Christianity

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world’s largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.

 

Christianity remains culturally diverse in its Western and Eastern branches, as well as in its doctrines concerning justification and the nature of salvation, ecclesiology, ordination, and Christology. Their creeds generally hold in common Jesus as the Son of God—the logos incarnated—who ministered, suffered, and died on a cross, but rose from the dead for the salvation of mankind; as referred to as the gospel, meaning the “good news“, in the Bible (scripture). Describing Jesus’ life and teachings are the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John with the Jewish Old Testament as the gospel’s respected background.

The Gothic Revival 19th-century chapel of Mansfield College, Oxford, an English Calvinist foundation, with statues and stained glass figures of divines of the Reform tradition

Aniconism in Christianity

Aniconism in Christianity Christianity has not generally practised aniconism, or the avoidance or prohibition of types of images, but has had an active tradition of making and venerating images of God and other religious figures. However, there are periods of aniconism in Christian history, notably during the controversy of the Byzantine iconoclasm...

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Greek Orthodox Church

Greek Orthodox Church The name Greek Orthodox Church (Ἑλληνορθόδοξη Ἑκκλησία, Ellinorthódoxi Ekklisía), or Greek Orthodoxy, is a term referring to the body of several Churches within the larger communion of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, whose liturgy is or was traditionally conducted in Koine Greek, the original language of the Septuagint and the New Testament. Its history, traditions, and theology are rooted in the early Church Fathers and...

Acts 1:1–2a from the 14th century Minuscule 223

Acts of the Apostles

Acts of the Apostles The Acts of the Apostles (Actūs Apostolōrum), often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman Empire. Acts and the Gospel...

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet, by Ford Madox Brown (1852–1856)

Christianity in the 1st Century

Christianity in the 1st Century Christianity in the 1st century covers the formative history of Christianity, from the start of the ministry of Jesus (c. 27–29 AD) to the death of the last of the Twelve Apostles (c. 100) (and is thus also known as the Apostolic Age). Early Christianity developed out of the eschatological ministry of Jesus. Subsequent to Jesus’ death,...

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Addis Ababa

Oriental Orthodox Churches

Oriental Orthodox Churches The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Christian churches adhering to Miaphysite Christology and theology, with a total of 60 million members worldwide. As some of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Oriental Orthodox Churches have played a prominent role in the history and culture of Armenia, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan...

Dirk Willems saves his pursuer. This act of mercy led to his recapture, after which he was burned at the stake. Luyken, Jan (1685), Dirk Willems (picture).

Anabaptism

Anabaptism Anabaptism (from Neo-Latin anabaptista, from the Greek ἀναβαπτισμός: ἀνά- “re-” and βαπτισμός “baptism“,) is a Christian movement which traces its origins to the Radical Reformation. The movement is generally seen as an offshoot of Protestantism, although this view has been challenged by some Anabaptists. Approximately 4 million Anabaptists live in the world today with adherents scattered...

An Eastern Roman mosaic showing a basilica with towers, mounted with Christian crosses, 5th century, Louvre.

History of Early Christianity

History of Early Christianity The history of early Christianity covers the Apostolic Age (1st century, CE) and the Ante-Nicene Period (c.100-325 CE), to the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. The earliest followers of Jesus comprised an apocalyptic, Second Temple Jewish sect of Jewish Christians. Eventually, the inclusion of Gentile God-fearers led to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion,...

The Westminster Assembly, which saw disputes on Church polity in England (Victorian history painting by John Rogers Herbert).

Puritans

Puritans The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries, who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and needed to become more Protestant. Puritanism played a significant role in English history, especially during the Protectorate. Puritans were dissatisfied with the limited extent of the English...

A mosaic of Blessed Paul VI is seen in the Trinity Dome at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. He visited the shrine as an archbishop in 1960. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)

Canonization

Canonization Canonization is the declaration of a deceased person as an officially recognized saint, specifically, the official act of a Christian communion declaring a person worthy of public cult and entering his or her name in the canon, or authorized list, of that communion’s recognized saints. Catholic Church Canonization is a papal declaration that the Catholic faithful may venerate a...

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Moscow. View from southeast

Russian Orthodox Church

Russian Orthodox Church The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), alternatively legally known as the Moscow Patriarchate, is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian churches. The primate of the ROC is the Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus’. The ROC, as well as its primate, officially ranks fifth in the Orthodox order of...

Ruins of the monastery of Mar Eliya (Iraq) before 2014, when it was destroyed by ISIS

Church of The East

Church of the East The Church of the East, also called the Persian Church or Nestorian Church, was a Christian church of the East Syriac rite established c. 410. It was one of three major branches of Eastern Christianity that arose from the Christological controversies of the 5th and 6th centuries, alongside the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches....

The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is one of the largest Marian shrines in the world.

Marian Apparition

Marian Apparition A Marian apparition is a reported supernatural appearance by the Blessed Virgin Mary. The figure is often named after the town where it is reported, or on the sobriquet given to Mary on the occasion of the apparition. Marian apparitions sometimes are reported to recur at the same...

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Glorification

Glorification Glorification may have several meanings in Christianity. From the Catholic canonization to the similar sainthood of the Eastern Orthodox Church to salvation in Christianity in Protestant beliefs, the glorification of the human condition can be a long and arduous process. Catholicism The Catholic Church teaches that, “at the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its...

Consecration of a bishop in the US Episcopal Church

Ecclesiastical Terms

Ecclesiastical Terms Christianity is an institution of extraordinary duration and complexity (not to mention insularity) and, over the past 2000 years, has developed its own extensive vocabulary that is largely incomprehensible to laypersons. This surprisingly large list contains 445 obscure ecclesiastical terms relating to Christian churches, priests, prayers, objects, and other...

Worship Eucharist Celebration Of The Eucharist

Mass as Liturgy

Mass as Liturgy Mass is the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church, as well as in Anglican, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox, and Old Catholic churches. Other Christian denominations may employ terms such as Divine Service or worship service (and often just “service”),...

Liturgy Serbian Orthodox Church Church Temple

Liturgy

Liturgy Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy. Technically speaking, liturgy forms...

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Contemporary Worship

Contemporary Worship Contemporary worship is a form of Christian worship that emerged within Western evangelical Protestantism in the 20th century. It was originally confined to the charismatic movement, but is now found in a wide range of churches, including many which do not subscribe to a charismatic theology. Contemporary worship uses contemporary worship music in an informal setting. Congregational singing...

A Catholic girl receives First Communion in Hungary.

First Communion

First Communion First Communion is a ceremony in some Christian traditions during which a person first receives the Eucharist. It is most common in many parts of the Latin Church tradition of the Catholic Church, Lutheran Church and Anglican Communion (other ecclesiastical provinces of these denominations administer a congregant’s First Communion after he/she receives confirmation). In churches that celebrate First...

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Confirmation in the Catholic Church

Confirmation in the Catholic Church Confirmation or Chrismation is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. It is also one of the three sacraments of initiation into the Catholic Church, the other two being Baptism and Holy Communion. Description The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the Spirit of...

Catholic Liturgy Incensing At The Mass

Catholic Liturgy

Catholic Liturgy In the Catholic Church, liturgy is divine worship, the proclamation of the Gospel, and active charity. Liturgical principles As explained in greater detail in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its shorter Compendium, the liturgy is something that “the whole Christ”, Head and Body, celebrates — Christ, the one...

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