A History of the Church in 100 Objects

A History of the Church in 100 Objects

by Mike Aquilina, Grace Aquilina


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Winner of two Catholic Press Association Awards: Design and Production (Second Place) and History (Honorable Mention).

The star of Bethlehem exemplifies the birth of Jesus, the Wittenberg Door is synonymous with the Protestant Reformation, and “the pill” symbolizes the sexual revolution. It’s “stuff” that helps tell the story of Christianity.

In this unique, rich, and eye-catching book, popular Catholic author and EWTN host Mike Aquilina tells the Christian story through the examination of 100 objects and places. Some, like Michelangelo's Pietà, are priceless works of art. Others, like a union membership pen, don’t hold much monetary value. But through each of them, Aquilina offers a memorable and rewarding look at the history of the Church.

When Catholics tell their story, they don’t just write it in books. They preserve it in memorials, monuments, artifacts, and museums. They build grand basilicas to house tiny relics.

In this stunning book, Aquilina, together with his writer-daughter Grace, show how the history of the Church didn’t take place shrouded in the mists of time. It actually happened and continues to happen through things that we can see and sometimes hold in our hand.

The Christian answer to Neil MacGregor's New York Times bestseller A History of the World in 100 Objects, Aquilina’s A History of the Church in 100 Objects introduces you to:
  • The Cave of the Nativity (the importance of history, memory, and all things tangible)
  • Catacomb niches (the importance of Rome, bones, and relics of the faith)
  • Ancient Map of the World (the undoing of myths about medieval science)
  • Stained Glass (representative of Gothic cathedrals)
  • The Holy Grail (Romance literature and the emergence of writing for the laity)
  • Loaves and fish (a link from Jesus to the sacrament of the Eucharist)
  • The Wittenberg Door (Martin Luther and the onset of the Reformation)
Each of these and the 93 other items and places in the book tell part of the Christian story. Each is an essential piece of the story of our salvation.

God makes himself known and accessible through material things, always accommodating himself to our condition. It is, after all, the condition he created for us—spiritual and material—and the form he assumed for our salvation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594717505
Publisher: Ave Maria Press
Publication date: 10/20/2017
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 250,713
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Mike Aquilina is a Catholic author, popular speaker, poet, and songwriter who serves as the executive vice president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

Aquilina earned a bachelor’s degree in English/writing (Phi Beta Kappa) from Penn State University in 1985. He is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The Fathers of the Church, The Mass of the Early Christians, and Angels of God. He contributed work on early Christianity to the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought. Aquilina has cohosted ten series on EWTN and hosted two documentaries. In 2015, Aquilina wrote the companion volume to the NBC miniseries A.D.: The Bible Continues, and in 2016, he wrote the companion volume to the MGM remake of the movie Ben-Hur.

He has published hundreds of articles, essays, and reviews in periodicals such as First Things, Crisis, National Catholic Register, The Priest, Columbia, and Our Sunday Visitor. He is a frequent guest on TV and radio, including a weekly appearance on the Son Rise Morning Show.

Aquilina previously served as editor of New Covenant: A Magazine of Catholic Spirituality,The Pittsburgh Catholic, and Black Box Corp. He also worked as editorial director at The Barash Group. He has received honors from the Catholic Press Association, including “Best Magazine” for New Covenant during his editorship

He lives in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area with his wife, Terri. They have six children.

Grace Aquilina is a freelance editor who lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

The Church of the Apostles and Martyrs 5

1 The Silver Star in Bethlehem 7

2 A Jerusalem Paving Stone 11

3 A Roman Grate 15

4 Wooden Post by the Sea in India 19

5 Loaves and Fish 23

6 Lapis Lazuli Plaque 27

7 An Ancient Amulet 31

8 Stones of the Jerusalem Temple 35

9 The Chains of St. Peter in Rome 39

10 A Catacomb Painting 43

11 A Sarcophagus 47

12 Certificate of Sacrifice 51

13 Catacomb Niches 55

14 Codex Sinaiticus 59

15 Diocletian's Tomb 63

The Church and the Empire 67

16 The Colossus of Constantine 69

17 Empress Helena's Dirt 73

18 A Ravenna Mosaic 77

19 A Scene from Homer's Iliad 81

20 St. Ambrose's Bones 85

21 The Winner's Wreath 89

22 Glass Unguentarium 93

23 Ethiopian Cross 97

24 St. Menas's Flask 101

25 A Milan Baptistery 105

26 Eustochium's Cave 109

27 A Wedding Ring 113

28 Theodora's Halo 117

29 A Boy's Notebook 121

The Dark Ages 125

30 A Scribe's Stylus 127

31 St. Patrick's Bell 131

32 A Vessel for Wine in the Dark Ages 135

33 A Coin of the Umayyad Caliphate 139

34 An Icon 143

35 St. Boniface's Ax 147

The Middle Ages 149

36 The Porphyry Stone 151

37 Cyrillic Script 155

38 A Censer Used in the Divine Liturgy 159

39 Arms and Armor 163

40 A Bishop's Crozier 167

41 Bell Works 171

42 The Holy Grail 175

43 The Rose Window at Notre Dame 179

44 A Medieval Beaker 183

45 St. Francis's Tunic 187

46 A Philosophy Textbook 191

47 Mortuary Cross 195

48 An Antipope's Seal 199

49 St. Catherine Monument 203

50 Graffiti at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre 207

51 Damaged Artwork in Constantinople 211

Renaissance and Reformations 213

52 Gutenberg's New Machine 215

53 Christopher Columbus's Compass 219

54 The Miter of Cardinal Cisneros 223

55 A Sign of the Inquisition 227

56 Alexander VI's Seal 231

57 Michelangelo's Pietà 235

58 Dome of St. Peter's 239

59 The Wittenberg Doors 243

60 Bartolomé's Manuscript 247

61 The Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe 251

62 A Ledger Book 255

63 Iñigo's Bookshelves 259

64 St. Pius V's Shoe 263

65 Rosary Beads 267

66 A Sketch by St. John of the Cross 271

67 The Acquiescence of Walsingham 275

The Age of Revolutions 279

68 The Sacred Heart of Jesus 281

69 St. Junípero's Cradle 285

70 The Declaration of Independence 289

71 The Guillotine 293

72 Symbols of the Papacy 297

73 Seton Rock 301

74 A Confessional 305

75 Cardinal Newman's Desk 309

76 The Marble Figure of Bl. Pius IX 313

77 Holy Water Bottles 317

78 A Parchment Page-Turner 321

79 Union Membership Pin 325

The Global Village 327

80 St. Thérèses Curls 329

81 A Ballot from the Conclave that Elected Pius X 333

82 First Communion Card 337

83 Pope Benedict XV's Fountain Pen 341

84 A Weapon against Genocide 345

85 A Newspaper Headline 349

86 A Poster of the Russian Revolution 353

87 A Hole in the Wall 357

88 Bl. Salvador Huerta Gutierrez's Tools 361

89 Mussolini-Era Ribbons and Pins 365

90 A Concentration Camp Sign 369

91 The Maritain Medal 373

92 Vatican II Parking Pass 377

93 The Pill 381

94 Catholic Conference Tapes 385

95 Fetal Models 389

96 Altar of Sacrifice, San Salvador 393

97 Catholics on Television 397

98 Banknotes, Poland, 2006 401

99 A Cathedral in Korea 405

100 Pilgrim Offerings 409

Acknowledgments 411

Index 413

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