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History of the Church History (page 4)

Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

The Christian faith was getting further from the original doctrine of the Apostles as recorded in Acts.

Emperor Antoninus Pius (AD 138 to 161), ordered that governors and magistrates should not give way to such outcries, and that the Christians should no longer be punished for their religion only.

In 161, Pius was succeeded by Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, because of bad advice, again started persecuting the Christians. Justis, a Greek, was put to death because he would not make sacrifice to pagan gods in 166.

Also in 166, Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, was burned at the stake. He was almost 90. He was said to have known John, and is supposed to have been made bishop of Smyrna, (now Izmir, Turkey, by John personally. He had been a friend of Ignatius, who suffered martyrdom fifty years before. Polycarp, when the proconsul directed him to curse Christ, was said to have replied, (source World Book Encyclopedia), “ For 86 years I have been serving Him, and He has done no wrong to me. How then dare I blaspheme my King who has saved me?”

It is said that as the flames swept around Polycarp, he remained unharmed. Then a soldier thrust him through with a sword. The blood gushed out with such force that it put out their fire. The soldiers rekindled the fire and burned his corpse. This part of the story of Polycarp, although I believe it happened, I could not confirm from history.

This martyrdom continued until AD 312. In the year 312, Constantine, who was governor of Gaul, (now France), Spain and the British Isles marched against Maxentius, who had usurped the government of Italy and Africa. Constantine seems to have been brought up by his father to believe in one God, although he did not at all know who this God was, nor how He had revealed Himself in Holy Scripture. But as he was on his way to fight Maxentius, he said he saw in the sky a wonderful appearance, which seemed like the figure of a cross, with words around it, "By this conquer!" He had the cross put on the standards (flags or colors) of his army; and when he had defeated Maxentius, he set up a statue of himself in Rome, with a cross in its right hand, and with an inscription which declared that he owed his victory to that saving sign. At about the same time that Constantine overcame Maxentius, Licinius defeated Maximin in the East. (This began the Byzantine history. Constantine I, The Great rebuilt Byzantine, renamed it Constantinople, and made it his capital. Constantinople is now Istanbul, Turkey.The two conquerors now had possession of the whole empire, and they joined in publishing laws by which Christians were allowed to worship God freely according to their conscience (AD 313). (Source World Book Encyclopedia).

Then the Roman government changed their tactics. They embraced Christianity and their Emperor Constantine became a supporter of the church. The new alliance was to become the Holy Roman Empire.

In 325 AD Emperor Constantine called a council of the various leaders of the Churches. The following is From the World Book Encyclopedia. This theory was