Tamil Nadu is one of the 29 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian subcontinent and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry and the South Indian states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, it is bounded by the Eastern Ghats on the north, by the Nilgiri Mountains, the Meghamalai Hills, Kerala on the west, by the Bay of Bengal in the east, by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait on the southeast, by the Indian Ocean on the south. The state shares a maritime border with the nation of Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu is the sixth largest by population, it has a high HDI ranking among Indian states as of 2017. The economy of Tamil Nadu is the second-largest state economy in India with ₹17.25 lakh crore in gross domestic product after Maharashtra and a per capita GDP of ₹167,000. It was ranked as one of the top seven developed states in India based on a "Multidimensional Development Index" in a 2013 report published by the Reserve Bank of India.
Its official language is Tamil, one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world. The region was ruled by several empires, including the three great empires – Chola and Pandyan empires, which shape the region's cuisine and architecture; the British Colonial rule during the modern period led to the emergence of Chennai known as Madras, as a world-class city. Modern-day Tamil Nadu was formed in 1956 after the reorganization of states on linguistic lines; the state is home to a number of historic buildings, multi-religious pilgrimage sites, hill stations and three World Heritage sites. Archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in the Indian peninsula. In Attirampakkam, archaeologists from the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education excavated ancient stone tools which suggests that a humanlike population existed in the Tamil Nadu region somewhere around 300,000 years before homo sapiens arrived from Africa. In Adichanallur, 24 km from Tirunelveli, archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India unearthed 169 clay urns containing human skulls, bones, grains of rice, charred rice and celts of the Neolithic period, 3,800 years ago.
The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script used at that site is "very rudimentary" Tamil Brahmi. Adichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies. About 60 per cent of the total epigraphical inscriptions found by the ASI in India are from Tamil Nadu, most of these are in the Tamil language. A Neolithic stone celt with the Indus script on it was discovered at Sembian-Kandiyur near Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu. According to epigraphist Iravatham Mahadevan, this was the first datable artefact bearing the Indus script to be found in Tamil Nadu. According to Mahadevan, the find was evidence of the use of the Harappan language, therefore that the "Neolithic people of the Tamil country spoke a Harappan language"; the date of the celt was estimated at between 1500 BCE and 2000 BCE. Though this finding remains contested,like the claim of historian Michel Danino who rubbishes the theory of the latter’s southward migration in a paper he presented at the International Symposium on Indus Civilisation and Tamil Language in 2007.
He wrote: ‘There is no archaeological evidence of a southward migration through the Deccan after the end of the urban phase of the Indus- Sarasvati civilization… The only actual evidence of movements at that period is of Late Harappans migrating towards the Ganges plains and towards Gujarat... Migration apart, there is a complete absence of Harappan artefacts and features south of the Vindhyas: no Harappan designs on pottery, no Harappan seals and ornaments, no trace of Harappan urbanism… Cultural continuity from Harappan to historical times has been documented in North India, but not in the South… This means, in effect, that the south-bound Late Harappans would have reverted from an advanced urban bronze-age culture to a Neolithic one! Their migration to South would thus constitute a double “archaeological miracle”: apart from being undetectable on the ground, it implies that the migrants experienced a total break with all their traditions; such a phenomenon is unheard of.’ The early history of the people and rulers of Tamil Nadu is a topic in Tamil literary sources known as Sangam literature.
Numismatic and literary sources corroborate that the Sangam period lasted for about eight centuries, from 500 BC to AD 300. The recent excavations in Alagankulam archaeological site suggests that Alagankulam is one of the important trade centre or port city in Sangam Era; the Bhakti movement originated in Tamil speaking region of South India and spread northwards through India. The Bhakti Movement was a rapid growth of bhakti beginning in this region with the Saiva Nayanars and the Vaisnava Alvars who spread bhakti poetry and devotion; the Alwars and Nayanmars were instrumental in propagating the Bhakti tradition. During the 4th to 8th centuries, Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallava dynasty under Mahendravarman I and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I; the Pallavas ruled parts of South India with Kanchipuram as their capital. Tamil architecture reached its peak during Pallava rule. Narasimhavarman II built the Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Much the Pallavas were replaced by the Chola dynasty as the dominant kingdom in the 9th century and they in turn were replaced by the Pandyan Dynasty in the 13th century.
