Bonus 5- Martyrdom and Persecution with Stephen Guerra

In this episode we have another special extra-length crossover with Stephen Guerra from The History of the Papacy Podcast! Stephen and I discuss martyrdom and Roman persecution in early Christianity. We touch on topics ranging from modern studies into martyrdom, to myths about the persecutions, to how we critically evaluate ancient martyrdom accounts. I think you all will definitely enjoy this one! You can find Stephen's podcast at:

Published: Aug. 17, 2020, 1:59 a.m.

60- Retrospective on the Great Persecution

In this episode we look back at the past decade of history we've covered. I offer some of my reflections on writing the podcast as well as the martyrs, the Tetrarchy, the rise of Constantine, and the legacy of the Great Persecution.

Published: July 29, 2020, 3:21 a.m.

59- The Peace of the Church

Constantine confers with Licinius at Milan to cement their alliance and lay down the new imperial policy towards Christianity and religion in the Roman Empire. Meanwhile, the last persecuting emperor Maximinus Daia races westward to crush his rivals, vowing to Jupiter that if he is victorious, he will wipe out the Christian faith.

Published: July 8, 2020, 4:24 a.m.

58- It's Not Over Yet

Despite the Edict of Galerius, his nephew Maximinus Daia refuses to end the Great Persecution. After securing his power base, the emperor of the east launches a cunning campaign to resume the persecution of Christians and discredit their faith with slander and propaganda.

Published: June 24, 2020, 3:18 a.m.

57- In This Sign

Constantine experiences a vision in the sky assuring him of victory and longevity. Later during the final confrontation with Maxentius in Italy, Constantine has a dream which leads him to re-interpret the vision and look to the Christian God as his divine patron.

Published: June 8, 2020, 2:59 a.m.

56- The Palinode of Galerius

During the lull in persecution following the Conference of Carnuntum, the Meletian Schism breaks out in Egypt, while in Palestine controversy erupts over the theology of Origen of Alexandria. Nevertheless the Great Persecution is soon resumed as the Fifth Edict is issued in order to revitalize paganism and marginalize Christians from society. However, just as Galerius prepares to celebrate his Vicennalia, he is struck by a horrific disease, eventually leading him to reconsider his persecution of Christians.

Published: May 24, 2020, 7:33 p.m.

55- Toleration in the West

The accessions of Constantine and then Maxentius lead to an official end to the Great Persecution in the western provinces. However peace continues to elude both Church and State. Maxentius' usurpation triggers a civil war while factional violence erupts within the Churches of Rome and Africa.

Published: May 16, 2020, 7:39 p.m.

54- The Worst of the Persecutors

The succession of the second Tetrarchy grants the eastern Christians a respite from the Great Persecution. However, it is not long before Galerius and his new Caesar Maximinus Daia resume the persecution and introduce new harsher methods of enforcement and punishment in the process. Meanwhile the seeds of schism are sown in the Church of Egypt by the controversial activities of the new bishop of Lycopolis.

Published: April 26, 2020, 4:08 a.m.

53- Confessors and Traitors

The Great Persecution takes a much different course in the Western Roman Empire. While Christians in Gaul and Britain remain relatively unaffected, Christians in Italy, Spain, and especially Africa suffer greatly. These events will sow the seeds of bitter schisms among the western churches.

Published: April 12, 2020, 3:01 a.m.

52- Sanguinary Edicts

The Great Persecution begins with Diocletian’s series of anti-Christians edicts, culminating in the command for all his subjects to offer sacrifice.

Published: March 29, 2020, 1 p.m.

51- Ominous Signs

As the third century gave way to the fourth, tensions between the early Church and traditional paganism culminated in the emperor Diocletian’s decision to launch the Great Persecution against Christianity...

Published: March 14, 2020, 10:01 p.m.

50- Introduction II

This podcast is about telling a detailed narrative of the history of the early Church from its founding to the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. Covering Christianity in and outside the Roman Empire, the Apostles, Bishops, Saints, Heretics, Ascetics, and Martyrs of the early Church. This episode offers a recap of the past three centuries for both current and new listeners, as well as a precap for the upcoming episodes.

Published: March 1, 2020, 9 p.m.

49- Q&A

We finally conclude the First Three Centuries series with our Questions and Answer episode!

Published: Feb. 24, 2020, 12:30 a.m.

48- Reading Suggestions

In this episode we discuss some of the primary and secondary sources I've used in doing my research for the podcast thus far.

Published: Feb. 17, 2020, 2:11 a.m.

