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
A baptismal font is an article of church furniture used for baptism. The fonts of many Christian denominations are for baptisms using an immersion method, the simplest of these fonts has a pedestal with a holder for a basin of water. The materials vary greatly consisting of carved and sculpted marble, many are eight-sided as a reminder of the new creation and as a connection to the practice of circumcision, which traditionally occurs on the eighth day. Some are three-sided as a reminder of the Holy Trinity, Son, in many churches of the Middle Ages and Renaissance there was a special chapel or even a separate building for housing the baptismal fonts, called a baptistery. Both fonts and baptisterys were often octagonal, saint Ambrose wrote that fonts and baptistries were octagonal because on the eighth day, by rising, Christ loosens the bondage of death and receives the dead from their graves. Saint Augustine similarly described the day as everlasting. Hallowed by the resurrection of Christ, the quantity of water is usually small.
There are some fonts where water pumps, a natural spring and this visual and audible image communicates a living waters aspect of baptism. Some church bodies use special holy water while others use water straight out of the tap to fill the font. A special silver vessel called a ewer can be used to fill the font, the mode of a baptism at a font is usually one of sprinkling, washing, or dipping in keeping with the Koine Greek verb βαπτιζω. Βαπτιζω can mean immerse, but most fonts are too small for that application, some fonts are large enough to allow the immersion of infants, however. The earliest baptismal fonts were designed for full immersion, and were often cross-shaped with steps leading down into them, often such baptismal pools were located in a separate building, called a baptistery, near the entrance of the church. As infant baptism became common, fonts became smaller. Full-immersion baptisms may take place in a tank or pool. The entire body is immersed, submerged or otherwise placed completely under the water.
This practice symbolizes the death of the old nature, as found in Romans 6, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, baptism is always by full triple immersion, even in the case of infant baptism. For this reason, Eastern baptismal fonts tend to be larger than Western, and are shaped like a large chalice. During the baptismal service, three candles will be lit on or around the font, in honor of the Holy Trinity
Church of St Mary and St David, Kilpeck
The Church of St Mary and St David is a Church of England parish church at Kilpeck in the English county of Herefordshire, about 5 miles from the border with Monmouthshire, Wales. It is famous for its Norman carvings, the church was built around 1140, and almost certainly before 1143 when it was given to the Abbey of Gloucester. It may have replaced an earlier Saxon church at the site. Around the 6th and 7th centuries the Kilpeck area was within the British kingdom of Ergyng, the possibility of the site holding Roman and even megalithic remains has been raised, but is unproven. The plan of the church, with a nave and semicircular apse, is typical for the time of its construction, the Norman period. It was originally dedicated to a St David, probably a local Celtic holy man, at the time the current church was built, the area around Kilpeck, known as Archenfield, was relatively prosperous and strategically important, in the heart of the Welsh Marches. The economic decline of the area after the 14th century may have helped preserve features which would have been removed elsewhere, however, it is unclear why the carvings were not defaced by Puritans in the 17th century.
The church was repaired in 1864,1898 and 1962. The carvings are all original and in their original positions and they have been attributed to a Herefordshire School of stonemasons, probably local but who may have been instructed by master masons recruited in France by Oliver de Merlimond. Hugh de Kilpeck, a relative of Earl Mortimer, employed the same builders at Kilpeck, the south door has double columns. The outer columns have carvings of a series of snakes, heads swallowing tails, in common with most of the other carvings, the meaning of these is unclear, but they may represent rebirth via the snakes seasonal sloughing of its skin. The inner right column shows birds in foliage, at the top of the columns is a green man. The inner left column has two warriors who, are in loose trousers, the outer sections of the arch above the doorway show creatures which can be interpreted as a manticore and a basilisk, and various other mythical and actual birds and beasts. The semicircular tympanum depicts a tree of life, for many years the south door was hidden by a wooden porch, but this was removed in 1868 to allow visitors to see the carvings as originally intended.
