World Communion of Reformed Churches
The World Communion of Reformed Churches is the largest association of Reformed churches in the world. It has 233 member denominations in 110 countries, together claiming 100 million people, thus being the third largest Christian communion in the world after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church; this ecumenical Christian body was formed in June 2010 by the union of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council. Among the biggest denominations in the WCRC are the Church of South India, Presbyterian Church of East Africa, Presbyterian Church of Korea, Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar, Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, Protestant Church in Indonesia, Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Church of Cameroon, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, its member denominations on the whole could be considered more liberal than the member denominations of the International Conference of Reformed Churches or the World Reformed Fellowship, which are large ecumenical Reformed organizations.
The WCRC traces its origins to 1875, with several unifying Reformed organizations emerging in London, England. After a two-day meeting ending on 1 February 2006, Douwe Visser, president of the Reformed Ecumenical Council, Clifton Kirkpatrick, president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, said in a joint letter to their constituencies, "We rejoice in the work of the Holy Spirit which we believe has led us to recommend that the time has come to bring together the work of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council into one body that will strengthen the unity and witness of Reformed Christians." After first calling the potential body "World Reformed Communion", this was modified into "World Communion of Reformed Churches". A Uniting General Council of the WCRC, bringing the organization into existence, took place from 18–26 June 2010 at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, United States; the council focused on the "Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace" mentioned in Ephesians as its main theme, setting a tone of true mutual understanding and acceptance amongst member churches and associates, laying aside differences and other issues as they embark on this shared journey with one another as each seeks to discern the will of God and continue their struggle for justice and peace in the world.
The 2010 Uniting General Council stated that the WCRC should be "called to communion and committed to justice." Its two main program offices are thus focused on these aspects, with theological work included with communion. The Theology and Communion office serves as coordinator for official dialogues with other religious organizations, organizes a bi-annual Global Institute of Theology, brings Reformed theological scholars together for various discussions; the Justice office promotes economic and human justice, basing much of its work on the Accra Confession, a statement adopted at the 2004 General Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and re-endorsed at the 2010 Uniting General Council. The WCRC has a General Secretariat which includes the general secretary's office, the communications office and other organizational responsibilities; the current general secretary is a minister from the United Church of Canada. Through the General Secretariat, the WCRC is able to promote dialogue between churches, advocate for causes on a global scale and support the activities of its member churches through various means.
The global headquarters of the WCRC are located in Hanover, with a North American non-profit subsidiary based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Based in Genava, which played host to John Calvin and earned a reputation as the "Protestant Rome", the group's Executive Committee announced on 8 November 2012, that they would relocate the headquarters to Hanover, Germany, by December 2013, due to overbearing financial strains caused by the high value of the Swiss franc. Chris Ferguson is a pastor and social justice advocate from the United Church of Canada, he was elected to the post of general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches in May 2014, entering office on 1 August 2014, for a seven-year term. Ferguson served as the international ecumenical advisor for the Programme for Ecumenical Accompaniment in Colombia, the World Council of Churches representative to the United Nations, the World Council of Churches' representative to Jerusalem and the executive minister of the United Church of Canada's Justice and Ecumenical Relations Unit and ecumenical officer.