The Pandyan capital Madurai was in the deep s
A minor basilica is a Catholic church building, granted the title of basilica by the Holy See or immemorial custom. Presently, the authorising decree is granted by the Pope through the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. In relation to churches, writers on architecture use the term "basilica" to describe a church built in a particular style; the early Christian purpose-built cathedral basilica of the bishop was in this style, constructed on the model of the semi-public secular basilicas, its growth in size and importance signalled the gradual transfer of civic power into episcopal hands, under way in the 5th century. In the 18th century, the term took on a canonical sense, unrelated to this architectural style. Basilicas in this canonical sense are divided into minor basilicas. Today all in Rome, are classified as major basilicas. Privileges attached to the status of basilica included a certain precedence before other churches, the right of the conopaeum and the bell, which were carried side by side in procession at the head of the clergy on state occasions, the wearing of a cappa magna by the canons or secular members of the collegiate chapter when assisting at the Divine Office.
In the case of major basilicas these umbraculae were made of cloth of gold and red velvet, while those of minor basilicas were of yellow and red silk—the colours traditionally associated with both the Papal See and the city of Rome. These external signs, except that of the cappa magna, are sometimes still seen in basilicas, but the latest regulations of the Holy See on the matter, issued in 1989, make no mention of them; the status of being a basilica now confers only two material privileges: the right to include the papal symbol of the crossed keys on a basilica's banners and seal, the right of the rector of the basilica to wear a distinctive mozzetta over his surplice. The other privileges now granted concern the liturgy of the celebration of the concession of the title of basilica, the granting of a plenary indulgence on certain days to those who pray in the basilica; the document imposes on basilicas the obligation to celebrate the liturgy with special care, requires that a church for which a grant of the title is requested should have been liturgically dedicated to God and be outstanding as a center of active and pastoral liturgy, setting an example for others.
It should be sufficiently large and with an ample sanctuary. It should be renowned for history, relics or sacred images, should be served by a sufficient number of priests and other ministers and by an adequate choir. Many basilicas are notable churches, receive significant pilgrimages. In December 2009 the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico set a record with 6.1 million pilgrims in two days for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. As of November 15, 2017, there were 1,757 minor basilicas in the world. Of these 1,757 minor basilicas, three have the title of papal minor basilica and four the title of pontifical minor basilica; the three papal minor basilicas are Saint Lawrence outside the Walls and the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi and the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, both in Assisi. The four pontifical minor basilicas are the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Bari, the Basilica of the Holy House in Loreto, the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, the Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary of Pompei.
All but the Paduan basilica were for some years jointly under the care of a Cardinalatial Commission for the Pontifical Shrines of Pompei and Bari, suppressed in 1996 to establish the Pontifical Delegation for the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii and the Pontifical Delegation for the Shrine of the Holy House of Loreto. All four pontifical minor basilicas now have individual pontifical delegates. For the Bari basilica, a dependency of the Secretariat of State, the pontifical delegate is the local metropolitan archbishop. For the basilicas of Loreto and Pompei, which are within their own territorial prelatures, the pontifical delegate is the local territorial prelate. Only for the Paduan basilica is the pontifical delegate distinct from the local bishop; the remaining 1,750 minor basilicas are all classified as such. In Torre del Greco is the Pontifical Basilica of the Holy Cross, called by that name not only on its own site, which recalls the visits to it of Pope Pius IX in 1849 and Pope John Paul II in 1990, but in the list of the world's minor basilicas, however, calls it a minor basilica.
Another such Italian church, recognized as a minor basilica, but not as a pontifical minor basilica, is the Pontificia Reale Basilica di S. Giacomo degli Spagnoli in Naples; this name, qualifying it as both royal, is confirmed by several other sources. One pontifical basilica in Spain listed not as a pontifical minor basilica, but as a minor basilica, is the Pontifical Basilica of St. Michael, the ownership of, since 1892 vested in the Apostolic Nunciature to the Kingdom of Spain; the description "pontifical basilica" is sometimes given without canonical justification to some churches that, whether pontifical or not, are not in the list of those with a right to the title of basilica. One in the town of Grumo Nevano in the province of Naples is called on the Italian Wikipedia the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Tammaro the Bishop, a designation confirmed by the inscription "Basilica Pontifica" o
Golkonda known as Golconda, Gol konda, or Golla konda, is a citadel and fort in Southern India and was the capital of the medieval sultanate of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, is situated 11 km west of Hyderabad. It is a tehsil of Hyderabad district, India; the region is known for the mines that have produced some of the world's most famous gems, including the Koh-i-Noor, the Hope Diamond, Nassak Diamond and the Noor-ul-Ain. Golkonda was known as Mankal. Golkonda Fort was first built by the Kakatiyas as part of their western defenses along the lines of the Kondapalli Fort; the city and the fortress were built on a granite hill, 120 meters high, surrounded by massive battlements. The fort was strengthened by Rani Rudrama Devi and her successor Prataparudra; the fort came under the control of the Musunuri Nayaks, who defeated the Tughlaqi army occupying Warangal. It was ceded by the Musunuri Kapaya Bhupathi to the Bahmani Sultanate as part of a treaty in 1364. Under the Bahmani Sultanate, Golkonda rose to prominence.
Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk, sent as a governor of Telangana, established it as the seat of his government around 1501. Bahmani rule weakened during this period, Sultan Quli formally became independent in 1538, establishing the Qutb Shahi dynasty based in Golkonda. Over a period of 62 years, the mud fort was expanded by the first three Qutb Shahi sultans into the present structure, a massive fortification of granite extending around 5 km in circumference, it remained the capital of the Qutb Shahi dynasty until 1590 when the capital was shifted to Hyderabad. The Qutb Shahis expanded the fort; the fort fell into ruin in 1687, after an eight-month-long siege led to its fall at the hands of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. The Golkonda Fort used to have a vault where the famous Koh-i-Noor and Hope diamonds were once stored along with other diamonds. Golkonda is renowned for the diamonds found on the south-east at Kollur Mine near Kollur, Guntur district and Atkur in Krishna district and cut in the city during the Kakatiya reign.
At that time, India had the only known diamond mines in the world. Golkonda's mines yielded many diamonds. Golkonda was the market city of the diamond trade, gems sold there came from a number of mines; the fortress-city within the walls was famous for diamond trade. However, Europeans believed. Magnificent diamonds were taken from the mines in the region surrounding Golkonda, including the Daria-i-Noor or "Sea of Light", at 185 carats, the largest and finest diamond of the crown jewels of Iran, its name has come to be associated with great wealth. Gemologists use this classification to denote a diamond with a complete lack of nitrogen. Many famed diamonds are believed to have been excavated from the mines of Golkonda, such as: Daria-i-Noor Noor-ul-Ain Koh-i-Noor Hope Diamond Princie Diamond Regent Diamond Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond By the 1880s, "Golkonda" was being used generically by English speakers to refer to any rich mine, to any source of great wealth. During the Renaissance and the early modern eras, the name "Golkonda" acquired a legendary aura and became synonymous for vast wealth.
The mines brought riches to the Qutb Shahis of Hyderabad State, who ruled Golkonda up to 1687 to the Nizam of Hyderabad, who ruled after the independence from the Mughal Empire in 1724 until 1948, when the Indian integration of Hyderabad occurred. The Golkonda fort is listed as an archaeological treasure on the official "List of Monuments" prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India under The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. Golkonda consists of four distinct forts with a 10 km long outer wall with 87 semicircular bastions, eight gateways, four drawbridges, with a number of royal apartments and halls, mosques, stables, etc. inside. The lowest of these is the outermost enclosure into which we enter by the "Fateh Darwaza" studded with giant iron spikes near the south-eastern corner. An acoustic effect can be experienced at Fateh Darwazaan, characteristic of the engineering marvels at Golkonda. A hand clap at a certain point below the dome at the entrance reverberates and can be heard at the'Bala Hisar' pavilion, the highest point a kilometer away.
This worked. The whole of the Golkonda Fort complex and its surrounding spreads across 11 km of total area and discovering its every nook is an arduous task. A visit to the fort reveals the architectural beauty in many of the pavilions, gates and domes. Divided into four district forts, the architectural valour still gleams in each of the apartments, temples and stables; the graceful gardens of the fort may have lost their fragrance, for which they were known 400 years ago, yet a walk in these former gardens should be in your schedule when exploring the past glories of Golkonda Fort. Bala Hissar Gate is the main entrance to the fort located on the eastern side, it has a pointed arch bordered by rows of scroll work. The spandrels have yalis and decorated roundels; the area above the door has peacocks with ornate tails flanking an ornamental arched niche. The granite block lintel below has sculpted yalis flanking a disc; the design of peacocks and lions is t
Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII, born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli, was head of the Catholic Church from 2 March 1939 to his death. Before his election to the papacy, he served as secretary of the Department of Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, papal nuncio to Germany, Cardinal Secretary of State, in which capacity he worked to conclude treaties with European and Latin American nations, most notably the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany. While the Vatican was neutral during World War II, Pius XII maintained links to the German Resistance, used diplomacy to aid the victims of the war and lobby for peace, spoke out against race-based murders and other atrocities; the Reichskonkordat and his leadership of the Catholic Church during the war remain the subject of controversy—including allegations of public silence and inaction about the fate of the Jews. After the war, he advocated peace and reconciliation, including lenient policies towards former Axis and Axis-satellite nations, he was a staunch opponent of Communism and of the Italian Communist Party.
