Ecumenism refers to efforts by Christians of different church traditions to develop closer relationships and better understandings. The term is often used to refer to efforts towards the visible. The terms ecumenism and ecumenical come from the Greek οἰκουμένη, which means the inhabited world. The ecumenical vision comprises both the search for the unity of the Church and the whole inhabited earth as the concern of all Christians. Used in this sense, the term carries no connotation of re-uniting the historically separated Christian denominations. Historically, the word was used in the context of large ecumenical councils that were organized under the auspices of Roman Emperors to clarify matters of Christian theology. These Ecumenical Councils brought together bishops from around the world as they knew it at the time. There were a total of seven ecumenical councils accepted by both Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism held before the Great Schism, the modern meaning of the world ecumenical and ecumenism derives from this pre-modern sense of Christian unity, and the impulse to recreate this unity again.
Ecumenism and nondenominational or postdenominational movements are not necessarily the same thing, while some of these can be ecumenical in intent, normally nondenominationalism seeks no common organizing principle nor works toward the unity of Christians. If ecumenism is the quest for Christian unity, it must be understood what the divisions are which must be overcome, Christianity is the largest religion in the world and the various divisions have commonalities and differences in tradition, church government and language. The exact number of denominations is disputed, based on differing definitions used. The largest number often quoted is approximately 45,000 from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, the World Christian Encyclopedia lists approximately 33,000 in 2001. Yet, at the time, the World Council of Churches counts only 348 member churches. This, with the Catholic Churchs 1.25 billion Christians indicates that 349 churches/denominations already account for nearly 80% of the worlds Christian population, One problem with the larger numbers is that single denominations can be counted multiple times.
For example, the Catholic Church is a church, or communion. Further, the Catholic Church presence in each country is counted as a different denomination - though this is in no way an ecclesiologically accurate definition and this can result in the one Catholic Church being counted as 242 distinct denominations, as in the World Christian Encyclopedia. Other denominations may be very small remnants of once larger churches, the United Society of Believers in Christs Second Appearing have only three full members, for example, yet are a distinct denomination. Most current divisions are the result of historical schisms - a break in the communion between previously united Churches, bishops, or communities
Christian symbolism is the use of symbols, including archetypes, artwork or events, by Christianity. It invests objects or actions with an inner meaning expressing Christian ideas, the symbolism of the early Church was characterized by being understood by initiates only, while after the legalization of Christianity in the 4th-century more recognizable symbols entered in use. Christianity has borrowed from the stock of significant symbols known to most periods. The shape of the cross, as represented by the letter T, at the end of the 2nd century, it is mentioned in the Octavius of Minucius Felix, rejecting the claim by detractors that Christians worship the cross. In his book De Corona, written in 204, Tertullian tells how it was already a tradition for Christians to trace repeatedly on their foreheads the sign of the cross. An early example of the halo, used to identify Christ in paintings, is found in the Miracles of the Loaves and Fishes mosaic of SantApollinare Nuovo. Instances of the St Thomas cross, a Greek cross with clover leaf edges, popular in southern India, the Patriarchal cross, a Latin cross with an additional horizontal bar, first appears in the 10th century.
Although the cross was used as a symbol by early Christians, the purported discovery of the True Cross by Constantines mother and the development of Golgotha as a site for pilgrimage led to a change of attitude. In the early period, the plain cross became depicted as the crux gemmata, covered with jewels. The first depictions of crucifixion displaying suffering are believed to have arisen in Byzantine art, Early Western examples include the Gero Cross and the reverse of the Cross of Lothair, both from the end of the 10th century. Marie-Madeleine Davy described in great detail Romanesque Symbolism as it developed in the Middle Ages in Western Europe, among the symbols employed by the early Christians, that of the fish seems to have ranked first in importance. The Staurogram ⳨, Monogrammatic Cross or Tau-Rho symbol, is composed by a tau superimposed on a rho, in such a way the symbol expresses the idea that the Cross saves. The two letters tau and rho can be found separately as symbols on early Christian ossuaries, the Monogrammatic Cross was seen as a variation of the Chi Rho symbol, and it spread over Western Europe in the 5th and 6th centuries.