Although this has left the doorway exposed to the elements, the sandstone is exceptionally robust, in 1968 a narrow protruding strip of lead was let into the mortar above the arch to protect the carvings from water running down the wall above. Eighty-five corbels survive, one fewer than are illustrated by Lewis in 1842, the meaning of most is obscure, but some probably come from a bestiary, and they include a Sheela na Gig. Two green men appear as capitals on the decorated columns of the west window. In the centre of the table below the window
Sign of the cross
The sign of the cross, or blessing oneself or crossing oneself, is a ritual blessing made by members of some branches of Christianity. The movement is the tracing of the shape of a cross in the air or on ones own body, the ritual is rare within other Christian traditions. The Cross is a symbol representing Christ’s victory over sin and death, the sign of the cross was originally made in some parts of the Christian world with the right-hand thumb across the forehead only. In other parts of the early Christian world it was done with the hand or with two fingers. Around the year 200 in Carthage, Tertullian wrote, We Christians wear out our foreheads with the sign of the cross, by the 4th century, the sign of the cross involved other parts of the body beyond the forehead. The open right hand is used in Western Christianity, the five open fingers are often said to represent the Five Wounds of Christ. This symbolism was adopted after the ancient gesture of two or three fingers was simplified. Though this is the most common method of crossing by Western Christians, the West employs the Small Sign of the Cross.
The primary use for this is immediately before the reading of The Gospel during the Mass, the Small Sign is used during the majority of the Sacraments. In the Roman or Latin Rite Church it is customary to make the full Sign of the Cross using holy water when entering a church. The first three fingers of the hand are dipped into the font containing the holy water and the Sign of the Cross is made on oneself. In the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, the tips of the first three fingers are together, and the last two are pressed against the palm. The first three fingers express our faith in the Trinity, while the two fingers represent the two natures of Jesus and human. In Russia, until the reforms of Patriarch Nikon in the 17th century, the enforcement of the three-finger sign was one of the reasons for the schism with the Old Believers whose congregations continue to use the two-finger sign of the cross. The Oriental Orthodox generally use the Western direction as well, though often with the Byzantine finger formation, there are several interpretations, according to Church Fathers, the forehead symbolizes Heaven, the solar plexus, the earth, the shoulders, the place and sign of power.
It recalls both the Trinity and the Incarnation, pope Innocent III explained, The sign of the cross is made with three fingers, because the signing is done together with the invocation of the Trinity. This is how it is done, from above to below, there are some variations, for example a person may first place the right hand in holy water. After moving the hand from one shoulder to the other, it may be returned to the top of the stomach and it may be accompanied by the recitation of a prayer
Holy water is water that has been blessed by a member of the clergy or a religious figure. The use for cleansing prior to a baptism and spiritual cleansing is common in several religions, the use of holy water as a sacramental for protection against evil is common among Anglicans and Roman Catholics. The use of water in the earliest days of Christianity is attested to only in somewhat documents. The Apostolic constitutions, which go back to about the year 400 and it is plausible that in earliest Christian times water was used for expiatory and purificatory purposes in a way analogous to its employment in Jewish Law. However, Eastern Orthodox do perform the blessing, whether in a baptistry or an outdoor body of water. Sprinkling with holy water is used as a sacramental that recalls baptism, Holy water is kept in the holy water font, which is typically located at the entrance to the church. Smaller vessels, called stoups, are placed at the entrances of the church. In recent years, with the concerns over influenza, new holy water machines that work like a soap dispenser have become popular.
In the Middle Ages the power of water was considered so great that in some places fonts had locked covers to prevent the theft of holy water for unauthorized magic practices. The Constitutions of Archbishop Edmund Rich prescribe that Fonts are to be kept under lock and key, similarly the chrism and sacred oil are kept locked up. In Catholicism, holy water, as well as used during the washing of the priests hands at mass, is not allowed to be disposed of in regular plumbing. Roman Catholic churches will usually have a basin that leads directly into the ground for the purpose of proper disposal. A hinged lid is kept over the water basin to distinguish it from a regular sink basin. Items that contained holy water are separated, drained of the holy water, Holy water fonts have been identified as a potential source of bacterial and viral infection. In the late 19th century, bacteriologists found staphylococci, coli bacilli, Loefflers bacillus, in a study performed in 1995, thirteen samples were taken when a burn patient acquired a bacterial infection after exposure to holy water.
