Entries by Lance Ralston

500 Years – Part 05 // Can’t We All Just Get Along?

https://storage.googleapis.com/communio-sanctorum/500Years-Part05.mp3 As we come up to the 500 year anniversary of Reformation Day, when Martin Luther tacked his revolutionary list of exceptions to current church practice and belief to the Castle Church door in the German town of Wittenberg, we’re faced with the realization that the Reformation embraced many more people than the popular telling […]

500 Years – Part 03 // The Good & The Bad

By necessity due to time, we ended the last episode in the middle of recounting Luther’s great conversion experience, where he realized the righteousness  God requires isn’t one borne of good works, but is the righteousness of God Himself, which He gives freely to those who put their faith in the atoning work of Christ.

Heretics – Part 08 // Templars

Years ago I watched a TV show with fascination as the host, james Burke, started with a single item then over the course of the next hour, showed it’s link to something else, then that to something else, until after a dozen seemingly disconnected links it arrived at some marvel of modern convenience and daily […]

Heretics – Part 05 // Was He Really?

As we’ve seen in other episodes, theologically, the Church spent the 4th & 5th Cs figuring out exactly how to articulate what it believed about the nature of God & Jesus. The main questions it dealt with in the 5th thru 7th Cs, centered on how God saves the lost. Theologians were consumed with properly […]

Heretics – Part 04 // Compelling Issues

This episode of CS will be significantly different from our usual fare. Whereas when I give commentary on things, I usually verbally mark it off by giving a caveat and saying I’m offering an opinion. Well, this entire episode is that. Here’s why . . . and hang with me for a bit because it’s […]

Heretics – Part 03 // Can’t Keep a Certain Heresy Down

We’re going to go forward in time from our last episode nearly a millennium. Last time we talked about the Gnostics and the serious challenge they presented the Early Church. The dualism that lay at the heart of Gnosticism continued to rear its hoary head in the centuries that followed. It was part & parcel […]

Creeds – Part 11

We’ve worked our way through 6 of what are known as the 7 Ecumenical Councils of Church History. We’ve examined the Councils and the Creeds they produced. Although, after the First Council in 325 at Nicaea, each subsequent Council claimed that all it was doing was refining the verbiage of the Nicaean Creed. Each claimed […]

Creeds – Part 09

In 431, the Council of Ephesus dismissed Nestorius’ explanation of the dual nature of Christ in favor of Cyril’s. But that Council was swayed more by circumstance and politics than by sound theology. While Nestorius’ Christology was mis-represented by his critics to be proposing, not just two natures to Jesus, but two persons, Cyril’s Christology […]

Creeds – Part 07

In the last episode, we introduced the political situation framing the debate that ensued between two church leaders at the Council of Ephesus in 431. Those two leaders were Nestorius, Patriarch of the Capital Church at Constantinople and Cyril, arch-bishop at Alexandria. Let’s get in to the background on these two men so we can […]

The First Centuries Part 08 – Art

This episode is a bit different from our usual fare in that it’s devoted to the subject of art in Church History. It’s in no way intended to be a comprehensive review of religious art. We’ll take just a cursory look at the development of art in the early centuries. Much has been written about […]

The First Centuries – Part 07 – Origen

As I record  & post this episode, a new movie’s out called Logan. It’s appears to be the last installment for the venerable X-Men character Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. Logan was an immortal who became the subject of a secret military experiment gone wrong. His skeleton was infused with a fictional metal called adamantium […]

The First Centuries Part 06 / Tertullian & The Montanists

This is part 6 of our series titled The First Centuries, in Season 2 of CS. In the last episode we took a look at the Church Father Irenaeus. This episode we’ll consider Tertullian. That may prompt some to wonder if we’re going to work our way through ALL the church fathers of the Early […]

The First Centuries – Part 05 / Irenaeus

The historical record is pretty clear that the Apostle John spent his last years in Western Asia Minor, with the City of Ephesus acting as his headquarters. It seems that during his time there, he ppoured himself into a cadre of capable men who went on to provide outstanding leadership for the church in the […]

