Christendom

Christendom[1][2] has several meanings. In one contemporary sense, as used in a secular or Protestant context, it may refer to the "Christian world": Christian-majority countries and the countries in which Christianity dominates[3] or prevails,[1] or, in the historic, Catholic sense of the word, the nations in which Catholic Christianity is the established religion, having a Catholic Christian polity.[4]

Since the spread of Christianity from the Levant to Europe and North Africa during the early Roman Empire, Christendom has been divided in the pre-existing Greek East and Latin West. Consequently, different versions of the Christian religion arose with their own beliefs and practices, centred around the cities of Rome (Western Christianity, whose community was called Western or Latin Christendom[5]) and Constantinople (Eastern Christianity, whose community was called Eastern Christendom[6]). From the 11th to 13th centuries, Latin Christendom rose to the central role of the Western world.[7]

In its historical sense, the term usually refers to the Middle Ages and to the Early Modern period during which the Christian world represented a geopolitical power that was juxtaposed with both the pagan and especially the Muslim world. In the traditional Roman Catholic sense of the word, it refers to the sum total of nations in which the Catholic Church is the established religion of the state or to those with ecclesiastical concordats with the Holy See.

Christianity percent population in each nation World Map Christian data by Pew Research
Christianity - Percentage of population by country (2014 data)

Terminology

Etymology

The Anglo-Saxon term cristendom appears to have been invented in the 9th century by a scribe somewhere in southern England, possibly at the court of king Alfred the Great of Wessex. The scribe was translating Paulus Orosius' book History Against the Pagans (c. 416) and in need for a term to express the concept of the universal culture focused on Jesus Christ.[8] It had the sense now taken by Christianity (as is still the case with the cognate Dutch christendom, where it denotes mostly the religion itself, just like the German Christentum).

The current sense of the word of "lands where Christianity is the dominant religion"[3] emerged in Late Middle English (by c. 1400). This semantic development happened independently in the languages of late medieval Europe, which leads to the confusing semantics of English Christendom equalling German Christenheit, Dutch christenheid, French chrétienté vs. English Christianity equalling German Christentum, Dutch christendom, French christianisme. The reason is the increasing fragmentation of Western Christianity at that time both theologically and politically. "Christendom" as a geopolitical term is thus meaningful in the context of the Middle Ages, and arguably during the European wars of religion and the Ottoman wars in Europe.

Definitions

Canadian theology professor Douglas John Hall stated (1997) that "Christendom" [...] means literally the dominion or sovereignty of the Christian religion."[3] Thomas John Curry, Roman Catholic auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, defined (2001) Christendom as "the system dating from the fourth century by which governments upheld and promoted Christianity."[9] Curry states that the end of Christendom came about because modern governments refused to "uphold the teachings, customs, ethos, and practice of Christianity."[9] British church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch described (2010) Christendom as "the union between Christianity and secular power."[10]

Related terms

The Christian world is also collectively known as the Corpus Christianum, translated as the Christian body, meaning the community of all Christians. The Christian polity, embodying a less secular meaning, can be compatible with the idea of both a religious and a temporal body: Corpus Christianum. The Corpus Christianum can be seen as a Christian equivalent of the Muslim Ummah.


The word "Christendom" is also used with its other meaning to frame-true Christianity. A more secular meaning can denote the fact that the term Christendom refers to Christians as a group, the "political Christian world", as an informal cultural hegemony that Christianity has traditionally enjoyed in the West. In its most broad term, it refers to the world's Christian-majority countries, which, share little in common aside from the predominance of the faith. Unlike the Muslim world, which has a geo-political and cultural definition that provides a primary identifier for a large swath of the world, Christendom is more complex.

There is a common and nonliteral sense of the word that is much like the terms Western world, known world or Free World. When Thomas F. Connolly said, "There isn't enough power in all Christendom to make that airplane what we want!", he was simply using a figure of speech, although it is true that during the Cold War, just as the totalitarianism of the Communist Bloc presented a contrast to the liberty of the Free World, the state atheism of the Communist Bloc contrasted with the religious freedom and the powerful religious institutions in North America and Western Europe. The notion of "Europe" and the "Western World" has been intimately connected with the concept of "Christianity and Christendom"; many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity.[11]

History

Rise of Christendom

T and O map Guntherus Ziner 1472
This T-and-O map, which abstracts the then known world to a cross inscribed within an orb, remakes geography in the service of Christian iconography. More detailed versions place Jerusalem at the center of the world.

In the beginning of Christendom, early Christianity was a religion spread in the Greek/Roman world and beyond as a 1st-century Jewish sect,[12] which historians refer to as Jewish Christianity. It may be divided into two distinct phases: the apostolic period, when the first apostles were alive and organizing the Church, and the post-apostolic period, when an early episcopal structure developed, whereby bishoprics were governed by bishops (overseers).

