Thessaloniki familiarly known as Thessalonica, Salonica or Salonika, is the second-largest city in Greece, with over 1 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, the capital of Greek Macedonia, the administrative region of Central Macedonia and the Decentralized Administration of Macedonia and Thrace. Its nickname is η Συμπρωτεύουσα "the co-capital", a reference to its historical status as the Συμβασιλεύουσα or "co-reigning" city of the Eastern Roman Empire, alongside Constantinople. Thessaloniki is located at the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea, it is bounded on the west by the delta of the Axios/Vardar. The municipality of Thessaloniki, the historical center, had a population of 325,182 in 2011, while the Thessaloniki Urban Area had a population of 824,676 and the Thessaloniki Metropolitan Area had 1,030,338 inhabitants in 2011, it is Greece's second major economic, industrial and political centre. The city is renowned for its festivals and vibrant cultural life in general, is considered to be Greece's cultural capital.
Events such as the Thessaloniki International Fair and the Thessaloniki International Film Festival are held annually, while the city hosts the largest bi-annual meeting of the Greek diaspora. Thessaloniki was the 2014 European Youth Capital; the city of Thessaloniki was founded in 315 BC by Cassander of Macedon. An important metropolis by the Roman period, Thessaloniki was the second largest and wealthiest city of the Byzantine Empire, it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1430, passed from the Ottoman Empire to Greece on 8 November 1912. It is home to numerous notable Byzantine monuments, including the Paleochristian and Byzantine monuments of Thessaloniki, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as several Roman and Sephardic Jewish structures; the city's main university, Aristotle University, is the largest in Greece and the Balkans. Thessaloniki is a popular tourist destination in Greece. In 2013, National Geographic Magazine included Thessaloniki in its top tourist destinations worldwide, while in 2014 Financial Times FDI magazine declared Thessaloniki as the best mid-sized European city of the future for human capital and lifestyle.
Among street photographers, the center of Thessaloniki is considered the most popular destination for street photography in Greece. The original name of the city was Θεσσαλονίκη Thessaloníkē, it was named after princess Thessalonike of Macedon, the half sister of Alexander the Great, whose name means "Thessalian victory", from Θεσσαλός'Thessalos', Νίκη'victory', honoring the Macedonian victory at the Battle of Crocus Field. Minor variants are found, including Θετταλονίκη Thettaloníkē, Θεσσαλονίκεια Thessaloníkeia, Θεσσαλονείκη Thessaloneíkē, Θεσσαλονικέων Thessalonikéōn; the name Σαλονίκη Saloníki is first attested in Greek in the Chronicle of the Morea, is common in folk songs, but it must have originated earlier, as al-Idrisi called it Salunik in the 12th century. It is the basis for the city's name in other languages: Солѹнь in Old Church Slavonic, סלוניקה in Ladino, Selânik سلانیك in Ottoman Turkish and Selanik in modern Turkish, Salonicco in Italian, Solun or Солун in the local and neighboring South Slavic languages, Салоники in Russian, Sãrunã in Aromanian, Salonica or Salonika in English.
Thessaloniki was revived as the city's official name in 1912, when it joined the Kingdom of Greece during the Balkan Wars. In local speech, the city's name is pronounced with a dark and deep L characteristic of Modern Macedonian accent; the name is abbreviated as Θεσ/νίκη. The city was founded around 315 BC by the King Cassander of Macedon, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma and 26 other local villages, he named it after his wife Thessalonike, a half-sister of Alexander the Great and princess of Macedonia as daughter of Philip II. Under the kingdom of Macedonia the city retained its own autonomy and parliament and evolved to become the most important city in Macedonia. After the fall of the Kingdom of Macedonia in 168 BC, in 148 BC Thessalonica was made the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. Thessalonica became a free city of the Roman Republic under Mark Antony in 41 BC, it grew to be an important trade-hub located on the Via Egnatia, the road connecting Dyrrhachium with Byzantium, which facilitated trade between Thessaloniki and great centers of commerce such as Rome and Byzantium.
