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: 15+

    Minimum Enrollment Required: 6

    Maximum Enrollment: 15

    Tuition per Semester: $395.00

    Class Meets: Tuesdays 1:00 - 3:00 PM Pacific Time


Fall 2022 Registration is Open!

(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 nearly forty years–at two private schools, two colleges, and his own online classes for the past twenty-five years. His online Great Books lectures have been filmed and produced by Roman Roads Press as a video curriculum for home schoolers called Old Western Culture. He speaks regularly on education and church history at Classical education conferences for home educators and private schools, has written columns and short fiction for journals and contributed to publications on classical Education and home schooling, and has taught summer courses on the Early Church Fathers for many years. 

Wes and his wife Dani have six married children and eighteen 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