The Chi Rho is formed by superimposing the first two letters chi and rho of the Greek word ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ =Christ in such a way to produce the monogram, widespread in ancient Christianity, it was the symbol used by the Roman emperor Constantine I as vexillum. This symbol was explained in the Epistle of Barnabas and by Clement of Alexandria. For other christograms such as IHS, see Article Christogram, initially it was understood as a symbol like others used in Early Christian art. By about the 5th century the more often took on the appearance of the conventional depiction of Christ, as it had developed by this time. The dove as a Christian symbol is of frequent occurrence in ancient ecclesiastical art
Virgin birth of Jesus
The virgin birth of Jesus is the belief that Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother Mary through the Holy Spirit without the agency of a human father and born while Mary was still a virgin. The New Testament references are Matthew 1, 18-25 and Luke 1 and it is believed by Christians to follow the prophetic message in Isaiah 7,14. It is not expressly mentioned elsewhere in the Christian scriptures, the virgin birth was universally accepted in the Christian church by the 2nd century and, except for some minor sects, was not seriously challenged until the 18th century. Muslims accept the virgin birth of Jesus,18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit,19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus,22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet,23 Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.
24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, he took his wife,25, and he called his name Jesus. 26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, and the virgins name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, Greetings, O favored one,29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary,31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever,34 And Mary said to the angel, How will this be, since I am a virgin. 35 And the angel answered her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has conceived a son,37 For nothing will be impossible with God. 38 And Mary said, Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, and the angel departed from her. Jesus miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit is found only in the gospels of Matthew, both probably date from the period 80-100 AD, and both were originally anonymous. Matthew 1,23 quotes a prophecy from the Isaiah as the basis for the virgin birth, in Isaiah the Immanuel prophecy has an immediate aim, but Matthew uses it to find patterns of Gods dealings with Israel rather than a single and specific fulfillment. In the genealogy preceding his birth story Matthew calls Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ
A church building, often simply called a church, is a building used for Christian religious activities, particularly worship services. The term in its sense is most often used by Christians to refer to their religious buildings. In traditional Christian architecture, the church is arranged in the shape of a Christian cross. When viewed from plan view the longest part of a cross is represented by the aisle, towers or domes are often added with the intention of directing the eye of the viewer towards the heavens and inspiring church visitors. The earliest identified Christian church was a church founded between 233 and 256. During the 11th through 14th centuries, a wave of building of cathedrals, a cathedral is a church, usually Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox or Eastern Orthodox, housing the seat of a bishop. In standard Greek usage, the word ecclesia was retained to signify both a specific edifice of Christian worship, and the overall community of the faithful. This usage was retained in Latin and the languages derived from Latin, as well as in the Celtic languages.
In the Germanic and some Slavic languages, the word kyriak-ós/-ē/-ón was adopted instead, in Old English the sequence of derivation started as cirice and eventually church in its current pronunciation. German Kirche, Scottish kirk, Russian церковь, etc. are all similarly derived, according to the New Testament, the earliest Christians did not build church buildings. Instead, they gathered in homes or in Jewish worship places like the Second Temple or synagogues, the earliest archeologically identified Christian church is a house church, the Dura-Europos church, founded between 233 and 256. During the 11th through 14th centuries, a wave of building of cathedrals, in addition to being a place of worship, the cathedral or parish church was used by the community in other ways. It could serve as a place for guilds or a hall for banquets. Mystery plays were performed in cathedrals, and cathedrals might be used for fairs. The church could be used as a place to thresh and store grain, a common architecture for churches is the shape of a cross.
These churches often have a dome or other large vaulted space in the interior to represent or draw attention to the heavens. Other common shapes for churches include a circle, to represent eternity, or an octagon or similar star shape, another common feature is the spire, a tall tower on the west end of the church or over the crossing. The Latin word basilica was used to describe a Roman public building
History of Christian theology
The most widely recognized Biblical foundations for the doctrines formulation are in the Gospel of John. Nontrinitarianism is any of several Christian beliefs that reject the Trinitarian doctrine that God is three persons in one being. Modern nontrinitarian groups views differ widely on the nature of God, the Biblical canon is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and thus constituting the Christian Bible. The writings attributed to the apostles circulated amongst the earliest Christian communities, the Pauline epistles were circulating in collected form by the end of the 1st century AD. Justin Martyr, in the early 2nd century, mentions the memoirs of the apostles, but his references are not detailed. Around 160 Irenaeus of Lyons argued for only four Gospels, and argued that it would be illogical to reject Acts of the Apostles but accept the Gospel of Luke, as both were from the same author. Likewise by 200 the Muratorian fragment shows that existed a set of Christian writings somewhat similar to what is now the 27-book New Testament.