Thessaloniki lay at the southern end of the main north-south route through the Balkans along the valleys of the Morava and Axios river valleys, thereby linking the Balkans with the rest of Greece. The city became the capital of one of the four Roman districts of Macedonia, it became the capital of all the Greek provinces of the Roman Empire because of the city's importance in the Balkan peninsula. At the time of the Roman Empire, about 50 A. D. Thessaloniki was one of the early centers of Christianity. Paul wrote two letters to the new church at Thessaloniki, preserved in the Biblical canon as First and Second Thessalonians; some scholars hold that the First Epistle to the Thessalonians is the first written book of the New Testament. In 306 AD, Thessaloniki acquired a patron saint, St. Demetrius, a Christian whom Galerius is said to have put to death. Most scholars
Bulgarian Orthodox Church
The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Orthodox Church. It is the oldest Slavic Orthodox Church with some 6 million members in the Republic of Bulgaria and between 1.5 and 2.0 million members in a number of European countries, the Americas, New Zealand and Asia. It was recognized as an independent Church by the Patriarchate of Constantinople in AD 870, becoming Patriarchate in 918/919; the Bulgarian Orthodox Church considers itself an inseparable member of the one, holy and apostolic church and is organized as a self-governing body under the name of Patriarchate. It is divided into thirteen dioceses within the boundaries of the Republic of Bulgaria and has jurisdiction over additional two dioceses for Bulgarians in Western and Central Europe, the Americas and Australia; the dioceses of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church are divided into 58 church counties, which, in turn, are subdivided into some 2,600 parishes. The supreme clerical and administrative power for the whole domain of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church is exercised by the Holy Synod, which includes the Patriarch and the diocesan prelates, who are called metropolitans.
Church life in the parishes is guided by the parish priests, numbering some 1,500. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has some 120 monasteries in Bulgaria, with about 2,000 monks and nearly as many nuns. Eparchies in Bulgaria: Eparchy of Vidin Eparchy of Vratsa Eparchy of Lovech Eparchy of Veliko Tarnovo Eparchy of Dorostol Eparchy of Varna and Veliki Preslav Eparchy of Sliven Eparchy of Stara Zagora Eparchy of Plovdiv Eparchy of Sofia Eparchy of Nevrokop Eparchy of Pleven Eparchy of Ruse Eparchies abroad: Eparchy of Central and Western Europe. Christianity was brought to the Bulgarian lands and the rest of the Balkans by the apostles Paul and Andrew in the 1st century AD, when the first organised Christian communities were formed. By the beginning of the 4th century, Christianity had become the dominant religion in the region. Towns such as Serdica, Philipopolis and Adrianople were significant centres of Christianity in the Roman Empire; the barbarian raids and incursions in the 4th and the 5th and the settlement of Slavs and Bulgars in the 6th and the 7th centuries wrought considerable damage to the ecclesiastical organisation of the Christian Church in the Bulgarian lands, yet they were far from destroying it.
Kubrat and Organa were both baptized together in Constantinople and Christianity started to pave its way from the surviving Christian communities to the surrounding Bulgar-Slavic mass. By the middle of the 9th century, the majority of the Bulgarian Slavs those living in Thrace and Macedonia, were Christianised; the process of conversion enjoyed some success among the Bulgar nobility. It was not until the official adoption of Christianity by Khan Boris I in 865 that an independent Bulgarian ecclesiastical entity was established. Boris I believed that cultural advancement and the sovereignty and prestige of a Christian Bulgaria could be achieved through an enlightened clergy governed by an autocephalous church. To this end, he manoeuvred between the Patriarch of Constantinople and the Roman Pope for a period of five years until in 870 AD, the Fourth Council of Constantinople granted the Bulgarians an autonomous Bulgarian archbishopric; the archbishopric had its seat in the Bulgarian capital of Pliska and its diocese covered the whole territory of the Bulgarian state.
The tug-of-war between Rome and Constantinople was resolved by putting the Bulgarian archbishopric under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, from whom it obtained its first primate, its clergy and theological books. Although the archbishopric enjoyed full internal autonomy, the goals of Boris I were scarcely fulfilled. A Greek liturgy offered by a Byzantine clergy furthered neither the cultural development of the Bulgarians, nor the consolidation of the Bulgarian Empire. Following the Byzantine theory of "Imperium sine Patriarcha non staret", which predominated that a close relation should exist between an Empire and Patriarchate, Boris I greeted the arrival of the disciples of the deceased Saints Cyril and Methodius in 886 as an opportunity. Boris I gave them the task to instruct the future Bulgarian clergy in the Glagolitic alphabet and the Slavonic liturgy prepared by Cyril; the liturgy was based on the vernacular of the Bulgarian Slavs from the region of Thessaloniki. In 893, Boris I expelled the Greek clergy from the country and ordered the replacement of the Greek language with the Slav-Bulgarian vernacular.