The post-apostolic period concerns the time roughly after the death of the apostles when bishops emerged as overseers of urban Christian populations. The earliest recorded use of the terms Christianity (Greek Χριστιανισμός) and catholic (Greek καθολικός), dates to this period, the 2nd century, attributed to Ignatius of Antioch c. 107.[13] Early Christendom would close at the end of imperial persecution of Christians after the ascension of Constantine the Great and the Edict of Milan in AD 313 and the First Council of Nicaea in 325.

According to Malcolm Muggeridge (1980), Christ founded Christianity, but Constantine founded Christendom.[14] Canadian theology professor Douglas John Hall dates the 'inauguration of Christendom' to the 4th century, with Constantine playing the primary role (so much so that he equates Christendom with "Constantinianism") and Theodosius I (Edict of Thessalonica, 380) and Justinian I[a] secondary roles.[16]

Late Antiquity and Early Middle Ages

Spread of Christianity to AD 600 (1)
Spread of Christianity by AD 600 (shown in dark blue is the spread of Early Christianity up to AD 325)

"Christendom" has referred to the medieval and renaissance notion of the Christian world as a sociopolitical polity. In essence, the earliest vision of Christendom was a vision of a Christian theocracy, a government founded upon and upholding Christian values, whose institutions are spread through and over with Christian doctrine. In this period, members of the Christian clergy wield political authority. The specific relationship between the political leaders and the clergy varied but, in theory, the national and political divisions were at times subsumed under the leadership of the church as an institution. This model of church-state relations was accepted by various Church leaders and political leaders in European history.[17]

The Church gradually became a defining institution of the Empire.[18] Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313 proclaiming toleration for the Christian religion, and convoked the First Council of Nicaea in 325 whose Nicene Creed included belief in "one holy catholic and apostolic Church". Emperor Theodosius I made Nicene Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire with the Edict of Thessalonica of 380.[19]

As the Western Roman Empire disintegrated into feudal kingdoms and principalities, the concept of Christendom changed as the western church became one of five patriarchates of the Pentarchy and the Christians of the Eastern Roman Empire developed. The Byzantine Empire was the last bastion of Christendom.[20] Christendom would take a turn with the rise of the Franks, a Germanic tribe who converted to the Christian faith and entered into communion with Rome.

On Christmas Day 800 AD, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne resulting in the creation of another Christian king beside the Christian emperor in the Byzantine state.[21] The Carolingian Empire created a definition of Christendom in juxtaposition with the Byzantine Empire, that of a distributed versus centralized culture respectively.[22]

The classical heritage flourished throughout the Middle Ages in both the Byzantine Greek East and the Latin West. In the Greek philosopher Plato's ideal state there are three major classes, which was representative of the idea of the “tripartite soul”, which is expressive of three functions or capacities of the human soul: “reason”, “the spirited element”, and “appetites” (or “passions”). Will Durant made a convincing case that certain prominent features of Plato's ideal community where discernible in the organization, dogma and effectiveness of "the" Medieval Church in Europe:[23]

... For a thousand years Europe was ruled by an order of guardians considerably like that which was visioned by our philosopher. During the Middle Ages it was customary to classify the population of Christendom into laboratores (workers), bellatores (soldiers), and oratores (clergy). The last group, though small in number, monopolized the instruments and opportunities of culture, and ruled with almost unlimited sway half of the most powerful continent on the globe. The clergy, like Plato's guardians, were placed in authority... by their talent as shown in ecclesiastical studies and administration, by their disposition to a life of meditation and simplicity, and ... by the influence of their relatives with the powers of state and church. In the latter half of the period in which they ruled [800 AD onwards], the clergy were as free from family cares as even Plato could desire [for such guardians]... [Clerical] Celibacy was part of the psychological structure of the power of the clergy; for on the one hand they were unimpeded by the narrowing egoism of the family, and on the other their apparent superiority to the call of the flesh added to the awe in which lay sinners held them....[23] In the latter half of the period in which they ruled, the clergy were as free from family cares as even Plato could desire.[23]

Later Middle Ages and Renaissance

After the collapse of Charlemagne's empire, the southern remnants of the Holy Roman Empire became a collection of states loosely connected to the Holy See of Rome. Tensions between Pope Innocent III and secular rulers ran high, as the pontiff exerted control over their temporal counterparts in the west and vice versa. The pontificate of Innocent III is considered the height of temporal power of the papacy. The Corpus Christianum described the then-current notion of the community of all Christians united under the Roman Catholic Church. The community was to be guided by Christian values in its politics, economics and social life.[24] Its legal basis was the corpus iuris canonica (body of canon law).[25][26][27][28]

