The Philippines the Republic of the Philippines, is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. Situated in the western Pacific Ocean, it consists of about 7,641 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon and Mindanao; the capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part of Metro Manila. Bounded by the South China Sea on the west, the Philippine Sea on the east and the Celebes Sea on the southwest, the Philippines shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Vietnam to the west, Palau to the east, Malaysia and Indonesia to the south; the Philippines' location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world's greatest biodiversity. The Philippines has an area of 300,000 km2, according to the Philippines Statistical Authority and the WorldBank and, as of 2015, had a population of at least 100 million.
As of January 2018, it is the eighth-most populated country in Asia and the 12th most populated country in the world. 10 million additional Filipinos lived overseas, comprising one of the world's largest diasporas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, they were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples. Exchanges with Malay, Indian and Chinese nations occurred. Various competing maritime states were established under the rule of datus, rajahs and lakans; the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer leading a fleet for the Spanish, in Homonhon, Eastern Samar in 1521 marked the beginning of Hispanic colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. With the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi from Mexico City, in 1565, the first Hispanic settlement in the archipelago was established.
The Philippines became part of the Spanish Empire for more than 300 years. This resulted in Catholicism becoming the dominant religion. During this time, Manila became the western hub of the trans-Pacific trade connecting Asia with Acapulco in the Americas using Manila galleons; as the 19th century gave way to the 20th, the Philippine Revolution followed, which spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic, followed by the bloody Philippine–American War. The war, as well as the ensuing cholera epidemic, resulted in the deaths of thousands of combatants as well as tens of thousands of civilians. Aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands until after World War II, when the Philippines was recognized as an independent nation. Since the unitary sovereign state has had a tumultuous experience with democracy, which included the overthrow of a dictatorship by a non-violent revolution; the Philippines is a founding member of the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the East Asia Summit.
It hosts the headquarters of the Asian Development Bank. The Philippines is considered to be an emerging market and a newly industrialized country, which has an economy transitioning from being based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Along with East Timor, the Philippines is one of Southeast Asia's predominantly Christian nations; the Philippines was named in honor of King Philip II of Spain. Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos, during his expedition in 1542, named the islands of Leyte and Samar Felipinas after the then-Prince of Asturias; the name Las Islas Filipinas would be used to cover all the islands of the archipelago. Before that became commonplace, other names such as Islas del Poniente and Magellan's name for the islands San Lázaro were used by the Spanish to refer to the islands; the official name of the Philippines has changed several times in the course of its history. During the Philippine Revolution, the Malolos Congress proclaimed the establishment of the República Filipina or the Philippine Republic.
From the period of the Spanish–American War and the Philippine–American War until the Commonwealth period, American colonial authorities referred to the country as the Philippine Islands, a translation of the Spanish name. Since the end of World War II, the official name of the country has been the Republic of the Philippines. Philippines has gained currency as the common name since being the name used in Article VI of the 1898 Treaty of Paris, with or without the definite article. Discovery in 2018 of stone tools and fossils of butchered animal remains in Rizal, Kalinga has pushed back evidence of early hominins in the archipelago to as early as 709,000 years. However, the metatarsal of the Callao Man, reliably dated by uranium-series dating to 67,000 years ago remains the oldest human remnant found in the archipelago to date; this distinction belonged to the Tabon Man of Palawan, carbon-dated to around 26,500 years ago. Negritos were among the archipelago's earliest inhabitants, but their first settlement in the Philippines has not been reliably dated.
There are several opposing theories regarding the origins of ancient Filipinos. F. Landa Jocano theorizes. Wilhelm Solheim's Island Origin Theory postulates that the peopling of the archipelago transpired via trade networks originating in the Sundaland area around
Western Christianity is the Latin Church, Protestantism, together with the offshoots of these such as independent Catholicism and Restorationist churches taken together. The large majority of the world's 2.4 billion Christians are Western Christians. The original and still major part, the Latin Church, developed under the bishop of Rome in the former Western Roman Empire in Antiquity. Out of the Latin Church emerged a wide variety of independent Protestant denominations, including Lutheranism and Anglicanism, starting from the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, as did Independent Catholicism in the 19th century. Thus, the term "Western Christianity" does not describe a single communion or religious denomination, but is applied to distinguish all these denominations collectively from Eastern Christianity; the establishment of the distinct Latin Church, a particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church coincided with the consolidation of the Holy See in Rome, where the bishop claimed a particular role since Antiquity.