Following Bulgaria's two decisive victories over the Byzantines at Acheloos and Katasyrtai, the government declared the autonomous Bulgarian Archbishopric as autocephalous and elevated it to the rank of Patriarchate at an ecclesiastical and national council held in 919. After Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire signed a peace treaty in 927 that concluded th
Romanian Orthodox Church
The Romanian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous Orthodox Church in full communion with other Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches, one of the nine Patriarchates in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Since 1925, the Church's Primate bears the title of Patriarch, its jurisdiction covers the territories of Romania and Moldova, with additional dioceses for Romanians living in nearby Serbia and Hungary, as well as for diaspora communities in Central and Western Europe, North America and Oceania. It is the only autocephalous Church within Orthodoxy to have a Romance language for liturgical use; the majority of Romania's population, as well as some 720,000 Moldovans, belong to the Romanian Orthodox Church. Members of the Romanian Orthodox Church sometimes refer to Orthodox Christian doctrine as Dreapta credință; the Orthodox hierarchy in the territory of modern Romania had existed within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople until 1865 when the Churches in the Romanian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia embarked on the path of ecclesiastical independence by nominating Nifon Rusailă, Metropolitan of Ungro-Wallachia, as the first Romanian primate.
Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza, who had in 1863 carried out a mass confiscation of monastic estates in the face of stiff opposition from the Greek hierarchy in Constantinople, in 1865 pushed through a legislation that proclaimed complete independence of the Church in the Principalities from the Patriarchate. In 1872, the Orthodox churches in the principalities, the Metropolis of Ungro-Wallachia and the Metropolis of Moldavia, merged to form the Romanian Orthodox Church. Following the international recognition of the independence of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1878, after a long period of negotiations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Patriarch Joachim IV granted recognition to the autocephalous Metropolis of Romania in 1885, raised to the rank of Patriarchate in 1925. Restricted access to ecclesiastical and relevant state archives makes an accurate assessment of the Romanian Orthodox Church's attitude towards the Communist regime a difficult proposition; the activity of the Orthodox Church as an institution was more or less tolerated by the Marxist–Leninist atheist regime, although it was controlled through "special delegates" and its access to the public sphere was limited.
The attitudes of the church's members, both laity and clergy, towards the communist regime, range broadly from opposition and martyrdom, to silent consent, collaboration or subservience aimed at ensuring survival. Beyond limited access to the Securitate and Party archives as well as the short time elapsed since these events unfolded, such an assessment is complicated by the particularities of each individual and situation, the understanding each had about how their own relationship with the regime could influence others and how it did; the Romanian Workers' Party, which assumed political power at the end of 1947, initiated mass purges that resulted in a decimation of the Orthodox hierarchy. Three archbishops died after expressing opposition to government policies, thirteen more "uncooperative" bishops and archbishops were arrested. A May 1947 decree imposed a mandatory retirement age for clergy, thus providing authorities with a convenient way to pension off old-guard holdouts; the 4 August 1948 Law on Cults institutionalised state control over episcopal elections and packed the Holy Synod with Communist supporters.
The evangelical wing of the Romanian Orthodox Church, known as the Army of the Lord, was suppressed by communist authorities in 1948. In exchange for subservience and enthusiastic support for state policies, the property rights over as many as 2,500 church buildings and other assets belonging to the Romanian Greek-Catholic Church were transferred to the Romanian Orthodox Church. By weeding out the anti-communists from among the Orthodox clergy and setting up a pro-regime, secret police-infiltrated Union of Democratic Priests, the party endeavoured to secure the hierarchy's cooperation. By January 1953 some 300-500 Orthodox priests were being held in concentration camps, following Patriarch Nicodim's death in May 1948, the party succeeded in having the ostensibly docile Justinian Marina elected to succeed him; as a result of measures passed in 1947-48, the state took over the 2,300 elementary schools and 24 high schools operated by the Orthodox Church. A new campaign struck the church in 1958-62 when more than half of its remaining monasteries were closed, more than 2,000 monks were forced to take secular jobs, about 1,500 clergy and lay activists were arrested.