In the East, Christendom became more defined as the Byzantine Empire's gradual loss of territory to an expanding Islam and the muslim conquest of Persia. This caused Christianity to become important to the Byzantine identity. Before the East–West Schism which divided the Church religiously, there had been the notion of a universal Christendom that included the East and the West. After the East–West Schism, hopes of regaining religious unity with the West were ended by the Fourth Crusade, when Crusaders conquered the Byzantine capital of Constantinople and hastened the decline of the Byzantine Empire on the path to its destruction.[29][30][31] With the breakup of the Byzantine Empire into individual nations with nationalist Orthodox Churches, the term Christendom described Western Europe, Catholicism, Orthodox Byzantines, and other Eastern rites of the Church.[32][33]

The Catholic Church's peak of authority over all European Christians and their common endeavours of the Christian community — for example, the Crusades, the fight against the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula and against the Ottomans in the Balkans — helped to develop a sense of communal identity against the obstacle of Europe's deep political divisions. The popes, formally just the bishops of Rome, claimed to be the focus of all Christendom, which was largely recognised in Western Christendom from the 11th century until the Reformation, but not in Eastern Christendom.[34] Moreover, this authority was also sometimes abused, and fostered the Inquisition and anti-Jewish pogroms, to root out divergent elements and create a religiously uniform community. Ultimately, the Inquisition was done away with by order of Pope Innocent III.[35]

Christendom ultimately was led into specific crisis in the late Middle Ages, when the kings of France managed to establish a French national church during the 14th century and the papacy became ever more aligned with the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. Known as the Western Schism, western Christendom was a split between three men, who were driven by politics rather than any real theological disagreement for simultaneously claiming to be the true pope. The Avignon Papacy developed a reputation of corruption that estranged major parts of Western Christendom. The Avignon schism was ended by the Council of Constance.[36]

Before the modern period, Christendom was in a general crisis at the time of the Renaissance Popes because of the moral laxity of these pontiffs and their willingness to seek and rely on temporal power as secular rulers did. Many in the Catholic Church's hierarchy in the Renaissance became increasingly entangled with insatiable greed for material wealth and temporal power, which led to many reform movements, some merely wanting a moral reformation of the Church's clergy, while others repudiated the Church and separated from it in order to form new sects. The Italian Renaissance produced ideas or institutions by which men living in society could be held together in harmony. In the early 16th century, Baldassare Castiglione (The Book of the Courtier) laid out his vision of the ideal gentleman and lady, while Machiavelli cast a jaundiced eye on "la verità effetuale delle cose" — the actual truth of things — in The Prince, composed, humanist style, chiefly of parallel ancient and modern examples of Virtù. Some Protestant movements grew up along lines of mysticism or renaissance humanism (cf. Erasmus). The Catholic Church fell partly into general neglect under the Renaissance Popes, whose inability to govern the Church by showing personal example of high moral standards set the climate for what would ultimately become the Protestant Reformation.[37] During the Renaissance the papacy was mainly run by the wealthy families and also had strong secular interests. To safeguard Rome and the connected Papal States the popes became necessarily involved in temporal matters, even leading armies, as the great patron of arts Pope Julius II did. It during these intermediate times popes strove to make Rome the capital of Christendom while projecting it, through art, architecture, and literature, as the center of a Golden Age of unity, order, and peace.[38]

Professor Frederick J. McGinness described Rome as essential in understanding the legacy the Church and its representatives encapsulated best by The Eternal City:

No other city in Europe matches Rome in its traditions, history, legacies, and influence in the Western world. Rome in the Renaissance under the papacy not only acted as guardian and transmitter of these elements stemming from the Roman Empire but also assumed the role as artificer and interpreter of its myths and meanings for the peoples of Europe from the Middle Ages to modern times... Under the patronage of the popes, whose wealth and income were exceeded only by their ambitions, the city became a cultural center for master architects, sculptors, musicians, painters, and artisans of every kind...In its myth and message, Rome had become the sacred city of the popes, the prime symbol of a triumphant Catholicism, the center of orthodox Christianity, a new Jerusalem.[39]

It is clearly noticeable that the popes of the Italian Renaissance have been subjected by many writers with an overly harsh tone. Pope Julius II for example was not only an effective secular leader in military affairs, a deviously effective politician but foremost one of the greatest patron of the Renaissance period and person who also encouraged open criticism from noted humanists.[40]

The blossoming of renaissance humanism was made very much possible due to the universality of the institutions of Catholic Church and represented by personalities such as Pope Pius II, Nicolaus Copernicus, Leon Battista Alberti, Desiderius Erasmus, sir Thomas More, Bartolomé de Las Casas, Leonardo da Vinci and Teresa of Ávila. George Santayana in his work The Life of Reason postulated the tenets of the all encompassing order the Church had brought and as the repository of the legacy of classical antiquity:[41]