The terms "Western" and "Eastern" in this regard originated with geographical divisions mirroring the cultural divide between the Hellenistic east and Latin West, the political divide between the Western and Eastern Roman empires. During the Middle Ages adherents of the Latin Church, irrespective of ethnicity referred to themselves as "Latins" to distinguish themselves from Eastern Christians. With the expansion of European colonialism from the Early Modern era, the Latin Church, in time along with its Protestant secessions, spread throughout the Americas, much of the Philippines, Southern Africa, pockets of West Africa, throughout Australia, New Zealand. Thus, when used for historical periods after the 16th century, the term "Western Christianity" does not refer to a particular geographical area, but is rather used as a collective term for the Latin Church, the Protestant denominations, Independent Catholicism that trace their lineage to the original Latin Church in Western Europe. Today, the geographical distinction between Western and Eastern Christianity is not nearly as absolute as in Antiquity or the Middle Ages, due to the spread of Christian missionaries and globalisation.
The adjectives "Western Christianity" and "Eastern Christianity" are used to refer to historical origins and differences in theology and liturgy, rather than present geographical locations. While the Latin Church maintain the Latin liturgical rites, Protestant denominations and Independent Catholicism retain a wide variety of liturgical practices. For most of its history the church in Europe has been culturally divided between the Latin-speaking west, whose centre was Rome, the Greek-speaking east, whose centre was Constantinople. Cultural differences and political rivalry created tensions between the two churches, leading to disagreement over doctrine and ecclesiology and to schism. Like Eastern Christianity, Western Christianity traces its roots directly to the apostles and other early preachers of the religion. In Western Christianity's original area Latin was the principal language. Christian writers in Latin had more influence there than those who wrote in Greek, Syriac, or other Eastern languages.
Though the first Christians in the West used Greek, by the fourth century Latin had superseded it in the cosmopolitan city of Rome, while there is evidence of a Latin translation of the Bible in the 2nd century in southern Gaul and the Roman province of Africa. With the decline of the Roman Empire, distinctions appeared in organization, since the bishops in the West were not dependent on the Emperor in Constantinople and did not come under the influence of the Caesaropapism in the Eastern Church. While the see of Constantinople became dominant throughout the Emperor's lands, the West looked to the see of Rome, which in the East was seen as that of one of the five patriarchs of the Pentarchy, "the proposed government of universal Christendom by five patriarchal sees under the auspices of a single universal empire. Formulated in the legislation of the emperor Justinian I in his Novella 131, the theory received formal ecclesiastical sanction at the Council in Trullo, which ranked the five sees as Rome, Alexandria and Jerusalem."Over the centuries, disagreements separated Western Christianity from the various forms of Eastern Christianity: first from East Syriac Christianity after the Council of Ephesus from that of Oriental Orthodoxy after the Council of Chalcedon, from Eastern Orthodoxy with the East-West Schism of 1054.
