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The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church and the largest religious denomination, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church consists of 24 particular churches and almost 3,500 dioceses and eparchies around the world. The pope, who is the Bishop of Rome is the chief pastor of the church. The church's administration, the Holy See, has its principal offices in the Vatican City, a tiny enclave of Rome of which the pope is head of state.

The core beliefs of Catholicism are found in the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter, upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith taught by the apostles, preserving the faith infallibly through scripture and sacred tradition as authentically interpreted through the Magisterium of the church. The Latin Church, the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, and institutes such as mendicant orders, enclosed monastic orders and third orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.

Of its seven sacraments, the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated as the Perpetual Virgin, Mother of God, and Queen of Heaven; she is honoured in dogmas and devotions. Catholic social teaching emphasises voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church operates thousands of Catholic schools, hospitals, and orphanages around the world, and is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world. Among its other social services are numerous charitable and humanitarian organisations. (Full article...)

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King Henry VIII of England

The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.These events were part of a wider process, the European Protestant Reformation, a religious and political movement which affected the practice of Christianity across the whole of Europe during this period. Many factors contributed to the ferment: the decline of feudalism and the rise of nationalism, the rise of the common law, the invention of the printing press and increased circulation of the Bible texts, the transmission of new knowledge and ideas not only amongst scholars but amongst merchants and artisans also; but the story of why and how the different states of Europe adhered to different forms of Protestantism, or remained faithful to Rome or allowed different regions within states to come to different conclusions (as they did) is specific to each state and the causes are not agreed.

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The incipit of the Gospel of Matthew from the Lindisfarne Gospels, an illuminated Latin manuscript of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The manuscript was produced in Lindisfarne in Northumbria in the late 7th century or early 8th century, and is generally regarded as the finest example of the kingdom's unique style of religious art. It is currently in the collection of the British Library.

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A millennium-old Byzantine mosaic of Saint John Chrysostom, Hagia Sophia

John Chrysostom (349– ca. 407, Greek: ? ? , Latin: Ioannes Chrysostomos) was the archbishop of Constantinople. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek surname chrysostomos, meaning "golden mouthed", rendered in English as Chrysostom.The Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches honor him as a saint (feast days: November 13 and January 27) and count him among the Three Holy Hierarchs (feast day, January 30), together with Saints Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian. He is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a saint and a Doctor of the Church.

Did you know...

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  • ... that the 4th-century Brescia Casket (pictured) has been called "among the most formidable and enduring enigmas in the study of early Christian art"?
  • ... that Uncial 0321, thought to be the same as Uncial 067 for 164 years, was recently recognized as being a separate manuscript?
  • ... that the neighborhoods of the city of Cholula, Puebla, in Mexico have a complicated system for sponsoring its many religious festivals?

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oil painting of Saint Januarius showing his own relics, by Louis Finson, 1610-1612
Januarius ( JAN-yoo-AIR-ee-?s; Latin: Ianuarius; Neapolitan and Italian: Gennaro), also known as , was Bishop of Benevento and is a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. While no contemporary sources on his life are preserved, later sources and legends claim that he died during the Great Persecution which ended with Diocletian's retirement in 305.

Januarius is the patron saint of Naples, where the faithful gather three times a year in Naples Cathedral to witness the liquefaction of what is claimed to be a sample of his blood kept in a sealed glass ampoule. (Full article...)
Attributes: cloth of a bishop, vials of blood, palms, Mt. Vesuvius
Patronage: blood banks; Naples; volcanic eruptions
See also: Alonso de Orozco Mena, Spain; Émilie de Rodat, France; Francesco Maria da Camporosso

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Our Lady of Sorrows
Church of the Immaculate Conception, Monte Grande, Argentina.
4 September 2021 - COVID-19 pandemic
Slovakia reverses its ban on unvaccinated people attending public events and will instead allow a negative test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 during a visit by Pope Francis on September 12 to 15 due to low vaccination numbers. (Barron's)
3 September 2021 - Catholic Church sexual abuse cases
Defrocked Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleads not guilty to three counts of indecent assault and battery on a 16-year-old boy at a wedding reception in Massachusetts in 1974. The statute of limitations paused when he left the state shortly after the alleged incident. McCarrick is the first American cardinal to be charged with a sex crime. (DW)
1 September 2021 - China-Holy See relations
Pope Francis defends the dialogue with China via the appointment of new Catholic bishops. Francis says that uneasy dialogue is better than no dialogue at all and compared the talks with China to those with Eastern European countries during the Cold War. The Vatican and China have had strained relations since the communist party took power in 1949. (Reuters)
26 August 2021 -
Pope Francis appoints Italian nun Alessandra Smerilli as Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, becoming the first woman to do so. (Vatican News)



Particular Churches (grouped by liturgical rite):

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