A site promoting and storing research tools and texts for the study of the Church and its environment in the Fourth Century. The site is sponsored by the History Department of Wisconsin Lutheran College and by Asia Lutheran Seminary, under the direction of Dr. Glen L. Thompson. To get started, see the menu of options in the far left column or further down on this page. See also the Governing Principles below.

All the original material on this site, unless otherwise specified, is licensed for non-commercial sharing under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

New to the Website:

The Council of Nicaea (325): We have updated our Council of Nicaea page to include Greek and English editions of all the surviving documents. We have also created seven documents displaying all the ancient accounts of the Council of Nicaea (325) side-by-side from ten ancient historians (Athanasius, Eusebius, Gelasius, Jerome, Philostorgius, Rufinus, Socrates, Sozomen, Theodoret, and the Anonymous Church History).  These documents are available in English and in the original Greek and Latin and trace the account of the Council from its summoning by Constantine to its adjourning.

Chinese Translations of Early Christian Writings: This table lists post-biblical Christian writings from the first centuries which were published in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China.

Documents Leading to the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431): The start of a larger project, we have begun with a chronological listing of original documents (through A.D. 429) that illustrate the growing Christological controversy in the East. Our chart also provides links to parallel column presentations of the the Greek and Latin texts with English translations for each of the thirteen documents. We have also posted a brief narrative account of the same period showing how the documents related to one another.

The Anonymous Church History (CPG 6034)This historical work in three books, written by an unknown author and thought to date to the late fifth century, has often been mistakenly referred to as the Church History of Gelasius of Cyzicus. It focuses on the reign of Constantine and especially the Council of Nicaea. Our translation is the first ever English translation of this work. Chapter-by-chapter translations of Books 1-3 are now online here . Complete translations of Book 1, Book 2, and Book 3 are also available.

A Harmony of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret: With sections arranged chronologically and topically, this project places English translations of the three most important church histories on the fourth century side by side in parallel columns for ease of comparison.

Governing Principles:

  1. The site will assist in undergraduate and advanced research by providing reliable reference materials, texts and translations that are not available elsewhere on the net.
  2. Every page will have its authors/contributors identified.
  3. Every text or translation will have its source/translator identified.
  4. We invite participation by the scholarly community in updating, improving or adding to the information provided.
  5. Although the site directors are Christian and Lutheran, every effort is made to present material as objectively as possible.

Any questions, comments, corrections and suggestions can be posted in the comments below or sent to Dr. Thompson at glen.thompson@wlc.edu.

We add new material often, and invite you to check the Recent Additions page frequently.

Website Contents:

What’s New
Recent Additions lists the most recent additions and updates to the Fourth-Century Christianity (FCC) website.
Contents contains the contents of the website.
Bibliographical Helps – a list of several dozen of the most important resources for the study of the fourth century, including the abbreviations used on this site when they are cited.
Chronological charts – links to some of the more important chronological charts and lists on the site.
Constantine the Great contains the first complete list of all of Constantine’s surviving works in chronological order.
Early Christian Councils contains a list of early church councils from A.D. 253-431.
Early Church Historians contains a chart with information about the historians who wrote about the early Christian church.
Early Egyptian Monasticism – A hypothetical map of a Pachomian monastery, listing the positions and areas of a Pachomian monastery, based on the rules of Pachomius.
Imperial Laws and Letters – A complete list of the over 500 surviving imperial laws and letters dealing with religion in the Roman Empire, dating between A.D. 311-431.
Patristic Abbreviations – Our first attempts at drawing together some standard abbreviations for the various works of patristic authors. This list is still incomplete.
Patristic Writers of the Fourth Century – Extensive lists of known Christian writers of the fourth century. Also lists of the surviving works of some of these writers.Works of Constantine – A complete chronological list of all the known laws, letters, and inscriptions attributed to Emperor Constantine (d. 337)Related Sites
Primary Texts
A Harmony of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret displays the three major church histories on the fourth century side by side for comparison.
Collectio Avellana page gives brief information on the Avellana, a link to download the Avellana from Google Books, and a summary of all the Avellana’s documents dealing with the fourth century.
Conciliar Creeds of the Fourth Century contains a list and translations of the known conciliar creeds from the fourth century
Documents Concerning the Melitian Schism contains a chart listing reference numbers, descriptions, ancient sources and English translations of the extant documents of the Melitian Schism from c. A.D. 303-335
Documents of the Early Arian Controversy contains charts listing reference numbers, descriptions, ancient sources and published English translations of the extant documents of the Arian Controversy from 318-333. Charts compare the chronology as argued by Opitz in his Urkunden (1934) and in the revised version of Athanasius’ Werke (2007).  Translations and brief notes are provided for each document.
Fourth Century Papacy contains material related to the bishops of Rome in the fourth century.
Marcellus of Ancyra Fragments contains translations of the surviving fragments of the writings of Marcellus of Ancyra.
Website Related
Abbreviations lists the abbreviations used in the website with bibliographic information.
Links to other websites with useful information relating to fourth-century Christianity.
Site Contributors lists information about the contributors to this site.

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