In his Easter letter of 367, Bishop of Alexandria, gave a list exactly the same in number and order with what would become the New Testament canon and be accepted by the Greek church. The African Synod of Hippo, in 393, approved the New Testament, as it today, together with the Septuagint books. Pope Damasus Is Council of Rome in 382, only if the Decretum Gelasianum is correctly associated with it, in 405, Pope Innocent I sent a list of the sacred books to a Gallic bishop, Exsuperius of Toulouse. Nonetheless, a full articulation of the canon was not made until the Council of Trent in the 16th century. The emergence of Christian theology has sometimes been presented as the triumph of Hellenistic rationality over the Hebraic faith of Jesus, the early African theologian Tertullian, for instance, complained that the Athens of philosophy was corrupting the Jerusalem of faith. More recent discussions have qualified and nuanced this picture, from the very beginning of the Christian movement, followers of Jesus tried to make sense of the impact of Jesus of Nazareth, and began arguing about differing ways of making sense.
There has never been an uncontested, unrationalized Christian faith and these processes of making sense initially drew upon the ideas and narratives of contemporary Judaism, which was already Hellenized in various degrees. Some elements of early Christian theologizing previously thought to be thoroughly Hellenistic are now regularly argued to be thoroughly Jewish, as Christianity spread, it acquired certain members from well-educated circles of the Hellenistic world, they sometimes became bishops but not always. They produced two sorts of works and apologetic, the latter being works aimed at defending the faith by using reason to refute arguments against the veracity of Christianity and these authors are known as the church fathers, and study of them is called Patristics. Notable early Fathers include Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, so, for instance, a good deal of the Greek language literature can be read as an attempt to come to terms with Hellenistic culture. Influential texts and writers between c.200 and 325 include, Tertullian Hippolytus Origen Cyprian Arius Other Gnostic texts and texts from the New Testament apocrypha
Christianity is a Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who serves as the focal point for the religion. It is the worlds largest religion, with over 2.4 billion followers, or 33% of the global population, Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament. Christian theology is summarized in creeds such as the Apostles Creed and his incarnation, earthly ministry and resurrection are often referred to as the gospel, meaning good news. The term gospel refers to accounts of Jesuss life and teaching, four of which—Matthew, Luke. Christianity is an Abrahamic religion that began as a Second Temple Judaic sect in the mid-1st century, following the Age of Discovery, Christianity spread to the Americas, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world through missionary work and colonization. Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization, throughout its history, Christianity has weathered schisms and theological disputes that have resulted in many distinct churches and denominations.
Worldwide, the three largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the denominations of Protestantism. There are many important differences of interpretation and opinion of the Bible, 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. Many evangelical Protestants reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even agreeing with some or all of the substance of the creeds. The Baptists have been non-creedal in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another. Also rejecting creeds are groups with roots in the Restoration Movement, such as the Christian Church, the Evangelical Christian Church in Canada, the Apostles Creed is the most widely accepted statement of the articles of Christian faith. It is used by Presbyterians and Congregationalists and this particular creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries.
Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and 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. Most Christians accept the use of creeds, and subscribe to at least one of the mentioned above. The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God, Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept, having become fully human, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, but did not sin
Prayer is an important activity in Christianity, and there are several different forms of Christian prayer. Christian prayers are diverse, they can be spontaneous, or read entirely from a text. The most common prayer among Christians is the Lords Prayer, which according to the accounts is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. The Lords Prayer is a model for prayers of adoration and petition in Christianity, there are two basic settings for Christian prayer and private. Corporate prayer includes prayer shared within the setting or other public places. These prayers can be formal written prayers or informal extemporaneous prayers, private prayer occurs with the individual praying either silently or aloud within a private setting. Prayer exists within multiple different worship contexts and may be structured differently and these types of contexts may include, Often seen within the Catholic Church. This is a very orthodox service, according to Catholics, within a Catholic Mass, which is an example of a liturgical form of worship, there are bible readings and a sermon is read.
