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Orthodoxy dating

Larger-scale persecutions followed at the hands of the authorities of the Roman Empire, beginning with the year 64, when, as reported by the Roman historian Tacitus, the Emperor Nero blamed them for that year's Great Fire of Rome.

Another factor was the way in which Christianity combined its promise of a general resurrection of the dead with the traditional Greek belief that true immortality depended on the survival of the body, with Christianity adding practical explanations of how this was going to actually happen at the end of the world.

Edward Gibbon in his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire discusses the topic in considerable detail in his famous Chapter Fifteen, summarizing the historical causes of the early success of Christianity as follows: "(1) The inflexible, and, if we may use the expression, the intolerant zeal of the Christians, derived, it is true, from the Jewish religion, but purified from the narrow and unsocial spirit which, instead of inviting, had deterred the Gentiles from embracing the law of Moses.

He then called the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325, beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils.

In his "Great Commission", the resurrected Jesus commanded that his teachings be spread to all the world.

The first Christians were essentially all ethnically Jewish or Jewish proselytes.

In other words, Jesus preached to the Jewish people and called from them his first disciples, see for example Matthew 10.

There is no agreement on how Christianity managed to spread so successfully prior to the Edict of Milan and the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire.

In The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark argues that Christianity triumphed over paganism chiefly because it improved the lives of its adherents in various ways.

These men reportedly knew and studied under the apostles personally and are therefore called Apostolic Fathers.

Each Christian community also had presbyters, as was the case with Jewish communities, who were also ordained and assisted the bishop.

(2) The doctrine of a future life, improved by every additional circumstance which could give weight and efficacy to that important truth.