Protestantism in Serbia
Protestants are the 4th largest religious group in Serbia, after Eastern Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics and Muslims. In the 2011 census, there were 71,284 Protestants in Serbia and they comprised 1% of the population of the country. Ethnic Slovaks constitute majority of Serbia's Protestant community; some members of other ethnic groups are adherents of various forms of Protestant Christianity. Most of the Protestants are located in the province of Vojvodina; the largest percentage on municipal level is in the municipalities of Bački Petrovac and Kovačica, where the absolute or relative majority of the population are ethnic Slovaks. Other large Protestant community is found in the second largest Serbian city Novi Sad with 8,499 Protestants. Outside Vojvodina, sizable concentration of Protestants in the rest of the country are recorded in Leskovac and Belgrade. There are various Protestant groups in the country, including Methodists, Seventh-day Adventists and Evangelical Baptists. Many of these groups are situated in the culturally diverse province of Vojvodina.
Prior to the end of World War II, the number of Protestants in the region was larger. Protestantism started to spread among Serbs in Vojvodina in the last decades of the 19th century. Although the percentage of Protestants among Serbs is not large, it is the only religious form besides Orthodoxy, widespread among Serbs; the Nazarene form of Protestant Christianity, known as Apostolic Christian Church in North America, appeared among Serbs during the 1860s in the region of Vojvodina, which in that time was administered by the Austrian Empire. The religious group spread to what was the Principality of Serbia as early as in 1872. Due to their commitment to non-violence and refusal to carry weapons and serve in the army, the Nazarenes were persecuted and imprisoned by all three state authorities under which they lived: the pre-World War I Austro-Hungarian and Serbian and post-World War I Serb-Croat-Slovene. In 1892, most of 210 prisoners in Pest who were imprisoned because they refused to carry weapons were Serbs from Bačka.
During the last two decades of the 19th century, a sizable Nazarene communities were formed in several settlements in Vojvodina: Melenci, Mokrin, Mramorak, Debeljača, Bavanište, Banatski Karlovac and Banatsko Novo Selo. Larger Nazarene communities were present in some sizable cities of the region, such are Sombor, Novi Sad, Pančevo, Veliki Bečkerek; the settlement with largest percentage of Nazarenes among population was the Serb village of Nadalj. According to 1891 census, there was 6,829 Nazarenes in the Kingdom of Hungary, of which 4,400 were Serbs. According to an unofficial estimation from 1897, there were 9,000–10,000 Nazarene Serbs in the Kingdom of Hungary and 1,000 more in the Kingdom of Serbia and Bosnia. According to 1925 police report, there were 16,652 adult Nazarenes in 352 settlements in Bačka, Banat and Baranja; the largest number of them were Serbs, while others were Slovaks, Romanians, Croats and Czechs. According to 1953 census, there were 15,650 Nazarenes in Yugoslavia. In 1924, Serb-Croat-Slovene authorities arrested more than 2,000 Nazarenes who refused to carry weapons.
Between 1927 and 1933, there was 80% Serbs among Nazarenes who were imprisoned in Yugoslav prisons, while during the 1960s about 65% of imprisoned Nazarenes were Serbs. According to unofficial research, conducted during the 1980s, there were 15,000 Nazarenes in Vojvodina who lived in 170 communities and 96% of them were Serbs. Although the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century were periods in which Nazarene religious group was spread among Serbs parts of the 20th century recorded certain decline of the Nazarene community; the decline of the community had various reason: many members of the community emigrated across the ocean and settled in the United States and Canada, some of the Nazarenes who were of Eastern Orthodox background converted back to Eastern Orthodox Christianity, while others converted to other Protestant denominations. Since World War I, the largest Protestant community among Serbs became the Adventists. In 2002, 1,426 citizens of Serbia declared themselves in census as a members of Nazarene community.
