Paul of Tarsus 25-67 C.E.
Helped spread the word of Jesus Christ
Hebrew name was Saul
Was a Pharisee, a strict adherent to Jewish law
Persecuted early Christians but underwent a
conversion on the road to Damascus
Supported the position of the Hellenist Jews who
saw Christianity as a new, universal religion
The Persecution of the Jews/Christians
At first, Roman officials were indifferent to the new
But soon there were problems because the Christians
would not worship ancient pagan deities or the
emperor and were accused of
disloyalty, atheism, and crimes such as
cannibalism, infanticide and were blamed for
plagues, floods, famines
Examples of what was said by prominent Romans
Christians began to be persecuted and found safety
in the catacombs like those under the city of Rome
History of the Catacombs
In the first century, Rome’s Christians did not have
cemeteries. If they had land of their own, that is
where they buried their dead
In the first half of the second century, the Christians
received grants and donations of land and then
started to build catacombs
More on Catacombs
Many catacombs were family tombs who were new
converts to Christianity
These families allowed fellow Christians outside of
their own families to be buried there.
There are more than sixty catacombs in Rome with
hundreds of miles of galleries and ten of thousands
There are also catacombs in North Africa, Naples,
These catacombs are basically cemeteries
However, catacombs are cemeteries with a story!
The catacombs allow us to know the lives of early
Triumph of Christianity
In 303, Diocletian launched a serious persecution of
Christians in the Roman Empire
However, such persecution could not stem the tide of the
growing Christian community which was bolstered by the
example of martyrs
The conversion of Diocletian’s
successor, Constantine, (312) and Constantine’s lavish
support for the church and encouragement of conversions
transformed the Christian community
In 394, Theodosius forbade the practices of pagan cults and
by his death, Christianity was the official religion of the
Chronology of the Triumph of Christianity
Jesus of Nazareth is born in ca. 4 B.C.E.
Crucifixion of Jesus in ca. 30 C.E.
Gospels written in ca. 70-100 C.E.
Major persecutions by Decius and Valerian in ca.
Persecution by Diocletian in 303 C.E.
Conversion of Constantine to Christianity in 312 C.E.
Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E.
Christianity becomes official religion of Roman
Empire in 395 C.E.