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Christianity is an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the world's largest religion, with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as Christians, make up a majority of the population in 157 countries and territories, and believe that Jesus is the Christ, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible (called the Old Testament in Christianity) and chronicled in the New Testament.

Christianity remains culturally diverse in its Western and Eastern branches, as well as in its doctrines concerning justification and the nature of salvation, ecclesiology, ordination, and Christology. The creeds of various Christian denominations generally hold in common Jesus as the Son of God—the Logos incarnated—who ministered, suffered, and died on a cross, but rose from the dead for the salvation of mankind; and referred to as the gospel, meaning the "good news". Describing Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, with the Old Testament as the gospel's respected background.

The four largest branches of Christianity are the Catholic Church (1.3 billion/50.1%), Protestantism (920 million/36.7%), the Eastern Orthodox Church (230 million), and the Oriental Orthodox churches (62 million) (Orthodox churches combined at 11.9%), though thousands of smaller church communities exist despite efforts toward unity (ecumenism). Despite a decline in adherence in the West, Christianity remains the dominant religion in the region, with about 70% of the population identifying as Christian. Christianity is growing in Africa and Asia, the world's most populous continents. Christians remain persecuted in some regions of the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, East Asia, and South Asia. (Full article...)

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Portrait by an unknown artist, German School

Martin Bucer (early German: Martin Butzer; 11 November 1491 – 28 February 1551) was a German Protestant reformer based in Strasbourg who influenced Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican doctrines and practices. Bucer was originally a member of the Dominican Order, but after meeting and being influenced by Martin Luther in 1518 he arranged for his monastic vows to be annulled. He then began to work for the Reformation, with the support of Franz von Sickingen.

Bucer's efforts to reform the church in Wissembourg resulted in his excommunication from the Catholic Church, and he was forced to flee to Strasbourg. There he joined a team of reformers which included Matthew Zell, Wolfgang Capito, and Caspar Hedio. He acted as a mediator between the two leading reformers, Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli, who differed on the doctrine of the Eucharist. Later, Bucer sought agreement on common articles of faith such as the Tetrapolitan Confession and the Wittenberg Concord, working closely with Philipp Melanchthon on the latter. (Full article...)
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A circa 1619 painting by Domenico Fetti entitled The Parable of the Mote and the Beam
“Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged.
For with whatever judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but don’t consider the beam that is in your own eye?
Or how will you tell your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye;’ and behold, the beam is in your own eye?
You hypocrite! First remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye."

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View of the cathedral from the south-east, 2010

Etchmiadzin Cathedral (Armenian: Էջմիածնի մայր տաճար, Ēǰmiatsni mayr tačar) is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia. According to most scholars it was the first cathedral built in ancient Armenia, and is often considered the oldest cathedral in the world.

The original church was built in the early fourth century—between 301 and 303 according to tradition—by Armenia's patron saint Gregory the Illuminator, following the adoption of Christianity as a state religion by King Tiridates III. It was built over a pagan temple, symbolizing the conversion from paganism to Christianity. The core of the current building was built in 483/4 by Vahan Mamikonian after the cathedral was severely damaged in a Persian invasion. From its foundation until the second half of the fifth century, Etchmiadzin was the seat of the Catholicos, the supreme head of the Armenian Church. (Full article...)
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Finding in the Temple
Credit: User:Dmitry Rozhkov

The Finding in the Temple, also called "Christ among the Doctors" or the Disputation (the usual names in art), was an episode in the early life of Jesus depicted in the Gospel of Luke. It is the only event of the later childhood of Jesus mentioned in a gospel.

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