Seat of the Nazarene community in Serbia is in Novi Sad. Christian Adventist Church in Serbia is part of the Union of the Christian Adventist Church of Southeastern Europe; the Union is divided into one mission. There are 175 Adventist churches in Serbia. First Adventist missionaries in the territory of present-day Serbia started their work in Vojvodina in 1890. In 1893, a society for translation and popularization of Adventist literature was formed; the literature was printed in Serbian language. First Adventist who preached in Serbian language was Petar Todor, he gathered the group of adherents in the village of Kumane in Banat in 1905. Subsequently, the Adventist communities were formed in Titel, Novo Miloševo and Mokrin, Kikinda and Novi Kneževac, Zemun (in 191
Vlachs of Serbia
The Vlachs are an ethnic minority in eastern Serbia and linguistically related to Romanians. They live in the Timočka Krajina region, but in Braničevo and Pomoravlje districts. A small Vlach population exists in Smederevo and Velika Plana, in the municipalities of Aleksinac and Kruševac. Vlach is an exonym for the eastern Romance speaking community in the Balkans, which resulted from the occupation and colonisation of the region during the Roman Empire. Northeastern Serbia is home to several Vlach/Romanian communities who speak dialects similar to ones in parts of western Romania: in Banat and Oltenia; these are the Ungureni and Bufeni. Today, about three quarters of the Vlach population speak the Ungurean subdialect, similar to the Romanian spoken in Banat. In the 19th century other groups of Romanians originating in Oltenia settled south of the Danube; these are the Țărani, who form some 25% of the modern population and speak a variety of Oltenian dialect. From the 15th through the 18th centuries large numbers of Serbs migrated across the Danube, but in the opposite direction, to both Banat and Țara Româneasca.
Significant migration ended by the establishment of the kingdoms of Serbia and Romania in the second half of the 19th century. The Vlachs of northeastern Serbia share close linguistic and cultural ties with the Vlachs in the region of Vidin in Bulgaria as well as the Romanians of Banat and Oltenia; some authors consider that the majority of Vlachs/Romanians in Timočka Krajina are descendants of Romanians that migrated from Hungary in the 18th and 19th centuries. The language spoken by the Vlachs consists of two distinct Romanian subdialects spoken in regions neighboring Romania: one major group of Vlachs speaks the dialect spoken in Mehedinți County in western Oltenia, while the other major group speaks a dialect similar to the one spoken in the neighboring region of Banat; the Romanian language is not in use in local administration, not in localities where members of the minority represent more than 15% of the population, where it would be allowed according to Serbian law. The Romanian Orthodox Church in Malajnica, built in 2004, is the first Romanian church in eastern Serbia in 170 years.
Before its construction, Romanians in Timoč were not allowed to hear liturgical services in their native language. Most Vlachs of Eastern Serbia are Orthodox Christians who had belonged to the Serbian Orthodox Church since the 19th century; this changed on 24 March 2009, when Serbia recognized the authority of the Romanian Orthodox Church in Valea Timocului and the confessional rights of the Vlachs. The 2006 Serbian law on religious organizations did not recognize the Romanian Orthodox Church as a traditional church, as it had received permission from the Serbian Church to operate only within Vojvodina, but not in Timočka Krajina. At Malajnica, a Vlach priest belonging to the Romanian Orthodox Church encountered deliberately-raised administrative barriers when he attempted to build a church. Other Romanian Orthodox churches are planned or under construction in Jasikovo, Ćuprija and Samarinovac. Additionally, a Romanian Orthodox monastery is under construction in Malajnica; the Romanian Orthodox churches in Eastern Central Serbia are subordinated to the Protopresbyteriat Dacia Ripensis with its seat in Negotin.
The protopresbyteriat is subordinated to the Romanian Orthodox diocese Dacia Felix with its seat in Vršac. The relative isolation of the Vlachs has permitted the survival of various pre-Christian religious customs and beliefs that are frowned upon by the Orthodox Church. Vlach magic rituals are well known across modern Serbia; the Vlachs celebrate the ospăț, called in Serbian slava. The customs of the Vlachs are similar to those from Southern Romania; the Vlach community is divided into several groups, each speaking their own dialectal variant: the Ţărani of the Bor and Zaječar regions are closer to Oltenia in their speech and music. The Ţărani have the saying "Nu dau un leu pe el"; the reference to "leu" as currency most goes back to the 17th century when the Dutch-issued daalder bearing the image of a lion was in circulation in the Romanian principalities and elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire whose own currency was habitually being debased by the government. In the Romanian principalities, as well as in Bulgaria, the leeuwendaalder came to symbolize a strong currency.
