Portal:Christianity
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Portal:Christianity

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The Christianity Portal

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 is the Christ, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible – the textual basis for the Old Testament in Christianity – and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion, with about 2.4 billion followers as of 2020. Christians make up a majority of the population in 157 countries and territories.

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; this is referred to as the gospel, meaning the "good news". Describing Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, with the Old Testament as the gospel's respected background.

Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the 1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles and their followers spread around the Levant, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution. It soon attracted gentile God-fearers, which led to a departure from Jewish customs, and, after the Fall of Jerusalem, AD 70 which ended the Temple-based Judaism, Christianity slowly separated from Judaism. Emperor Constantine the Great decriminalized Christianity 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's united church before major schisms is sometimes referred to as the "Great Church" (though heterodox sects existed at the same time, including Gnostic Christianity and Jewish Christians). The Church of the East split after the Council of Ephesus (431) and 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. Protestantism in multiple denominations split from the Catholic Church in the Reformation era (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological disputes, most predominantly on the issue of justification and the primacy of the bishop of Rome. Christianity played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization, particularly in Europe from late antiquity and the Middle Ages. 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.

The four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church (1.3 billion/50.1%), Protestantism (920 million/36.7%), the Eastern Orthodox Church (230 million) and Oriental Orthodoxy (62 million/Orthodoxy combined at 11.9%), amid various efforts toward unity (ecumenism). Despite a decline in adherence in the West, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the region, with about 70% of the population identifying as Christian. Christianity is growing in Africa and Asia, the world's most populous continents. Christians remain persecuted in some regions of the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, East Asia, and South Asia. (Full article...)

Selected article

Juan de Juanes 002.jpg
The Eucharist, also known as Communion or The Lord's Supper, is the rite that Catholics perform in fulfillment of Jesus' instruction, recorded in the New Testament, to "do in memory of him" what he did at his Last Supper.

Jesus gave his disciples bread, saying "This is my body," and wine, saying "This is my blood." Christians generally recognize a special presence of Christ in this rite, though they differ about exactly how, where, and when Christ is present. The word "Eucharist" is also applied to the bread and wine consecrated in the course of the rite.

The word "Eucharist" comes from the Greek noun ? (thanksgiving). This noun or the corresponding verb (to give thanks) is found in 55 verses of the New Testament. Four of these verses (Matthew 26:27, Mark 14:23, Luke 22:19, 1 Corinthians 11:24) recount that Jesus "gave thanks" before presenting to his followers the bread and the wine that he declared to be his body and his blood.

Most Christians classify the Eucharist as a sacrament, but many Protestant traditions avoid the term sacrament, preferring ordinance. In these traditions, the ceremony is seen not as a specific channel of divine grace but as an expression of faith and obedience of the Christian community.

Selected scripture

Parable of the Unjust Judge by John Everett Millais (1863)
He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray, and not give up, saying, "There was a judge in a certain city who didn't fear God, and didn't respect man. A widow was in that city, and she often came to him, saying, 'Defend me from my adversary!' He wouldn't for a while, but afterward he said to himself, 'Though I neither fear God, nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will defend her, or else she will wear me out by her continual coming.'"
The Lord said, "Listen to what the unrighteous judge says. Won't God avenge his chosen ones, who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them? I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"

Selected biography

El Greco: Self portrait (1604)
El Greco was a prominent painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. El Greco was born in Crete, which was at that time part of the Republic of Venice, and at 26 travelled to Venice to study. In 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop and executed a series of works. During his stay in Italy, El Greco enriched his style with elements of Mannerism and of the Venetian Renaissance. In 1577 he emigrated to Toledo, Spain, where he lived and worked until his death. In Toledo El Greco received several major commissions and produced his best known paintings. El Greco's dramatic and expressionistic style was met with puzzlement by his contemporaries but found appreciation in the 20th century. El Greco is regarded as a precursor of both Expressionism and Cubism, while his personality and works were a source of inspiration for poets and writers such as Rainer Maria Rilke and Nikos Kazantzakis. El Greco has been characterized by modern scholars as an artist so individual that he belongs to no conventional school. He is best known for tortuously elongated figures and often fantastic or phantasmagorical pigmentation, marrying Byzantine traditions with those of Western civilization.

Selected image

Conversion of Saint Paul
Credit: User:Irmgard

Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to some form of Christianity. It has been called the foundational experience of Christian life. Conversion to Christianity primarily involves belief (faith) in the Christian God, thinking that they are far short of the Christian God's apparent "glory and holiness" (sin), repentance of "sin", and confession of their belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the all-sufficient and only means by whom one's sin can be atoned for and therefore the only route to salvation.

Did you know...

...that Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches celebrate Mass, while Eastern Christian churches instead celebrate Divine Liturgy?
...that the length of a Church service can vary widely, depending on the denomination and priest, and can range from 40 minutes to 3 hours?
...that Mandarin Chinese translates the word "Christ" as Jidu ()?
...that the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in Côte d'Ivoire is listed by Guinness World Records as the largest church in the world?

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