With the last-named form of Eastern Christianity, reunion agreements were signed at the Second Council of Lyon and the Council of Florence, but these proved ineffective. The rise of Protestantism led to major divisions within Western Christianity, which still persist, wars—for example, the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585–1604 had religious as well as economic causes. In and after the Age of Discovery, Europeans spread Western Christianity to the New World and elsewhere. Roman Catholicism came to the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Protestantism, including Anglicanism, came to North America, Australia-Pacific and some African locales. Today, the geographical distinction between Western and Eastern Christianity is now much less absolute, due to the great migrations of Europeans across the globe, as well as the work of missionaries worldwide over the past five centuries. Although "original sin" can be taken to mea
The Eucharist is a Christian rite, considered a sacrament in most churches, as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper. Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember both Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross and his commission of the apostles at the Last Supper; the elements of the Eucharist, sacramental bread and sacramental wine, are consecrated on an altar and consumed thereafter. Communicants, those who consume the elements, may speak of "receiving the Eucharist", as well as "celebrating the Eucharist". Christians recognize a special presence of Christ in this rite, though they differ about how and when Christ is present. While all agree that there is no perceptible change in the elements, Roman Catholics believe that their substances become the body and blood of Christ. Lutherans believe the true body and blood of Christ are present "in, under" the forms of the bread and wine. Reformed Christians believe in a real spiritual presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Others, such as the Plymouth Brethren and the Christadelphians, take the act to be only a symbolic reenactment of the Last Supper and a memorial. In spite of differences among Christians about various aspects of the Eucharist, there is, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "more of a consensus among Christians about the meaning of the Eucharist than would appear from the confessional debates over the sacramental presence, the effects of the Eucharist, the proper auspices under which it may be celebrated"; the Greek noun εὐχαριστία, meaning "thanksgiving", appears fifteen times in the New Testament but is not used as an official name for the rite. Do this in remembrance of me"; the term "Eucharist" is that by which the rite is referred to by the Didache, Ignatius of Antioch and Justin Martyr. Today, "the Eucharist" is the name still used by Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Roman Catholics, Anglicans and Lutherans. Other Protestant or Evangelical denominations use this term, preferring either "Communion", "the Lord's Supper", "Memorial", "Remembrance", or "the Breaking of Bread".
Latter-day Saints call it "Sacrament". The Lord's Supper, in Greek Κυριακὸν δεῖπνον, was in use in the early 50s of the 1st century, as witnessed by the First Epistle to the Corinthians: When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk; those who use the term "Eucharist" use the expression "the Lord's Supper", but it is the predominant term among Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, who avoid using the term "Communion". They refer to the observance as an "ordinance"; those Protestant churches avoid the term "sacrament".'Holy Communion' are used by some groups originating in the Protestant Reformation to mean the entire Eucharistic rite. Others, such as the Catholic Church, do not use this term for the rite, but instead mean by it the act of partaking of the consecrated elements; the term "Communion" is derived from Latin communio, which translates Greek κοινωνία in 1 Corinthians 10:16: The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?
The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? The phrase appears in various related forms five times in the New Testament in contexts which, according to some, may refer to the celebration of the Eucharist, in either closer or symbolically more distant reference to the Last Supper, it is the term used by the Plymouth Brethren. The "Blessed Sacrament" and the "Blessed Sacrament of the Altar" are common terms used by Catholics and some Anglicans for the consecrated elements when reserved in a tabernacle. "Sacrament of the Altar" is in common use among Lutherans. In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the term "The Sacrament" is used of the rite. Mass is used in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Churches, by many Anglicans, in some other forms of Western Christianity. At least in the Catholic Church, the Mass is a longer rite which always consists of two main parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in that order; the Liturgy of the Word consists of readings from scripture (the
Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called "Anglicans"; the majority of Anglicans are members of national or regional ecclesiastical provinces of the international Anglican Communion, which forms the third-largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. They are in full communion with the See of Canterbury, thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom the communion refers to as its primus inter pares, he calls the decennial Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates, the Anglican Consultative Council. Some churches that are not part of the Anglican Communion or recognized by the Anglican Communion call themselves Anglican, including those that are part of the Continuing Anglican movement and Anglican realignment. Anglicans base their Christian faith on the Bible, traditions of the apostolic Church, apostolic succession and the writings of the Church Fathers.
Anglicanism forms one of the branches of Western Christianity, having definitively declared its independence from the Holy See at the time of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. Many of the new Anglican formularies of the mid-16th century corresponded to those of contemporary Protestantism; these reforms in the Church of England were understood by one of those most responsible for them, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, others as navigating a middle way between two of the emerging Protestant traditions, namely Lutheranism and Calvinism. In the first half of the 17th century, the Church of England and its associated Church of Ireland were presented by some Anglican divines as comprising a distinct Christian tradition, with theologies and forms of worship representing a different kind of middle way, or via media, between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism – a perspective that came to be influential in theories of Anglican identity and expressed in the description of Anglicanism as "Catholic and Reformed".