The samples in that study were shown to have a range of bacterial species. During the swine flu epidemic of 2009, Bishop John Steinbock of Fresno, in response to the swine flu, an automatic, motion-detecting holy water dispenser was invented and installed in an Italian church in 2009. As a reminder of baptism, Catholic Christians dip their fingers in the holy water and this ceremony dates back to the ninth century
Sometime a small blessed branch of boxwood is placed behind the stoup, or they hang a rosary on the stoup. The small bowl contains holy water so that the inhabitants could cross themselves in the morning. The use of these began in the earliest centuries of the Christian Church. They were made of expensive and cheap materials, dependent on the fortunes of their owners. They were handmade with a painting or relief of Jesus of Nazareth, the Cross, the Virgin Mary, most of theses stoups were destroyed or disappeared during the French Revolution in 1789 and in following years, due to its policy of de-Christianisation. In the nineteenth century, most of these stoups were made in ceramics, some were unique in bearing the name of their owner. They were given as gifts on special occasions, such as births, first Communions and these stoups were often handed down the generations, but their use decreased in France after 1900, although some believers continue to use them today. Home stoups are collected by art-lovers, home altar Holy water font Holy water http, //forezhistoire. free. fr/benitier. html
Church architecture refers to the architecture of buildings of Christian churches. These large, often ornate and architecturally prestigious buildings were dominant features of the towns, far more numerous were the parish churches in Christendom, the focus of Christian devotion in every town and village. In the 20th century, the use of new materials, such as steel, the history of church architecture divides itself into periods, and into countries or regions and by religious affiliation. The simplest church building comprises a single meeting space, built of locally available material, such churches are generally rectangular, but in African countries where circular dwellings are the norm, vernacular churches may be circular as well. A simple church may be built of mud brick and daub and it may be roofed with thatch, corrugated iron or banana leaves. However, church congregations, from the 4th century onwards, have sought to construct buildings that were both permanent and aesthetically pleasing.
This had led to a tradition in which congregations and local leaders have invested time and personal prestige into the building, within any parish, the local church is often the oldest building, and is larger than any pre-19th-century structure except perhaps a barn. The church is built of the most durable material available. To the two-room structure is often added aisles, a tower, chapels, in the first three centuries of the Early Christian Church, the practice of Christianity was illegal and few churches were constructed. In the beginning Christians worshipped along with Jews in synagogues and in private houses, after the separation of Jews and Christians the latter continued to worship in peoples houses, known as house churches. These were often the homes of the members of the faith. Saint Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians writes and Prisca, together with the church in their house, greet you warmly in the Lord. Some domestic buildings were adapted to function as churches, one of the earliest of adapted residences is at Dura Europos church, built shortly after 200 AD, where two rooms were made into one, by removing a wall, and a dais was set up.
To the right of the entrance a small room was made into a baptistry, some church buildings were specifically built as church assemblies, such as that opposite the emperor Diocletians palace in Nicomedia. The books of the Holy Scriptures were found, and they were committed to the flames, the utensils and furniture of the church were abandoned to pillage, all was rapine, tumult. That church, situated on rising ground, was within view of the palace, and Diocletian and Galerius stood, as if on a watchtower, disputing long whether it ought to be set on fire. The sentiment of Diocletian prevailed, who dreaded lest, so great a fire being once kindled, some part of the city might he burnt, for there were many and large buildings that surrounded the church. Then the Pretorian Guards came in battle array, with axes and other iron instruments, from the first to the early fourth centuries most Christian communities worshipped in private homes, often secretly
Lutheranism is a major branch of Protestant Christianity which identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German friar, ecclesiastical reformer and theologian. Luthers efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Catholic Church launched the Protestant Reformation in the German-speaking territories of the Holy Roman Empire. Lutheranism advocates a doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone on the basis of Scripture alone and this is in contrast to the belief of the Catholic Church, defined at the Council of Trent, concerning authority coming from both the Scriptures and Tradition. In addition, Lutheranism accepts the teachings of the first seven ecumenical councils of the undivided Christian Church, unlike Calvinism, Lutherans retain many of the liturgical practices and sacramental teachings of the pre-Reformation Church, with a particular emphasis on the Eucharist, or Lords Supper. Lutheran theology differs from Reformed theology in Christology, the purpose of Gods Law, the grace, the concept of perseverance of the saints.
Today, Lutheranism is one of the largest denominations of Protestantism, with approximately 80 million adherents, it constitutes the third most common Protestant denomination after historically Pentecostal denominations and Anglicanism. The Lutheran World Federation, the largest communion of Lutheran churches, Other Lutheran organizations include the International Lutheran Council and the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference, as well as independent churches. The name Lutheran originated as a term used against Luther by German Scholastic theologian Dr. Johann Maier von Eck during the Leipzig Debate in July 1519. Eck and other Catholics followed the practice of naming a heresy after its leader. Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term Evangelical, which was derived from euangelion, the followers of John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other theologians linked to the Reformed tradition began to use that term. To distinguish the two groups, others began to refer to the two groups as Evangelical Lutheran and Evangelical Reformed.
