Church History
Christians believe they are called and enlivened by the Spirit of Christ. Church history studies how people have sought to put their Christian belief into practice, and is therefore concerned with spirituality as much as theology. The study of history has greatly shaped the expression of the Catholic teaching, the sacramental life of faith, diverse liturgical traditions and impacted ecclesiastical architecture and the built landscape of countries and cultures.
Church historians gather and analyse evidence, so as to understand why people acted as they did, and how these actions have shaped our present. History is thus part of our collective memory and the historians task is to tell the story of faith throughout the ages. Gathering evidence and telling the story of faith is an act of historical imagination. At the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962, Pope John XXIII stated that ‘history is the teacher of life’.
Thus Church history is an interesting and endlessly fascinating field of study. We meet towering figures such as St Augustine and other great pastors and teachers of the patristic era; St Catherine of Siena, monastic reformers, mystics and missionaries, great popes and influential thinkers such as St John Henry Newman. We explore our rich 2,000 year Christian tradition and examine particular periods such as Byzantium, the development of the Church in Australia and the role of Ecumenical Councils in the life of the Church.