The First Centuries – Part 04 / An Easter Tussle

Have you noticed that, generally-speaking, Christians like to argue? Maybe we get it from our spiritual ancestors, the Jews. Once while on a tour of Jerusalem at what are called the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount, our Jewish guide told us that a frequent joke among his people was that where there are 2 […]

The First Centuries Part 03

In part 1 we took a look at some of the sociological reason for persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. Then last time we began a narrative-chronology of the waves of persecution and ended with Antonius Pious. A new approach in dealing with Christians was adopted by Marcus Aurelius who reigned form 161–180. Aurelius […]

The First Centuries – Part 02

This is part 2 in our follow-up series on the first centuries in Church History. We’re concentrating on the persecution Jesus’ followers endured. In part 1, we examined the social & civic reasons for persecution in the Roman Empire. The suspicion of nefarious intent by Christians, fueled by their withdrawal from society due to its […]

The First Centuries – Part 01

Welcome BACK to Communion Sanctorum: History of the Christian Church. We ended our summary & overview narrative of Church History after 150 episodes; took a few months break, and are back to it again with more episodes which aim to fill in the massive gaps we left before. This time, we’ll do series that go […]


Evangelism into Fundamentalism This 149th episode is titled Evangementalism. We’ve spent a couple episodes laying out the genesis of Theological Liberalism, and concluded the last episode with a brief look at the conservative reaction to it of what’s been called Evangelicalism. Evangelicalism was one of the most important movements of the 20th C. The label […]

148-Liberal v Evangelical

The work of the Protestant Liberal theologians Schleiermacher & Ristchl. The Evangelical response. The title of this 148th episode is Liberal v Evangelical In our last episode, we considered the philosophical roots of Theological Liberalism. In this episode we’ll name names as we look at the early leaders and innovators or Liberalism. Some years ago […]

147-Why So Critical

Part 3 in our looks at Theological Liberalism. A summary Biblical Criticism and Liberalism’s overall goal in merging reason & faith. The title of this 147th episode is Why So Critical? Two episodes back we introduced the themes that would lead eventually to what’s called by many Theological Liberalism. Last episode we talked a bit […]

146-Push Back

The Roman Church’s response to Modernism in the mid to late 19th Century. Pius IX’s development of Papal Infallibility. The title of this 146th episode is Push-Back As we move to wind up this season of CS, we’ve entered into the modern era in our review of Church history and the emergence of Theological Liberalism. […]


We examine the impact of the tendency for modernization to foster a creeping secularism in the 19th C. The title of this 145th episode of CS is Liberal. The term “modern” as it relates to the story of history, has been treated differently by dozens of authors, historians and sociologists. Generally speaking, Modernization is the […]

143-Coming Apart

Christianity as a religion becomes a diminishing factor in the political affairs of 19th Century Europe and Latin America. This 143rd episode of CS is titled Coming Apart Europe in the late 19th C was recovering from the Napoleonic Wars. War-weary, the nations longed for a prolonged period of peace in which to take a […]

141-Behind Enemy Lines

We look at the church under the Ottoman Turks after the Fall of Constantinople. We then look at the Ukrainian Uniate Church and the Russian Orthodox Church during the reign of the Romanovs. This 141st, episode is titled, Behind Enemy Lines. Following up their conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Turks conquered most of the […]

140-Up North, Then South

We wrap up our review of the Enlightenment effect on the Church in Europe by looking at Scandinavia, The Dutch United Provinces, Geneva, and Italy. This 140th episode is titled Up North, Then South. This will be the last episode where we take a look at Christianity in Europe following the Enlightenment. This narrative is […]


This is episode 134-Decline. Following the Great Awakening, which produced a deep-seated sense of Faith in so many Americans prior to the Revolutionary War, as the new nation organized itself around its new national identity, it realized something unique was taking place. A genuine religious pluralism had taken root. That was very different from the […]