During his papacy, the Church issued the Decree against Communism, declaring that Catholics who profess Communist doctrine are to be excommunicated as apostates from the Christian faith. In turn, the Church experienced severe persecution and mass deportations of Catholic clergy in the Eastern Bloc, he explicitly invoked ex cathedra papal infallibility with the dogma of the Assumption of Mary in his Apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus. His magisterium includes 1,000 addresses and radio broadcasts, his forty-one encyclicals include the Church as the Body of Christ. He eliminated the Italian majority in the College of Cardinals in 1946. After his 1958 death, he was succeeded by Pope John XXIII. In the process toward sainthood, his cause for canonization was opened on 18 November 1965 by Pope Paul VI during the final session of the Second Vatican Council, he was made a Servant of God by Pope John Paul II in 1990 and Pope Benedict XVI declared Pius XII Venerable on 19 December 2009. Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli was born on 2 March 1876 in Rome into a family of intense Catholic piety with a history of ties to the papacy.
His parents were Virginia Pacelli. His grandfather, Marcantonio Pacelli, had been Under-Secretary in the Papal Ministry of Finances and Secretary of the Interior under Pope Pius IX from 1851 to 1870 and helped found the Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano in 1861, his cousin, Ernesto Pacelli, was a key financial advisor to Pope Leo XIII. Together with his brother Francesco and his two sisters and Elisabetta, he grew up in the Parione district in the centre of Rome. Soon after the family had moved to Via Vetrina in 1880 he began school at the convent of the French Sisters of Divine Providence in the Piazza Fiammetta; the family worshipped at Chiesa Nuova. Eugenio and the other children made their First Communion at this church and Eugenio served there as an altar boy from 1886. In 1886 too he was sent to the private school of Professor Giuseppe Marchi, close to the Piazza Venezia. In 1891 Pacelli's father sent Eugenio to the Liceo Ennio Quirino Visconti Institute, a state school situated in what had been the Collegio Romano, the premier Jesuit university in Rome.
In 1894, aged 18, Pacelli began his theology studies at Rome's oldest seminary, the Almo Collegio Capranica, in November of the same year, registered to take a philosophy course at the Jesuit Pontifical Gregorian University and theology at the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare, he was enrolled at the State University, La Sapienza where he studied modern languages and history. At the end of the first academic year however, in the summer of 1895, he dropped out of both the Capranica and the Gregorian University. According to his sister Elisabetta, the food at the Capranica was to blame. Having received a special dispensation he continued his studies from home and so spent most of his seminary years as an external student. In 1899 he completed his education in Sacred Theology with a doctoral degree awarded on the basis of a short dissertation and an oral examination in Latin. While all other candidates from the Rome diocese were ordained in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Pacelli was ordained a priest on Easter Sunday, 2 April 1899 alone in the private chapel of a family friend the Vicegerent of Rome, Mgr Paolo Cassetta.
Shortly after ordination he began postgraduate studies in canon law at Sant'Apollinaire. He received his first assignment as a curate at Chiesa Nuova. In 1901 he entered the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, a sub-office of the Vatican Secretariat of State. Monsignor Pietro Gasparri, the appointed undersecretary at the Department of Extraordinary Affairs, had underscored his proposal to Pacelli to work in the "Vatican's equivalent of the Foreign office" by highlighting the "necessity of defending the Church from the onslaughts of secularism and liberalism throughout Europe". Pacelli became an apprentice, in Gasparri's department. In January 1901 he was chosen, by Pope Leo XIII himself, according to an official account, to deliver condolences on behalf of the Vatican to King Edward VII of the UK
A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden seal, traditionally appended to the end in order to authenticate it. Papal bulls have been in use at least since the 6th century, but the phrase was not used until around the end of the 13th century, only internally for unofficial administrative purposes. However, it had become official by the 15th century, when one of the offices of the Apostolic Chancery was named the "register of bulls". By the accession of Pope Leo IX in 1048, a clear distinction developed between two classes of bulls of greater and less solemnity; the majority of the "great bulls" now in existence are in the nature of confirmations of property or charters of protection accorded to monasteries and religious institutions. In an epoch when there was much fabrication of such documents, those who procured bulls from Rome wished to ensure that the authenticity of their bull was above suspicion.