Indeed, on gaining independence in the 19th century both countries adopted this name for their new currencies. Since newly independent Serbia named its currency after the Roman denarius, the reference to the leu among the Ţărani is an indication of their connection to, if not origin in, what is now Romania; the Ungureni or Ungureani of Homolje are related to the Romanians of Banat and Transylvania, since Ungureni is a term used by the Romanians of Wallachia to refer to their kin who once lived in provinces part of the Kingdom of Hungary. The connection is evident not only in vocabulary, but in the similarities of dialectal phonology and folk music motifs, as well as in sayings such as "Ducă-se pe Mureş", a reference to the Transylvanian river. There is a sub-group known as Ungureni Munteni, "the ungureni from the mountains". B
The Balkans known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast; the Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined; the highest point of the Balkans is 2,925 metres, in the Rila mountain range. The concept of the Balkan peninsula was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered the Balkan Mountains the dominant mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea; the term of Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey in the 19th century, the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire in Southeast Europe.
It had a geopolitical rather than a geographical definition, further promoted during the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the early 20th century. The definition of the Balkan peninsula's natural borders do not coincide with the technical definition of a peninsula and hence modern geographers reject the idea of a Balkan peninsula, while scholars discuss the Balkans as a region; the term has acquired a stigmatized and pejorative meaning related to the process of Balkanization, hence the rather used alternative term for the region is Southeast Europe. The word Balkan comes from Ottoman Turkish balkan'chain of wooded mountains'; the origin of the Turkic word is obscure. From classical antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Balkan Mountains were called by the local Thracian name Haemus. According to Greek mythology, the Thracian king Haemus was turned into a mountain by Zeus as a punishment and the mountain has remained with his name. A reverse name scheme has been suggested. D. Dechev considers that Haemus is derived from a Thracian word *saimon,'mountain ridge'.
A third possibility is that "Haemus" derives from the Greek word "haema" meaning'blood'. The myth relates to a fight between the monster/titan Typhon. Zeus injured Typhon with a thunder bolt and Typhon's blood fell on the mountains, from which they got their name; the earliest mention of the name appears in an early 14th-century Arab map, in which the Haemus mountains are referred to as Balkan. The first attested time the name "Balkan" was used in the West for the mountain range in Bulgaria was in a letter sent in 1490 to Pope Innocent VIII by Buonaccorsi Callimaco, an Italian humanist and diplomat; the Ottomans first mention it in a document dated from 1565. There has been no other documented usage of the word to refer to the region before that, although other Turkic tribes had settled in or were passing through the Peninsula. There is a claim about an earlier Bulgar Turkic origin of the word popular in Bulgaria, however it is only an unscholarly assertion; the word was used by the Ottomans in Rumelia in its general meaning of mountain, as in Kod̲j̲a-Balkan, Čatal-Balkan, Ungurus-Balkani̊, but it was applied to the Haemus mountain.
The name is still preserved in Central Asia with the Balkan Daglary and the Balkan Province of Turkmenistan. English traveler John Morritt introduced this term into the English literature at the end of the 18th-century, other authors started applying the name to the wider area between the Adriatic and the Black Sea; the concept of the "Balkans" was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered it as the dominant central mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea. During the 1820s, "Balkan became the preferred although not yet exclusive term alongside Haemus among British travelers... Among Russian travelers not so burdened by classical toponymy, Balkan was the preferred term"; the term was not used in geographical literature until the mid-19th century because then scientists like Carl Ritter warned that only the part South of the Balkan Mountains can be considered as a peninsula and considered it to be renamed as "Greek peninsula".
Other prominent geographers who didn't agree with Zeune were Hermann Wagner, Theobald Fischer, Marion Newbigin, Albrecht Penck, while Austrian diplomat Johann Georg von Hahn in 1869 for the same territory used the term Südostereuropäische Halbinsel. Another reason it was not accepted as the definition of European Turkey had a similar land extent. However, after the Congress of Berlin there was a political need for a new term and the Balkans was revitalized, but in the maps the northern border was in Serbia and Montenegro without Greece, while Yugoslavian maps included Croatia and Bosnia; the term Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey, the political borders of former Ottoman Empire provinces. The usage of the term changed in the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century when was embraced by Serbian geographers, most prominently by Jovan Cvijić, it was done with political reasoning as affirmation for Serbian nationalism on the whole territory of the South Slavs, included anthropological and ethnological studies of the South Slavs through which were claimed various nationalistic and racistic theories.