129-Moravians & Wesley

The title of this episode is Moravians and Wesley. We took a look at Pietism in an earlier episode. Pietism was a reaction to the dry dogmatism of Protestant Scholasticism and the reductionist rationalism of Enlightenment philosophers. It aimed to renew a living faith in a living Christ. As a movement, it was led in […]

128-The Spiritualist Option

In this episode, we’ll take a brief look at what came to be called Spiritualism. Coming out of the 16th C, the, what seemed to many at the time, endless debates on doctrine & dogma, the intolerance of Christians toward one another, and the lack of any apparent movement toward resolving the mess, moved many […]

127-Which Witch

This, the 127th episode of CS is titled, “Which Witch?” and is a brief review of the well-known but poor understood Salem Witch Trials. The Salem Witch Trials are often brought up by critics of Christianity as examples of religious intolerance & superstition. And while they did indeed carry a bit of that, they were […]

125-The Rationalist Option Part 2

This is part 2 of The Rationalist Option on Communio Sanctorum, History of the Christian Church. In our last episode we took a look at eh genesis of the Enlightenment in England & France. We’ll come back to France  a bit later after taking a brief look at the Enlightenment in German & Russia. Germany […]

124-The Rationalist Option Part 1

The title of this episode is, The Rationalist Option Part 1. I want to give a brief comment here at the outset that this episode doesn’t track much of church history per se. What we do over the next minutes is take a summary look at the European Enlightenment. We need to because of the […]

123-Yep, Those English

This is the second episode in which we look at English Puritanism. We left off last time with King Charles I fleeing London after breaking into The House of Commons to arrest some Puritan members of Parliament he accused of treason. The men had been warned and had fled. What Charles had hoped would be […]

122-Those English

In this episode, we’ll take a look at English Puritanism. In Episode 96, Title English Candles, we consider the arrival of the Reformation in England and the career of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of the Anglican Church. When Catholic Mary became Queen, she persecuted Protestants. But when Elizabeth ascended the English throne a new day dawned […]

121-Looking Back to Look Ahead

In this, the 121st episode of CS, we return to our narrative timeline for church history. Before the 10-episode The Change series, we left off with the Reformation in Europe as it interfaced with the Rationalism of the Renaissance in what’s called Protestant Scholasticism. Let me be clear; there’s much that took place in Europe […]

114-The Change 04

[The substantive content of this and the entire “The Change” series of podcast-episodes for Communion Sanctorum is indebted to the excellent book by Alvin J. Schmidt titled How Christianity Changed the World. ] This episode continues our series examining the impact Christianity had on history & culture. Today we take a look at how the Faith […]

113-The Change Part 3

[The substantive content of this and the entire “The Change” series of podcast-episodes for Communion Sanctorum is indebted to the excellent book by Alvin J. Schmidt titled How Christianity Changed the World. ] This episode is part 3 in a series examining  the impact Christianity has had on history & culture. Today we go even further […]

112-The Change Part 2

[The substantive content of this and the entire “The Change” series of podcast-episodes for Communion Sanctorum is indebted to the excellent book by Alvin J. Schmidt titled How Christianity Changed the World. ] This episode is part 2 of our series considering the impact Christianity has had on history & culture. Today we dig a little […]

111-The Change Part 1

[The substantive content of this and the entire “The Change” series of podcast-episodes for Communion Sanctorum is indebted to the excellent book by Alvin J. Schmidt titled How Christianity Changed the World. ] In a nod to Bilbo Baggins, in this 111th episode of CS, we’re changing gears a bit to begin a series of podcasts […]

110-Faith in the Age of Reason – Part 2

The title of this episode is Faith in the Age of Reason, Part 2. In our last episode we briefly considered Jakob Hermanzoon, the Dutch theologian who’d sat under the tutelage of Theodore Beza, John Calvin’s successor at the Academy in Geneva. We know him better by his Latin name Jacobus Arminius. Arminius took exception […]

109-Faith in the Age of Reason – Part 1

The Title of this episode, is Faith in the Age of Reason.  Part 01 After the first flush of Reformation excitement died down, the Protestant churches of Europe went into a long period of retrenchment, of digging in both doctrinally & culturally. This period lasted from the late 16th to the later 17th C. and […]