A papal confirmation, under certain conditions, could be pleaded as itself constituting sufficient evidence of title in cases where the original deed had been lost or destroyed. Since the 12th century, papal bulls have carried a leaden seal with the heads of the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul on one side and the pope’s name on the other. Papal bulls were issued by the pope for many kinds of communication of a public nature, but by the 13th century, papal bulls were only used for the most formal or solemn of occasions. Papyrus seems to have been used uniformly as the material for these documents until the early years of the eleventh century, after which it was superseded by a rough kind of parchment. Modern scholars have retroactively used the word "bull" to describe any elaborate papal document issued in the form of a decree or privilege, solemn or simple, to some less elaborate ones issued in the form of a letter. Popularly, the name is used for any papal document. Today, the bull is the only written communication in which the pope will refer to himself as "Episcopus Servus Servorum Dei".
For example, when Pope Benedict XVI issued a decree in bull form, he began the document with "Benedictus, Servus Servorum Dei". While papal bulls always used to bear a metal seal, they now do so only on the most solemn occasions. A papal bull is today the most formal type of public decree or letters patent issued by the Vatican Chancery in the name of the pope. A bull's format began with one line in tall, elongated letters containing three elements: the pope's name, the papal title "Episcopus Servus Servorum Dei", its incipit, i. e. the first few Latin words from which the bull took its title for record keeping purposes, but which might not be directly indicative of the bull's purpose. The body of the text had no specific conventions for its formatting; the closing section consisted of a short "datum" that mentioned the place of issuance, day of the month and year of the pope's pontificate on which issued, signatures, near, attached the seal. For the most solemn bulls, the pope signed the document himself, in which case he used the formula "Ego N. Catholicae Ecclesiae Episcopus".
Following the signature in this case would be an elaborate monogram, the signatures of any witnesses, the seal. Nowadays, a member of the Roman Curia signs the document on behalf of the pope the Cardinal Secretary of State, thus the monogram is omitted; the most distinctive characteristic of a bull was the metal seal, made of lead, but on solemn occasions was made of gold, as those on Byzantine imperial instruments were. On the obverse it depicted somewhat crudely, the early Fathers of the Church of Rome, the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, identified by the letters Sanctus PAulus and Sanctus PEtrus. St. Paul, on the left, was shown with flowing hair and a long pointed beard composed of curved lines, while St. Peter, on the right, was shown with curly hair and a shorter beard made of dome-shaped globetti; each head was surrounded by a circle of globetti, the rim of the seal was surrounded by an additional ring of such beads, while the heads themselves were separated by a depiction of a cross.
On the reverse was the name of the issuing pope in the nominative Latin form, with the letters "PP", for Pastor Pastorum. This disc was attached to the document either by cords of hemp, in the case of letters of justice and executory letters, or by red and yellow silk, in the case of letters of grace, looped through slits in the vellum of the document; the term "bulla" derives from the Latin "bullire", alludes to the fact that, whether of wax, lead, or gold, the material making the seal had to be melted to soften it for impression. In 1535, the Florentine engraver Benvenuto Cellini was paid 50 scudi to recreate the metal matrix which would be used to impress the lead bullae of Pope Paul III. Cellini retained definitive iconographic items like the faces of the two Apostles, but he carved them with a much greater attention to detail and artistic sensibility than had been in evidence. On the reverse of the seal he added several fleurs-de-lis, a heraldic device of the Farnese family, from which Pope Paul III descended.