This is a list of members of the World Communion of Reformed Churches as of February 2016: Algeria Protestant Church of Algeria/Eglise Protestante d'Algérie Angola Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola/Igreja Evangélica Congregacional em Angola Evangelical Reformed Church of Angola/Igreja Evangélica Reformanda de Angola Argentina Evangelical Church of the River Plate/Iglesia Evangélica del Rio de la Plata Evangelical Congregational Church in Argentina/Iglesia Evangélica Congregacional Australia Congregational Federation of Australia Uniting Church in Australia Austria Evangelical Church of the Helvetic Confession in Austria/Evangelische Kirche HB in Österreich Bangladesh Church of Bangladesh Evangelical Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bangladesh Belgium United Protestant Church in Belgium/Eglise Protestante Unie de Belgique/Verenigde Protestantse Kerk in Belgie Bolivia Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Bolivia/Iglesia Evangélica Presbiteriana en Bolivia Botswana Dutch Reformed Church in Botswana Brazil Evangelical Reformed Churches in Brazil/Igrejas Evangélicas Reformadas no Brasil Independent Pre
International Lutheran Council
The International Lutheran Council is a worldwide association of confessional Lutheran denominations. It is to be distinguished from the Lutheran World Federation and the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference; the member church bodies of the ILC are not required to be in church-fellowship with one another, though many of them are. The organization was constituted in 1993 at a council held in Antigua, although it traces its roots back to theological conferences held in many locations during the 1950s and 1960s. Member bodies of the ILC hold "an unconditional commitment to the Holy Scriptures as the inspired and infallible Word of God and to the Lutheran Confessions contained in the Book of Concord as the true and faithful exposition of the Word of God." The Council has 54 participating churches as of 2018. Among its larger members are the Malagasy Lutheran Church, Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil, the Lutheran Church—Canada. Altogether 7,150,000 adherents belong to ILC member churches.
The Council's Chairman is Bishop Hans-Jörg Voigt of the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church, Germany. The Executive Secretary is Albert B. Collver III of the LCMS. Delegates to the ILC meet every two years; the organization has not accepted the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, an agreement reached by the Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Lutheran World Federation, in 1999. The ILC has been involved in dialogue with the PCPCU, with a final report expected to be adopted in 2019; the origins of the ILC go back to a meeting at Uelzen, Germany in July 1952 by Lutherans who were not happy with the theological course being taken by the Lutheran World Federation. Among the participants were delegates from the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, observers at the LWP assembly in Hannover. Other delegates were present from churches affiliated with the LCMS from Germany, Australia and the United Kingdom. Two further meetings were held, in Oakland, California in 1958 and in Cambridge in August 1963.
At the latter meeting it was decided to create a permanent organization, a "Continuation Committee", to act for the group in between meetings, which were now dubbed International Lutheran Theological Conferences. The committee was tasked with publishing a theological journal and a committee bulletin, with facilitating exchanges of pastors, theological professors, students. However, the meeting explicitly disclaimed it was founding a group in opposition to the LWF. Five more "theological conferences" were held until the name was shortened to International Lutheran Conference at the Eighth conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Resolutions passed during this period described the ILC as a partnership, forum, or "group of independent Lutheran churches". At the Fifteenth Conference in Antigua, Guatemala the group decided on creating a more formal structure as an association of churches and adopted a document Guiding Principles which would serve as a constitution and theological point of reference; the "Continuation Committee" was replaced by an "Executive Council".
The ILC at their 2018 World Conference meeting, held in Antwerp, Belgium, on 25-26 September 2018, voted to admit 17 new church bodies, 11 as full members and 6 as associate members. This will increase the church members of ILC to their faithful to 7.15 million members. By country in alphabetical order ArgentinaEvangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina BelgiumEvangelical Lutheran Church in Belgium BeninLutheran Church in Africa—Benin SynodBoliviaChristian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Bolivia - a member of the Global Confessional and Missional Lutheran ForumBrazilEvangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil Burkina FasoEvangelical Lutheran Church of Burkina FasoCanadaLutheran Church—CanadaChileEvangelical Lutheran Church of the Republic of Chile China Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod China, Republic of China Evangelical Lutheran Church DenmarkEvangelical Lutheran Free Church of Denmark FinlandEvangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland FranceEvangelical Lutheran Church-Synod of France GermanyIndependent Evangelical—Lutheran Church GhanaEvangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana - a full member of the Lutheran World FederationGuatemalaLutheran Church of Guatemala HaitiEvangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti IndiaIndia Evangelical Lutheran Church - a full member of the Lutheran World FederationJapanJapan Lutheran Church - an associate member of the Lutheran World FederationKenyaEvangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya - a full member of the Lutheran World Federation and a member of the Global Confessional and Missional Lutheran ForumKorea, SouthLutheran Church in Korea - a full member of the Lutheran World FederationLiberiaEvangelical Lutheran Church of LiberiaMadagascarMalagasy Lutheran Church - a full member of the Lutheran World FederationMexicoLutheran Synod of Mexico NicaraguaLutheran Church Synod of Nicaragua NigeriaLutheran Church of NigeriaNorwayLutheran Church in Norway Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of Norway Papua
Eastern Christianity comprises church families that developed outside the Occident, with major bodies including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Catholic Churches, the denominations descended from the Church of the East. The Ukrainian Lutheran Church is an Eastern Christian church that uses the Byzantine Rite; the term is used in contrast with Western Christianity, although its scope has been one of continual discussion. Eastern Christianity consists of the Christian traditions and churches that developed distinctively over several centuries in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Malabar coast of South India, parts of the Far East; the term does not describe religious denomination. Some Eastern churches have more in common and theologically with Western Christianity than with one another; the various Eastern churches do not refer to themselves as "Eastern", with the exception of the Assyrian Church of the East and the Ancient Church of the East.