The degree of distinction between Protestant and Catholic tendencies within the Anglican tradition is a matter of debate both within specific Anglican churches and throughout the Anglican Communion. Unique to Anglicanism is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of services in one Book used for centuries; the Book is acknowledged as a principal tie that binds the Anglican Communion together as a liturgical rather than a confessional tradition or one possessing a magisterium as in the Roman Catholic Church. After the American Revolution, Anglican congregations in the United States and British North America were each reconstituted into autonomous churches with their own bishops and self-governing structures. Through the expansion of the British Empire and the activity of Christian missions, this model was adopted as the model for many newly formed churches in Africa and Asia-Pacific. In the 19th century, the term Anglicanism was coined to describe the common religious tradition of these churches.
The word Anglican originates in Anglicana ecclesia libera sit, a phrase from the Magna Carta dated 15 June 1215, meaning "the Anglican Church shall be free". Adherents of Anglicanism are called Anglicans; as an adjective, "Anglican" is used to describe the people and churches, as well as the liturgical traditions and theological concepts developed by the Church of England. As a noun, an Anglican is a member of a church in the Anglican Communion; the word is used by followers of separated groups which have left the communion or have been founded separately from it, although this is considered as a misuse by the Anglican Communion. The word Anglicanism came into being in the 19th century; the word referred only to the teachings and rites of Christians throughout the world in communion with the see of Canterbury, but has come to sometimes be extended to any church following those traditions rather than actual membership in the modern Anglican Communion. Although the term Anglican is found referring to the Church of England as far back as the 16th century, its use did not become general until the latter half of the 19th century.
In British parliamentary legislation referring to the English Established Church, there is no need for a description. When the Union with Ireland Act created the United Church of England and Ireland, it is specified that it shall be one "Protestant Episcopal Church", thereby distinguishing its form of church government from the Presbyterian polity that prevails in the Church of Scotland; the word Episcopal is preferred in the title of the Episcopal Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church, though the full name of the former is The Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America. Elsewhere, the term "Anglican Church" came to be preferred as it distinguished these churches from others that maintain an episcopal polity. Anglicanism, in its structures and forms of worship, is understood as a distinct Christian tradition representing a middle ground between what are perceived to be the extremes of the claims of 16th-century Roman Ca
In religion, a blessing is the infusion of something with holiness, spiritual redemption, or divine will. The modern English language term bless derives from the 1225 term blessen, which developed from the Old English blǣdsian; the term appears in other forms, such as blēdsian, blētsian from around 725 and blesian from around 1000, all meaning to make sacred or holy by a sacrificial custom in the Anglo-Saxon pagan period, originating in Germanic paganism. Due to this, the term is related to the term blōd. References to this indigenous practice, Blót, exist in related Icelandic sources; the modern meaning of the term may have been influenced in translations of the Bible into Old English during the process of Christianization to translate the Latin term benedīcere meaning to "speak well of", resulting in meanings such as to "praise" or "extol" or to speak of or to wish well.'To be blessed' means to be favored by God, the source of all blessing. Blessings, are directly associated with, are believed to come from, God.
Thus, to express a blessing is like bestowing a wish on someone that they experience the favor of God, to acknowledge God as the source of all blessing. A biblical damnation, in its most formal sense, is a negative blessing. In the Bible and negative blessings are related. One of the first incidences of blessing in the Bible is in Genesis, 12:1-2 where Abram is ordered by the God to leave his country and is told: "I will bless you, I will make your name great." The Priestly Blessing is set forth at Numbers 6:24-26: May Adonai bless you, guard you. In Rabbinic Judaism, a blessing is recited at a specified moment during a prayer, ceremony or other activity before and after partaking of food; the function of blessings is to acknowledge God as the source of all blessing. A berakhah of rabbinic origin starts with the words, "Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe..." Rabbinic Judaism teaches that food is a gift of the one great Provider and that to partake of food legitimately one should express gratitude to God by reciting the appropriate blessing of rabbinic origin prior, while torah mandates an informal blessing afterwards.
Jewish law does not reserve recitation of blessings to only a specific class of Jews. Blessings and curses of Christ appear in the New Testament, as recounted in the Beatitudes of Luke 6:20-22. Within Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism and similar traditions, formal blessings of the church are performed by bishops and deacons. Particular formulas may be associated with papal blessings. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran churches blessings are bestowed by bishops and priests in a liturgical context, raising their right hand and making the sign of the cross with it over persons or objects to be blessed, they give blessings to begin divine services and at the dismissal at the end. In the Eastern Orthodox Church liturgical blessings are performed over people, objects, or are given at specific points during divine services. A priest or bishop blesses with his hand, but may use a blessing cross, candles, an icon, the Chalice or Gospel Book to bestow blessings, always making the Sign of the Cross therewith.
