How did the religion of Love survive paganism and barbarianism? The Empire persecuted the Christians and was eventually converted. The Barbarians sacked Rome, but were converted too.
How did the religion of Love manage to survive against paganism and barbarianism? How did the first Christians live? Who were their most terrible enemies: idols, lions, Jews... or heretics? How did they defend their faith? How did they propagate it?
The blood of the martyrs was the seed for new Christians. But after the persecutions of the Romans and the barbarian invasions came another grave danger for the new religion: heresies... They would not be lethal. On the contrary, they provided the opportunity to define the essential truths of Christian faith, consolidating the roots of a millennial Church. This in-depth new film series produced in Europe explores this amazing story of the witness of the early Christians and the spread of Christianity.
This episode describes the New Life embodied by the Christians in sharp contrast with the Paganism surrounding them. Liturgical life is centered in the Eucharist, the practice of real brotherly charity, and the striving to sanctity. The perception of Jesus Christ as God and Man sets the ground for the rising Church, and provides a clue to understand the witnessing of the Martyrs.
Christians refuse to let their God be one more in the Roman Pantheon. This is the turning point where History changes. It meant confrontation between polytheism and the Mystery of the Cross. In face of a sensual and materialistic society, Christians present the powerful figure of Jesus. His supernatural message, linked to the coherent life of the Christians, sparks the wave of conversions.
Christians are attacked by the imperial authorities, by the public opinion through slander, and by pagan intellectuals. How did they react? Not with violence, but by conquering minds and hearts. This was achieved mainly by the shining figures of the Apostolic Fathers, building stones of the Christian tradition. Special focus on the danger of Gnosticism, and the Apocryphal writings. Who were the Apologist Fathers? How was their dialogue with the pagan culture?
Who was Arius? Why was his doctrine so influential in the Roman world? The errors around the concepts of Jesus God and Jesus Man. The rapid spread of the Arian heresy fueled by power politics. Its geographical expansion and its permanence in time spells deep fears and new ideas on how to prevent or halt the propagation of heresies. This would eventually prepare the ground for the Inquisition centuries later.
The so-called "giving up" of the Church to the Secular Power is a recurrent theme throughout history. In this episode we shall discover the truth about Emperor Constantine and how he gave liberty to the Christians. And how, while granting them religious freedom, he tried to exert control over the Church...
We discover the adventurous life of one of the World's most powerful minds. His works would inspire philosophy and theology and became a pillar of western culture. This wayward youth from Carthage would be Saint Augustine. Long years of missteps and tireless search for truth led him from Manichaeism to Neo-Platonism and later to Christianity. In his last years the Vandal scourge could favour a new outbreak of paganism... He wrote then his brilliant work, "The City of God". His legacy was immense. He transmitted two cultures, the Greco-Roman and the Judeo-Christian. He marked out a new path for thought.
They were a new phenomenon. During the first three centuries, Christians had led an ascetic life without abandoning their homes and work. There was no community life yet. Now in the 3rd century some retire to the desert seeking refuge during the persecutions. Gradually a sort of community life within the close walls of monasteries begins to flourish. Figures such as St. Pacomius, St. Anthony and St. Benedict made known the perennial call to the reform of the Church and to personal sanctity.
During the 5th century, when the Barbarians threatened to smash the Western part of the Empire, the Church emerged as the only authority left to face the danger. Thanks to her the Latin language and culture were preserved. Moreover, Roman Law became one of the pillars of the new Christian civilization. Not only the Church baptized the Barbaric nations but transferred to them the science and culture that she then only possessed. She smoothed their customs and laws, inspired its literature, architecture and other arts. She made of them Christian nations.
The Eastern part of the Empire was more christianized then the West. It survived the Barbarian scourge one thousand years more. Byzantium accomplished the fundamental mission of safeguarding the classic civilization, the roman law and the Greco Christian philosophy. Without this the basis of the Western civilization would have been lost. When Constantinople falls under Turkish Islam (1453), a flourishing Catholic Western Europe had taken the relay.
This DVD contains the following languages: English and Spanish languages.
DVDs are not licensed for public group showings, so in order to show any of these films to your parish, school or organization, you must purchase a Site License which includes additional DVDs to sell or give away. Ignatius Press will provide support and additional information to help make this experience for your parish, school or organization a successful and memorable one! Purchase of these DVD packages includes the permission to show the film in a public setting. If you have questions please contact Diane Hanson (see contact information below).