Often seen within the Holy Orthodox Church, the Holy Bible is read and a sermon is read. Non- Liturgical, Often seen within Evangelical church, this prayer is not scripted. Most of these prayers would be extemporaneous, Often seen within gospel churches. It is the form of worship in Pentecostal churches. It usually includes song and dance, and may include other artistic expressions, there may be no apparent structure, but the worshippers will be led by the Holy Spirit. Prayer in the New Testament is presented as a positive command, the people of God are challenged to include prayer in their everyday life, even in the busy struggles of marriage as it is thought to bring the faithful closer to God. Throughout the New Testament, prayer is shown to be Gods appointed method by which the faithful obtain what he has to bestow, according to the Book of Acts, can be seen at the first moments of the church. The apostles regarded prayer as an part of their lives. As such, the apostles frequently incorporated verses from Psalms into their writings, romans 3, 10-18 for example is borrowed from Psalm 14, 1-3 and other psalms.
Thus, due to emphasis on prayer in the early church
Other tenets of Baptist churches include soul competency, salvation through faith alone, Scripture alone as the rule of faith and practice, and the autonomy of the local congregation. Baptists recognize two ministerial offices and deacons, Baptist churches are widely considered to be Protestant churches, though some Baptists disavow this identity. Historians trace the earliest church labeled Baptist back to 1609 in Amsterdam, in accordance with his reading of the New Testament, he rejected baptism of infants and instituted baptism only of believing adults. Baptist practice spread to England, where the General Baptists considered Christs atonement to extend to all people, while the Particular Baptists believed that it extended only to the elect. Thomas Helwys formulated a distinctively Baptist request that the church and the state be kept separate in matters of law, Helwys died in prison as a consequence of the religious persecution of English dissenters under King James I. In 1638, Roger Williams established the first Baptist congregation in the North American colonies, in the mid-18th century, the First Great Awakening contributed to Baptist growth in both New England and the South.
Baptist missionaries have spread their church to every continent, the largest Baptist denomination is the Southern Baptist Convention, with the membership of associated churches totaling more than 15 million. Modern Baptist churches trace their history to the English Separatist movement in the century after the rise of the original Protestant denominations and this view of Baptist origins has the most historical support and is the most widely accepted. Adherents to this position consider the influence of Anabaptists upon early Baptists to be minimal and it was a time of considerable political and religious turmoil. Both individuals and churches were willing to give up their theological roots if they became convinced that a more biblical truth had been discovered, during the Protestant Reformation, the Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church. There were some Christians who were not content with the achievements of the mainstream Protestant Reformation, there were Christians who were disappointed that the Church of England had not made corrections of what some considered to be errors and abuses.
Of those most critical of the Churchs direction, some chose to stay and they became known as Puritans and are described by Gourley as cousins of the English Separatists. Others decided they must leave the Church because of their dissatisfaction, historians trace the earliest Baptist church back to 1609 in Amsterdam, with John Smyth as its pastor. Three years earlier, while a Fellow of Christs College, reared in the Church of England, he became Puritan, English Separatist, and a Baptist Separatist, and ended his days working with the Mennonites. He began meeting in England with 60–70 English Separatists, in the face of great danger and his lay supporter, Thomas Helwys, together with those they led, broke with the other English exiles because Smyth and Helwys were convinced they should be baptized as believers. In 1609 Smyth first baptized himself and baptized the others, in 1609, while still there, Smyth wrote a tract titled The Character of the Beast, or The False Constitution of the Church.
In it he expressed two propositions, infants are not to be baptized, and second, Antichristians converted are to be admitted into the true Church by baptism. Hence, his conviction was that a church should consist only of regenerate believers who have been baptized on a personal confession of faith
God in Christianity
In Christianity, God is the eternal being who created and preserves all things. Christians believe God to be both transcendent and immanent, although the Judæo-Christian sect of the Ebionites protested against this apotheosis of Jesus, the great mass of Gentile Christians accepted it. This began to differentiate the Gentile Christian views of God from traditional Jewish teachings of the time, in the 8th century, John of Damascus listed eighteen attributes which remain widely accepted. As time passed, theologians developed systematic lists of these attributes, some based on statements in the Bible and this never becomes a tritheism, i. e. this does not imply three Gods. The doctrine of the Trinity can be summed up as, The One God exists in Three Persons and One Substance, as God the Father, God the Son, who form the large majority of Christians, hold it as a core tenet of their faith. Nontrinitarian denominations define the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in a number of different ways, early Christian views of God are reflected in Apostle Pauls statement in 1 Corinthians, written ca.