When blessing with the hand, a priest uses his right hand, holding his fingers so that they form the Greek letters IC XC, the monogram of Jesus Christ. A bishop does the same, except he uses both hands, or may hold the crozier in his left hand, using both to make the Sign of the Cross. A bishop may bless with special candlesticks known as the dikirion and trikirion; when blessing an object, the rubrics instruct Orthodox bishops and priests to make use of such substances as incense and holy water. Formal ecclesiastical permission to undertake an action is referred to as a "blessing"; the blessing may be bestowed by one's own spiritual father. When an Orthodox layperson bestows a blessing, he or she will hold the thumb and first two fingers of the right hand together, make the sign of the cross over the person or object they are blessing. In the Methodist tradition, the minister blesses the congregation during the concluding part of the service of worship, known as the benediction. With regard to house blessings, the Methodist The Book of Worship for Church and Home contains "An Office for the Blessing of a Dwelling".
In the Roman Catholic Church a priest or bishop blesses the faithful with the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance during Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. According to the guidelines given by the Vatican's Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments that govern the procedures for liturgical ceremonies, if a Roman Catholic layperson or any non-ordained religious leads a Sunday service, such as Eucharistic adoration, the Rosary, or celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, he or she does not perform rites or sacraments reserved to the clergy and does not solemnly bless the people as a bishop, priest, or de
Methodism known as the Methodist movement, is a group of related denominations of Protestant Christianity which derive their inspiration from the life and teachings of John Wesley. George Whitefield and John's brother Charles Wesley were significant early leaders in the movement, it originated as a revival movement within the 18th-century Church of England and became a separate denomination after Wesley's death. The movement spread throughout the British Empire, the United States, beyond because of vigorous missionary work, today claiming 80 million adherents worldwide. Wesley's theology focused on the effect of faith on the character of a Christian. Distinguishing Methodist doctrines include the new birth, an assurance of salvation, imparted righteousness, the possibility of perfection in love, the works of piety, the primacy of Scripture. Most Methodists teach that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for all of humanity and that salvation is available for all; this teaching rejects the Calvinist position that God has pre-ordained the salvation of a select group of people.
However and several other early leaders of the movement were considered Calvinistic Methodists and held to the Calvinist position. Methodism emphasises charity and support for the sick, the poor, the afflicted through the works of mercy; these ideals are put into practice by the establishment of hospitals, soup kitchens, schools to follow Christ's command to spread the gospel and serve all people. The movement has a wide variety of forms of worship, ranging from high church to low church in liturgical usage. Denominations that descend from the British Methodist tradition are less ritualistic, while American Methodism is more so, the United Methodist Church in particular. Methodism is known for its rich musical tradition, Charles Wesley was instrumental in writing much of the hymnody of the Methodist Church. Early Methodists were drawn from all levels of society, including the aristocracy, but the Methodist preachers took the message to labourers and criminals who tended to be left outside organised religion at that time.
In Britain, the Methodist Church had a major effect in the early decades of the developing working class. In the United States, it became the religion of many slaves who formed black churches in the Methodist tradition; the Methodist revival began with a group of men, including John Wesley and his younger brother Charles, as a movement within the Church of England in the 18th century. The Wesley brothers founded the "Holy Club" at the University of Oxford, where John was a fellow and a lecturer at Lincoln College; the club met weekly and they systematically set about living a holy life. They were accustomed to receiving Communion every week, fasting abstaining from most forms of amusement and luxury and visited the sick and the poor, as well as prisoners; the fellowship were branded as "Methodist" by their fellow students because of the way they used "rule" and "method" to go about their religious affairs. John, leader of the club, took the attempted mockery and turned it into a title of honour.