Through such policies and Yugoslavian maps the term was elevated to the modern status of
Serbian Orthodox Church
The Serbian Orthodox Church is one of the autocephalous Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches. It is the second-oldest Slavic Orthodox Church in the world; the Serbian Orthodox Church comprises the majority of the population in Serbia and the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is organized into metropolises and eparchies located in Serbia and Herzegovina, Croatia, but all over the world where Serb diaspora lives; the Serbian Orthodox Church is an autocephalous, or ecclesiastically independent, member of the Eastern Orthodox communion. Serbian Patriarch serves as first among equals in his church; the Church achieved autocephalous status in 1219 under the leadership of St. Sava, becoming independent Archbishopric of Žiča, its status was elevated to that of a patriarchate in 1346, was known afterwards as the Serbian Patriarchate of Peć. This patriarchate was abolished by the Ottoman Turks in 1766; the modern Serbian Orthodox Church was re-established in 1920 after the unification of the Patriarchate of Karlovci, the Metropolitanate of Belgrade and the Metropolitanate of Montenegro.
Christianity spread to the Balkans beginning in the 1st century. Florus and Laurus are venerated as Christian martyrs of the 2nd century. Constantine the Great, born in Niš, was the first Christian Roman Emperor. Several bishops seated in what is today Serbia participated in the First Council of Nicaea, such as Ursacius of Singidunum. In 380, Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius decreed that his subjects would be Christians according to the Council of Nicea formula. Greek was used in the Byzantine church. With the definite split in 395, the line in Europe ran south along the Drina river. Among old Christian heritage is the Archbishopric of Justiniana Prima, established in 535, which had jurisdiction over the whole of present-day Serbia. However, the Archbishopric did not last, as the Slavs and Avars destroyed the region sometime after 602, when the last mention is made of it. In 731 Leo III attached Illyricum and Southern Italy to Patriarch Anastasius of Constantinople, transferring the papal authority to the Eastern Church.
The history of the early medieval Serbian Principality is recorded in the work De Administrando Imperio, compiled by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. The DAI drew information on the Serbs among others, a Serbian source; the Serbs were said to have received the protection of Emperor Heraclius, Porphyrogenitus stressed that the Serbs had always been under Imperial rule. His account on the first Christianization of the Serbs can be dated to 632–638; the establishment of Christianity as state religion dates to the time of Prince Mutimir and Byzantine Emperor Basil I. The Christianization was due to Byzantine and subsequent Bulgarian influence. At least during the rule of Kocel in Pannonia, communications between Serbia and Great Moravia, where Methodius was active, must have been possible; this fact, the pope was aware of, when planning Methodius' diocese as well as that of the Dalmatian coast, in Byzantine hands as far north as Split. There is a possibility that some Cyrillomethodian pupils reached Serbia in the 870s even sent by Methodius himself.
Serbia was accounted Christian as of about 870. The first Serbian bishopric was founded at Ras, near modern Novi Pazar on the Ibar river. According to Vlasto, the initial affiliation is uncertain; the early Ras church can be dated to the 9th–10th century, with the rotunda plan characteristic of first court chapels. The bishopric was established shortly after 871, during the rule of Mutimir, was part of the general plan of establishing bishoprics in the Slav lands of the empire, confirmed by the Council of Constantinople in 879–880; the names of Serbian rulers through Mutimir are Slavic dithematic names, per the Old Slavic tradition. With Christianization in the 9th century, Christian names appear; the next generations of Serbian royalty had Christian names, evident of strong Byzantine missions in the 870s. Petar Gojniković was evidently a Christian prince, Christianity was spreading in his time; the Bulgarian annexation of Serbia in 924 was important for the future direction of the Serbian church, by at latest, Serbia must have received the Cyrillic alphabet and Slavic religious text familiar but not yet preferred to Greek.
