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Update: Myth of Black Athanasius
See ancient maps of "Africa". Was Athanasius an "African" bishop? We must be careful to read history AS IS rather than making history fit our modern world.

CH101 - The Third Century

The Expansion of the Church, 202 - 303 A.D.

Outline:
The Severan Persecution
Clement of Alexandria
Origen of Alexandria
The Decian Persecution
Cyprian, Bishops and Pope
New Testament Canon, Part 5
The Issue of the Trinity
The Church Prospers
Key People:
Clement-Alexandria
Origen-Alexandria
Cyprian-Carthage
Sabellius-Libya
Paul-Samosata
Emperor Diocletian
Key Documents:
Protrepticus-The Exhortation
Paidagogus-The Tutor
Stromateis-Miscellanies
On First Principles
Contra Celsum
On the Lapsed
On the Unity of the Church

The Decian Persecution
In 247-248 Rome celebrated 1,000 years of existence with a three day, nonstop party. The church had grow immensely during this first half of the third century, had begun to reach into every strata of society, and had experienced a relative respite from persecutions for around 30 years.

248 - the troops of Decius proclaim him as emperor
249 - Decius takes control of the government
250 - Decius participates in the annual sacrifice to Jupiter and then orders that his example be followed throughout the empire.

It appears that resentments or prejudice had built up against the Christians - the order of Decius was quickly carried all around the empire, which was somewhat unusual. It was a brutal time for around 18 months. The bishops of Rome, Antioch, and Jerusalem were executed. When the wave of persecution had passed bishops came out from hiding and exile to find thousands of lapsed believers wishing to be readmitted to fellowship.

Second repentance had once again become an issue and the man who addressed it was bishop Cyprian of Carthage.

Learn more about Decius:
Trajan Decius (249-251 A.D.) Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors
Decius New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia

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Third Century Church History
3rd Century Church Heresies
Severe Roman Persecution of Christians
Third Century Christian Baptism
Third Century Bishops
Third Century Church Fathers
3rd Century Christianity
Clement of Alexandria and Heresy
Clement of Alexandria and The Instructor
3rd Century Fathers - Christianity
Clement of Alexandria
Origen of Alexandria
Decian Persecutions
Cyprian on The Lapsed
Bishop Cyprian - Novatians
Cyprian - Lapsed Christians
Clement of Alexandria and Prayer
Clement of Alexandria and Prayer
Third Century Christian History
The Trinity in the 3rd Century
Paidagogus - Stromateis - Miscellanies
Origen - De Principii - Principles
Paul of Samosata - Trinity
New Testament Canon, Canonized
Questions regarding Christian Issues
Clement of Alexandria and The Trinity
Clement of Alexandria and Contemplation
Third Century Christian Issues
Diocletian Persecution of Christians
Diocletian Persecutes Early Church
Novatian Baptism - Cyprian of Carthage
Early Christianity New Testament
Early Christianity Constantine and War
Important Issues in Early Christianity
Clement of Alexandria and Stromateis
Stromata, Miscellanies or Stromateis