Portal:Christianity

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Christianity (from the Greek word Khristos Xριστός "Christ" or 'Anointed') is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in the New Testament, who (according to Christian scripture) lived during 4BC-30AD. Adherents of Christianity, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied about in the Hebrew Bible (the part of scripture common to Christianity, Islam (although differences are seen in the Islamic Pentateuch and the Judeo-Christian Pentateuch) and Judaism). Christian theology claims that Jesus suffered, died, and was resurrected to bring about salvation from sin. Christians call the message of Jesus Christ the Gospel ("good news") and hence refer to the earliest written accounts of his ministry as gospels. These early written accounts are the first four books of the New Testament called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Like Judaism, Christianity is classified as an Abrahamic religion (see also Judeo-Christian). Christianity began as a Jewish sect in the eastern Mediterranean, quickly grew in size and influence over a few decades, and by the 4th century had become the dominant religion within the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, Christianity lost up to two thirds of its size to Muslim military (North Africa, Middle East and parts of Europe), but also most of the remainder of Europe was Christianized. Since then, Christians have also been a (sometimes large) religious minority in the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of India. Following the Age of Discovery, through missionary work and colonization, Christianity spread to the Americas and the rest of the world. Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization since at least the 4th century. As of the early 21st century, Christianity has between 1.5 billion and 2.1 billion adherents, representing about a quarter to a third of the world's population. According to The Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion, it is the world's largest religion.

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Nicaea icon.jpg
The First Council of Nicaea, held in Nicaea in Bithynia (present-day Iznik in Turkey), convoked by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325, was the first Ecumenical council of the early Christian Church, and most significantly resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent 'general (ecumenical) councils of Bishops' (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy— the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.

The purpose of the council was to resolve disagreements in the Church of Alexandria over the nature of Jesus in relationship to the Father; in particular, whether Jesus was of the same substance as God the Father or merely of similar substance. St. Alexander of Alexandria and Athanasius took the first position; the popular presbyter Arius, from whom the term Arian controversy comes, took the second. The council decided against the Arians overwhelmingly (of the estimated 250-318 attendees, all but 2 voted against Arius). Another result of the council was an agreement on when to celebrate the resurrection (Pascha in Greek; Easter in modern English), the most important feast of the ecclesiastical calendar. The council decided in favour of celebrating the resurrection on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox, independently of the Hebrew Calendar (see also Quartodecimanism). It authorized the Bishop of Alexandria (presumably using the Alexandrian calendar) to announce annually the exact date to his fellow bishops.

The Council of Nicaea was historically significant because it was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom. "It was the first occasion for the development of technical Christology." Further, "Constantine in convoking and presiding over the council signaled a measure of imperial control over the church." Further, a precedent was set for subsequent general councils to create creeds and canons.

The long-term effects of the Council of Nicaea were significant. For the first time, representatives of many of the bishops of the Church convened to agree on a doctrinal statement. Also for the first time, the Emperor played a role, by calling together the bishops under his authority, and using the power of the state to give the Council's orders effect.

Selected scripture

Jesus separating people at the Last Judgment
But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will tell those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me

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Selected biography

Woodcut of John Day from the 1563 and subsequent editions of Actes and Monuments
John Day was an English Protestant printer. He specialised in printing and distributing Protestant literature and pamphlets and produced many small-format religious books, such as ABCs, sermons, and translations of psalms. He found fame, however, as the publisher of John Foxe's Actes and Monuments, also known as the Book of Martyrs, the largest and most technologically accomplished book printed in sixteenth-century England. Day rose to the top of his profession during the reign of Edward VI (1547–1553). At this time, restrictions on publishers were relaxed, and a wave of propaganda on behalf of the English Reformation was encouraged by the government of the Lord Protector, Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset. During the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I, many Protestant printers fled to the continent, but Day stayed in England and continued to print Protestant literature, which led to his arrest and imprisonment in 1554. Under Queen Elizabeth I, Day returned to his premises at Aldersgate in London, where he enjoyed the patronage of high-ranking officials and nobles. With their support, he published the Book of Martyrs and was awarded monopolies for some of the most popular English books. Day, whose technical skill matched his business acumen, has been called "the master printer of the English Reformation".

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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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