47- Life in the Early Church

In this episode we look at the inner life of the early Church c. 300 A.D., including church buildings, conversion, baptism, worship, and clergy.

Published: Feb. 9, 2020, 11:39 p.m.

46- Heretics, Jews, and Pagans

In this episode we continue our "First Three Centuries" Series by examining the religious groups outside the early Church around the year 300 A.D.

Published: Feb. 2, 2020, 9:18 p.m.

45- Death, Demons, and the End of the World

In this episode we look at early Christian beliefs concerning the evil spirits, the afterlife, and the end of the world in the first three centuries.

Published: July 25, 2019, 4:05 a.m.

44- The Salvation of Humankind

In this "First Three Centuries" series episode we look at early Christian beliefs about salvation, the saving work of Christ and its meaning, in the first three centuries.

Published: March 1, 2019, 3:58 a.m.

Bonus 4- The Supernatural Realm with Dr. Michael Heiser

In part 2 of our interview with Dr. Heiser we discuss the Israelite and Jewish background of early Christian beliefs concerning Angels, Demons, and other denizens of the supernatural realm.

Published: Jan. 31, 2019, 3:38 a.m.

43- God and Christ

We look at the origins and development of the Christian theology of the Trinity and Christology in the first three centuries. In particular how the early Church understood the relationship between God the Father and the Son.

Published: Jan. 30, 2019, 2:28 a.m.

Bonus 3- Origen of Alexandria with Stephen Guerra

In this bonus episode we revisit the subject of Origen of Alexandria with "The History of the Papacy Podcast" host Steve Guerra!

Published: Jan. 24, 2019, 3:05 a.m.

Bonus 2 - The Origins of the Trinity with Dr. Michael Heiser

In this episode we discuss the roots of the Trinity and Christology in the religion of ancient Canaan, Israel, and Second Temple Judaism with Dr. Michael Heiser. Dr. Heiser is a scholar of ancient Hebrew and Semitic studies. You can check out his content at

Published: June 8, 2018, 3:18 a.m.

42- Scriptures, Canons, and Interpretations

In this episode we discuss the Bible in the first three centuries of the early Church, including the text, the canon, and interpretation.

Published: May 27, 2018, 4:24 a.m.

41- To the Ends of the Earth

In this episode we look back at the expansion and geographical distribution of Christianity in the first three centuries...

Published: Jan. 24, 2018, 3:40 a.m.

40 - The First Three Centuries

Hi Folks, I need your help. More specifically listener questions. Once we reach the end of the third century, we’re going to take an extended break from the narrative and focus on key topics related to the first three centuries of the early Church. Here’s a list of what will be covered: 1. Geographic Spread of Christianity up to c. 300 A.D. 2. Scriptures, Canons, and Interpretations 3. The Trinity and Christology 4. Salvation and Anthropology 5. Afterlife, Endtimes, and the Spiritual Realm 6. Christian Life and Practice 7. Orthodoxy and Heresy 8. Early Church and Judaism 9. Christianity and Greco-Roman Society 10. Q&A episode Please send me, via email, comment, or PM, any questions you have related to the show. Feel free to ask me just about anything and I’ll try to incorporate your questions into my research. If your question doesn’t get covered in one of the topical episodes, I’ll be sure to include it in the Q&A episode at the end. Please keep in mind that these episodes will take me longer to research and produce. Thanks again for all your support!

Published: Dec. 23, 2017, 5:52 p.m.

39- Eusebius and his Contemporaries

We conclude the third century by looking at the father of Church history and the luminaries of his day...

Published: Nov. 30, 2017, 3:44 a.m.

38- The First Monk of the World

We introduce Christian monasticism into our narrative, by looking at the so-called first monk, Antony of Egypt...

Published: Nov. 9, 2017, 10:17 p.m.

37- East of the Euphrates

We look at the early Church of the East and its world in the lands of Mesopotamia and Persia...

Published: Oct. 26, 2017, 2:30 a.m.

36- Zenobia's Bishop

Despite newfound peace, in the 260s A.D., theological controversies sprang up in the Great Church. First between Rome and Alexandria, and then around the infamous bishop of Antioch, Paul of Samosata. A series of events which would eventually culminate in the first intervention of a Roman emperor in Church affairs...

Published: Oct. 3, 2017, 4:02 a.m.

35- The Little Peace of the Church

In 260 A.D. the Roman Emperor Gallienus recognized Christianity as a lawful religion, ushering in a forty year period of unprecedented peace and prosperity for the Church.

