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Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual nature and a study of inherited ancestral traditions, knowledge and wisdom related to understanding human life. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.

In the larger sense, religion is a communal system for the coherence of belief—typically focused on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, and rituals are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion can also be described as a way of life.

The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. "Organized religion" generally refers to an organization of people supporting the exercise of some religion with a prescribed set of beliefs, often taking the form of a legal entity (see religion-supporting organization). Other religions believe in personal revelation and responsibility. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system," but is more socially defined than that of personal convictions.

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Selected article

Cardinals place their coat of arms in their titular church in Rome: arms of Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos at SS. Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano
Ecclesiastical heraldry is the tradition of heraldry developed by Christian clergy. Initially used to mark documents, ecclesiastical heraldry evolved as a system for identifying people and dioceses. It is most formalized within the Roman Catholic Church, where most bishops, including the Pope, have a personal coat of arms. Similar customs are followed by clergy in the Anglican Church, the Lutheran Church, the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, and the Orthodox Churches. Institutions such as schools and dioceses bear arms called impersonal or corporate arms.

Ecclesiastical heraldry differs notably from other heraldry in the use of special symbols around the shield to indicate rank in a church or denomination. The most prominent of these symbols is the ecclesiastical hat, commonly the Roman galero or Geneva Bonnet. The color and ornamentation of this hat carry a precise meaning. Cardinals are famous for the "red hat", but other offices are assigned a distinctive hat color. The hat is ornamented with tassels in a quantity commensurate with the office.

The papal coat of arms has its own heraldic customs, primarily the Papal Tiara (or mitre), the keys of Saint Peter, and the ombrellino (umbrella). Institutional arms have slightly different traditions, using the mitre and crozier more often than personal arms.

Selected picture

The Palliyarai of Swamithope pathi.
Credit: Paul Raj

The Palliyarai contains two oil lamps (kuthuvilakku), an elunetru, and a large mirror. On a raised pedestal, covered with kavi cloth, the temple also preserves some articles believed to have been used by Ayya Vaikundar, including a rattan cane (perampu) and a pair of wooden sandals.

Selected religious figure or deity

Rama (center) with wife Sita (right), brother Lakshmana (left standing) and devotee Hanuman (left, bottom).
Rāmachandra, or Rama (rāma in IAST, राम in Devanāgarī or Śrī Rāma (श्रीराम in Devanagari), was a king of ancient India whose grand story is portrayed in the epic Ramayana, one of the two great epics of India. In Hinduism, he is also considered to be the Seventh Avatara of Vishnu and one of the most important manifestations of God. He is one of the most popular heroes of Hindu mythology and folktales in South and Southeast Asia. Born as the eldest son of Kausalya and Dasaratha, king of Kosala, he is the embodiment of the Supreme Brahman and Dharma. Rama is Maryada Purushottama, literally The Perfect Man. He is the hero of the ancient Hindu epic poem, The Ramayana (from Sanskrit, The Journey of Rama). Rama is the husband of Sita, who is also considered the Avatara of Lakshmi and the embodiment of perfect womanhood.

Did you know...

  • ...that according to the Torah, Moses lived to be 120 years old?

Selected quote

the Chinese character dao (tao) in Taoism
Knowing others is wisdom;

Knowing the self is enlightenment.
Mastering others requires force;
Mastering the self requires strength;
He who knows he has enough is rich.
Perseverance is a sign of will power.
He who stays where he is endures.
To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.

Laozi, Tao Te Ching, chap. 33, (tr. Feng and English)

Selected scripture

Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library of Congress.
The word "Bible" refers to the canonical collections of sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity.

Judaism's Bible is often referred to as the Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible, which includes the sacred texts common to both the Christian and Jewish canons.

The Christian Bible is also called the Holy Bible, Scriptures, or Word of God. It is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament; some versions also have an Apocrypha section. The Old Testament includes all the contents of the Jewish Tanakh. In addition, Old Testaments published by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches contain books not found in the Tanakh, but which are found in the Greek Septuagint.

More than 14,000 manuscripts and fragments of the Hebrew Tanakh exist, as do numerous copies of the Septuagint, and 5,300 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, more than any other work of antiquity.

In scholarly writing, ancient translations are frequently referred to as "versions", with the term "translation" being reserved for medieval or modern translations. The original texts of the Tanakh were in Hebrew, although some portions were in Aramaic. In addition to the authoritative Masoretic Text, Jews still refer to the Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, and the Targum Onkelos, an Aramaic version of the Bible. The primary Biblical text for early Christians was the Septuagint or (LXX).

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