The enterprise of individuals or of small aristocratic bodies has meantime sown the world which we call civilised with some seeds and nuclei of order. There are scattered about a variety of churches, industries, academies, and governments. But the universal order once dreamt of and nominally almost established, the empire of universal peace, all-permeating rational art, and philosophical worship, is mentioned no more. An unformulated conception, the prerational ethics of private privilege and national unity, fills the background of men's minds. It represents feudal traditions rather than the tendency really involved in contemporary industry, science, or philanthropy. Those dark ages, from which our political practice is derived, had a political theory which we should do well to study; for their theory about a universal empire and a catholic church was in turn the echo of a former age of reason, when a few men conscious of ruling the world had for a moment sought to survey it as a whole and to rule it justly.[41]

Reformation and Early Modern era

Developments in western philosophy and European events brought change to the notion of the Corpus Christianum. The Hundred Years' War accelerated the process of transforming France from a feudal monarchy to a centralized state. The rise of strong, centralized monarchies[42] denoted the European transition from feudalism to capitalism. By the end of the Hundred Years' War, both France and England were able to raise enough money through taxation to create independent standing armies. In the Wars of the Roses, Henry Tudor took the crown of England. His heir, the absolute king Henry VIII establishing the English church.[43]

In modern history, the Reformation and rise of modernity in the early 16th century entailed a change in the Corpus Christianum. In the Holy Roman Empire, the Peace of Augsburg of 1555 officially ended the idea among secular leaders that all Christians must be united under one church. The principle of cuius regio, eius religio ("whose the region is, his religion") established the religious, political and geographic divisions of Christianity, and this was established with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, which legally ended the concept of a single Christian hegemony in the territories of the Holy Roman Empire, despite the Catholic Church's doctrine that it alone is the one true Church founded by Christ. Subsequently, each government determined the religion of their own state. Christians living in states where their denomination was not the established one were guaranteed the right to practice their faith in public during allotted hours and in private at their will. At times there were mass expulsions of dissenting faiths as happened with the Salzburg Protestants. Some people passed as adhering to the official church, but instead lived as Nicodemites or crypto-protestants.

The European wars of religion are usually taken to have ended with the Treaty of Westphalia (1648),[44] or arguably, including the Nine Years' War and the War of the Spanish Succession in this period, with the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. In the 18th century, the focus shifts away from religious conflicts, either between Christian factions or against the external threat of Islamic factions.

End of Christendom

The European Miracle, the Age of Enlightenment and the formation of the great colonial empires together with the beginning decline of the Ottoman Empire mark the end of the geopolitical "history of Christendom". Instead, the focus of Western history shifts to the development of the nation-state, accompanied by increasing atheism and secularism, culminating with the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars at the turn of the 19th century.

Writing in 1997, Canadian theology professor Douglas John Hall argued that Christendom had either fallen already or was in its death throes; although its end was gradual and not as clear to pin down as its 4th-century establishment, the "transition to the post-Constantinian, or post-Christendom, situation (...) has already been in process for a century or two," beginning with the 18th-century rationalist Enlightenment and the French Revolution (the first attempt to topple the Christian establishment).[16] American Catholic bishop Thomas John Curry stated (2001) that the end of Christendom came about because modern governments refused to "uphold the teachings, customs, ethos, and practice of Christianity."[9] He argued the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (1791) and the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom (1965) are two of the most important documents setting the stage for its end.[9] According to British historian Diarmaid MacCulloch (2010), Christendom was 'killed' by the First World War (1914–18), which led to the fall of the three main Christian empires (Russian, German and Austrian) of Europe, as well as the Ottoman Empire, rupturing the Eastern Christian communities that had existed on its territory. The Christian empires were replaced by secular, even anti-clerical republics seeking to definitively keep the churches out of politics. The only surviving monarchy with an established church, Britain, was severely damaged by the war, lost most of Ireland due to Catholic–Protestant infighting, and was starting to lose grip on its colonies.[10]

Classical culture

Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, and many of the population of the Western hemisphere could broadly be described as cultural Christians. The notion of "Europe" and the "Western World" has been intimately connected with the concept of "Christianity and Christendom"; many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity.[11] Historian Paul Legutko of Stanford University said the Catholic Church is "at the center of the development of the values, ideas, science, laws, and institutions which constitute what we call Western civilization."[45]