Published: Sept. 18, 2017, 4:06 a.m.

34- The Valerian Persecution

In 257 A.D., the Roman Emperor Valerian launched the second empire-wide persecution of Christianity...

Published: Sept. 15, 2016, 4:46 a.m.

33- The Baptismal Controversy

Cyprian of Carthage became engulfed in a controversy with Stephen of Rome, over the validity of heretical baptism, which nearly tore the Christian Church in half...

Published: Sept. 6, 2016, 1 a.m.

32- The Upshots of Exile

In this episode, we cover the events following the Decian Persecution in the eastern Churches

Published: Aug. 12, 2016, 2:10 a.m.

Bonus 1- History of the Papacy Podcast Crossover Interview with Stephen Guerra

An interview from Stephen Guerra's History of the Papacy Podcast where we discuss Christian history and related topics

Published: July 25, 2016, 11:08 p.m.

31- Rigorists and Laxists

In the aftermath of the Decian Persecution, two factions emerge over the issue of the lapsed. The laxists favor leniency and reconciliation, while the rigorists consider apostasy the unforgivable sin. The result of this divide are schisms which threaten the unity of Christian Church...

Published: July 16, 2016, 6:07 p.m.

30- The Decian Persecution

In 250 A.D., the Roman Emperor Decius unleashed the first empire wide persecution of Christianity

Published: July 2, 2016, 6:44 p.m.

29- Dionysius and Cyprian

We introduce the two principal Christian leaders during the mid-third century, Dionysius of Alexandria and Cyprian of Carthage...

Published: March 3, 2016, 4:38 a.m.

28- Origen's Legacy

We conclude our discussion of Origen of Alexandria by first looking at his refutation of the pagan critic Celsus, followed by a discussion of Origen's highly influential and controversial legacy within Christianity...

Published: Feb. 22, 2016, 4:35 a.m.

27- Origen: The Later Years

In the later years of his life, Origen would continue in his role as presbyter and professor at Caesarea, while also combating heretics in Arabia, intervening in Church councils, writing to the Roman emperor and empress, and authoring one of the most important apologetic works in the early church.

Published: Jan. 31, 2016, 1:53 a.m.

26- Origen at Caesarea

We continue the story of Origen by looking at his life in his new home of Caesarea Palestine as a both a presbyter and a teacher of a Christian academy. Among his students were famous men such as Firmilian of Cappadocia and Gregory the Wonder Worker...

Published: Oct. 12, 2015, 1:25 a.m.

25- The Antipope

In the early third century, the Church of Rome was engulfed in factional debates over Christology, which even led to schism. Along the way, important theological questions would be raised, and even more important answers would developed. In particular, the theology put forward by Hippolytus, the first "antipope" of the Roman Church, and the last Greek Church Father of the West...

Published: Sept. 11, 2015, 3:01 a.m.

24- Origen's Contemporaries

From Alexander Severus to Alexander of Jerusalem, the time of Origen was a lively one for Christian intellectuals living both within and outside the Roman Empire...

Published: Aug. 25, 2015, 4:28 a.m.

23- Origen: The Early Years

The son of a martyr, Origen of Alexandria would in time become possibly the most influential Christian thinker and greatest biblical scholar of antiquity...

Published: Aug. 17, 2015, 3:51 a.m.

22- Alexandria

We begins our look at the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important centers of early Christianity.

Published: Aug. 3, 2015, 3:15 a.m.

21- Perpetua's Passion

On March 7, 203 A.D., five young catechumens were martyred in the amphitheater of Carthage. The most prominent of whom was a noblewoman named Vibia Perpetua, who left an intimate account of the days leading up to her martyrdom...

Published: March 17, 2015, 12:36 a.m.

20- Africa Proconsularis

Tertullian of Carthage lived and wrote in Roman Africa during the reigns of the emperor Septimius Severus (193-211) and his son Caracalla (211-217). He was the first major Christian author to write in Latin and hence is remembered as the father of Latin Christianity. His views and theology would shape the Western Church for centuries to come...

Published: Feb. 22, 2015, 11:15 p.m.

19- We Need a Canon Don't We?

Why were certain books accepted and others rejected? How soon were the gospels and epistles regarded as scripture? This episode, we take a break from the narrative to look at the development of the Christian New Testament up to c. 195 A.D.

Published: Jan. 24, 2015, 6:11 a.m.

