Basil, and St. Gregory, helped define the world’s history from a Christian perspective. Today, there are many different interpretations of world history and how it should be interpreted, and you should always seek to learn as much as possible about the views and traditions of the ancient church.
In the second century, missionaries began converting the Gauls of the West, establishing the first Christian churches in the new land. One of these missionaries, St. Irenaeus, was a fierce opponent of Gnosticism, which fused Christianity with Hellenistic and Persian spirituality. Some have suggested that most of the “lost books” of the New Testament were actually Gnostic texts.
In the earliest Church, the Church had no official position in politics, but it was a major contributor to a Christian political movement. The Church had long considered such organizations to be positive, helping laypeople to engage in common political activity. While the Orthodox Church consists of many Autocephalous National Churches, the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ were universal, so Christians are free to participate in political processes and political organizations.
Saint Basil was the bishop of Caesarea and the metropolitan of Cappadocia. He worked with fellow bishops in other parts of the province to establish charitable institutions to help the poor and traveller alike. He defied Valens, the emperor of the Arian church, in 371 when he demanded submission from him. In 372 the Arian emperor split Cappadocia in two. Anthimus of Tyana was crowned metropolitan of eastern Cappadocia, while Basil installed supporters in the border towns.
When he returned from Athens, Basil considered religion seriously and sought out the monks and saints of the Eastern Church. He wrote about the life of monks and the tradition of hermits. He later founded a convent near Arnesi, in Pontus, which he titled “New Caesarea”. His sisters, Emily and Macrina, were devotees of piety.
According to the Orthodox Church, world history began in Rome, and Gregory adopted a Byzantine definition of world history. His views of Germanic and Frankish kingdoms were influenced by Catholicism, which was at the time widespread. Gregory was not a member of the Catholic council of Toledo, but cultivated relationships with the king and bishop of that city. He also had close contacts with the court of Leander of Seville, who encouraged the reform of councils and the suppression of paganism.
As a Roman, Gregory was deeply influenced by the ascetic tradition, which he adapted to apply to the church as a whole. In particular, Gregory applied the Stoic ideals of discretion and moderation to his view of world history. In the process, he became one of the first Church Fathers. In addition, he embraced a philosophy of non-dualism that is still influential today.
One of the earliest known New Testament documents is Polycarp’s Letter to the Philippians. Polycarp probably quotes from the Gospel of Matthew and Luke and the Acts of the Apostles as well as the first letters of St. Peter and St. John. In addition, Polycarp’s Letter is important in terms of oral tradition. He says that he taught what he had learned from the Apostles.
Against Heresies is an important document written by Polycarp. It argues that the teachings of Jesus and the apostles are the foundation of the Church’s definition of world history. Polycarp is also a martyr. His martyrdom, at the end of the first century, occurred in the same city as the martyrdom of Saint Polycarp. Moreover, the epistle was written during the same time as another martyrdom: the martyrdom of Saint Metrodorus, a Marcionite.
During the early years of Christianity, the world was divided into a variety of nations. This division was not always clearly defined. Christians, including those in the Orthodox Church, had different notions about the world’s history. This division was more likely to be apparent in early history than it is today. As such, the definition of world history in the Orthodox Church has evolved to include many different people, cultures, and times.
The orthodox church sees St. Mark as a person who lived and preached during the first century AD. He is mentioned in the first Epistle of St. Peter, where he styles Mark as his son. This man lived during the time of Trajan, and was the first bishop of Alexandria. Mark is venerated in the Coptic Orthodox Church as its founder. His symbol is the lion.
An example of an orthodox church definition of world history is St. John Chrysostom’s. He was a prominent Christian bishop and preacher in the fourth and fifth centuries. He defended Orthodoxy and denounced abuse of authority. He also wrote the Divine Liturgy and was known for his ascetic sensibilities. Chrysostom, which means “golden-mouthed,” was given the name after his death, a name derived from his Greek language. His orthodox church honors him as a saint and one of the Three Holy Hierarchs.
According to the St. John’s definition of world history, the world started around 390 A.D. During Lent in 387, John preached twenty-one sermons, converting many pagans to Christianity. St. Theodosius I, the Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, changed the legal status of the city of Antioch and named the Greek city of Antioch after the apostle.