The Christianity Portal
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...)
, also known as Communion
or The Lord's Supper
, is the rite
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.
was a prominent painter
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
, 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
, 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
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The following are images from various Christianity-related articles on Wikipedia.
God the Father (top), and the Holy Spirit (represented by a dove) depicted above Jesus. Painting by Francesco Albani (d. 1660)
Saint John indicating Christ to Saint Andrew
First page of Mark, by Sargis Pitsak (14th century): "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God".
Trinity (from top to bottom God the Father, the Holy Spirit (dove) and the crucified Christ in an illuminated Italian manuscript by Cristoforo Majorana, before 1491.
Father, The Holy Spirit, and Christ Crucified, depicted in a Welsh manuscript. c. 1390-1400
The Adoration of the Trinity by Albrecht Dürer (1511): from top to bottom: Holy Spirit (dove), God the Father and the crucified Christ
A Greek fresco of Athanasius of Alexandria, the chief architect of the Nicene Creed, formulated at Nicaea.
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