Though Western culture contained several polytheistic religions during its early years under the Greek and Roman Empires, as the centralized Roman power waned, the dominance of the Catholic Church was the only consistent force in Western Europe.[46] Until the Age of Enlightenment,[47] Christian culture guided the course of philosophy, literature, art, music and science.[46][48] Christian disciplines of the respective arts have subsequently developed into Christian philosophy, Christian art, Christian music, Christian literature etc. Art and literature, law, education, and politics were preserved in the teachings of the Church, in an environment that, otherwise, would have probably seen their loss. The Church founded many cathedrals, universities, monasteries and seminaries, some of which continue to exist today. Medieval Christianity created the first modern universities.[49][50] The Catholic Church established a hospital system in Medieval Europe that vastly improved upon the Roman valetudinaria.[51] These hospitals were established to cater to "particular social groups marginalized by poverty, sickness, and age," according to historian of hospitals, Guenter Risse.[52] Christianity also had a strong impact on all other aspects of life: marriage and family, education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy, and the arts.[53]

Christianity had a significant impact on education and science and medicine as the church created the bases of the Western system of education,[54] and was the sponsor of founding universities in the Western world as the university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting.[55][56] Many clerics throughout history have made significant contributions to science and Jesuits in particular have made numerous significant contributions to the development of science.[57][58][59] The cultural influence of Christianity includes social welfare,[60] founding hospitals,[61] economics (as the Protestant work ethic),[62][63] natural law (which would later influence the creation of international law),[64] politics,[65] architecture,[66] literature,[67] personal hygiene,[68][69] and family life.[70] Christianity played a role in ending practices common among pagan soceities, such as human sacrifice, slavery,[71] infanticide and polygamy.[72]

Art and literature

Writings and poetry

Christian literature is writing that deals with Christian themes and incorporates the Christian world view. This constitutes a huge body of extremely varied writing. Christian poetry is any poetry that contains Christian teachings, themes, or references. The influence of Christianity on poetry has been great in any area that Christianity has taken hold. Christian poems often directly reference the Bible, while others provide allegory.

Supplemental arts

Christian art is art produced in an attempt to illustrate, supplement and portray in tangible form the principles of Christianity. Virtually all Christian groupings use or have used art to some extent. The prominence of art and the media, style, and representations change; however, the unifying theme is ultimately the representation of the life and times of Jesus and in some cases the Old Testament. Depictions of saints are also common, especially in Anglicanism, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy.

Illumination

Codex Bruchsal 1 01v cropped
Picture of Christ in Majesty contained in an illuminated manuscript.

An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration. The earliest surviving substantive illuminated manuscripts are from the period AD 400 to 600, primarily produced in Ireland, Constantinople and Italy. The majority of surviving manuscripts are from the Middle Ages, although many illuminated manuscripts survive from the 15th century Renaissance, along with a very limited number from Late Antiquity.

Most illuminated manuscripts were created as codices, which had superseded scrolls; some isolated single sheets survive. A very few illuminated manuscript fragments survive on papyrus. Most medieval manuscripts, illuminated or not, were written on parchment (most commonly of calf, sheep, or goat skin), but most manuscripts important enough to illuminate were written on the best quality of parchment, called vellum, traditionally made of unsplit calfskin, though high quality parchment from other skins was also called parchment.

Iconography

St. Theodor
There are few old ceramic icons, such as this St. Theodor icon which dates to ca. 900 (from Preslav, Bulgaria).

Christian art began, about two centuries after Christ, by borrowing motifs from Roman Imperial imagery, classical Greek and Roman religion and popular art. Religious images are used to some extent by the Abrahamic Christian faith, and often contain highly complex iconography, which reflects centuries of accumulated tradition. In the Late Antique period iconography began to be standardised, and to relate more closely to Biblical texts, although many gaps in the canonical Gospel narratives were plugged with matter from the apocryphal gospels. Eventually the Church would succeed in weeding most of these out, but some remain, like the ox and ass in the Nativity of Christ.

An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity. Christianity has used symbolism from its very beginnings.[73] In both East and West, numerous iconic types of Christ, Mary and saints and other subjects were developed; the number of named types of icons of Mary, with or without the infant Christ, was especially large in the East, whereas Christ Pantocrator was much the commonest image of Christ.

Christian symbolism invests objects or actions with an inner meaning expressing Christian ideas. Christianity has borrowed from the common stock of significant symbols known to most periods and to all regions of the world. Religious symbolism is effective when it appeals to both the intellect and the emotions. Especially important depictions of Mary include the Hodegetria and Panagia types. Traditional models evolved for narrative paintings, including large cycles covering the events of the Life of Christ, the Life of the Virgin, parts of the Old Testament, and, increasingly, the lives of popular saints. Especially in the West, a system of attributes developed for identifying individual figures of saints by a standard appearance and symbolic objects held by them; in the East they were more likely to identified by text labels.