Throughout this period Patriarch Justinian took great care that his public statements met the regime's standards of political correctness and to avoid giving offence to the government. The church's situation began to improve in 1962, when relations with the state thawed, an event that coincided with the beginning of Romania's pursuit of an independent foreign policy course that saw the political elite encourage nationalism as a means to strengthen its position against Sovie
Kosovo the Republic of Kosovo, is a recognized state and disputed territory in Southeastern Europe. Defined in an area of 10,908 square kilometres, Kosovo is landlocked in the center of the Balkans and bordered by the uncontested territory of Serbia to the north and east, North Macedonia to the southeast, Albania to the southwest and Montenegro to the west. Geographically, Kosovo possesses varied and opposing landscapes for its size determined by the ideal climate along with the geology and hydrology. Most of central Kosovo is dominated by the vast fields of Dukagjin and Kosovo; the Albanian Alps and Šar Mountains rise in the southwest and southeast respectively. The earliest known human settlements in what is now Kosovo were the Paleolithic Vinča and Starčevo cultures. During the Classical period, it was inhabited by the Celtic people. In 168 BC, the area was annexed by the Romans. In the Middle Ages, it was conquered by the Byzantine and Serbian Empires; the Battle of Kosovo of 1389 is considered to be one of the defining moments in Serbian medieval history.
The region was the core of the Serbian medieval state, the seat of the Serbian Orthodox Church from the 14th century, when its status was upgraded to a patriarchate. Kosovo was part of the Ottoman Empire from the 15th to the early 20th century. In the late 19th century, it became the centre of the Albanian National Awakening. Following their defeat in the Balkan Wars, the Ottomans ceded Kosovo to Montenegro. Both countries joined Yugoslavia after World War I, following a period of Yugoslav unitarianism in the Kingdom, the post-World War II Yugoslav constitution established the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within the Yugoslav constituent republic of Serbia. Tensions between Kosovo's Albanian and Serb communities simmered through the 20th century and erupted into major violence, culminating in the Kosovo War of 1998 and 1999, which resulted in the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army and the establishment of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo. On 17 February 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia.
It has since gained diplomatic recognition as a sovereign state by 113 UN member states. Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign state, although with the Brussels Agreement of 2013, it has accepted its institutions. While Serbia recognizes administration of the territory by Kosovo's elected government, it continues to claim it as the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. Kosovo has a lower-middle-income economy and has experienced solid economic growth over the last decade by international financial institutions, has experienced growth every year since the onset of the 2008 global financial crisis. Kosovo is a member of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Regional Cooperation Council, has applied for membership of Interpol and for observer status in the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation; the entire region that today corresponds to the territory is referred to in English as Kosovo and in Albanian as Kosova or Kosovë or Kosovë. In Serbia, a formal distinction is made between the western areas.
According to one theory, Kosovo is the Serbian neuter possessive adjective of kos "blackbird", an ellipsis for Kosovo Polje,'blackbird field', the name of a plain situated in the eastern half of today's Kosovo and the site of the 1389 Battle of Kosovo Field. The name of the plain was applied to the Kosovo Province created in 1864. Albanians refer to Kosovo as Dardania, the name of a Roman province formed in 165 BC, which covered the territory of modern Kosovo; the name is derived from ancient tribe of Dardani from proto-Albanian word dardha/dardā which means "pear". The former Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova had been an enthusiastic backer of a "Dardanian" identity and the Kosovan flag and presidential seal refer to this national identity. However, the name "Kosova" remains more used among the Albanian population; the current borders of Kosovo were drawn while part of SFR Yugoslavia in 1945, when the Autonomous Region of Kosovo and Metohija was created as an administrative division of the new People's Republic of Serbia.