107-Reform Around the Edges

This episode is titled, “Reform Around the Edges.” Stay tuned to the end of this episode for some important news about the CS 2017 Reformation Tour. It’s difficult living in the Modern World to understand the Late Medieval norm that a State had to have a single religion all its subjects observed. You’d be hard […]

106-Westward HoHo

Since last week’s Episode was titled Westward Ho! As we track the expansion of the Faith into the New World w/Spain & Portugal’s immersion, this week as we turn to the other European’s we’ll title this week’s episode, Westward Ho Ho, because I’m tired of saying Part 2. I know it’s lame, but hey, it’s […]

104-A Needless Tragedy

The title of this episode is – A Needless Tragedy. This episode sees us backtracking a bit. We’re going back to that period of European history following the Reformation called the Wars of Religion. We’re taking a look at one day – August 24, 1572 and one city – Paris & the infamous event that […]

103-Back in the East Part 2

This episode of CS is titled, Back in the East – Part 2 In our last episode, we took a brief look at the Jesuit missions to the Far East; namely Japan, China, Vietnam & India. We encountered the revolutionary approach to mission work of Alessandro Valignano and his spiritual heirs – Michele Ruggieri & […]

102-Back in the East – Part 1

This episode of CS is titled, Back in the East – Part 1 In our last foray into the Church in the East, we stopped our review with the Mongols. You may remember while the Mongols started out generally favorable to Christianity, when later Mongol Khans became Muslims, they embarked on a campaign to eradicate […]

100-CS Anniversary

This is the 100th episode of CS. Because this is something of a milestone for the podcast, we’re taking a break from our usual episodic fare for something very different. For those listeners who subscribe only for the historical narrative, you’ll want to skip this one altogether because we won’t be looking at Church History […]


There are two wonderful resources I want to let the CS audience know about. Go check out Pritchard Websites  and Reformation Tours. Pritchard Websites has recently become the new home for CS and Mike has done a stellar job of managing the transition. Reformation Tours offers great tours of Europe.

99-In the Low Countries

This episode is titled “In the Low Countries.” Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg are referred to as “the Low Countries.” The get this name because laying along the coast NW of Germany & NE of France, they are at or slightly below sea level. That and there’s not really much in the way of mountains. […]

96-English Candles

This episode of CS is titled is titled “English Candles.” We’ve spent the last several episodes looking at the Reformation & Counter-Reformation in Europe. In this episode we’ll take a look at how the Reformation unfolded, specifically in England. The story of the Church in England is an interesting one. The famous, or infamous, Henry […]

95-Point Counter-Point

This episode is titled Point – Counter Point: The Catholic Reformation. We’ve spent the last several episodes considering the Protestant Reformation of the 16th C. The tendency is to assume the Roman Church just dug in its heels in an obdurate opposition to the Protestants. While the 17th C will indeed see much blood shed […]

94-The Ultimate Fighter: Reformation Edition

This episode is titled, The Ultimate Fighter; Reformation Edition. The pioneer of Protestantism in the western Switzerland was William Farel. Some pronounce it FAIR-el, but we’ll go with the more traditional Fah – REL. He began as an itinerate evangelist who was always in motion, seemingly tireless; full of faith and fire. He was bold […]

91-Thrust Into the Game

This episode it titled, Thrust Into the Game. So far we’ve marked the rise of 2 of the 3 major branches of the Reformation. We’ve considered Luthernism & the Radical Reformers or Anabaptists. Over the next few episodes we’ll consider the 3rd branch, called Calvinism, or simply, Reformed Christianity. I begin with a summary of […]

90-Taking It Further

This episode is titled, Taking It Further. History, or I should say, the reporting of it, shows a penchant for identifying one person, a singular standout as the locus of change. This despite the recurring fact there were others who participated in or paralleled that change. Such is the case with Martin Luther and the […]

89-Luther’s Legacy

This episode of CS is titled Luther’s Legacy. Long time subscribers to CS know that while the podcast isn’t bias free, I do strive to treat subjects fairly. However, being a pastor of a non-denominational, evangelical Christian church in SoCal, I do have my views & opinions on the material we cover. When I share […]

