Church history Professor, Steven Weidenkopf, who teaches “Church History I & II” at Christendom’s graduate school is the creator and co-author of the Church history study, Epic: A Journey Through Church History, published by Ascension Press. This year, he added to the repertoire of the Epic series with a set of live lectures that were filmed for a special focus in the collection on the early Church.
Weidenkopf recorded at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Annandale, VA, over a two-day, all-day filming session in front of a live studio audience. Christendom graduate students were specially invited to see their professor in action. Topics covered included how the early Church was the same Catholic Church we know today, the ‘back story’ of the persecutions against the Church by the Roman Empire, fascinating personal stories of early popes and saints, how the Church Fathers passed on and defended the sacred deposit of faith, and how the four marks of the Church have been present from the very beginning: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
“I hope that all those who participate in this study grow in their Catholic identity and, as a result of that, closer to Jesus and the Church,” Weidenkopf said. “The study of Church history is really a study of our family story. By knowing our family we know who we are and develop our identity.”
Just hours after the sessions, the professor was already successful in his mission. According to the DRE of St. Ambrose, Simone Rizkallah, an alumna of Christendom’s graduate school, her DRE Assistant, Laura, encountered a man who tried to convince her that the Council of Nicaea was the way Constantine arbitrarily chose the Canon of Scripture—just hours after one of the sessions.
“Thanks to the program she was able to correct his belief—probably an idea he got from Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code—and confidently stated that the Council had nothing to do with the Canon and that it dealt primarily with the Arian heresy,” Rizkallah said.
Graduate student Andrew Olson said that though the two-day filming was “exhausting,” Prof. Weidenkopf is a great presenter who has an obvious passion for the history of the Church.
“This program will help people by giving them a much better sense of God’s plan in history and of His providential care for His people through His Church,” Olson said. The materials for The Early Church, like those for the original Epic: A Journey through Church History, include DVD’s of the lectures, and study materials such as a leader’s guide, student workbook, and an innovative, color-coded timeline. The new Early Church materials can be ordered at ourcatholichistory.com.