In 1963, it was raised from the level of an autonomous region to the level of an autonomous province as the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. In 1968, the dual name "Kosovo and Metohija" was reduced to a simple "Kosovo" in the name of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo. In 1990, the province was renamed the Autonomous Province of Metohija; the official conventional long name of the state is Republic of Kosovo, as defined by the Constitution of Kosovo, is used to represent Kosovo internationally. Additionally, as a result of an arrangement agreed between Pristina and Belgrade in talks mediated by the European Union, Kosovo has participated in some international forums and organisations under the title "Kosovo*" with a footnote stating "This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence"; this arrangement, dubbed the "asterisk agreement", was agreed
The Roman army was the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of Ancient Rome, from the Roman Kingdom to the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, its medieval continuation the Eastern Roman Empire. It is thus a term that may span 2,206 years, during which the Roman armed forces underwent numerous permutations in composition, organisation and tactics, while conserving a core of lasting traditions.. The Early Roman army was the armed force of the Roman Kingdom and of the early Republic. During this period, when warfare chiefly consisted of small-scale plundering raids, it has been suggested that the army followed Etruscan or Greek models of organisation and equipment; the early Roman army was based on an annual levy. The infantry ranks were filled with the lower classes while the cavalry were left to the patricians, because the wealthier could afford horses. Moreover, the commanding authority during the regal period was the high king; until the establishment of the Republic and the office of consul, the king assumed the role of commander-in-chief.
However, from about 508 BC Rome no longer had a king. The commanding position of the army was given to the consuls, "who were charged both singly and jointly to take care to preserve the Republic from danger"; the term legion is derived from the Latin word legio. At first there were only four legions; these legions were numbered "I" to "IIII", with the fourth being written as such and not "IV". The first legion was seen as the most prestigious; the bulk of the army was made up of citizens. These citizens could not choose the legion. Any man "from ages 16–46 were selected by ballot" and assigned to a legion; until the Roman military disaster of 390 BC at the Battle of the Allia, Rome's army was organised to the Greek phalanx. This was due to Greek influence in Italy "by way of their colonies". Patricia Southern quotes ancient historians Livy and Dionysius in saying that the "phalanx consisted of 3,000 infantry and 300 cavalry"; each man had to provide his equipment in battle. Politically they shared the same ranking system in the Comitia Centuriata.
The Roman army of the mid-Republic was known as the "manipular army" or the "Polybian army" after the Greek historian Polybius, who provides the most detailed extant description of this phase. The Roman army started to have a full-time strength of 150,000 at all times and 3/4 of the rest were levied. During this period, the Romans, while maintaining the levy system, adopted the Samnite manipular organisation for their legions and bound all the other peninsular Italian states into a permanent military alliance; the latter were required to supply the same number of troops to joint forces as the Romans to serve under Roman command. Legions in this phase were always accompanied on campaign by the same number of allied alae, units of the same size as legions. After the 2nd Punic War, the Romans acquired an overseas empire, which necessitated standing forces to fight lengthy wars of conquest and to garrison the newly gained provinces, thus the army's character mutated from a temporary force based on short-term conscription to a standing army in which the conscripts were supplemented by a large number of volunteers willing to serve for much longer than the legal six-year limit.
These volunteers were from the poorest social class, who did not have plots to tend at home and were attracted by the modest military pay and the prospect of a share of war booty. The minimum property requirement for service in the legions, suspended during the 2nd Punic War, was ignored from 201 BC onward in order to recruit sufficient volunteers. Between 150-100 BC, the manipular structure was phased out, the much larger cohort became the main tactical unit. In addition, from the 2nd Punic War onward, Roman armies were always accompanied by units of non-Italian mercenaries, such as Numidian light cavalry, Cretan archers, Balearic slingers, who provided specialist functions that Roman armies had lacked; the Roman army of the late Republic marks the continued transition between the conscription-based citizen-levy of the mid-Republic and the volunteer, professional standing forces of the imperial era. The main literary sources for the army's organisation and tactics in this phase are the works of Julius Caesar, the most notable of a series of warlords who contested for power in this period.
