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As Christianity spread, especially in rural areas, the presbyters exercised more responsibilities and took distinctive shape as priests.
Lastly, deacons also performed certain duties, such as tending to the poor and sick.
These men reportedly knew and studied under the apostles personally and are therefore called Apostolic Fathers.
Each Christian community also had presbyters, as was the case with Jewish communities, who were also ordained and assisted the bishop.
According to the New Testament, Christians were subject to various persecutions from the beginning.
This involved even death for Christians such as Stephen (Acts ) and James, son of Zebedee (12:2).
The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christendom, and the Church with its various denominations, from the 1st century to the present.
Acts gives a history of the Church from this commission in 1:3–11 to the spread of the religion among the Gentiles and the eastern Mediterranean by Paul and others.There is no agreement on how Christianity managed to spread so successfully prior to the Edict of Milan and the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire.In The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark argues that Christianity triumphed over paganism chiefly because it improved the lives of its adherents in various ways.This eventually led to their expulsion from the synagogues, according to one theory of the Council of Jamnia.
Acts records the martyrdom of the Christian leaders, Stephen and James of Zebedee.
Similarly, several of the New Testament writings mention persecutions and stress endurance through them.