Notable Contributions to Christianity - Religion Essay Example

Date:  2021-06-23 03:13:18
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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Anthony the Anchorite is regarded as one of the pioneering individuals in the practice of monasticism which involves seclusion and total devotion to God.

Region Lived and Served

Anthonys early life is mostly centered in Egypt where his journeys of isolation take him from Wadi El Natrum to Dayr al-Maymum. In pursuit of martyrdom, he goes to preach in Alexandria. Anthony then spends the rest of his life at Dayr Mari Antonios teaching fellow monks (Saint Anthony of Egypt, n.d).

Relevant Background Information

Anthony the Anchorite is also known as Anthony the Great and Saint Anthony of Egypt in different religious circles. As his last name suggests, Anthony was born in Egypt in the year 251. Anthony lived for over 105 years and died in the year 356 in Dayr Mari Antonios (Saint Anthony of Egypt, n.d).

Anthony was born into a well-off family. However, after the death of his parents when he was 18, he decided to devote his life to God. Anthony gave off his wealth to the poor and began life as a hermit. Since he was the only male child, he was the one who had inherited his parents property. However, he ensured that his sister had completed her education before sending her to live in a Coventry (Saint Anthony of Egypt, n.d).

Anthonys ascetic life began with his decision to go the Wadi El Natrun desert. His trip and the subsequent stay was characterized by multiple temptations. At one point he isolated himself in a tomb where the temptations turned to torture from the devil. Despite his ordeals, Anthony emerged unscathed to the surprise of many (Gregg, 1980).

Subsequently, Anthony made the foray to Dayr al-Maymum where his battle against the devil influence continued. Anthonys life is a proper description of how those who have a total desire to serve God through and God alone (through monasticism) should live. His life was characterized by abstinence from worldly and material things as well as bodily desires (Gregg, 1980; Saint Anthony of Egypt, n.d).

Anthonys life is not a shrouded in total isolation for he realized that once he had reached his desired level of spirituality, it was his Christian duty to spread the word of God and to seek out followers of monasticism actively. For instance, in 305, he left his isolation to give instructions to his fellow monks who wished to pursue a true relationship with God. While in Dayr Mari Antonios, he welcomed individuals who had an interest in Christianity to listen to his teachings (Gregg, 1980).

One of the key moments in the life of Anthony was his desire for martyrdom. In the year 311, Christians were being persecuted in Alexandria. Anthony went there and began preaching the word of God in open defiance of the rules of the authorities. However, despite his efforts, Anthony was not murdered for his faith (Saint Anthony of Egypt, n.d).

Anthony made many contributions to the Christian religion. For instance, he preached against Arianism which was a type of Christianity that made separated God from Jesus (Gregg, 1980). Furthermore, Anthony inspired many individuals to try and attain the same level of spiritual connection and devotion that he had through the practice of asceticism. Anthony underwent horrible treatment, but through Gods guidance, he led a spiritually fruitful life. Also, he redefined the practice of asceticism.


Gregg, R. C. (1980). The life of Antony and the letter to Marcellinus. New York: Paulist Press.

Saint Anthony of Egypt. (n.d). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved June 10, 2017 from the Great (354-430)

Notable Contributions to Christianity

Augustine contributed to the church through the development of Christian philosophy on subjects such as eternal truths, Creation Ex Nihilo, divine illumination, and ontological arguments.

Region Lived and Served

Augustine was born in Tagaste, Algeria. He studied in Madauros and Cathage. He also served as a philosopher in Cathage. He became a clergyman in Milan before returning to Algeria to preach (ODonnell, 2017).

Relevant Background Information

Augustine the Great was born in the year 354 in modern day Algeria. He lived for 76 years before dying in the year 430. Augustine is considered to be one of the greatest thinkers in the history of Christian scholars. Furthermore, Augustine was very skilled in prose and literary works. Some of his famous writings include City of God and Confessions (ODonnell, 2017).

Augustine was born in a Roman community in Tagaste. His parents were prominent individuals in their society, and this allowed them to give him education from reputable institutions in Madauros and Carthage. Even though Augustine had envisioned himself in a career of teaching or politics, he found himself becoming a clergyman.

The life of Augustine was characterized by continued conflicts between him and other forms of Christianity. For instance, he grew weary of his initial religion of, Manichaeism and began to oppose it. Subsequently, he teamed up with Bishop Aurelius to counter the spread of Donatism in Carthage. The conflict ended with a three-day debate which saw Augustine gain the upper hand (Pollmann, 2014; ODonnell, 2017).

The works and teachings of Augustine the Great are greatly influenced by Platonic teachings which formed the basis of his understanding of Christianity. Also, his teachings started off as a combination of orthodox Christianity and intellectualism. This allowed Augustine to offer his audience tasteful and exciting sermons. His transformation from the then contemporary teachings of Christianity to his brand of Christianity is perhaps the most redefining moment in Augustines life (Pollmann, 2014; ODonnell, 2017).