The terms "Eastern" and "Western" in this regard originated with geographical divisions in Christianity mirroring the cultural divide between the Hellenistic east and Latin West, the political divide between the Western and Eastern Roman empires. Because the largest church in the East is the body known as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the term "Orthodox" is used in a similar fashion to "Eastern", to refer to specific historical Christian communions; however speaking, most Christian denominations, whether Eastern or Western, consider themselves to be "orthodox" as well as "catholic", as two of the Four Marks of the Church listed in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: "One, Holy and Apostolic". There are several liturgical rites in use among the Eastern churches; these are the Alexandrian Rite, the Antiochene Rite, the Armenian Rite, the Byzantine Rite, the East Syriac Rite and the West Syriac Rite. Eastern Christians do not share the same religious traditions, but do share many cultural traditions.
Christianity divided itself in the East during its early centuries both within and outside of the Roman Empire in disputes about Christology and fundamental theology, as well as national divisions. It would be many centuries that Western Christianity split from these traditions as its own communion. Major branches or families of Eastern Christianity, each of which has a distinct theology and dogma, include the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox communion, the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Ancient Church of the East, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church. In many Eastern churches, some parish priests administer the sacrament of chrismation to infants after baptism, priests are allowed to marry before ordination. While all the Eastern Catholic Churches recognize the authority of the Pope of Rome, some of them who have been part of the Orthodox Church or Oriental Orthodox churches follow the traditions of Orthodoxy or Oriental Orthodoxy, including the tradition of allowing married men to become priests.
The Eastern churches' differences from Western Christianity have as much, if not more, to do with culture and politics, as theology. For the non-Catholic Eastern churches, a definitive date for the commencement of schism cannot be given; the Church of the East declared independence from the churches of the Roman Empire at its general council in 424, before the Council of Ephesus in 431, so had nothing to do with the theology declared at that council. Oriental Orthodoxy separated after the Council of Chalcedon in 451. Since the time of the historian Edward Gibbon, the split between the Church of Rome and the Orthodox Church has been conveniently dated to 1054, though the reality is more complex; this split is sometimes referred to as the Great Schism, but now more referred to as the East–West Schism. This final schism reflected a larger cultural and political division which had developed in Europe and Southwest Asia during the Middle Ages and coincided with Western Europe's re-emergence from the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.
The Ukrainian Lutheran Church developed within Galicia around 1926, with its rites being based on the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, rather than on the Western Formula Missae; the Eastern Orthodox Church is a Christian body whose adherents are based in the Middle East and Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, with a growing presence in the western world. Eastern Orthodox Christians accept the decisions of the first seven ecumenical councils. Eastern Orthodox Christianity identifies itself as the original Christian church founded by Christ and the Apostles, traces its lineage back to the early Church through the process of apostolic succession and unchanged theology and practice. Distinguishing characteristics of the Eastern Orthodox Church include the Byzantine Rite and an emphasis on the continuation of Holy Tradition, which it holds to be apostolic in nature; the Eastern Orthodox Church is organized into self-governing jurisdictions along geographical, ethnic or linguistic lines. Eastern Orthodoxy is thus made up of sixteen autocephalous bodies.
