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Portal:Christianity

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Introduction

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religious group based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, also known by Christians as the Christ. It is the world's most populous religious group, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, comprising a majority of the population in about two-thirds of the countries in the world. Its believers affirm that Jesus is the Son of God, the Logos, and the savior of humanity, whose coming as the Messiah (Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament of the Bible, and chronicled in the New Testament. Christianity and its ethics have played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization. Early statements of essential beliefs were the Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed.

Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect, in the 1st century, in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles and their successors, the Apostolic Fathers, spread it across large parts of the Middle East, Europe, Ethiopia, Transcaucasia and some other parts of Asia, despite initial persecution. Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity and decriminalized it in the Edict of Milan (313), later convening the First Council of Nicaea (325) where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the state religion of the Roman Empire (380). The council formulated the Nicene Creed (325), and the Church Fathers supervised the compilation of the Christian Bible (5th century). The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united communion of the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy before their schisms. 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 Pope. Similarly, Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation (16th century), over theological and ecclesiological disputes.

Christianity was a leading influence on the development of Western civilization in Europe during 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 and colonization.

Selected article

RSV Bible.jpg
The Revised Standard Version (RSV) is an English translation of the Bible that was popular in the mid-20th century and posed the first serious challenge to the King James Version (KJV) owing to its aim to be both a readable and literally accurate modern English translation of the Bible.

The RSV is a comprehensive revision of the King James Version of 1611, the English Revised Version of 1881-1885, and the American Standard Version of 1901, with the ASV text being the most consulted. It sought not only to clearly bring the Bible to the English-speaking church, but to "preserve all that is best in the English Bible as it has been known and used through the centuries."

The copyright to the ASV was acquired by the International Council of Religious Education in 1928, and this Council renewed the ASV copyright the next year. In 1935, a two-year study began to decide the question of a new revision, and in 1937, it was decided that a revision would be done and a panel of 32 scholars was put together for that task. The decision, however, was delayed by the Great Depression. Funding for the revision was assured in 1936 by a deal that was made with Thomas Nelson & Sons. The deal gave Thomas Nelson & Sons the exclusive rights to print the RSV for ten years. The translators were to be paid by advance royalties.

Selected scripture

Stained glass window based on the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Charleston, South Carolina
Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming close to him to hear him. The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man welcomes sinners, and eats with them.”
He told them this parable.
“Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing. When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’
I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.
Or what woman, if she had ten drachma coins, if she lost one drachma coin, wouldn’t light a lamp, sweep the house, and seek diligently until she found it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the drachma which I had lost.’
Even so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner repenting.”
He said, “A certain man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of your property.’ He divided his livelihood between them. Not many days after, the younger son gathered all of this together and traveled into a far country. There he wasted his property with riotous living.
When he had spent all of it, there arose a severe famine in that country, and he began to be in need. He went and joined himself to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He wanted to fill his belly with the husks that the pigs ate, but no one gave him any.
But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.”’
“He arose, and came to his father.
But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe, and put it on him. Put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat, and celebrate; for this, my son, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.’
They began to celebrate.
“Now his elder son was in the field. As he came near to the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants to him, and asked what was going on.
He said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and healthy.’
But he was angry, and would not go in.
Therefore his father came out, and begged him. But he answered his father, ‘Behold, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed a commandment of yours, but you never gave me a goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this, your son, came, who has devoured your living with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’
“He said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.’”
More quotes...

Selected biography

Augustine of Canterbury (c. first third of the 6th century – 26 May 604) was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 598. He is considered the "Apostle to the English" and a founder of the English Church.

Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission, usually known as the Gregorian mission, to Britain to convert the pagan King Æthelberht of the Kingdom of Kent to Christianity. Kent was probably chosen because it was near the Christian kingdoms in Gaul and because Æthelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris who was expected to exert some influence over her husband. Before reaching Kent the missionaries had considered turning back but Gregory urged them on and, in 597, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Æthelberht's main town of Canterbury.

King Æthelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated bishop of the English and converted many of the king's subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches, although attempts to persuade the native Celtic bishops to submit to Augustine's authority failed. Roman Catholic bishops were established at London and Rochester in 604, and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. Augustine also arranged the consecration of his successor, Laurence of Canterbury. Augustine died in 604 and was soon revered as a saint.

Selected image

Saint Paul Writing His Epistles
Credit: User:Mathiasrex

The Pauline epistles, Epistles of Paul, or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen New Testament books which have the name Paul (Παῦλος) as the first word, hence claiming authorship by Paul the Apostle. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of early Christianity and as part of the canon of the New Testament they are foundational texts for both Christian theology and ethics.

Did you know...

....that ecclesiastical Latin remains the official language of the Roman Catholic Church and is thus also the official language of Vatican City?
....that although raised as a Christian, C. S. Lewis spent most of his youth being an atheist until discussions with close friends such as J. R. R. Tolkien gradually persuaded him to reconvert?
...that The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come, a Christian allegorical novel written in 1675 by John Bunyan while imprisoned in England, is regarded as one of the greatest classics of literature and has been widely translated into more than 100 languages other than its original English text?
...that the Amish are a denomination of Anabaptists, found primarily in the United States and Canada, who do not vote, join the military, pay or draw Social Security, or accept any form of assistance from the government?

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