As a result of the Social War, all Italians were granted Roman citizenship, the old allied alae were abolished and their members integrated into the legions. Regular annual conscription remained in force and continued to provide the core of legionary recruitment, but an ever-increasing proportion of recruits were volunteers, who signed up for 16-year terms as opposed to the maximum 6 years for conscripts; the loss of ala cavalry reduced Roman/Italian cavalry by 75%, legions became dependent on allied native horse for cavalry cover. This period saw the large-scale expansion of native forces employed to complement the legions, made up of numeri recruited from tribes within Rome's overseas empire and neighbouring allied tribes. Large numbers of heavy infantry and cavalry were recruited in Spain and Thrace, archers in Thrace and Syria. However, these native units were not integrated with the legions, but retained th
A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party. This refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of the martyr by the oppressor. Applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause. Most martyrs are considered holy or are respected by their followers, becoming symbols of exceptional leadership and heroism in the face of difficult circumstances. Martyrs play significant roles in religions. Martyrs have had notable effects in secular life, including such figures as Socrates, among other political and cultural examples. In its original meaning, the word martyr, meaning witness, was used in the secular sphere as well as in the New Testament of the Bible; the process of bearing witness was not intended to lead to the death of the witness, although it is known from ancient writers and from the New Testament that witnesses died for their testimonies.
During the early Christian centuries, the term acquired the extended meaning of believers who are called to witness for their religious belief, on account of this witness, endures suffering or death. The term, in this sense, entered the English language as a loanword; the death of a martyr or the value attributed. The early Christians who first began to use the term martyr in its new sense saw Jesus as the first and greatest martyr, on account of his crucifixion; the early Christians appear to have seen Jesus as the archetypal martyr. The word martyr is used in English to describe a wide variety of people. However, the following table presents a general outline of common features present in stereotypical martyrdoms. In the Bahá'í Faith, martyrs are those who sacrifice their lives serving humanity in the name of God. However, Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, discouraged the literal meaning of sacrificing one's life. Instead, he explained. Martyrdom was extensively promoted by the Kuomintang party in modern China.
Revolutionaries who died fighting against the Qing dynasty in the Xinhai Revolution and throughout the Republic of China period, furthering the cause of the revolution, were recognized as martyrs. In Christianity, a martyr, in accordance with the meaning of the original Greek martys in the New Testament, is one who brings a testimony written or verbal. In particular, the testimony is that of the Christian Gospel, or more the Word of God. A Christian witness is a biblical witness. However, over time many Christian testimonies were rejected, the witnesses put to death, the word martyr developed its present sense. Where death ensues, the witnesses follow the example of Jesus in offering up their lives for truth; the concept of Jesus as a martyr has received greater attention. Analyses of the Gospel passion narratives have led many scholars to conclude that they are martyrdom accounts in terms of genre and style. Several scholars have concluded that Paul the Apostle understood Jesus' death as a martyrdom.
In light of such conclusions, some have argued that the Christians of the first few centuries would have interpreted the crucifixion of Jesus as a martyrdom. In the context of church history, from the time of the persecution of early Christians in the Roman Empire, it developed that a martyr was one, killed for maintaining a religious belief, knowing that this will certainly result in imminent death; this definition of martyr is not restricted to the Christian faith. Though Christianity recognizes certain Old Testament Jewish figures, like Abel and the Maccabees, as holy, the New Testament mentions the imprisonment and beheading of John the Baptist, Jesus's possible cousin and his prophet and forerunner, the first Christian witness, after the establishment of the Christian faith, to be killed for his testimony was Saint Stephen, those who suffer martyrdom are said to have been "crowned." From the time of Constantine, Christianity was decriminalized, under Theodosius I, became the state religion, which diminished persecution.
As some wondered how they could most follow Christ there was a development of desert spirituality, desert monks, self-mortification, following Christ by separation from the world. This was a kind of white martyrdom, dying to oneself every day, as opposed to a red martyrdom, the giving of one's life in a violent death. In Christianity, death in sectarian persecution can be viewed as martyrdom. For example, there were martyrs recognised on both sides of the schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England after 1534, with two hundred and eighty Christians martyred for their faith by public burning between 1553 and 1558 by the Roman Catholic Queen Mary I in England leading to the reversion to the Church of England under Queen Elizabeth I in 1559 and three hundred Roman Catholics martyred by the Church authorities in England over the following hundred and fifty years in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. More modern day accounts of martyrdom for Christ exist, depicted in books such as Jesus Freaks though the numbers are disputed.
