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 Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.
Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the 1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles, and their followers, spread it around Syria, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution. It soon also attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, and the establishment of Christianity as a distinct religion. Emperor Constantine the Great converted to Christianity and decriminalized it 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 is sometimes referred to as the "Great Church", the united communion of the "orthodox" Christian churches 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 bishop of Rome. Similarly, Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the Catholic Church in the Reformation (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological disputes, most predominantly on the issue of justification and the primacy of the pope. 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.
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. The four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church (1.3 billion), Protestantism (920 million), the Eastern Orthodox Church (260 million) and Oriental Orthodoxy (86 million), amid various efforts toward unity (ecumenism). Their theology and professions of faith, in addition to the Bible (scripture), generally hold in common that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, descended into the grave and rose from the dead to grant eternal life to those who believe in him for the forgiveness of their sins. His incarnation, earthly ministry, crucifixion and resurrection are often 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 Jewish Old Testament as the gospel's respected background.
is the tradition of heraldry
developed by Christian clergy
. Initially used to mark documents, ecclesiastical heraldry evolved as a system for identifying people and dioceses. It is most formalized within the Roman Catholic Church
, where most bishops, including the Pope
, have a personal coat of arms
. Similar customs are followed by clergy in the Anglican Church
, the Lutheran Church
, the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches
, and the Orthodox Churches
. Institutions such as schools and dioceses
bear arms called impersonal or corporate arms. Ecclesiastical heraldry differs notably from other heraldry in the use of special symbols around the shield to indicate rank in a church or denomination. The most prominent of these symbols is the ecclesiastical hat, commonly the Roman galero
or Geneva bonnet. The color and ornamentation of this hat carry a precise meaning. Cardinals
are famous for the "red hat", but other offices are assigned a distinctive hat color. The hat is ornamented with tassels in a quantity commensurate with the office. Other symbols include the cross, the mitre
and the crozier
(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.
The Finding in the Temple, also called "Christ among the Doctors" or the Disputation (the usual names in art), was an episode in the early life of Jesus depicted in the Gospel of Luke. It is the only event of the later childhood of Jesus mentioned in a gospel.
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