In 1018–19, the Archbishopric of Ohrid was established after the Byzantines conquered Bulgaria. Greek replaced Bulgarian Slavic as the liturgical language. Serbia was ecclesiastically administered into several bishoprics: the bishopric of Ras, mentioned in the first charter of Basil II, became part of the Ohrid archbishopric and encompassed the areas of southern Serbia, by the rivers Raška, Ibar and Lim, evident in the second charter of Basil II. In the chrysobulls of Basil II d
St. Mark's Church, Belgrade
St. Mark's Church or Church of St. Mark is a Serbian Orthodox church located in the Tašmajdan park in Belgrade, near the Parliament of Serbia, it was built in the Serbo-Byzantine style by the Krstić brothers, completed in 1940, on the site of a previous church dating to 1835. It is one of the largest churches in the country. There is a small Russian church next to St. Mark's; the church, dedicated to Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, was built in the Interwar period between 1931 and 1940 in the Tašmajdan Park, in the centre of Belgrade. It was built north of a wooden 19th-century church, destroyed in 1941; the original, wooden church, was built in 1835-36, in the days of Belgrade Metropolitan Petar Jovanović. The main donor was merchant Lazar Panća. Dedicated to St. Mark, it was built within an existing cemetery, it was a rectangular building whose exterior surface area was 11.5 by 21 m and whose interior was 7.75 by 17.46 m. At the same time Prince Miloš Obrenović, a donor to this church, built the palatial church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul in Topčider.
Work on both churches was supervised by architect Nikola Živković. In 1838, Prince Miloš's eldest son Prince Milan and bishop Gavrilo Popović of Šabac were buried directly by the church. After the May Coup, the royal couple, King Alexander Obrenović I and Queen Draga Obrenović, were buried in this church. In ca. 1870, the church was the parish seat of Palilula with 318 homes. It was destroyed during World War I by Austrian troops reconstructed in 1917, it was badly damaged in the 1941 German bombing of Belgrade and the rubble was cleared in 1942. Due to the rapid growth of the city and population increase, it became necessary in the beginning of the 20th century to build a larger church in the Belgrade quarter of Palilula. Frequent wars did not allow this until 1930 when a pair of Belgrade architects, the brothers Petar and Branko Krstić, both professors of the University of Belgrade Faculty of Architecture, designed the plans for the new St. Mark's Church; the present building of St. Mark's Church was built according to their drawings between 1931 and 1940.
The eruption of World War II interrupted the full completion of the church. Only the construction work was finished. Divine service took place in the new church during the war in 1941 and after it until November 14, 1948 in the adapted narthex of the church. On that date the church was consecrated and the church opened for divine service. There were plans to decorate the whole interior with frescoes; the external walls are in two colors of natural materials in the Serbo-Byzantine style. The church bell tower is a part of the church itself on the west side. Due to the urbanized area around it, the construction couldn't follow the strict church canon concerning the east-west position. In order to fit into the existing city grid, Serbian Patriarch Varnava gave a special permit for the new church to deviate for 10 degrees from the canonical rule; that way, the main entrance came in line across it. The Gračanica Monastery was used as a model for the new church; until the Church of Saint Sava surpassed it, St.
Mark's Church was the largest Serbian church. It is considered one of the most beautiful edifices of the sacral architecture in the Serbo-Byzantine Revival style; the Anniversary Day of Operation Storm, held for mourning killed and exiled Serbs from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is held on August 5 in St. Mark's Church; the interiors of the church cover 1,150 m2. The naos can receive 2,000 people and the choir gallery can accommodate 150 musicians; the church is 45 m wide and 60 m high, excluding the cross. In November 2017 a complete rearrangement of the plateau, which functioned as an extension of the Tašmajdan Park in front of the church, began. Old asphalt pavement which served as a parking lot was removed. Architect Jovan Mitrović designed a leveled combination of granite slabs and green areas; the plateau will be divided in two sections and right, divided by the green island. The right, "ceremonial" side will be shaped, with the granite slabs posted in the horizontal rhythm, interrupted with the thin squares of red Italian granite.
