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Common symbol of Christianity

Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. It is the world's largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, known as Christians. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity whose coming as the Messiah (the Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament.

Christian theology is summarized in various creeds. These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, descended into hell, and rose from the dead, in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, and that he will return to judge the living and the dead and grant eternal life to his followers. His incarnation, earthly ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection are often referred to as "the gospel", meaning "good news". The term gospel also refers to written accounts of Jesus's life and teaching, four of which—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are considered canonical and included in the Christian Bible.

Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century. Throughout its history, the religion has weathered schisms and theological disputes that have resulted in many distinct churches and denominations. Worldwide, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the various denominations of Protestantism. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches broke communion with each other in the East-West Schism of 1054; Protestantism came into existence in the Reformation of the 16th century, splitting from the Catholic Church.

Selected article

São Paulo Cathedral, a representative modern cathedral built in Neo-Gothic style.
A cathedral (French: cathédrale from Latin: cathedra, "seat" from the Greek kathedra (καθέδρα), seat, bench, from kata "down" + hedra seat, base, chair) is a Christian church which contains the seat of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral" are usually specific to those Christian denominations with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and some Lutheran and Methodist churches.

In respect of the church buildings in the Eastern Orthodox Church, the English word "cathedral" commonly translates katholikon (sobor in Slavic languages), meaning of "assembly"; but this title is also applied to monastic and other major churches without episcopal responsibilities. When the church at which an archbishop or "metropolitan" presides is specifically intended, the term kathedrikos naos (literally: "cathedral church") is used.

Following the Protestant Reformation, the Christian church in several parts of Western Europe, such as Scotland, the Netherlands, certain Swiss Cantons and parts of Germany, adopted a Presbyterian polity that did away with bishops altogether. Where ancient cathedral buildings in these lands are still in use for congregational worship, they generally retain the title and dignity of "cathedral", maintaining and developing distinct cathedral functions, but void of hierarchical supremacy. From the 16th century onwards, but especially since the 19th century, churches originating in Western Europe have undertaken vigorous programmes of missionary activity, leading to the founding of large numbers of new dioceses with associated cathedral establishments of varying forms in Asia, Africa, Australasia, Oceania and the Americas. In addition, both the Catholic Church and Orthodox churches have formed new dioceses within formerly Protestant lands for converts and migrant co-religionists. Consequently, it is not uncommon to find Christians in a single city being served by three or more cathedrals of differing denominations.

The term "cathedral" actually carries no implication as to the size or ornateness of the building. Nevertheless, most cathedrals are particularly impressive edifices. Thus, the term "cathedral" is often applied colloquially to any large and impressive church, regardless of whether it functions as a cathedral, such as the Crystal Cathedral in California or the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø, Norway.

Selected scripture

Resurrection of Jesus
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not. Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

Did you know...

...that there are approximately 2.5 billion Christians worldwide?
...that the Bible was the greatest passion of Sir Isaac Newton, who said, "I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily."?
...that the Black Madonna of Częstochowa is credited with miraculously saving the Polish monastery of Jasna Góra (English: Bright Hill) from a Swedish 17th century invasion, known as the Deluge?


Selected biography

Woodcut of John Day from the 1563 and subsequent editions of Actes and Monuments
John Day was an English Protestant printer. He specialised in printing and distributing Protestant literature and pamphlets and produced many small-format religious books, such as ABCs, sermons, and translations of psalms. He found fame, however, as the publisher of John Foxe's Actes and Monuments, also known as the Book of Martyrs, the largest and most technologically accomplished book printed in sixteenth-century England. Day rose to the top of his profession during the reign of Edward VI (1547–1553). At this time, restrictions on publishers were relaxed, and a wave of propaganda on behalf of the English Reformation was encouraged by the government of the Lord Protector, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. During the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I, many Protestant printers fled to the continent, but Day stayed in England and continued to print Protestant literature, which led to his arrest and imprisonment in 1554. Under Queen Elizabeth I, Day returned to his premises at Aldersgate in London, where he enjoyed the patronage of high-ranking officials and nobles. With their support, he published the Book of Martyrs and was awarded monopolies for some of the most popular English books. Day, whose technical skill matched his business acumen, has been called "the master printer of the English Reformation".

Selected picture

Finding in the Temple
Credit: User:Dmitry Rozhkov

The Finding in the Temple, also called "Christ among the Doctors" or the Disputation (the usual names in art), was an episode in the early life of Jesus depicted in the Gospel of Luke. It is the only event of the later childhood of Jesus mentioned in a gospel.