In John 14,26 Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit, by the middle of the 2nd century, in Against Heresies Irenaeus had emphasized that the Creator is the one and only God and the maker of heaven and earth. These preceded the presentation of the concept of Trinity by Tertullian early in the 3rd century. This did not exclude either the fact the father of the universe was the Father of Jesus the Christ or that he had even vouchsafed to adopt as his son by grace. Eastern creeds began with an affirmation of faith in one God and almost always expanded this by adding the Father Almighty, as time passed and philosophers developed more precise understandings of the nature of God and began to produce systematic lists of his attributes. These varied in detail, but traditionally the attributes fell into two groups, those based on negation and those based on eminence. Throughout the Christian development of ideas about God, the Bible “has been, in Christian theology the name of God has always had much deeper meaning and significance than being just a label or designator.
It is not an invention, but has divine origin and is based on divine revelation. This is reflected in the first petition in the Lords Prayer addressed to God the Father, in Revelation 3,12 those who bear the name of God are destined for Heaven. John 17,6 presents the teachings of Jesus as the manifestation of the name of God to his disciples, the Bible usually uses the name of God in the singular, generally using the terms in a very general sense rather than referring to any special designation of God. However, general references to the name of God may branch to other forms which express his multifaceted attributes. Scripture presents many references to the names for God, but the key names in the Old Testament are, God the High and Exalted One, El-Shaddai, in the New Testament Theos and Pater are the essential names. The theological underpinnings of the attributes and nature of God have been discussed since the earliest days of Christianity
History of Christianity
The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion and the Church with its various denominations, from the 1st century to the present. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity spread to all of Europe in the Middle Ages, Christianity expanded throughout the world during Europes Age of Exploration from the Renaissance onwards, becoming the worlds largest religion. Today there are more than two billion Christians worldwide, during its early history, Christianity grew from a 1st-century Jewish following to a religion that existed across the entire Greco-Roman world and beyond. The Roman persecution of Christians ended in AD313 when Constantine the Great decreed tolerance for the religion and he called the First Council of Nicaea in AD325, beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils. The Apostolic Church was the community led by the apostles, and to some degree, in his Great Commission, the resurrected Jesus commanded that his teachings be spread to all the world.
While the historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles is disputed by critics, Acts gives a history of the Church from this commission in 1, 3–11 to the spread of the religion among the Gentiles and the eastern Mediterranean by Paul and others. The first Christians were essentially all ethnically Jewish or Jewish proselytes, in other words, Jesus preached to the Jewish people and called from them his first disciples, see for example Matthew 10. Circumcision in particular was considered repulsive by Greeks and Hellenists while circumcision advocates were labelled Judaisers, related issues are still debated today. The doctrines of the apostles brought the Early Church into conflict with some Jewish religious authorities and this eventually led to their expulsion from the synagogues, according to one theory of the Council of Jamnia. Acts records the martyrdom of the Christian leaders and James of Zebedee, the name Christian was first applied to the disciples in Antioch, as recorded in Acts 11,26.
Some contend that the term Christian was first coined as a term, meaning little Christs, and was meant as a mockery. The sources for the beliefs of the community include the Gospels. According to a recorded by Eusebius and Epiphanius, the Jerusalem church fled to Pella at the outbreak of the First Jewish–Roman War. The post-apostolic period concerns the time after the death of the apostles until persecutions ended with the legalisation of Christian worship under Emperors Constantine the Great, according to the New Testament, Christians were subject to various persecutions from the beginning. This involved even death for Christians such as Stephen and James, according to Church tradition, it was under Neros persecution that Peter and Paul were each martyred in Rome. Similarly, several of the New Testament writings mention persecutions and stress endurance through them, the last and most severe persecution organised by the imperial authorities was the Diocletianic Persecution,303 -311. In spite of these sometimes intense persecutions, the Christian religion continued its spread throughout the Mediterranean Basin, There is no agreement on how Christianity managed to spread so successfully prior to the Edict of Milan and the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire.