Smaller churches are autonomous and each have a mother church, autocephalous. All Eastern O
World Methodist Council
The World Methodist Council, founded in 1881, is a consultative body and association of churches in the Methodist tradition. It comprises 80 member denominations in 138 countries which together represent about 80 million people. Affiliated organizations are the World Fellowship of Methodist and Uniting Churches, the Oxford-Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, the World Methodist Historical Society, World Council of Confederation of Methodist Youth, the World Council of Methodist Men, World Methodist Council of Teens, the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women and The General Commission on Archives and History; the highest organ of the World Methodist Council is the World Methodist Conference meeting every five years. The next Conference will be in Sweden in 2021; the 21st Conference was held in 2016 in Texas in the United States. The theme was “ONE.” Organized around four sub themes – One God, One Faith, One People, One Mission. The 2011 conference, gathered under the theme "Jesus Christ - for the Healing of the Nations", was held in August 2011 in Durban, South Africa.
On 24 July 2006, Sunday Mbang stepped down as chairperson of the council and John Barrett took over his position as well as elected president for the council. In 2006, it formally approved the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification; the World Methodist Council has offices in: North Carolina. Current officers are: General secretary: Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams President: Bishop Paulo Lockmann Vice-President: Gillian Kingston Treasurer: Kirby Hickey Jr. Youth and young adult coordinator: John Thomas III The World Methodist Council has eight standing committees: Ecumenics and Dialogue is engaged in ecumenical dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran World Federation, the Salvation Army and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, it is working towards a dialogue with the Orthodox Church and with the Pentecostal Churches. Education is concerned with Methodist educational institutions, it has organized an international Association of Methodist Schools and Universities promoting quality and value-centered education.
The association links representatives from over 700 Methodist related schools and colleges all over the world. Evangelism is coordinating worldwide evangelism efforts of Methodist churches Family Life is concerned with applying Christian values to issues like relationships in marriage, rights of children, rights of the aged, prevalence of violence and changing roles of women and men in society, it has worked out the World Methodist Social Affirmation, approved in 1986 and is part of the literature of several Methodist denominations. Theological Education focuses on training for ministry based on basic Christian beliefs and distinctive emphases from the Wesleyan tradition. Worship and Liturgy encourages the study of liturgy and forms of worship issues as language and culture and private worship and liturgy, cultural influences, balancing Christian tradition with local emphasis. Develops hymnals and resources. Youth and Young Adults focuses on empowering young people, taking its motto from 1st Timothy 4.
To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ." The World Methodist Peace Award is the highest honor bestowed by Methodists around the world. Since 1977, it is given annually by the World Methodist Council; this award is given to individuals or groups "who have made significant contributions to peace and justice", considering courage and consistency in awarding it. Recipients of the World Methodist Peace Award include: Habitat for Humanity International, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Boris Trajkovski, former President of Macedonia. One ministry of the World Methodist Council is the World Methodist Evangelism Institute in Atlanta, Georgia, it is an educational institution committed to the task of world evangelization and connected to a major university, Candler School of Theology, Emory University. List of Methodist denominations List of the largest Protestant denominations Statement on "Wesleyan/Methodist Witness In Christian and Islamic Cultures" 2004 Brochure World Evangelism Emphasis, 2004 Official website World Methodist Evangelism World Methodist Evangelism Institute World Methodist Peace Award
Eastern Orthodox Church organization
The Eastern Orthodox Church, like the Catholic Church, claims to be the One, Holy and Apostolic Church. The term Western Orthodoxy is sometimes used to denominate what is technically a vicariate within the Antiochian Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox Churches and thus a part of the Eastern Orthodox Church as that term is defined here; the term "Western Orthodox Church" is disfavored by members of that vicariate. In the 5th century, Oriental Orthodoxy separated from Chalcedonian Christianity, well before the 11th century Great Schism, it should not be confused with Eastern Orthodoxy. The Orthodox Church is a communion comprising the fifteen separate autocephalous hierarchical churches that recognize each other as "canonical" Orthodox Christian churches; each constituent church is self-governing. Each regional church is composed of constituent eparchies ruled by bishops; some autocephalous churches have given an group of eparchies varying degrees of autonomy. Such autonomous churches maintain varying levels of dependence on their mother church defined in a Tomos or other document of autonomy.