Since the late 18th century, the lead bulla has been replaced with a red ink stamp of Saints Peter and Paul with the reigning pope's name encircling the picture, though formal letters, e. g. the bull of Pope John XX
In religion, a relic consists of the physical remains of a saint or the personal effects of the saint or venerated person preserved for purposes of veneration as a tangible memorial. Relics are an important aspect of some forms of Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and many other religions. Relic derives from the Latin reliquiae, meaning "remains", a form of the Latin verb relinquere, to "leave behind, or abandon". A reliquary is a shrine. In ancient Greece, a city or sanctuary might claim to possess, without displaying, the remains of a venerated hero as a part of a hero cult. Other venerable objects associated with the hero were more to be on display in sanctuaries, such as spears, shields, or other weaponry; the sanctuary of the Leucippides at Sparta claimed to display the egg of Leda. The bones were not regarded as holding a particular power derived from the hero, with some exceptions, such as the divine shoulder of Pelops held at Olympia. Miracles and healing were not attributed to them; the bones of Orestes and Theseus were supposed to have been stolen or removed from their original resting place and reburied.
On the advice of the Delphic Oracle, the Spartans searched for the bones of Orestes and brought them home, without which they had been told they could not expect victory in their war against the neighboring Tegeans. Plutarch says that the Athenians were instructed by the oracle to locate and steal the relics of Theseus from the Dolopians; the body of the legendary Eurystheus was supposed to protect Athens from enemy attack, in Thebes, that of the prophet Amphiaraus, whose cult was oracular and healing. Plutarch narrates transferrals similar to that of Theseus for the bodies of the historical Demetrius I of Macedon and Phocion the Good The bones or ashes of Aesculapius at Epidaurus, of Perdiccas I at Macedon, were treated with the deepest veneration; as with the relics of Theseus, the bones are sometimes described in literary sources as gigantic, an indication of the hero's "larger than life" status. On the basis of their reported size, it has been conjectured that such bones were those of prehistoric creatures, the startling discovery of which may have prompted the sanctifying of the site.
The head of the poet-prophet Orpheus was supposed to have been transported to Lesbos, where it was enshrined and visited as an oracle. The 2nd-century geographer Pausanias reported that the bones of Orpheus were kept in a stone vase displayed on a pillar near Dion, his place of death and a major religious center; these too were regarded as having oracular power, which might be accessed through dreaming in a ritual of incubation. The accidental exposure of the bones brought a disaster upon the town of Libretha, whence the people of Dion had transferred the relics to their own keeping. According to the Chronicon Paschale, the bones of the Persian Zoroaster were venerated, but the tradition of Zoroastrianism and its scriptures offer no support of this. In Hinduism, relics are less common than in other religions since the physical remains of most saints are cremated; the veneration of corporal relics may have originated with the śramaṇa movement or the appearance of Buddhism, burial practices became more common after the Muslim invasions.
However one prominent example is the preserved body of the 11th century religious philosopher and proponent of Qualified Non-Dualism Swami Ramanuja in a separate shrine inside Sri Rangam Temple. In Buddhism, relics of the Buddha and various sages are venerated. After the Buddha's death, his remains were divided into eight portions. Afterward, these relics were enshrined in stupas; some relics believed to be original remains of the body of the Buddha still survive, including the much-revered Sacred Relic of the tooth of the Buddha in Sri Lanka. A stupa is a building created for the relics. Many Buddhist temples have stupas and the placement of relics in a stupa became the initial structure around which the whole temple would be based. Today, many stupas hold the ashes or ringsel of prominent/respected Buddhists who were cremated. In rare cases the whole body is conserved, for example in the case of Dudjom Rinpoche, after his death his physical body was moved a year from France and placed in a stupa in one of his main monasteries near Boudhanath, Nepal in 1988.
Pilgrims may view his body through a glass window in the stupa. The Buddha's relics are considered to show people that enlightenment is possible, to remind them that the Buddha was a real person, to promote good virtue. One of the earliest sources that purports to show the efficacy of relics is found in 2 Kings 13:20–21: 20 Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. 21 Once while some Israelites were burying a man they saw a band of raiders. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man stood up on his feet. Cited is the veneration of Polycarp's relics recorded in the Martyrdom of Polycarp. With regard to relics that are objects, an cited passage is Acts 19:11–12, which says that Paul's handkerchiefs were imbued by God with healing power. In the gospel accounts of Jesus healing the bleeding woman and again at Gospel of Mark 6:56, those who touched Jesus's garment were healed; the practice of venerating relics seems to have been taken for granted by writers like Augustine, St. Ambrose, Gregory of Nyssa, St. Chrysostom, St. Gregory Nazian
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