In The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark argues that Christianity triumphed over paganism chiefly because it improved the lives of its adherents in various ways
Saint Peter, known as Simon Peter, Simeon, or Simōn pronunciation, according to the New Testament, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, leaders of the early Christian Great Church. Hippolytus of Rome, a 3rd-century theologian, gave him the title of Apostle of the Apostles, according to Catholic teaching, Peter was ordained by Jesus in the Rock of My Church dialogue in Matthew 16,18. He is traditionally counted as the first Bishop of Rome and by Eastern Christian tradition as the first Patriarch of Antioch. The ancient Christian churches all venerate Peter as a saint and as founder of the Church of Antioch. The New Testament indicates that Peter was the son of John and was from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee or Gaulanitis and his brother Andrew was an apostle. According to New Testament accounts, Peter was one of twelve apostles chosen by Jesus from his first disciples, originally a fisherman, he played a leadership role and was with Jesus during events witnessed by only a few apostles, such as the Transfiguration.
According to the gospels, Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, was part of Jesuss inner circle, thrice denied Jesus and wept bitterly once he realised his deed, according to Christian tradition, Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar. It is traditionally held that he was crucified upside down at his own request, Tradition holds that he was crucified at the site of the Clementine Chapel. His remains are said to be contained in the underground Confessio of St. Peters Basilica. According to Catholic doctrine, the direct successor to Saint Peter is the incumbent pope. Two general epistles in the New Testament are ascribed to Peter, the Gospel of Mark was traditionally thought to show the influence of Peters preaching and eyewitness memories. Peters original name was Shimon or Simeon and he was given the name Peter, New Testament Greek Πέτρος derived from πέτρα, which means rock. In the Latin translation of the Bible this became Petrus, a form of the feminine petra. Another version of this name is Aramaic, , after his name in Hellenised Aramaic.
The English and German Peter, French Pierre, the Italian Pietro, the Spanish and Portuguese Pedro, the Syriac or Aramaic word for rock is kepa, which in Greek became Πέτρος, meaning rock. He is known as Simon Peter and Kepha, both Cephas and Kepha mean rock. In the New Testament, he is among the first of the disciples called during Jesus ministry, Peter became the first listed apostle ordained by Jesus in the early church. Peter was a fisherman in Bethsaida and he was named Simon, son of Jonah or John
Western Christianity consists of the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, and a variety of Protestant denominations. The name has applied in order to distinguish these from Eastern Christianity. Today, the distinction between Western and Eastern Christianity is not nearly as absolute, due to the spread of missionary activities, migrations. The adjectives Western Christianity and Eastern Christianity are thus used to refer to historical origins rather than present geographical locations. For most of its history the church in Europe has been divided between the Latin-speaking west, whose centre was Rome, and 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 ultimately to schism, like Eastern Christianity, Western Christianity traces its roots, directly or indirectly, to the apostles and other early preachers of the religion. In Western Christianitys 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.
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 divisions within Western Christianity, which still persist, and wars—for example. In and after the Age of Discovery, Europeans spread Western Christianity to the New World, Roman Catholicism came to the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Protestantism, including Anglicanism, came to North America, Australia-Pacific and this Western version has the additional phrase God from God, which was in the Creed as adopted by the First Council of Nicaea, but which was dropped by the First Council of Constantinople. The date of Easter usually differs between Eastern and Western Christianity, because the calculations are based on the Julian calendar and Gregorian calendar respectively, for example, the Church of England continued to observe Easter on the same date as the Eastern Church until 1753. Even the dates of other Christian holidays differ between Eastern and Western Christianity, Western Christianity makes up about 90% of Christians worldwide, with the Roman Catholic Church accounting for over half and various Protestant denominations making up another 40%.
Hussite movements of 15th century Bohemia preceded the main Protestant uprising by 100 years and evolved into several small Protestant churches, waldensians survived also, but blended into the Reformed tradition