Open main menu
The CHRISTIANITY PORTAL
Main   Indices   Projects

Introduction

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures of Judaism, called Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.

Christianity finds its beginning as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the 1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles and their followers spread around Syria, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution. At it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, and, after the Fall of Jerusalem, AD 70 which ended the Temple-based Judaism, Christianity as a religion began.

Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity and decriminalized it in the Roman Empire by the Edict of Milan (313), later convening the Council of Nicaea (325) where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the state church of the Roman Empire (380). The early history of Christianity is sometimes referred to as the "Great Church", the united communion of the "orthodox" Christian churches before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon (451) over differences in Christology, while the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism (1054), especially over the authority of the bishop of Rome. Similarly, Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the Catholic Church in the Reformation (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological disputes, most predominantly on the issue of justification and the primacy of the bishop of Rome. Following the Age of Discovery (15th–17th century), Christianity was spread into the Americas, Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world via missionary work.

Selected article

Cardinal Camerlengo certifying a papal death.
A papal conclave is the method by which the Roman Catholic Church fills the office of Bishop of Rome, whose incumbent is known as the Pope, the head of the Church. The electors, when locked together in a room for this purpose, form a conclave, (from the Latin cum clave "with a key") which they are not permitted to leave until a new Pope is elected. Conclaves have been employed since the Second Council of Lyons decreed in 1274 that the electors should meet in seclusion. They are now held in the Sistine Chapel in the Palace of the Vatican.

Since the year 1061, the College of Cardinals has served as the sole body charged with the election of the Pope, the source of the term Prince of the church for cardinals. In earlier times, members of the clergy and the people of Rome were entitled to participate, in much the same way as the laity helped determine the choice of bishops throughout the Catholic Church during this early period. Popes may make rules relating to election procedures; they may determine the composition of the electoral body, replacing the entire College of Cardinals if they were to so choose.

Selected scripture

Sayings of Jesus on the cross
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself if he is Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost, not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Selected biography

Mary MacKillop in 1869
Mary Helen MacKillop RSJ (15 January 1842 – 8 August 1909), now formally known as St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, was an Australian nun who has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church. Of Scottish descent, she was born in Melbourne, but was best known for her activities in South Australia. Together with the Reverend Julian Tenison Woods, she founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart (the Josephites), a congregation of religious sisters that established a number of schools and welfare institutions throughout Australasia, with an emphasis on education for the rural poor.

With the process to have MacKillop declared a saint having begun in the 1920s, she was beatified in January 1995 by Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI prayed at her tomb during his visit to Sydney for World Youth Day 2008 and, in December 2009, approved the Catholic Church's recognition of a second miracle attributed to her intercession. She was canonised on 17 October 2010, during a public ceremony in St Peter's Square at the Vatican. She is the first and only Australian to be recognised by the Catholic Church as a saint. She is the patron saint of Australia (along with the Virgin Mary as Our Lady, Help of Christians) and Brisbane.

Selected image

A rendering of the Last Supper made from salt, Wieliczka salt mine, Poland
Credit: User:Akumiszcza

A rendering of the Last Supper made from salt, Wieliczka salt mine, Poland

Did you know...

...that there are approximately 2.5 billion Christians worldwide?
...that there are usually 66 books in the Protestant Bible, and 73 in the Catholic Bible, and 75 in the Eastern Orthodox Bible?
...that there are over 33,500 Protestant denominations in 238 countries worldwide?
...that during the Avignon Papacy from 1305 to 1378, several medieval popes lived/resided in Avignon and not in Rome?

Topics

Related portals

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database