Cat. 1: Christianity and the Dark Side/Articles:16 & 17
St John Chrysostom
Athanasius
Cosmas Indicopleustes

Flat Earth Was Never Vatican Doctrine
But Many Churchmen Believed It

Leading Clerics
Embraced
Flat Earth
Concepts
St. John Chrysostom (347-407)
Athanasius
(296-373)
Indicopleustes
(6th Century)
  While the educated at the time of Columbus mostly believed in a spherical world those of the priesthood were not so sure, labeling the notion anti-scriptural and bordering on heresy.

  The biggest obstacle in Columbus' journey to the New World was the flat earth priesthood with more than twenty senior clerics opposing his venture, along with King Ferdinand who refused to open the coffers. His queen, Isabella, secretly sold off jewellery to acquire the three ships sought by the mariner.
  Despite sailing with the queen's blessing, Columbus' woes were far from over; his biggest concern being the morale of his men who believed they were sailing to oblivion. Thomas Bailey, in ‘The American Pageant’, writes of the explorer's crew:  "The superstitious sailors ...  grew increasingly mutinous ... because they were fearful of sailing over the edge of the world."
  Many early Christians promoted a flat-earth belief.  According to Byzantine prelate, Photius (820-891), Diodorus of Tarsus (d. 394) was an ardent proponent of the flat-earth theory as was Severian, a Bishop of Gabala in Syria (d. 408), who claimed the Earth was flat and the Sun did not pass under it.
  
Galileo Sentenced on Heresy Charge
  In 1610 – after flat-earth beliefs had mainly disappeared – Galileo published his findings proving Copernicus' theory that placed the Sun and not the Earth at the centre of the solar system.
  The announcement opposed Aristotle's model of the universe and was rejected by the scientific community of the day, drawing attention of the all-powerful church, which upheld the old teachings as direct from God.
   In 1633 Galileo was sentenced by the Roman Inquisition on suspicion of heresy and detained under house arrest until his death.
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(There were many early church leaders who held the belief that the earth was flat. However, non-Christian philosophers of the period taught of a global world).

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