The design is patterned after the façade of the Michelangelo's temples on Capitoline Hill in Rome. The idea is to visually expand the church; the left side will have "disheveled" pattern, made of combined granite slabs. The plateau was finished in February 2018. In June 2018 it was announced that a monument to Patriarch Pavle, head of the Serbian Orthodox Church from 1990 to 2009, will be erected on the green area between the newly finished plateau and the tram stop in Tašmajdan Park; the 1.8 m tall bronze monument was authored by Zoran Maleš. It was placed in the park on 13 November 2018 and dedicated on 15 November, an anniversary of Pavle's death. St. Mark's Church is 62 meters long and 45 meters wide, the height of the main cupola to the base of the cross is 60 meters; the usable interior surface area of the church is about 1,150 square meters, the naos of the church can accommodate over 150 singers. It has been said that more than seventy years after the beginning of its construction, St. Mark's Church has not been completed.
This relates to its interior, fresco painting, appropriate lighting, acoustics and ventilation. After World War II little was done in the church itself for objective reasons. Above the entrance door to the church on the external façade is an icon in mosaic of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Mark, the work of Veljk
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Eastern Orthodox Church the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with 200–260 million members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia; the church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Near East. Eastern Orthodox theology is based on the Nicene Creed; the church teaches that it is the One, Holy and Apostolic church established by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles. It maintains, its patriarchates, reminiscent of the pentarchy, autocephalous and autonomous churches reflect a variety of hierarchical organisation.
Of its innumerable sacred mysteries, it recognises seven major sacraments, of which the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in synaxis. The church teaches that through consecration invoked by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; the Virgin Mary is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as the God-bearer, honoured in devotions. The Eastern Orthodox Church shared communion with the Roman Catholic Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, triggered by disputes over doctrine the authority of the Pope. Before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, the Oriental Orthodox churches shared in this communion, separating over differences in Christology; the majority of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Southeast and Eastern Europe, Cyprus and other communities in the Caucasus region, communities in Siberia reaching the Russian Far East. There are smaller communities in the former Byzantine regions of the Eastern Mediterranean, in the Middle East where it is decreasing due to persecution.
There are many in other parts of the world, formed through diaspora and missionary activity. In keeping with the church's teaching on universality and with the Nicene Creed, Orthodox authorities such as Saint Raphael of Brooklyn have insisted that the full name of the church has always included the term "Catholic", as in "Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church"; the official name of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the "Orthodox Catholic Church". It is the name by which the church refers to itself in its liturgical or canonical texts, in official publications, in official contexts or administrative documents. Orthodox teachers refer to the church as Catholic; this name and longer variants containing "Catholic" are recognised and referenced in other books and publications by secular or non-Orthodox writers. The common name of the church, "Eastern Orthodox Church", is a shortened practicality that helps to avoid confusions in casual use. From ancient times through the first millennium, Greek was the most prevalent shared language in the demographic regions where the Byzantine Empire flourished, Greek, being the language in which the New Testament was written, was the primary liturgical language of the church.
For this reason, the eastern churches were sometimes identified as "Greek" before the Great Schism of 1054. After 1054, "Greek Orthodox" or "Greek Catholic" marked a church as being in communion with Constantinople, much as "Catholic" did for communion with Rome; this identification with Greek, became confusing with time. Missionaries brought Orthodoxy to many regions without ethnic Greeks, where the Greek language was not spoken. In addition, struggles between Rome and Constantinople to control parts of Southeastern Europe resulted in the conversion of some churches to Rome, which also used "Greek Catholic" to indicate their continued use of the Byzantine rites. Today, many of those same churches remain, while a large number of Orthodox are not of Greek national origin, do not use Greek as the language of worship. "Eastern" indicates the geographical element in the Church's origin and development, while "Orthodox" indicates the faith, as well as communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.
There are additional Christian churches in the east that are in communion with neither Rome nor Constantinople, who tend to be distinguished by the category named "Oriental Orthodox". While the church continues to call itself "Catholic", for reasons of universality, the common title of "Eastern Orthodox Church" avoids casual confusion with the Roman Catholic Church; the first known use of the phrase "the catholic Church" occurred in a letter written about 110 AD from one Greek church to another. The letter states: "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be as where Jesus may be, there is the universal Church." Thus from the beginning, Christians referred to the Church as the "One, Holy and Apostolic Church". The Eastern Orthodox Church claims that it is today the continuation and preservation of that same early Church. A number of other Christian churches make a similar claim: the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Assyrian Church and the Oriental Orthodox.