Even though Augustine displayed a distaste for Manichaeism, it played a significant role in shaping his belief system. Augustine spent a significant part of his youth isolated from the rest of society as he lived with believers of Manichaeism. Augustines views were altered when he encountered Saint Ambrose who was advocating for Orthodox Christianity. While in Milan, Augustine also adopted a life of celibacy and subsequent isolation. It was during this period that he decided to become a clergyman and return to Africa (ODonnell, 2017).

Aside from his oral sessions, Augustines contribution to Christianity is also seen in his literal works. Confession is a narrative of his rise and fall and subsequent redemption from sin. It acts as a personal testimony and a guiding principle for all those who flounder in their pursuit of God. In both City of God and Confession, Augustine provides a holistic description of love that provides a distinction between love for enjoyment and love for use. He also guides Christians on the types of love that they should pursue (ODonnell, 2017). Other contributions include the development of Christian philosophy through subjects such as eternal truths, Creation Ex Nihilo, divine illumination, ontological arguments and addressing the existence of evil among many others (ODonnell, 2017). Augustine explained through eternal truths that Gods existence is beyond human understanding. Creation Ex Nihilo argues that God created the world out of nothing. Ontological arguments by Augustine portray God as a priori and existing without mistake or question. Under divine illumination, Augustine showed how human understanding is largely reliant on God (ODonnell, 2017).


ODonnell, J. (2017). Saint Augustine: Christian bishop and theologian. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from, K. (2014). Saint Augustine of Hippo. An intellectual biography. The Journal Of Ecclesiastical History, 65(2), 380-381.

Pope Saint Leo I (400-461)

Notable Contributions to Christianity

Leos main contributions to Christianity included consolidating the Catholic Churchs power and influence at a time when it was losing its legitimacy due to the decline of the Roman Empire.

Region Lived and Served

Leo the Great was born in Tuscany but spent his life as Pope in Rome (Saint Leo, 2016).

Relevant Background Information

Leo the Great was known officially to the Catholic Church as Pope Saint Leo I. He was born in the year 400 in Tuscany. He lived until the age of 61, dying in the year 461. Leo was pope in an era where the Roman Empire was on a decline, and at the same time, Christianity was divided along theological lines. His actions during his papacy were directed towards unifying the church, removing dissent, and ending heresy (Saint Leo, 2016).

In the year 449, Pope Leo received word from Flavian of Constantinople that Eutyches of Constantinople was aiding in the spread of monophysitism. This was a type of Christian teaching that described Jesus as having a human form that had been overcome by a spiritual stature. Leo rebuked Eutyches for his teachings and instead asked him to preach that Jesus is both human and supernatural at the same time. Pope Leo also consolidated his power over the Catholic Church. He achieved that by citing the authority handed down to him by the disciple Peter (Benedict, 2010; Saint Leo, 2016).

At one time, Leo conflicted with Hilary of Arles who sought to challenge the legitimacy of Leos authority over the Gallican Church. Leo then looked for assistance from Valentinian the Third who recognized Leos power based on the duty bestowed upon him by Peter and made sure that bishops who defied Rome would be arrested. Aside from that, Pope Leo also sought to increase the legitimacy and power of the Council of Chalcedon in deciding religious teachings (Benedict, 2010; Saint Leo, 2016).

The teaching of Pope Leo as seen from his books are concerned with the rejection of monophysitism, interpretation of faith and the procedure of liturgy (Saint Leo, 2016). For instance, he condemned bishops in Sicily who failed to adhere to the prescribed procedures during baptism. Leo also instructed Patriarch Dioscorus of Alexandria to follow the teachings of the Apostles Peter and Mark only. Leo was protective of the Roman practices in the Catholic Church.

When Manichaeans began living in Rome and spreading heresy, Leo ordered them to recant their false teachings, burned their books, and sent them away (Saint Leo, 2016). His protective nature is also seen in the hundreds of letters that he sent to churches across Europe and Africa instructing them to adhere to specific teachings that came from Rome. Another significant moment in the life of Pope Leo was when he was selected as part of an envoy sent by Valentinian III to persuade Attila to spare Rome from attack (Saint Leo, 2016).

Pope Leo affirmed the churchs commitment to the teachings of Peter. He also spread the influence of the Roman Catholic Church and asserted its authority. His teachings defined the understanding of Jesus as a supernatural being and as a man.


Benedict, P. (2010). Church fathers and teachers: From Saint Leo the Great to Peter Lombard. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

Saint Leo I. (2016). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from

Saint Dominic De Guzman (1170-1221)

Notable Contributions to Christianity

Saint Dominics main contribution to Christianity was the development of the Dominican Order within the Catholic Church. His movement was unique because it promoted simplicity, frugality, and humility among the clergy and members.

Region Lived and Served

Dominics life is characterized by numerous travels. He started off in Denmark but his movement was mostly based in Paris and Bologna. Before his death, Dominic had embarked on an evangelical journey from Rome to Spain on foot (Sebastian, 2016)....


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