As time passed by, the word Evangelical was dropped, Lutherans themselves began to use the term Lutheran in the middle of the 16th century, in order to distinguish themselves from other groups such as the Philippists and Calvinists. In 1597, theologians in Wittenberg defined the title Lutheran as referring to the true church, Lutheranism has its roots in the work of Martin Luther, who sought to reform the Western Church to what he considered a more biblical foundation. Lutheranism spread through all of Scandinavia during the 16th century, as the monarch of Denmark–Norway, through Baltic-German and Swedish rule, Lutheranism spread into Estonia and Latvia. Since 1520, regular Lutheran services have been held in Copenhagen, under the reign of Frederick I, Denmark-Norway remained officially Catholic. Although Frederick initially pledged to persecute Lutherans, he adopted a policy of protecting Lutheran preachers and reformers. During Fredericks reign, Lutheranism made significant inroads in Denmark, at an open meeting in Copenhagen attended by the king in 1536, the people shouted, We will stand by the holy Gospel, and do not want such bishops anymore.
Fredericks son Christian was openly Lutheran, which prevented his election to the throne upon his fathers death, following his victory in the civil war that followed, in 1537 he became Christian III and advanced the Reformation in Denmark-Norway
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising the Church of England and churches which are historically tied to it or hold similar beliefs, worship practices and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to the Magna Carta and before, adherents of Anglicanism are called Anglicans. As the name suggests, the churches of the Anglican Communion are linked by bonds of tradition and they are in full communion with the See of Canterbury, and thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his person, is a unique focus of Anglican unity. He calls the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates, Anglicans base their Christian faith on the Bible, traditions of the apostolic Church, apostolic succession, and writings of the Church Fathers. Anglicanism forms one of the branches of Western Christianity, having 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 closely to those of contemporary Protestantism, the word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English Church.
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 sometimes considered as a misuse. The word Anglicanism came into being in the 19th century, 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. Elsewhere, the term Anglican Church came to be preferred as it distinguished these churches from others that maintain an episcopal polity, as such, it is often referred to as being a via media between these traditions. Anglicans understand the Old and New Testaments as containing all necessary for salvation and as being the rule.
Reason and Tradition are seen as means to interpret Scripture. Anglicans understand the Apostles Creed as the symbol and the Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith. Anglicans celebrate the sacraments, with special emphasis being given to the Eucharist, called Holy Communion. Unique to Anglicanism is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of services that worshippers in most Anglican churches used for centuries and it was called common prayer originally because it was intended for use in all Church of England churches which had previously followed differing local liturgies. The term was kept when the church became international because all Anglicans used to share in its use around the world, in 1549, the first Book of Common Prayer was compiled by Thomas Cranmer, who was Archbishop of Canterbury. The founding of Christianity in Britain is commonly attributed to Joseph of Arimathea, according to Anglican legend, Saint Alban, who was executed in 209 AD, is the first Christian martyr in the British Isles.
A new culture emerged around the Irish Sea among the Celtic peoples with Celtic Christianity at its core, what resulted was a form of Christianity distinct from Rome in many traditions and practices
Kilpeck is a small village in Herefordshire, England. It is about 9 miles southwest of Hereford, just south of the A465 road and Welsh Marches Line to Abergavenny, and about 5 miles from the border with Wales. It is renowned for its small but outstanding Norman church, SS Mary and Davids, until the 9th century, when it was taken over by Mercia, the area around Kilpeck was within the Welsh kingdom of Ergyng. After the Norman conquest, the became known as Archenfield and was governed as part of the Welsh Marches. It became part of Herefordshire, and England, in the 16th century, in the Domesday Book of 1086, Kilpeck was given by William the Conqueror to William Fitz Norman de la Mare, son of Norman de la Mare. The clan de la Mare is one of the oldest in Normandy and is descended from Ragnvald Eysteinsson, earl of Møre, according to the Domesday survey, Kilpeck had 3 ploughs,2 serfs and 4 oxmen and there are 57 men with 19 ploughs. There are mentions of a church on the site possibly from as early as the 7th century, there are vestiges of an enclosure,200 yds by 300 yds in the field, defining an Anglo-Saxon village.
The St Mary and St Davids Church was built around 1140 and it consists of a nave and semicircular apse. Eighty-five of 91 corbels survive, a high percentage. West of the church lies a ruined motte-and-bailey and earthworks, which are less remarkable than the unique church, the castle is thought to have been built first around 1090 as the administrative centre of Archenfield. A few walls of the 12th century or 13th century keep still stand on top of the motte, a fireplace and chimney flues are visible and two sections of standing castle walls. A little over a mile to the north is the motte of another castle at Didley Court Farm. The Gatehouse, The Comprehensive Gazetteer of the Medieval Fortifications and Castles of England, renn, D. F. Kilpeck Castle and Church