88-Luther’s Struggle

This episode of CS is titled, Luther’s Struggle. As we saw last time, Luther’s situation after appearing before the Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms didn’t look hopeful. The majority of officials there decided to apply the papal bull excommunicating Luther & removing his protection. Some of the nobles knew they could incur […]

87-Luther’s List

This episode of CS is titled, Martin’s List. In the summer of 1520 a document bearing an impressive seal circulated throughout Germany in search of a remote figure. It began, “Arise, O Lord, and judge Your cause. A wild boar has invaded Your vineyard.” The document was what’s called a papal bull—named after that impressive […]

2015 Podcast Awards

UPDATE: Hardcore History with Dan Carlin won the Education category of the 2015 Podcast Awards last evening. Thanks to all of you who voted for History of the Christian Church. I have no idea “where” we came in in the total voting. But it was an honor just to be in the Top Ten.

81-The Long Road to Reform 06

This is the 6th episode in our series The Long Road to Reform. Much of the reform energy in the European Church of the Late Middle Ages was among the poor, and being poor meant being illiterate. The poor and illiterate don’t, as a rule, write books about their hopes & dreams.  So it’s often […]

80-The Long Road to Reform 05

This is the 5th episode in a series we’re calling “The Long Road to Reform.” What do you think of when I say “The Inquisition”? Many shudder. Some get a slightly queasy feeling in their stomach because of the way the Inquisition has been cast in novels & movies. There’s a bit of truth in […]

UPDATE: The 2015 Podcast Awards

I just checked the standings on The 2015 Podcast Awards and Communio Sanctorum – History of the Christian Church is at #10 in the Education category! I’m so excited. There’s a week yet to go, so if you haven’t voted yet, please add your voice. Go to podcastawards.com, scoll down to “Education” and select “History […]

79-The Long Road to Reform 04

This is the 4th episode in a series we’re calling “The Long Road to Reform.” A few weeks back I mentioned the Podcast awards coming up in April. I’ll have another announcement about that at the end of this episode. It was late Spring of 1490 when a Dominican friar stood at the gates of […]

78- The Long Road to Reform 03

This is the third episode in a series titled “The Long Road to Reform.” In our last episode we looked at The Conciliar movement that formed to end the Great Papal Schism and that so many hoped would be a permanent fixture for reform in the Church. But as well intentioned as the movement was, […]

77-The Long Road to Reform 02

This is the second episode in a series titled “The Long Road to Reform.” Before diving into the THE Reformation, we’ll do some review and add not a few details to the story of the Church. We do this because I fear too many of us may have the impression Martin Luther & John Calvin […]

76-The Long Road to Reform 01

This episode is the first of several I’m calling “The Long Road to Reform.” As I mentioned at the end of the last episode, we’ll track the Church’s long march to the Reformation, then pause before picking it up with THE Reformation by doing some episodes tracking Church History into the East. Until recently, most […]

75-The Witness of Stones

This Episode is titled “The Witness of Stones.” I’ve had the privilege of doing a bit of touring in Europe. I’ve visited the cathedral at Cologne, Germany on several occasions. I’ve been to Wartburg Castle where Luther hid out. Mrs. Communion Sanctorum and I did a 2-week tour of Florence & Rome for our 30th […]

73-A Glimmer of Reform

The title of this episode of Communio Santorum is A Glimmer of Reform. I assume nearly everyone listening to this is a student of history, or—why would you be listening? Some like history in general. Others find a fascination with certain eras or moments of the past. Whatever your interest in history, every student recognizes […]

72-Meanwhile, Back in the East

This episode of CS is titled “Meanwhile, Back in the East” because before we dive into the next phase of church history in Europe, we need to catch up on what’s happening to the East. The Mongol Empire of the 13th & 14th Cs occupied the largest contiguous land empire in history. Rising originally from […]

