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Portal:Christianity

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Common symbol of Christianity

Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. It is the world's largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, known as Christians. Christians 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.

Christian theology is summarized in various creeds. 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 bodily 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's life and teaching, four of which—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are considered canonical and included in the Christian Bible.

Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century. Throughout its history, the religion has weathered schisms and theological disputes that have resulted in many distinct churches and denominations. Worldwide, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the various denominations of Protestantism. The Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches broke communion with each other in the East-West Schism of 1054; Protestantism came into existence in the Reformation of the 16th century, splitting from the Catholic Church.

Selected article

Icon of the Transfiguration (15th century, Novgorod)
The Transfiguration of Jesus is an event reported by the Synoptic Gospels in which Jesus was transfigured upon a mountain (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:1-8, Luke 9:28-36). Jesus becomes radiant, speaks with Moses and Elijah, and is called "Son" by God. The transfiguration put Jesus on par with the two preeminent figures of Judaism: Moses and Elijah. It also supports His identity as the Son of God. In keeping with the Messianic secret, Jesus tells the witnesses not to tell others what they saw.

In general, the events in Jesus's life that are said to have taken place in secret, such as the transfiguration, are given less weight by scholars of the historical Jesus than public events.

The original Greek term in the Gospels is metamorphothe, describing Jesus as having undergone metamorphosis.

The Synoptic Gospels, 2 Peter and the Gospel of John briefly allude to the event in their writings (2Peter 1:16-18, John 1:14). Peter describes himself as an eyewitness "of his sovereign majesty." Neither account identifies the "high mountain" of the scene by name. The earliest identification of the mountain as Tabor is in the 5th century Transitus Beatae Mariae Virginis. In the apocryphal Gospel of the Hebrews, Jesus tells how his mother lifted him up by the hair and lifted him to Mount Tabor, which led Origen to identify the Holy Spirit as the Mother of Jesus.

Symbolic readings take Moses and Elijah to represent the Law and the Prophets respectively, and their recognition of and conversation with Jesus symbolize how Jesus fulfils "the law and the prophets" (Matthew 5:17-19, see also Expounding of the Law).

In the narrative, after the cloud dissipates, Elijah and Moses disappear, and Jesus and the three Apostles head down the mountain, Jesus telling his Apostles to keep the event a secret until the "Son of Man" had risen from the dead. The Apostles are described as questioning among themselves as to what Jesus meant by "risen from the dead" (Mark 9:9-10) The Apostles are also described as questioning Jesus about Elijah, and he as responding "...Elijah comes first, and restores all things ... but ... Elijah has come indeed ..." (Mark 9:12-13). It was commonly believed that Elijah would reappear before the coming of the Messiah, as predicted in the Book of Malachi (Malachi 4), and the three Apostles are described as interpreting Jesus' statement as a reference to John the Baptist.

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...

Did you know...

...that there are approximately 2.5 billion Christians worldwide?
...that there are usually 66 books in the Protestant Bible, and 73 in the Catholic Bible, and 75 in the Eastern Orthodox Bible?
...that there are over 33,500 Protestant denominations in 238 countries worldwide?
...that during the Avignon Papacy from 1305 to 1378, several medieval popes lived/resided in Avignon and not in Rome?


Selected biography

Ely Cathedral, where Nigel may be buried
Nigel (c. 1100 – 1169) (sometimes Nigel Poor or Nigel of Ely) was an Anglo-Norman bishop of Ely. He came from an ecclesiastical family; his uncle Roger of Salisbury was a bishop and government minister for King Henry I, and other relatives also held offices in the English Church and government. Nigel owed his advancement to his uncle, as did Nigel's probable brother Alexander, who like Nigel was advanced to episcopal status. Nigel was educated on the continent before becoming a royal administrator. He served as Treasurer of England under King Henry I of England, before being appointed to the see, or bishopric, of Ely in 1133. Following the accession of Henry I's successor, King Stephen, Nigel remained as treasurer only briefly before his family was ousted from political office by the new king. Nigel rebelled and deserted to Stephen's rival Matilda, but eventually reconciled with Stephen. On the king's death, Nigel was returned to the treasurership by the new king, Henry II. Nigel's second tenure as treasurer saw him return the administration to the practices of Henry I. Most historians, then and now, have felt that Nigel's administrative abilities were excellent; he is considered to have been more talented as an administrator than as a religious figure.

Selected picture

A rendering of the Last Supper made from salt, Wieliczka salt mine, Poland
Credit: User:Akumiszcza

A rendering of the Last Supper made from salt, Wieliczka salt mine, Poland

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