In many cases, autonomous churches are completely self-governing, with the mother church retaining only the right to appoint the highest-ranking bishop of the autonomous church. Normal governance is enacted through a synod of bishops within each church. In case of issues that go beyond the scope of a single church, multiple self-governing churches send representatives to a wider synod, sometimes wide enough to be called an Orthodox "ecumenical council"; such councils are deemed to have authority superior to that of any autocephalous church or its ranking bishop. The Orthodox Church is decentralised, having no central authority, earthly head or a single Bishop in a leadership role. Thus, the Orthodox Church uses a synodical system canonically, different from the hierarchically organised Catholic Church that follows the doctrine of papal supremacy. References to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople as a leader are an erroneous interpretation of his title, his title is of honor rather than authority and in fact the Ecumenical Patriarch has no real authority over Churches other than the Constantinopolitan.
His unique role sees the Ecumenical Patriarch referred to as the "spiritual leader" of the Orthodox Church in some sources, though this is not an official title of the patriarch nor is it used in scholarly sources on the patriarchate. The autocephalous churches are in full communion with each other, so any priest of any of those churches may lawfully minister to any member of any of them, no member of any is excluded from any form of worship in any of the others, including reception of the Eucharist. In the early Middle Ages, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church was ruled by five patriarchs: the bishops of Rome, Alexandria and Jerusalem; each patriarch had jurisdiction over bishops in a specified geographic region. This continued until 927, when the autonomous Bulgarian Archbishopric became the first newly promoted patriarchate to join the original five; the patriarch of Rome was "first in place of honor" among the five patriarchs. Disagreement about the limits of his authority was one of the causes of the Great Schism, conventionally dated to the year 1054, which split the church into the Catholic Church in the West, headed by the Bishop of Rome, the Orthodox Church, led by the four eastern patriarchs.
After the schism this honorary primacy shifted to the Patriarch of Constantinople, accorded the second-place rank at the First Council of Constantinople. Ranked in order of seniority, with the year of independence given in parentheses, where applicable. Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem Those four ancient Orthodox Patriarchates are of the five episcopal sees forming the historical Pentarchy, the fifth one being the See of Rome, they all adopted the Chalcedonian Definition and remained in communion after the schism that followed the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The council was the fourth of the Ecumenical Councils that are accepted by Chalcedonian churches which include the Eastern Orthodox, the Catholic, most Protestant churches, it was the first council not to be recognised by any Oriental Orthodox churches. Nowadays, the importance of all four Ancient Patriarchates is diminished because their sees are all located in modern non-Christian countries and cities.
The title of Patriarch was created in 531 by Justinian. Bulgarian Orthodox Church Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church Serbian Orthodox Church Russian Orthodox Church Romanian Orthodox Church Church of Cyprus Church of Greece Albanian Orthodox Church Polish Orthodox Church Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church Orthodox Church in America (1970, not recognized by th
Christianity in the Middle East
Christianity, which originated in the Middle East in the 1st century AD, is a significant minority religion of the region. Christianity in the Middle East is characterized by the diversity of its beliefs and traditions, compared to other parts of the Old World. Christians now make up 5% of the Middle Eastern population, down from 20–30% in the early 20th century. Cyprus is the only Christian majority country in the Middle East, with Christians forming between 76% and 78% of the population, most of them adhering to Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Lebanon has the second highest proportion of Christians in the Middle East, ranging between 39% and 41% and predominantly consisting of Maronite Christians. Egypt has the next largest proportion of at 10 -- 15 % of its population; the largest Christian group in the Middle East are the Egyptian Copts, who number around 15–20 million. Copts reside in Egypt, but in Sudan and Libya, with tiny communities in Israel, Jordan and Tunisia; the Eastern Aramaic speaking indigenous Chaldeans of Iraq, southeastern Turkey, who number 2 million, have suffered both ethnic and religious persecution for many centuries, such as the 1915 Genocide conducted by the Ottoman Turks and their allies, leading to many fleeing and congregating in areas in the north of Iraq and northeast of Syria.