71-The Mystics

This episode is titled The Mystics & looks at the Mysticism of the Western Church during the Late Middle Ages. Alongside the Scholastics whom we spent a couple episodes on, was another movement within Medieval Christianity in Europe led by a group of people known as “The Mystics.” Don’t let that title mislead you. They […]

69-The Not So Great After All Schism

The title of this episode of CS is The Not-So Great After All Schism. At the end of our last episode, a Frenchman, the Archbishop of Bordeaux was elected by the College of Cardinals in 1305 as Pope Clement. But Clement never set foot in Rome, because the locus of political power had shifted to […]

67-No Dunce Here

This episode of CS is titled, “No Dunce Here.” The Franciscans had an answer to the Dominican Scholastic we looked at in the previous episode. In fact, Aquinas’ Franciscan counterpart lived at the same time. His name was John Bonaventure. Born in Tuscany in 1221 as John Fidanza, he became known as Bonaventura when he […]


The title of this episode is Scholasticism One of the most important questions faced by philosophers & theologians throughout the centuries has been the interplay between Faith & Reason. Are they enemies or allies? Is the Christian faith reasonable, or a blind leap into an irrational darkness? A major advance in answering this came with […]

64-The Eucharistic Controversy

This episode is titled “The Eucharistic Controversy.” As I mentioned last episode, as we round out the Middle Ages in Europe, we have several topics we need to cover before we can launch into the Era of Scholasticism. Last time we took a brief look at the Investiture Controversy and an even briefer look at […]


This 63rd episode is titled Invested We’ve concluded a series of podcasts now on medieval monasticism and return to the narrative of the Church during the Middle Ages in Europe. Before we do however, let’s remember the story of Church History is much bigger than just what happened in Europe. Most treatments of church history […]


This Episode of CS is titled, Francis Though we call him Francis of Assisi, his original name was Francesco Bernardone. Born in 1182, his given name was Giovanni (the Latin form of John). His father Pietro nicknamed him Francesco which is what everyone called him. Pietro was a wealthy dealer in textile fabrics imported from […]

59-Monk Business Part 2

This episode is titled – Monk Business Part 2 In the early 13th C a couple new monastic orders of preaching monks sprang up known as the Mendicants. They were the Franciscans & Dominicans. The Franciscans were founded by Francis of Assisi. They concentrated on preaching to ordinary Christians, seeking to renew basic, Spirit-led discipleship. […]

58-Monk Business Part 1

This 58th Episode of CS is titled – Monk Business Part 1 & is the first of several episodes in which we’ll take a look at monastic movements in Church History. I realize that may not sound terribly exciting to some. The prospect of digging into this part of the story didn’t hold much interest […]

56-The Crusades Part 3

The Crusades, Part 3. A significant result of the First Crusade was the further alienation of the Eastern & Western Churches. The help provided Byzantium by the crusaders were not what The Emperor Alexius was looking for. It also resulted in an even greater alienation of the Muslims than had been in place before. 200 […]

55-The Crusades Part 2

Episode 55 – The Crusades, Part 2 As Bruce Shelly aptly states in in his excellent book Church History in Plain Language, for the past 700 years Christians have tried to forget the Crusades, though neither Jews nor Muslims will let them. Modern Christians want to dismiss that era of Church History as the insane […]

54-The Crusades – Part 1

Episode 54 – The Crusades – Part 1 In the first episode of Communio Sanctorum, we took a look at the various ways history has been studied over time. In the Ancient world, history was more often than not, propaganda. The old adage that “History is written by the winners” was certainly true for the […]

52-Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

This episode of Communio Sanctorum is titled, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” In our study of the History of the Church, we get to examine some periods when the followers of Jesus did some amazing, God-honoring, Christ-exalting, people-blessing things. In future episodes we’ll take a longerish look at how the Gospel has impacted history […]

49-Charlemagne Part 2 & More

Welcome to the 49th installment of CS. This episode is titled “Charlemagne Pt. 2; & More.” After his coronation on Christmas Day AD 800, Charlemagne said he didn’t know it had been planned by Pope Leo III. If setting the crown of a new Holy Roman Empire on his head was a surprise, he got […]

