The compelling six-hour series ANCIENT ROADS FROM CHRIST TO CONSTANTINE charts Christianity's evolution from a small movement to the largest religion in the world, with more than two billion followers. Host Jonathan Phillips, an author and distinguished history professor at Royal Holloway, University of London, journeys into the fascinating world of the early Christians to explore the faith's long struggle and triumph against the odds. He recounts some of Christianity's pivotal moments at the actual locations where they unfolded, including Bethlehem (site of Jesus' birth), Judea (where Jesus preached) and Rome (where Emperor Constantine the Great embraced the faith as his own), among others. Phillips' entertaining and enlightening 12,000-mile odyssey through seven countries in Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East brings the rich history of Christianity to life. Along the way, he meets experts who have devoted their lives to the study of this important historical period. A frequent consultant and on-air presence for BBC radio, BBC television and the History Channel, Jonathan Phillips has authored numerous books on the Crusades, including the recently published Holy Warriors: A Modern History of the Crusades.
“Birth of a Faith”
The series begins in Bethlehem and travels throughout the Holy Land. With the Gospels as a guide, host Jonathan Phillips traces the life of Jesus from his birth, ministry, passion, and resurrection.
“The Great Missionary”
Meet the man whose transformation is one of the most compelling in history, the Apostle Paul. Journey with Jonathan Phillips as he re-traces Paul’s bold quest to bring the Christian message to Asia and Europe, a quest which would see him imprisoned, beaten and on the brink of death.
“Age of the Apostles”
Travel with Jonathan Phillips on Paul’s third and final missionary journey as the Apostolic Age comes to an end. Witness how the remaining apostles, except for John, are martyred for their unwavering beliefs. In Rome, Paul and the Apostle Peter will both meet their fate at the hands of one of the cruelest tyrants in history.
“From Apocalypse to Heresies”
In this episode, the city of Jerusalem is rocked by war. Host Jonathan Phillips travels to Patmos Island where John was exiled and visits the cave where John wrote the most enigmatic book of the New Testament, Revelation. Phillips traces the crucial battle where powerful heretics claiming special knowledge of Jesus threatened to distort, divide and even to destroy the Christian faith.
“Pagans and the Cult of Martyrs”
Host Jonathan Phillips treks to North Africa to tell the story of Perpetua, a young Christian martyr, whose extraordinary story still resonates today. Phillips visits places where Christians faced unimaginable violence because of their beliefs, where the Roman Empire threatened everything that Christians stood for with their pagan temples, emperor cult and vicious tortures.
In the final episode, host Jonathan Phillips explains how Rome exerted its fullest effort to eradicate Christianity. The faith grew stronger as the empires and emperors weakened. It would be the conversion of one man – Constantine the Great - that would fully transform the fortunes of the Christian faith.