In the Eastern Orthodox v
Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós, a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach. While there are diverse interpretations of Christianity which sometimes conflict, they are united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance; the term "Christian" is used as an adjective to describe anything associated with Christianity, or in a proverbial sense "all, noble, good, Christ-like."According to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, there were 2.2 billion Christians around the world in 2010, up from about 600 million in 1910. By 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey Christianity will remain the world's largest religion in 2050, if current trends continue. Today, about 37% of all Christians live in the Americas, about 26% live in Europe, 24% live in sub-Saharan Africa, about 13% live in Asia and the Pacific, 1% live in the Middle East and North Africa.
About half of all Christians worldwide are Catholic. Orthodox communions comprise 12% of the world's Christians. Other Christian groups make up the remainder. Christians make up the majority of the population in territories. 280 million Christians live as a minority. Christians have made noted contributions to a range of fields, including the sciences, politics and business. According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes, a review of Nobel prizes awarded between 1901 and 2000 reveals that of Nobel Prizes laureates identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference; the Greek word Χριστιανός, meaning "follower of Christ", comes from Χριστός, meaning "anointed one", with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or belonging to, as in slave ownership. In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, meaning " anointed." In other European languages, equivalent words to Christian are derived from the Greek, such as Chrétien in French and Cristiano in Spanish.
The abbreviations Xian and Xtian have been used since at least the 17th century: Oxford English Dictionary shows a 1634 use of Xtianity and Xian is seen in a 1634-38 diary. The word Xmas uses a similar contraction; the first recorded use of the term is in the New Testament, in Acts 11:26, after Barnabas brought Saul to Antioch where they taught the disciples for about a year, the text says: " the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." The second mention of the term follows in Acts 26:28, where Herod Agrippa II replied to Paul the Apostle, "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." The third and final New Testament reference to the term is in 1 Peter 4:16, which exhorts believers: "Yet if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed. The city of Antioch, where someone gave them the name Christians, had a reputation for coming up with such nicknames; however Peter's apparent endorsement of the term led to its being preferred over "Nazarenes" and the term Christianoi from 1 Peter becomes the standard term in the Early Church Fathers from Ignatius and Polycarp onwards.
The earliest occurrences of the term in non-Christian literature include Josephus, referring to "the tribe of Christians, so named from him. In the Annals he relates that "by vulgar appellation called Christians" and identifies Christians as Nero's scapegoats for the Great Fire of Rome. Another term for Christians which appears in the New Testament is "Nazarenes". Jesus is named as a Nazarene in Math 2:23, while Saul-Paul is said to be Nazarene in Acts 24:5; the latter verse makes it clear that Nazarene referred to the name of a sect or heresy, as well as the town called Nazareth. The term Nazarene was used by the Jewish lawyer Tertullus which records that "the Jews call us Nazarenes." While around 331 AD Eusebius records that Christ was called a Nazoraean from the name Nazareth, that in earlier centuries "Christians" were once called "Nazarenes". The Hebrew equivalent of "Nazarenes", occurs in the Babylonian Talmud, is still the modern Israeli Hebrew term for Christian. A wide range of beliefs and practices are found across the world among those who call themselves Christian.
Denominations and sects disagree on a common definition of "Christianity". For example, Timothy Beal notes the disparity of beliefs among those who identify as Christians in the United States as follows: Although all of them have their historical roots in Christian theology and tradition, although most would identify themselves as Christian, many would not identify others within the larger category as Christian. Most Baptists and fundamentalists, for example, would not acknowledge Mormonism or Christian Science as Christian. In fact, the nearly 77 percent of Americans who self-identify as Christian are a diverse pluribus of Christianities that are far from any collective unity. Linda Woodhead attempts to provide a common belief thread for Christians by noting that "Whatever else they might disagree about, Christians are at least united