48-Charlemagne Part 1

The title of this 48th episode of CS is “Charlemagne – Part 1.” The political landscape of our time is dominated by the idea that nation-states are autonomous & sovereign societies in which religion at best plays a minor role. Religion may be an influence in shaping some aspects of culture, but affiliation with a […]


This week’s episode is titled – “Challenge.” We’ve tracked the development & growth of the Church in the East over a few episodes. To be clear, we’re talking about the Church which made its headquarters in the city of Seleucia. Twin city to the Persian capital of Ctesiphon, in the region known as Mesopotamia. What […]


This episode of Communio Sanctorum is titled, “Liturgy.” And that’s where I want to begin: What comes to mind when you hear that word – “Liturgy.” Most likely—it brings up all kinds of various associations for different people. Some find great comfort in what the word connotes because it recalls a time in their life […]

45-Look Who’s Driving the Bus Now

This episode of Communio Sanctorum is titled, “Look Who’s Driving the Bus Now.” As noted in a previous episode, it’s difficult in recounting Church History to follow a straight narrative timeline. The expansion of the Faith into different regions means many storylines. So it’s necessary to do a certain amount of backtracking as we follow […]

43-Into the Middle

This episode of Communion Sanctorum is titled – “Into the Middle” Justinian I’s reconquest of Italy & liberating it from its brief stint under barbarian control was even briefer.  Soon after Justinian’s eastern forces regained control of portions of the peninsula & put them back under the Empire’s dominion, yet another Germanic group invaded & […]

41-God’s Consul

This week’s episode of Communio Sanctorum is titled, “God’s Consul .” One of the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s most important contributions to the Empire was to divide the top-tier leadership up so that it could rule more efficiently. The Empire had grown too large to be governed well by a single Emperor, so he selected a […]

38-Barbarians at the Gates . . . and Everywhere Else

The title of this episode is “Barbarians at the Gates – & Everywhere Else” I live on the coast of Southern California in one of the most beautiful places on the planet – Ventura County. The weather is temperate all year round with an average temperature of 70 degrees. The beaches are pristine & most […]


This week’s episode is titled, “Patrick” Last week’s episode was a brief review of Christianity’s arrival in Britain. We saw how the Anglo-Saxons pressed in from the eastern coast where they’d been confined by what remained of the Roman army. But when the Roman’s pulled out in 410, the Saxons quickly moved in to take […]


This week’s episode, number 29 for those who are counting, is titled, “Syncretism.” In recent episodes we’ve witnessed the growing rift between the Eastern church centered at Constantinople and the Western based in Rome. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451 the Eastern bishops elevated the Bishop of Constantinople to near equal status and authority […]

28-Justinian Sayin’

This week’s episode of Communion Sanctorum is titled – “Justinian Sayin” During the 5th C, while the Western Roman Empire was falling to the Goths, the Eastern Empire centered at Constantinople looked like it would carry on for many years to come. Though it identified itself as Roman, historians refer to the Eastern region as […]

27-Orthodoxy, with an Eastern Flavor

This Episode of CS is titled, “Orthodoxy, with an Eastern Flavor.” At the conclusion of the last episode, I said we’d be continuing our look at the Church in the East by tracking the Gospel’s reach into the FAR East. But when I sat down to compose this session, I realized I’d skipped an important […]

25-And In the East Part 1

This episode of Communio Santorum is titled, “And In the East – Part 1.” The 5th C Church Father Jerome wrote, ““[Jesus] was present in all places with Thomas in India, with Peter in Rome, with Paul in Illyria, with Titus in Crete, with Andrew in Greece, with each apostle and apostolic man in his […]

24-Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The title of this episode is, “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” In our last episode we began our look at how the Church of the 4th & 5th Cs. attempted to describe the Incarnation. Once the Council of Nicaea affirmed Jesus’ deity, along with His humanity, Church leaders were left with the task of […]


