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Portal:Christianity

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Common symbol of Christianity

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life, teachings, and miracles of Jesus of Nazareth, known by Christians as the Christ, or "Messiah", who is the focal point of the Christian faiths. It is the world's largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, known as Christians. Christians make up a majority of the population in about two-thirds of the countries and territories in the world. They believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity whose coming as the Messiah (the Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western Civilization.

Christianity grew out of Judaism and began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century. Originating in the Roman province of Judea, it quickly spread to Syria, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, Ethiopia and the Indian subcontinent, and by the end of the 4th century had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity spread to the Americas, Oceania, sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization.

Christian theology is summarized in creeds such as the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, descended into hell, and rose from the dead, in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jesus physically ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, and that he will return to judge the living and the dead and grant eternal life to his followers. His incarnation, earthly ministry, crucifixion and resurrection are often referred to as "the gospel", meaning "good news". The term gospel also refers to written accounts of Jesus' life and teaching, four of which—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are considered canonical and included in the Christian Bible, as established by the 5th century for the ancient undivided Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, a period sometimes referred to as the Great Church, before the East–West Schism in 1054.

Throughout the history of Christianity, theological and ecclesiological disputes have resulted in schisms with many distinct denominations. Worldwide, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, Protestantism, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy. The Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches broke communion with each other in the East–West Schism of 1054, and the Chalcedonian schism in 451. Protestantism, while not a single denomination but a collective term, emerged in the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, splitting from the Catholic Church.

Selected article

Knights of Columbus founder Father Michael J. McGivney
The Order of the Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Roman Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in the United States in 1882, it is named in honor of Christopher Columbus and dedicated to the principles of Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. There are more than 1.7 million members in 14,000 councils, with nearly 200 councils on college campuses. Membership is limited to practical Catholic men aged 18 or older.

Councils have been chartered in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, the Philippines, Guam, Saipan, and most recently in Poland. The Knights' official junior organization, the Columbian Squires, has over 5,000 Circles. All the Order's ceremonials and business meetings are restricted to members though all other events are open to the public. A promise not to reveal any details of the ceremonials except to an equally qualified Knight is required to ensure their impact and meaning for new members; an additional clause subordinates the promise to that Knight's civil and religious duties

Selected scripture

Parable of the unforgiving servant
Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I don't tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven. Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants. When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But because he couldn't pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down and knelt before him, saying, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!' The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. "But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii, and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' "So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will repay you!' He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told to their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him in, and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. Shouldn't you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?' His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him. So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don't each forgive your brother truly from all his misdeeds."
More quotes...

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?


Selected biography

Mary MacKillop in 1869
Mary Helen MacKillop RSJ (15 January 1842 – 8 August 1909), now formally known as St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, was an Australian nun who has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church. Of Scottish descent, she was born in Melbourne, but was best known for her activities in South Australia. Together with the Reverend Julian Tenison Woods, she founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart (the Josephites), a congregation of religious sisters that established a number of schools and welfare institutions throughout Australasia, with an emphasis on education for the rural poor.

With the process to have MacKillop declared a saint having begun in the 1920s, she was beatified in January 1995 by Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI prayed at her tomb during his visit to Sydney for World Youth Day 2008 and, in December 2009, approved the Catholic Church's recognition of a second miracle attributed to her intercession. She was canonised on 17 October 2010, during a public ceremony in St Peter's Square at the Vatican. She is the first and only Australian to be recognised by the Catholic Church as a saint. She is the patron saint of Australia (along with the Virgin Mary as Our Lady, Help of Christians) and Brisbane.

Selected picture

The First Vision of Joseph Smith
Credit: User:COGDEN

The First Vision (also called the grove experience) refers to a vision that Joseph Smith said he received in the spring of 1820, in a wooded area in Manchester, New York, which his followers call the Sacred Grove.

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