Some great figures of Christianity include Jesus, who founded Christianity about 2,000 years ago and whose resurrection serves as Christianity's foundation, St. Peter and the Apostles, Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist, whose baptism of Jesus was another major event. Others important figures include St. Nicholas, who is also called Santa Claus, the theologian St. Augustine, St. Francis of Assisi and Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism.
From around the time of Jesus himself, Romans and others martyred Christians by various means, including torturous crucifixion and blood games in the Coliseum and other venues. The martyring ended in the fifth century.
In 312, A.D. Emperor Constantine converted and declared Christianity the religion of Rome.
The Great Schism between the Western Church in Rome and the Eastern churches happened in 1054.
In 1095, Pope Urban II declared the First Crusade, during which European warriors went to the Holy Land in the Middle East and made war to reclaim it for Christianity. Subsequent crusades followed until the 13th century.
Martin Luther was born in 1483. He broke away from the Church, which he saw as corrupt, and founded Lutheranism, the first Protestant sect.
In 1609, John Smyth founded the Baptist Church, which holds that adult believers, not infants, should be baptized. Baptists see immersion in water as a soul-cleansing ritual in which believers accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Methodists, whose sect John Wesley founded in 1729, split with Baptists over slavery in 1845.
In 1962, Pope John XXIII created the Second Vatican Council, which allowed languages other than Latin during Mass, allowed Catholics to pray with other Christians and encouraged friendliness with non-Christian faiths.