There are claims that the numbers of Christians killed for their faith annually are exaggerated. Despite the promotion of ahimsa within Sanatana Dharma
The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The most known Crusades are the campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean aimed at recovering the Holy Land from Muslim rule, but the term "Crusades" is applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns; these were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage. At the time of the early Crusades the word did not exist, only becoming the leading descriptive term around 1760. In 1095, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade in a sermon at the Council of Clermont, he encouraged military support for the Byzantine Empire and its Emperor, Alexios I, who needed reinforcements for his conflict with westward migrating Turks colonizing Anatolia. One of Urban's aims was to guarantee pilgrims access to the Eastern Mediterranean holy sites that were under Muslim control but scholars disagree as to whether this was the primary motive for Urban or those who heeded his call.
Urban's strategy may have been to unite the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom, divided since the East–West Schism of 1054 and to establish himself as head of the unified Church. The initial success of the Crusade established the first four Crusader states in the Eastern Mediterranean: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the County of Tripoli; the enthusiastic response to Urban's preaching from all classes in Western Europe established a precedent for other Crusades. Volunteers became Crusaders by taking a public vow and receiving plenary indulgences from the Church; some were hoping for a mass ascension into heaven at Jerusalem or God's forgiveness for all their sins. Others participated to satisfy feudal obligations, obtain glory and honour or to seek economic and political gain; the two-century attempt to recover the Holy Land ended in failure. Following the First Crusade there were numerous less significant ones. After the last Catholic outposts fell in 1291, there were no more Crusades.
The Wendish Crusade and those of the Archbishop of Bremen brought all the North-East Baltic and the tribes of Mecklenburg and Lusatia under Catholic control in the late 12th century. In the early 13th century the Teutonic Order created a Crusader state in Prussia and the French monarchy used the Albigensian Crusade to extend the kingdom to the Mediterranean Sea; the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the late 14th century prompted a Catholic response which led to further defeats at Nicopolis in 1396 and Varna in 1444. Catholic Europe was in chaos and the final pivot of Christian–Islamic relations was marked by two seismic events: the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 and a final conclusive victory for the Spanish over the Moors with the conquest of Granada in 1492; the idea of Crusading continued, not least in the form of the Knights Hospitaller, until the end of the 18th-century but the focus of Western European interest moved to the New World. Modern historians hold varying opinions of the Crusaders.
To some, their conduct was incongruous with the stated aims and implied moral authority of the papacy, as evidenced by the fact that on occasion the Pope excommunicated Crusaders. Crusaders pillaged as they travelled, their leaders retained control of captured territory instead of returning it to the Byzantines. During the People's Crusade, thousands of Jews were murdered in what is now called the Rhineland massacres. Constantinople was sacked during the Fourth Crusade. However, the Crusades had a profound impact on Western civilisation: Italian city-states gained considerable concessions in return for assisting the Crusaders and established colonies which allowed trade with the eastern markets in the Ottoman period, allowing Genoa and Venice to flourish; the Crusades reinforced a connection between Western Christendom and militarism. The term crusade used in modern historiography at first referred to the wars in the Holy Land beginning in 1095, but the range of events to which the term has been applied has been extended, so that its use can create a misleading impression of coherence regarding the early Crusades.
The term used for the campaign of the First Crusade was iter "journey" or peregrinatio "pilgrimage". The terminology of crusading remained indistinguishable from that of pilgrimage during the 12th century, reflecting the reality of the first century of crusading where not all armed pilgrims fought, not all who fought had taken the cross, it was not until the late 12th to early 13th centuries that a more specific "language of crusading" emerged. Pope Innocent III used the term negotium crucis "affair of the cross" for the Eastern Mediterranean crusade, but was reluctant to apply crusading terminology to the Albigensian crusade; the Song of the Albigensian Crusade from about 1213 contains the first recorded vernacular use of the Occitan crozada. This term was adopted into French as croisade and in English as crusade; the modern spelling crusade dates to c. 1760. Sinibaldo Fieschi used the terms crux transmarina for crusades in Outremer against Muslims and crux cismarina for crusades in Europe against other enemies of the church.
The Crusades in the Holy Land are traditionally counted as nine distinct campaigns, numbered from the First Crusade of 1095–99 to the Ninth Crusade of 1271–72. This conv