Each saint has a story and a reason why he or she led an exemplary life. Symbols have been used to tell these stories throughout the history of the Church. A number of Christian saints are traditionally represented by a symbol or iconic motif associated with their life, termed an attribute or emblem, in order to identify them. The study of these forms part of iconography in Art history. They were particularly

Architecture

Gotic3d2
The structure of a typical Gothic cathedral.

Christian architecture encompasses a wide range of both secular and religious styles from the foundation of Christianity to the present day, influencing the design and construction of buildings and structures in Christian culture.

Buildings were at first adapted from those originally intended for other purposes but, with the rise of distinctively ecclesiastical architecture, church buildings came to influence secular ones which have often imitated religious architecture. In the 20th century, the use of new materials, such as concrete, as well as simpler styles has had its effect upon the design of churches and arguably the flow of influence has been reversed. From the birth of Christianity to the present, the most significant period of transformation for Christian architecture in the west was the Gothic cathedral. In the east, Byzantine architecture was a continuation of Roman architecture.

Philosophy

Christian philosophy is a term to describe the fusion of various fields of philosophy with the theological doctrines of Christianity. Scholasticism, which means "that [which] belongs to the school", and was a method of learning taught by the academics (or school people) of medieval universities c. 1100–1500. Scholasticism originally started to reconcile the philosophy of the ancient classical philosophers with medieval Christian theology. Scholasticism is not a philosophy or theology in itself but a tool and method for learning which places emphasis on dialectical reasoning.

Christian civilization

God the Geometer
Science, and particularly geometry and astronomy, was linked directly to the divine for most medieval scholars. Since these Christians believed God imbued the universe with regular geometric and harmonic principles, to seek these principles was therefore to seek and worship God.

Medieval conditions

The Byzantine Empire, which was the most sophisticated culture during antiquity, suffered under Muslim conquests limiting its scientific prowess during the Medieval period. Christian Western Europe had suffered a catastrophic loss of knowledge following the fall of the Western Roman Empire. But thanks to the Church scholars such as Aquinas and Buridan, the West carried on at least the spirit of scientific inquiry which would later lead to Europe's taking the lead in science during the Scientific Revolution using translations of medieval works.

Medieval technology refers to the technology used in medieval Europe under Christian rule. After the Renaissance of the 12th century, medieval Europe saw a radical change in the rate of new inventions, innovations in the ways of managing traditional means of production, and economic growth.[74] The period saw major technological advances, including the adoption of gunpowder and the astrolabe, the invention of spectacles, and greatly improved water mills, building techniques, agriculture in general, clocks, and ships. The latter advances made possible the dawn of the Age of Exploration. The development of water mills was impressive, and extended from agriculture to sawmills both for timber and stone, probably derived from Roman technology. By the time of the Domesday Book, most large villages in Britain had mills. They also were widely used in mining, as described by Georg Agricola in De Re Metallica for raising ore from shafts, crushing ore, and even powering bellows.

Significant in this respect were advances within the fields of navigation. The compass and astrolabe along with advances in shipbuilding, enabled the navigation of the World Oceans and thus domination of the worlds economic trade. Gutenberg’s printing press made possible a dissemination of knowledge to a wider population, that would not only lead to a gradually more egalitarian society, but one more able to dominate other cultures, drawing from a vast reserve of knowledge and experience.

Renaissance innovations

During the Renaissance, great advances occurred in geography, astronomy, chemistry, physics, math, manufacturing, and engineering. The rediscovery of ancient scientific texts was accelerated after the Fall of Constantinople, and the invention of printing which would democratize learning and allow a faster propagation of new ideas. Renaissance technology is the set of artifacts and customs, spanning roughly the 14th through the 16th century. The era is marked by such profound technical advancements like the printing press, linear perspectivity, patent law, double shell domes or Bastion fortresses. Draw-books of the Renaissance artist-engineers such as Taccola and Leonardo da Vinci give a deep insight into the mechanical technology then known and applied.

Renaissance science spawned the Scientific Revolution; science and technology began a cycle of mutual advancement. The Scientific Renaissance was the early phase of the Scientific Revolution. In the two-phase model of early modern science: a Scientific Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries, focused on the restoration of the natural knowledge of the ancients; and a Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, when scientists shifted from recovery to innovation.

Demographics

Geographic spread

Christ Islam
Relative geographic prevalence of Christianity versus Islam versus lack of either religion (2006).