This Episode is Simply titled “Leo” In a sermon preached on the Sunday before Resurrection Sunday, Bishop0 Leo of Rome said, Among all the works of God’s mercy, dearly-beloved, which from the beginning have been bestowed upon men’s salvation, none is more wondrous, and none more sublime, than that Christ was crucified for the world. […]

20-Golden Tongue

The title of this episode it “Golden Tongue” As usual, we begin w/a quote from the subject of our inquiry today; the 4th C. Church Father John of Antioch, known as Chrysostom, meaning “golden-mouthed.” Preaching improves me. When I begin to speak, weariness disappears; when I begin to teach, fatigue too disappears. At another time […]

17-What a Difference a Century Makes

This episode, #17 of Communion Sanctorum is titled “What a Difference a Century Makes.” We begin with a quote from the 4th C Church Father Gregory of Nazianzus. “This I give you to share, and to defend all your life, the one Godhead and power, found in the three in unit, and comprising the three […]

16-The Daggers Come Out

This week’s episode is titled “The Daggers Come Out.” The Council of Nicaea we looked at last episode dealt with more than just the Arian controversy over how to understand the nature of Christ. The 300 bishops who gathered in Nicaea also issued a score of rulings on issues of church life that had been […]

12-The Lapsed Dance

This episode of CS is provocatively titled “The Lapsed Dance.” In “Martyrs” the 4th episode, we examined the persecution Christians faced at the hands of the authorities of the Roman Empire. We noted that persecution, while at times fierce, wasn’t one, long campaign of terror that lasted for 1 coup-le centuries. It tended to be […]

10-Hammering Out the Details

This week’s episode is titled “Hammering out the Details. ” We begin with a selection of quotes from Tertullian. Christians are made, not born. See, they say, how these Christians loveone another, for the pagans are animated by mutual hatred; how the Christians are ready even to die for one another, for the pagans themselves will sooner […]

08-Not Really An Apology

This episode is titled, “Not Really an Apology.” We begin with another quote from Irenaeus, Bishop of the Church in Lyons – “Error is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its […]

07-The Spreading Tree

This 7th episode of CS is titled, “The Spreading Tree “ Tertullian, pastor of the church of Carthage in North Africa, addressed unbelievers at the beginning of the 3rd C, saying à “We are but of yesterday, and yet we already fill your cities, islands, camps, your palace, senate and forum; we have left to […]


We take a look at how the Early Church settled on the New Testament Canon; the Didache & Shepherd of Hermas & two men who led abberant/heretical groups-Marcion & Montanus. Episode 5. This week’s episode is titled “Books.” The history of Christianity inevitably has to touch on the importance of Books. From its earliest days the […]


We take a look at why & how Christianity came under suspicion in the Roman Empire, the Martyr mystique and 3 important church leaders; Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, & Polycarp. Episode 4. This week’s episode is titled “Martyrs.” Modern marketing tactics first produced, and now feed contemporary culture’s obsession for “the newest thing.” The label “New […]


We consider Paul’s methodology for spreading the Gospel and the Faith in competition with other sects from the East. This week’s episode is titled “Cities.” We ended our last podcast with a brief summary of the difference perspectives on the 1st & 2nd Generation Christians. The debate centered on what role the Jewish law held for […]


We consider the transition from Jewish to Gentile Christianity and 1st to 2nd Generation believers This week’s episode is titled – “Launch” We ended the previous episode with Jesus on the cross just outside the walls of Jerusalem late Friday afternoon. The Jewish leaders & Romans thought that was the last of the enigmatic trouble-maker […]

Thanks to the Listeners

I want to thank all those who subscribe & listen regularly. I hope you’re enjoying Communio Sanctorum & look forward to each week’s episode which comes out each Sunday morning. If you found Communio Sanctorum by doing a search on iTunes, you probably know how difficult it can be to find what you’re looking for. […]

Welcome to Communio Sanctorum

Communion Sanctorum – The History of the Christian Church is a short-format podcast on the history of the Christian church from the 1st Century to the present. They release weekly. It began out of my desire to find a Church History podcast similar to Mike Duncan’s excellent The History of Rome, that is, short episodes that […]