The CHRISTIANITY PORTAL
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religious group based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, also known by Christians as the Christ. It is the world's largest religion group, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, making up a majority of the population in about two-thirds of the countries in the world. Its adherents believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Logos, and the savior of humanity, whose coming as the Messiah (Christ) was prophesied in the Old Testament, as described in the Bible. Christianity and its ethics 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 in the Roman province of Judea. Jesus' apostles, and their successors the Apostolic Fathers, spread it around Syria, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Asia, despite initial persecution. After decriminalisation by the Edict of Milan (313), Emperor Constantine the Great, himself a convert, convened the First Council of Nicaea (325) where Early Christianity was consolidated into what would become the state religion of the Roman Empire (380). The First Council of Nicaea formulated the Nicene Creed (325), and the Church Fathers supervised the development of the Christian biblical canons (5th century). This period during the initial stages of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, when the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Oriental Orthodoxy thrived in communion. This lasted until Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon (451) over differences in Christology, and the Eastern Orthodox Church and Catholic Church (representing the Great Church in the east and west, respectively) separating in the East–West Schism (1054) especially over the authority of the Pope. Similarly, Protestantism, while not a single but numerous denominations, later split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation (16th century) over theological and ecclesiological deviation.
While influencing Western civilisation, particularly in Europe during the Middle Ages, persecution has been an issue ever since the Roman Empire. This intensified from the Early Islamic conquests (622–750) on around what then became the Islamic world, and this persecution remains the main issue to this day. Nontheless, following the Age of Discovery (15th century), Christianity spread to the Americas, Oceania, Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization. Conversely, in the Western world since the Late Modern era, various variants of state-sponsored secularist and marxist movements have been significant opponents.
was an attempt by five Evangelical Christian missionaries
from the United States
to make contact with the Huaorani
people of the rainforest
. The Huaorani, also known as the Aucas (the Quechua
word for "savage"), were an isolated tribe known for their violence, both against their own people and outsiders who entered their territory. With the intention of being the first Protestants
to evangelize the Huaorani, the missionaries began making regular flights over Huaorani settlements in September 1955, dropping gifts. After several months of exchanging gifts, on January 2, 1956, the missionaries established a camp at "Palm Beach", a sandbar
along the Curaray River
, a few miles from Huaorani settlements. Their efforts culminated on January 8, 1956, when all five—Jim Elliot
, Nate Saint
, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming and Roger Youderian
—were attacked and speared
by a group of Huaorani warriors. The news of their deaths was broadcast around the world, galvanising the missionary effort in the United States and sparking an outpouring of funding for evangelization efforts around the world. Their work is still frequently remembered in evangelical publications, and in 2006, was the subject of the film production End of the Spear
. Several years after the deaths of the men, the widow of Jim Elliot, Elisabeth
, and the sister of Nate Saint, Rachel
, returned to Ecuador as missionaries to live among the Huaorani, eventually leading to the conversion of many, including some of the killers of the men.
Augustine of Canterbury (c. first third of the 6th century – 26 May 604) was a Benedictine monk who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 598. He is considered the "Apostle to the English" and a founder of the English Church.
Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome when Pope Gregory the Great chose him in 595 to lead a mission, usually known as the Gregorian mission, to Britain to convert the pagan King Æthelberht of the Kingdom of Kent to Christianity. Kent was probably chosen because it was near the Christian kingdoms in Gaul and because Æthelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris who was expected to exert some influence over her husband. Before reaching Kent the missionaries had considered turning back but Gregory urged them on and, in 597, Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Æthelberht's main town of Canterbury.
King Æthelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Augustine was consecrated bishop of the English and converted many of the king's subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601, along with encouraging letters and gifts for the churches, although attempts to persuade the native Celtic bishops to submit to Augustine's authority failed. Roman Catholic bishops were established at London and Rochester in 604, and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries. Augustine also arranged the consecration of his successor, Laurence of Canterbury. Augustine died in 604 and was soon revered as a saint.
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