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Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion, with about 2.4 billion followers.
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. Their creeds generally hold in common Jesus as the Son of God—the logos incarnated—who ministered, suffered, and died on a cross, but rose from the dead for the salvation of mankind; as referred to as the gospel, meaning the "good news", in the Bible. 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.
Christianity began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the 1st century in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles and their followers spread around the Levant, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution. It soon attracted gentile God-fearers, which led to a departure from Jewish customs, and, after the Fall of Jerusalem, AD 70 which ended the Temple-based Judaism, Christianity slowly separated from Judaism. Emperor Constantine the Great decriminalized Christianity 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's united church before major schisms is sometimes referred to as the "Great Church". The Church of the East split after the Council of Ephesus (431) and 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. Protestantism split in numerous denominations from the Latin Catholic Church in the Reformation era (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological disputes, most predominantly on the issue of justification and papal primacy. Christianity played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization, particularly in Europe from 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.
The four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church (1.3 billion/50.1%), Protestantism (920 million/36.7%), the Eastern Orthodox Church (230 million) and Oriental Orthodoxy (62 million/Orthodoxy combined at 11.9%), amid various efforts toward unity (ecumenism). Despite a decline in adherence in the West, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the region, with about 70% of the population identifying as Christian. Christianity is growing in Africa and Asia, the world's most populous continents. Christians remain persecuted in some regions the world, especially in the Middle-East, North Africa, East Asia, and South Asia.
A papal conclave
is the method by which the Roman Catholic Church
fills the office of Bishop of Rome
, whose incumbent is known as the Pope
, the head of the Church. The electors, when locked together in a room for this purpose, form a conclave
, (from the Latin cum clave
"with a key") which they are not permitted to leave until a new Pope is elected. Conclaves have been employed since the Second Council of Lyons
decreed in 1274
that the electors should meet in seclusion. They are now held in the Sistine Chapel
in the Palace of the Vatican
Since the year 1061, the College of Cardinals has served as the sole body charged with the election of the Pope, the source of the term Prince of the church for cardinals. In earlier times, members of the clergy and the people of Rome were entitled to participate, in much the same way as the laity helped determine the choice of bishops throughout the Catholic Church during this early period. Popes may make rules relating to election procedures; they may determine the composition of the electoral body, replacing the entire College of Cardinals if they were to so choose.
Peter Jones (missionary)
(January 1, 1802 – June 29, 1856) was an Ojibwa Methodist minister
and author from Burlington Heights
, Upper Canada
. His Ojibwa
name was Kahkewāquonāby
in the Fiero spelling
), which means "[Sacred] Waving Feathers." In Mohawk
, he was called Desagondensta
, meaning "he stands people on their feet." In his youth his band of Mississaugas
had been on the verge of destruction. As a preacher and a chieftain, as a role model and as a liaison to governments, his leadership helped his people survive contact with Europeans. As a bilingual and bicultural preacher, he enabled the Methodists to make significant inroads with the Mississaugas and Iroquois of Upper Canada, both by translating hymns and biblical texts in Ojibwe
and by preaching to Indians who did not understand English. Jones was also a political leader. This brought him into contact with Superintendent of the Indian Department James Givins
and influential Bishop John Strachan
, with whom he arranged the funding and support of the Credit Mission
. There he lived and worked as a preacher and community leader, leading the conversion of Mississaugas to a European lifestyle of agriculture and Christianity, which enabled them to compete with the white settlers of Upper Canada. He was elected a chief of the Mississaugas of the Credit Mission in 1829 and acted as a spokesman for the band when petitioning the colonial government and its departments.
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