18- The Greek Speaking West

Irenaeus of Lyons was the greatest Christian thinker and writer of the second century. He was a peacemaker, wrote against the Gnostics, shepherded the Gallic Churches, but most of all, he bequeathed the diverse Great Church with a common basis for unity.

Published: Jan. 8, 2015, 8:18 p.m.

17- Pagan Reactions

On top of persecution, the Church now begins to face the first well informed pagan critics of Christianity, Galen and Celsus.

Published: Nov. 21, 2014, 4:50 p.m.

16- Gallic Pogrom

In the summer of 177 A.D., a horrific and gruesome anti-Christian pogrom broke out in Gaul. By August, forty-eight Christians were brutally martyred with the approval of the emperor Marcus Aurelius himself.

Published: Sept. 15, 2014, 8:29 p.m.

15- New Prophecy

The Golden Age of Antonine Rome came to an end with wars and plague and more (surprise) pagan persecution of Christians. As a result, the sectarian and apocalyptic fervor of earlier decades reappeared in the Church, and it reappeared with a vengeance in the heresy of Montanism.

Published: Sept. 10, 2014, 1:20 a.m.

14- The Good Samaritan

Justin Martyr (ca. 100-165 A.D.) was the greatest of the second century Greek-speaking Christian apologists. He defended orthodox Christianity against heretics, Jews, and pagans. A native of Samaria, Justin argued Jesus Christ was the completion of the truth all religions and philosophies were earnestly searching for...

Published: July 21, 2014, 2:54 a.m.

13- More Precious Than Gold

Polycarp of Smyrna made peace with the Church of Rome over the dating of Easter, only to return home to die a martyr...

Published: July 2, 2014, 3:48 a.m.

12- Firstborn of Satan

In July of 144 A.D., the Church of Rome excommunicated a heretic named Marcion of Sinope. This man would try to sever the Church completely from its Jewish roots and was also the first Christian to create a list of canonical books which constituted a "New Testament."

Published: June 18, 2014, 4:19 a.m.

11- Secret Knowledge

This episode, we take a short break from the narrative to explore a group of sects that will vex the Church more than any other previous heresy, Gnosticism!

Published: June 2, 2014, 3:50 a.m.

10- Jews Not for Jesus

Back in Judaea, the Jerusalem Church is beset by internal schism, persecution from both Romans and Rabbis, and finally a false Messiah intent on war with Rome. The end result will be catastrophic for Jewish believers.

Published: May 15, 2014, 9:14 p.m.

9- Fathers, Martyrs, and Apologists

The disciples of the Apostles continue to lead the Church while struggling against heresy and persecution. The Church is also brought to the direct attention of the Roman Emperors Trajan and Hadrian by provincial governors in Asia Minor. Finally, Christian apologists have begun writing in defense of their faith.

Published: May 15, 2014, 12:39 a.m.

8- Apostolic Succession

We finally wind down the first century with the last days of the Apostle John. The next generation of Christians must take up the challenge of confronting heresy, schism, and persecution after the Apostles are all gone.

Published: Feb. 16, 2014, 11:59 p.m.

7- End of a World

After Rome is devastated by a great fire, Emperor Nero decides to use the Church as a scapegoat. Meanwhile, the Judeans finally revolt against their imperial masters. Both the persecution and the Jewish war will have a profound impact on the Church and her future.

Published: Feb. 2, 2014, 3:28 a.m.

6- The Other Apostles

We know about Paul, but what about the other Apostles? Peter's in Rome, James is in Jerusalem, Thomas and Thaddaeus are off to the east, and Andrew is... where exactly?

Published: Jan. 23, 2014, 4:44 a.m.

5- Go West Young Man

Paul was off again on his third missionary journey. After he returned to Jerusalem, events would be set in motion that would eventually culminate in him coming to Rome itself.

Published: Dec. 26, 2013, 5:02 p.m.

4- Cut it Off!

Paul is off on his first missionary journey, only to return and find false brethren preaching a different Gospel...

Published: Nov. 24, 2013, 7:56 a.m.

3- Calling the Nations

The newly converted Apostle Paul is received by Peter and James in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the Church is spreading all over the Levant to Jews and even Gentiles...

Published: Oct. 19, 2013, 10:54 p.m.

2- Pentecost to Paul

The Church is born and begins evangelizing the people of Israel despite persecution. In the midst of the this the Church gains an Apostle in the most unlikely of persons...

Published: Oct. 2, 2013, 2:58 a.m.

1- Introduction

Overview of the scope and content of the podcast

Published: Sept. 27, 2013, 4:07 a.m.

  • Page of .