The great majority of Aramaic speaking Christians are followers of the Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Ancient Church of the East, Assyrian Pentecostal Church and Assyrian Evangelical Church. In Iraq, the numbers of Iraqi Christians due to exodus from Iraq| declined to between 300,000 and 500,000. Chaldea Christians were between 800,000 and 1.2 million before 2003. In 2014, the Chaldean and Syriac population of the Nineveh Plains In Northern Iraq collapsed due to an ISIS forcing the Chaldean and Syriac Christian community out of their historical homeland; the next largest Christian group in the Middle East is the once Aramaic speaking but now Arabic-speaking Maronites who are Catholics and number some 1.1–1.2 million across the Middle East concentrated within Lebanon. In Israel, Israeli Maronites together with smaller Aramaic-speaking Christian populations of Syriac Orthodox and Greek Catholic adherence are classified ethnically as either Arameans or Arabs per their choice.
The Arab Christians descended from Arab Christian tribes, from Arabized Greeks or are recent converts to Protestantism, number about 5 million in the region. Most Arab Christians are adherents of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Roman Catholics of the Latin Rite are small in numbers and Protestants altogether number about 400,000. Most Arab Christian Catholics are non-Arab, with Melkites and Rum Christians descending from Arabized Greek-speaking Byzantine populations, they are members of a Eastern Catholic Church. They number over 1 million in the Middle East, they came into existence as a result of a schism within the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch due to the election of a Patriarch in 1724. The Armenians number around 3 million in the Middle East, with their largest community in Iran with 200,000 members; the number of Armenians in Turkey is disputed having a wide range of estimations. More Armenian communities reside in Lebanon, Jordan and to lesser degree in other Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq and Egypt.
The Armenian Genocide during and after World War I drastically reduced the once sizeable Armenian population. The Greeks who had once inhabited large parts of the western Middle East and Asia Minor, declined after of the Arab conquests the Turkish conquests, all but vanished from Turkey as a result of the Greek Genocide and expulsions which followed World War I. Today the biggest Middle Eastern Greek community resides in Cyprus and numbers around 793,000. Cypriot Greeks constitute the only Christian majority state in the Middle East, although Lebanon was founded with a Christian majority in the first half of the 20th century. In addition, some of the modern Arab Christians constitute Arabized Greco-Roman communities rather than ethnic Arabs. Smaller Christian groups include: Arameans, Georgians and Russians. There are several million Christian foreign workers in the Gulf area from the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. In the Persian Gulf states, Bahrain has 1,000 Christian citizens and Kuwait has 400 native Christian citizens, in addition to 450,000 Christian foreign residents in Kuwait.
Although the vast majority of Middle Eastern populations descend from Pre-Arab and Non-Arab peoples extant long before the 7th century AD Arab Islamic conquest, a 2015 study estimates there are 483,500 Christian believers from a Muslim background in the Middle East, most of them being adherents of various Protestant churches. Converts to Christianity from other religions such as Islam, Mandeanism, Zoroastrianism, Bahaism and Judaism exist in small numbers amongst the Kurdish, Turcoman, Azeri, Israelis, Yezidis and Shabaks. Middle Eastern Christians are wealthy, well educated, politically moderate, as they have today an active role in social, economic and political spheres in their societies in the Middle East. Christianity spread from Jerusalem along major trade routes to major settlements, finding its strongest growth among Hellenized Jews in places like Antioch and Alexandria; the Greek-speaking Mediterranean region was a powerhouse for the Early Church, producing many revered Church Fathers as well as those who be
Christianity in Asia
Christianity in Asia has its roots in the inception of Christianity, which originated from the life and teachings of Jesus in 1st century Roman Palestine. Christianity spread through the missionary work of his apostles, first in the Levant and taking roots in the major cities such as Jerusalem and Antioch. According to tradition, further eastward expansion occurred via the preaching of Thomas the Apostle, who established Christianity in the Parthian Empire and India; the First Ecumenical Council was held in the city of Nicaea in Asia Minor. The first Caucasus nations to adopt Christianity as a state religion were Armenia in 301 and Georgia in 327. By the 4th century, Christianity became the dominant religion in all Asian provinces of the Eastern Roman Empire. After the First Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Nestorian Schism, the Nestorian Christianity developed. Nestorians began converting Mongols around the 7th century, Nestorian Christianity was introduced into China during the Tang Dynasty.
