Christians in North America are often unaware of one of the largest and most devoted segments of the Christian church, the Orthodox churches. During the first few centuries A.D., the church remained largely unified. But eventually, a variety of doctrinal and political disputes led to the separation of the church into roughly two main divisions, East and West.
Following the lead of secular culture, many Christians place Christmas as the most important day in the Christian year. This article suggests that a more profound understanding of Christmas arises out of an awareness of the history of the Christian year. Christmas should be understood in light of the events which follow—Epiphany and, eventually, Easter.
By making Christianity a legal religion, Constantine opened the door for one of the greatest periods of growth in the history of the church.
Constantine the Great (c. 280-337), the first Christian Roman Emperor, was installed by Roman troops in 306 after distinguishing himself in the Egyptian and Persian wars during the reign of Diocletian.