In 2009, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, Christianity was the majority religion in Europe (including Russia) with 80%, Latin America with 92%, North America with 81%, and Oceania with 79%.[75] There are also large Christian communities in other parts of the world, such as China, India and Central Asia, where Christianity is the second-largest religion after Islam. The United States is home to the world's largest Christian population, followed by Brazil and Mexico.[76]

Many Christians not only live under, but also have an official status in, a state religion of the following nations: Armenia (Armenian Apostolic Church),[77] Costa Rica (Roman Catholic Church),[78] Denmark (Church of Denmark),[79] El Salvador (Roman Catholic Church),[80] England (Church of England),[81] Georgia (Georgian Orthodox church), Greece (Church of Greece), Iceland (Church of Iceland),[82] Liechtenstein (Roman Catholic Church),[83] Malta (Roman Catholic Church),[84] Monaco (Roman Catholic Church),[85] Romania (Romanian Orthodox Church), Norway (Church of Norway),[86] Vatican City (Roman Catholic Church),[87] Switzerland (Roman Catholic Church, Swiss Reformed Church and Christian Catholic Church of Switzerland).

Number of adherents

The estimated number of Christians in the world ranges from 2.2 billion[88][89][90][91] to 2.4 billion people.[b] The faith represents approximately one-third of the world's population and is the largest religion in the world,[92] with the three largest groups of Christians being the Catholic Church, Protestantism, and the Eastern Orthodox Church.[93] The largest Christian denomination is the Catholic Church, with an estimated 1.2 billion adherents.[94]

Demographics of major traditions within Christianity (Pew Research Center, 2010 data)[95]
Tradition Followers % of the Christian population % of the world population Follower dynamics Dynamics in- and outside Christianity
Catholic Church 1,094,610,000 50.1 15.9 Increase Growing Decrease Declining
Protestantism 800,640,000 36.7 11.6 Increase Growing Increase Growing
Orthodoxy 260,380,000 11.9 3.8 Decrease Declining Decrease Declining
Other Christianity 28,430,000 1.3 0.4 Increase Growing Increase Growing
Christianity 2,184,060,000 100 31.7 Increase Growing Steady Stable

Notable Christian organizations

A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. In contrast, the term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to a group of individuals who are set apart for a special role or ministry. Historically, the word "order" designated an established civil body or corporation with a hierarchy, and ordinatio meant legal incorporation into an ordo. The word "holy" refers to the Church. In context, therefore, a holy order is set apart for ministry in the Church. Religious orders are composed of initiates (laity) and, in some traditions, ordained clergies.

Various organizations include:

Christianity law and ethics

Church and state framing

Within the framework of Christianity, there are at least three possible definitions for Church law. One is the Torah/Mosaic Law (from what Christians consider to be the Old Testament) also called Divine Law or Biblical law. Another is the instructions of Jesus of Nazareth in the Gospel (sometimes referred to as the Law of Christ or the New Commandment or the New Covenant). A third is canon law which is the internal ecclesiastical law governing the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and the Anglican Communion of churches.[96] The way that such church law is legislated, interpreted and at times adjudicated varies widely among these three bodies of churches. In all three traditions, a canon was initially a rule adopted by a council (From Greek kanon / κανών, Hebrew kaneh / קנה, for rule, standard, or measure); these canons formed the foundation of canon law.

Christian ethics in general has tended to stress the need for grace, mercy, and forgiveness because of human weakness and developed while Early Christians were subjects of the Roman Empire. From the time Nero blamed Christians for setting Rome ablaze (64 AD) until Galarius (311 AD), persecutions against Christians erupted periodically. Consequently, Early Christian ethics included discussions of how believers should relate to Roman authority and to the empire.

Under the Emperor Constantine I (312-337), Christianity became a legal religion. While some scholars debate whether Constantine's conversion to Christianity was authentic or simply matter of political expediency, Constantine's decree made the empire safe for Christian practice and belief. Consequently, issues of Christian doctrine, ethics and church practice were debated openly, see for example the First Council of Nicaea and the First seven Ecumenical Councils. By the time of Theodosius I (379-395), Christianity had become the state religion of the empire. With Christianity in power, ethical concerns broaden and included discussions of the proper role of the state.

Render unto Caesar… is the beginning of a phrase attributed to Jesus in the synoptic gospels which reads in full, "Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s". This phrase has become a widely quoted summary of the relationship between Christianity and secular authority. The gospels say that when Jesus gave his response, his interrogators "marvelled, and left him, and went their way." Time has not resolved an ambiguity in this phrase, and people continue to interpret this passage to support various positions that are poles apart. The traditional division, carefully determined, in Christian thought is the state and church have separate spheres of influence.

Thomas Aquinas thoroughly discussed that human law is positive law which means that it is natural law applied by governments to societies. All human laws were to be judged by their conformity to the natural law. An unjust law was in a sense no law at all. At this point, the natural law was not only used to pass judgment on the moral worth of various laws, but also to determine what the law said in the first place. This could result in some tension.[97] Late ecclesiastical writers followed in his footsteps.

