After Jesus ascended into heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit upon Mary, the apostles and disciples gathered together, and the Christian Church was born. Under the apostles’ leadership, the Church soon began to move beyond Jerusalem to the Roman Empire.
From its origin, the Christian Church believed that Jesus Christ is God visible among us.
The apostles and the first Christians lived and died in this faith. Between 50 and 100 AD the sacred authors wrote the books of the New Testament, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the apostles, to preserve the living faith of the Church.
While the first three hundred years of Christianity were years of persecution and martyrdom,
in 313 AD, the Emperor Constantine legalised Christianity in the Roman Empire. With Roman citizens legally free to become Christians, the Church became more and more visible with its buildings, monasteries, schools and hospitals.
By the sixth century, the network of monasteries had become centres of prayer, learning and culture. During the years of invasion and terror, the monasteries were safe-havens for these treasures.