Mongols tended to be tolerant of multiple religions, with several Mongol tribes being Christian, under the leadership of Genghis Khan's grandson, the great khan Möngke, Christianity was a small religious influence of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century. The Fourth Ecumenical Council was held in Asian city of Chalcedon. Christological controversies and disputes that surrounded the Council and its aftermath resulted in division between pro-Chalcedonian and anti-Chalcedonian Christianity. Father Jordanus Catalani, a French Dominican missionary, followed in 1321-22, he reported to Rome from somewhere on the west coast of India, that he had given Christian burial to four martyred monks. Jordanus is known for his 1329 "Mirabilia" describing the marvels of the East: he furnished the best account of Indian regions and the Christians, the products, manners, customs and flori given by any European in the Middle Ages - superior to Marco Polo’s; the Roman Catholic Diocese of Quilon or Kollam is the first Catholic diocese in Asia, India in the state of Kerala.
First erected on 9 August 1329 and re-erected on 1 September 1886. In 1329 Pope John XXII erected Quilon as the first Diocese in the whole of Indies as suffragan to the Archdiocese of Sultany in Persia through the decree "Romanus Pontifix" dated 9 August 1329. By a separate Bull "Venerabili Fratri Jordano", the same Pope, on 21 August 1329 appointed the French Dominican friar Jordanus Catalani de Severac as the first Bishop of Quilon.. Around that same time, there was some effort to reunite Western Christianity. There were numerous missionary efforts from Europe to Asia by Franciscan, Dominican, or Jesuit missionaries. In the 16th century, Spain began to convert Filipinos. In the 18th century, Catholicism developed less independently in Korea. At present, Christianity continues to be the majority religion in the Philippines, East Timor, Georgia and Russia, it has significant minority populations in South Korea, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and several other countries in Asia with a total Christian population of more than 295 million.
Christianity spread through the Levant from the 1st century AD. One of the key centers of Christianity became the city of Antioch, previous capital of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, located in today what is modern Turkey. Antioch was evangelized by Peter the Apostle, according to the tradition upon which the Antiochene patriarchate still rests its claim for primacy, by Barnabas and Paul, its converts were the first to be called Christians. They multiplied and by the time of Theodosius were reckoned by Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, at about 100,000 people. Between 252 and 300, ten assemblies of the church were held at Antioch and it became the seat of one of the original five patriarchates, along with Jerusalem, Alexandria and Rome. Armenia and Georgia were the first nations to adopt Christianity as a state religion, in 301 and 326 respectively. Christianity had been preached in Armenia by two of Jesus' twelve apostles — Thaddaeus and Bartholomew — between 40-60 AD; because of these two founding apostles, the official name of the Armenian Church is Armenian Apostolic Church, it is considered to be the world's oldest national church.
The Church of Caucasian Albania was established in 313, after Caucasian Albania became a Christian state. In Georgia, Christianity was first preached by the apostles Andrew in the first century, it became the state religion of Kartli, Iberia in 326. The conversion of Georgia to Christianity is credited to the efforts of Saint Nino of Cappadocia. Christianity further spread eastward under the Parthian Empire, which displayed a high tolerance of religious matters. According to tradition, Christian proselytism in Central Asia, starting with Mesopotamia and the Iranian plateau, was put under the responsibility of Saint Thomas the Apostle, started in the first century AD. Saint Thomas is credited with the establishment of Christianity in India; the Christians of Mesopotamia and Iran were organized under several bishops, were present at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The spread of Christianity in C