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Timeline

Follow the development of Ontario’s places of worship through a comprehensive timeline of events and activities throughout the province and the world. From developments in church doctrine and the creation of new religious denominations to international events and wars that spurred emigration, you can explore our history to identify factors that have influenced the development of communities throughout Ontario – and the places of worship that accompanied them.

YearDescription
1400 -
Unknown
1. Humanism
Humanism is a broad term applied to philosophies and intellectual attitudes that focus on human experience, values and concerns. The pursuit of knowledge through the structured use of reason and empirical evidence is generally considered to be a fundamental aspect of humanism. Though humanism is not antithetical to religion, secular humanism is characterized by a rejection of religious belief.

1453 - 1453
Confirmed
2. Ottoman Conquest of Constantinople


1478 - 1834
Confirmed
3. Spanish Inquisition established


1517 - 1517
Confirmed
4. Martin Luther writes the Ninety-Five Theses
The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences was a repudiation of clerical abuses written by Martin Luther in 1517. It is considered to be the catalyst for the Protestant Reformation.

1525 - 1534
Circa
5. Publication of Tyndale's Bible
William Tyndale’s New Testament was the first of its kind printed in the English language. He also translated many books of the Old Testament before being executed for heresy in 1536. His were the first English Bible translations to draw directly from the Hebrew and Greek texts. They substantially informed the creation of the King James Version (1611).

1534 - 1534
Confirmed
6. Act of Supremacy
The Act of Supremacy of 1534 declared King Henry VIII supreme head of the Church of England.

1534 - 1534
Confirmed
7. Founding of the Church of England


1534 - 1534
Confirmed
8. Founding of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order)


1534 - 1534
Confirmed
9. Jacques Cartier erects cross in the Gaspésie


1534 -
Unknown
10. Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
Founded in 1534 by Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556), the Society of Jesus (or Jesuits) is the largest men’s religious order in the Roman Catholic Church. Known for their widespread missionary work and commitment to education, Jesuits are characterized by a combination of discipline, academic rigor and religious zeal. A marked devotion to the papacy is another distinguishing feature of the Jesuit order. Jesuits first arrived in present-day Ontario in 1634 when they followed the route established in 1615 by Récollet missionaries (and Champlain soon thereafter) that led from Montreal to the south shores of Georgian Bay via the Ottawa and French rivers. In 1639, they founded the mission-village of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons near present-day Midland. There they hoped to develop a Christian community comprised of both Europeans and aboriginals. The village, however, was a casualty of the Iroquois Wars and its residents were forced to burn and flee the mission in 1649. Eight Jesuit missionaries who died during the Iroquois Wars have been canonized – including Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues, Gabriel Lalement, Antoine Daniel, Charles Garnier, Noël Chabanel, René Goupil and Jean de la Lande. Despite events at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons, Jesuits continued to establish missions throughout present-day Ontario. As the region’s Catholic population grew, so did Jesuit institutions within it. The first major Jesuit outpost to be established in the province after the fall of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons was the mission of the Assumption at La Pointe de Montréal (Windsor). This mission served both the area’s sizable French-speaking population and Huron who had relocated there after the Iroquois Wars. It became the Parish of the Assumption in 1767 and is the oldest Roman Catholic parish in Ontario. Bowing to pressure from secular European rulers, Pope Clement XIV suppressed the Jesuit order in 1773. This decision hampered Jesuit activity in Upper Canada until well after the society’s restoration in 1814. There remained, however, a Jesuit presence in the region because Bishop Briand of Quebec decided against informing the Jesuit pastor at the Assumption (Father Potier) of the order’s disbandment. In the mid-19th century, Jesuits resumed operations in the province and established a number of missions in remote communities, including Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island in 1844, Sault Ste. Marie in 1846 and Fort William (Thunder Bay) in 1849. They were also the first order to serve Roman Catholic Germans in the Waterloo region. Throughout the following century and a half, Jesuits founded missions, parishes, schools and seminaries throughout Ontario. In 1924, the Jesuits of Ontario gained a large degree of administrative autonomy with the creation of the Jesuit Vice-Province of Upper Canada. At the time, the order had 30 missions, nine parishes and six colleges under their direction. Often working in close co-operation with diocesan clergy and religious women’s orders – as well as other Christian denominations and secular organizations – Jesuits have continued to play a key role in the education of countless Catholic youth and in the development of many of Ontario’s social institutions.

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