The History of the Church

This course will survey Christian history from an Orthodox perspective from the pre-Christian Jewish and Greco-Roman background through the early Roman, eastern Byzantine, western medieval and Reformation, and eastern Ottoman eras, through the Communist persecution, and up to the present. It will cover the development of Catholicism and Protestantism and their differences from Orthodoxy. We will do this by reading Fr. John Morris’s The Historic Church, supplemented by many primary source readings in the early and later Fathers, as well as some Catholic and Protestant authors.

The study will include the history of the development of doctrine, practice, and church government, monasticism, persecution, worship, and the effect of Christianity on society in art, morality, slavery, status of women and children, government, and literature; and it will touch on the global expansion of Christianity in the last several centuries.

The class is primarily a read, listen, and discuss format with no quizzes or tests. However there are two kinds of written assignments: first, weekly short (one-paragraph) informal responses are required that are read by the teacher though not graded – these give the teacher further feedback about the student’s level of engagement and focus. Though the weekly response is not graded, the number of responses turned in will be taken into consideration if evaluations are requested at the end of the course by the student and/or parents. Second, there will also be one graded paper assigned at the end of the course which is intended to show the student’s grasp of the year’s material and incorporation of it into his or her own thought. This will make up another element of the final evaluation. The student’s participation in class is the third part of the final evaluation.


  • Prerequisites: Some knowledge of Greek, Roman, Medieval, and early Modern history will be immensely helpful.
    Instructor: Wes Callihan, B.A. 
    Age Level: Ages 15 – adult
    Minimum Enrollment Required: 6
    Maximum Class Size: 15
    Tuition per Semester: $360.00

    Class Meets:
    Wednesdays, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Pacific

    Click Here to see the 2021-22 Class Schedule

Fall enrollment is closed. Students may be able to enroll with the instructor’s permission. Please contact Spring registration opens Oct 18th.

(If you would like to enroll in this class but cannot attend at the posted time, please contact us.  We may be able to open an additional section.)

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Wes Callihan, B.A.

Wes Callihan grew up on a farm in Idaho and graduated in History from the University of Idaho in 1983. He has taught for thirty-five years–at two private schools, a college which he helped found, the University of Idaho, and his own online classes for the past twenty-two years. His online Great Books lectures have been filmed and produced by Roman Roads Media as a video curriculum for homeschoolers called Old Western Culture. He has spoken frequently on education and church history at Classical education conferences for home educators and private schools, and has taught summer intensive Latin and other summer courses. He has written columns and short fiction for journals and contributed to publications on classical Education and home schooling. He runs live residence programs at Hill Abbey (summer courses on the Early Church Fathers and a year-long “gap year” program), geared toward high school graduates.
Wes and his wife Dani have six married children and fourteen grandchildren. Wes and Dani live in the beautiful countryside of northern Idaho near Wes’s parents and most of the kids and grandkids, where six generations of the family have lived on the same family farm. They use the cold winters as an excuse to read, and the hot summers as another excuse to read. Wes also likes hiking and hunting, barbecuing, listening to the blues, gardening, movies, and travel (he has organized many tours for his students and their families to Greece and Turkey). But like the Venerable Bede he loves teaching, reading, and writing best of all.


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The Historic Church