In 1735, at the invitation of the founder of the Georgia Colony, General James Oglethorpe, both John and Charles Wesley set out for America to be ministers to the colonists and missionaries to the Native Americans. Unsuccessful in their work, the brothers returned to England conscious of their lack of genuine Christian faith, they looked for help to other members of the Moravian Church. At a Moravian service in Aldersgate on 24 May 1738, John experienced what has come to be called his evangelical conversion, when he felt his "heart strangely warmed", he records in his journal: "I felt I did trust in Christ alone, for salvation. Charles had reported a similar experience a few days previously. Considered a pivotal moment, Daniel L. Burnett writes: "The significance of Wesley's Aldersgate Experience is monumental … Without it the names of Wesley and Methodism would be nothing more than obscure footnotes in the pages of church history."The Wesley brothers began to preach salvation by faith to individuals and groups, in houses, in religious societies, in the few churches which had not closed their doors to evangelical preachers.
John Wesley came under the influence of the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius. Arminius had rejected the Calvinist teaching that God had pre-ordained an elect number of people to eternal bliss while others perished eternally. Conversely, George Whitefield, Howell Harris, Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon were notable for being Calvinistic Methodists. George Whitefield, returning from his own mission in Georgia, joined the Wesley brothers in what was to become a national crusade. Whitefield, a fellow student of the Wesleys at Oxford, became well known for his unorthodox, itinerant ministry, in which he was dedicated to open-air preaching—reaching crowds of thousands. A key step in the development of John Wesley's ministry was, like Whitefield, to preach in fields and churchyards to those who did not attend parish church services. Accordingly, many Methodist converts were those disconnected from the Church of England. Faced with growing evangelistic and pastoral responsibilities and Whitefield appointed lay preachers and leaders.
Christianity is an Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, as described in the New Testament. 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. Depending on the specific denomination of Christianity, practices may include baptism, prayer, confirmation, burial rites, marriage rites and the religious education of children. Most denominations hold regular group worship services. Christianity developed during the 1st century CE as a Jewish Christian sect of Second Temple Judaism, it soon attracted Gentile God-fearers, which lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. During the first centuries of its existence Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, to Ethiopia and some parts of Asia. Constantine the Great decriminalized it via the Edict of Milan; the First Council of Nicaea established a uniform set of beliefs across the Roman Empire.
By 380, the Roman Empire designated Christianity as the state religion. The period of the first seven ecumenical councils is sometimes referred to as the Great Church, the united full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, before their schisms. Oriental Orthodoxy split after the Council of Chalcedon over differences in Christology; the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church separated in the East–West Schism over the authority of the Pope. In 1521, Protestants split from the Catholic Church in the Protestant Reformation over Papal primacy, the nature of salvation, other ecclesiological and theological disputes. Following the Age of Discovery, Christianity was spread into the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, the rest of the world via missionary work and colonization. There are 2.3 billion Christians in the world, or 31.4% of the global population. Today, the four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Christianity and Christian ethics have played a prominent role in the development of Western civilization around Europe during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. In the New Testament, the names by which the disciples were known among themselves were "brethren", "the faithful", "elect", "saints" and "believers". Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. While Christians worldwide share basic convcitions, there are differences of interpretations and opinions of the Bible and sacred traditions on which Christianity is based. Concise doctrinal statements or confessions of religious beliefs are known as creeds, they began as baptismal formulae and were expanded during the Christological controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith.
The Apostles' Creed is the most accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by a number of Christian denominations for both liturgical and catechetical purposes, most visibly by liturgical churches of Western Christian tradition, including the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, Lutheranism and Western Rite Orthodoxy, it is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This particular creed was developed between the 9th centuries, its central doctrines are those of God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period; the creed was used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. Its main points include: Belief in God the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Holy Spirit The death, descent into hell and ascension of Christ The holiness of the Church and the communion of saints Christ's second coming, the Day of Judgement and salvation of the faithful; the Nicene Creed was formulated in response to Arianism, at the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople in 325 and 381 and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
The Chalcedonian Definition, or Creed of Chalcedon, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the Oriental Orthodox churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, unchangeably, inseparably": one divine and one human, that both natures, while perfect in themselves, are also united into one person. The Athanasian Creed, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, Trinity in Unity. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith while agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. Most Baptists do not use creeds "in that they have not sought to establish binding