Democratic ideology

Christian democracy is a political ideology that seeks to apply Christian principles to public policy. It emerged in 19th-century Europe, largely under the influence of Catholic social teaching. In a number of countries, the democracy's Christian ethos has been diluted by secularisation. In practice, Christian democracy is often considered conservative on cultural, social and moral issues and progressive on fiscal and economic issues. In places, where their opponents have traditionally been secularist socialists and social democrats, Christian democratic parties are moderately conservative, whereas in other cultural and political environments they can lean to the left.

Women's roles

Attitudes and beliefs about the roles and responsibilities of women in Christianity vary considerably today as they have throughout the last two millennia — evolving along with or counter to the societies in which Christians have lived. The Bible and Christianity historically have been interpreted as excluding women from church leadership and placing them in submissive roles in marriage. Male leadership has been assumed in the church and within marriage, society and government.[98]

Some contemporary writers describe the role of women in the life of the church as having been downplayed, overlooked, or denied throughout much of Christian history. Paradigm shifts in gender roles in society and also many churches has inspired reevaluation by many Christians of some long-held attitudes to the contrary. Christian egalitarians have increasingly argued for equal roles for men and women in marriage, as well as for the ordination of women to the clergy. Contemporary conservatives meanwhile have reasserted what has been termed a "complementarian" position, promoting the traditional belief that the Bible ordains different roles and responsibilities for women and men in the Church and family.

Major Christian denominations

Christianity major branches
A schematic of Christian denominational taxonomy. The different width of the lines (thickest for "Protestantism" and thinnest for "Oriental Orthodox" and "Nestorians") is without objective significance. Protestantism in general, and not just Restorationism, claims a direct connection with Early Christianity. Both the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches would consider themselves in unbroken continuity with the "early Christianity" line.
Protestant branches
Major branches and movements within Protestantism

A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organisation, leadership and doctrine. Worldwide, Christians are divided, often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and another are defined by church doctrine and church authority. Centering on language of professed Christianity and true Christianity, issues that separate one group of followers of Jesus from another include:

Christianity is composed of, but not limited to, five major branches of Churches: Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, and Protestantism. Some listings include Anglicans among Protestants while others list the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox together as one group, thus the number of distinct major branches can vary between three and five depending on the listing. The Assyrian Church of the East (Nestorians) and the Old Catholic churches are also distinct Christian bodies of historic importance, but much smaller in adherents and geographic scope. Each of the branches has important subdivisions. Because the Protestant subdivisions do not maintain a common theology or earthly leadership, they are far more distinct than the subdivisions of the other four groupings. Denomination typically refers to one of the many Christian groupings including each of the multitude of Protestant subdivisions.

Sizes of denomination

In Christendom, the largest denominations are:

  1. Roman Catholicism – 1.3 billion
  2. Protestantism – 540 million
  3. Eastern Orthodoxy – 300 million
  4. Anglicanism – 115 million
  5. Oriental Orthodoxy – 75 million
  6. Nontrinitarianism – 26 million
  7. Nestorianism – 1 million
  8. Old Catholicism – 0.4 million

See also

Notes

  1. ^ In 529, Justinian closed the Neoplatonic Academy of Athens, a last bulwark of pagan philosophy, made rigorous efforts to exterminate Arianism and Montanism, personally campaigned against Monophysitism, and made Chalcedonian Christianity the Byzantine state religion.[15]
  2. ^ Current sources are in general agreement that Christians make up about 33% of the world's population—slightly over 2.4 billion adherents in mid-2015.

References

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Bibliography

20th century sources
19th century sources

Further reading

  • Bainton, Roland H. (1966). Christendom: a Short History of Christianity and Its Impact on Western Civilization, in series, Harper Colophon Books. New York: Harper & Row. 2 vol., ill.
  • Whalen, Brett Edward (2009). Dominion of God: Christendom and Apocalypse in the Middle Ages. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

External links

Websites
Antemurale Christianitatis

Antemurale Christianitatis (English: Bulwark of Christendom) was a label used for a country defending the frontiers of Christian Europe from the Ottoman Empire.

Breviary

The Breviary (Latin: breviarium) is a book in many Western Christian denominations that "contains all the liturgical texts for the Office, whether said in choir or in private."Historically, different breviaries were used in the various parts of Christendom, such as Aberdeen Breviary, Belleville Breviary, Stowe Breviary and Isabella Breviary, although eventually the Roman Breviary became the standard within the Roman Catholic Church.

Catholic Church in France

The Catholic Church in France is part of the worldwide Catholic Church in communion with the Pope in Rome. Established in the 2nd century in unbroken communion with the bishop of Rome, it is sometimes called the "eldest daughter of the church".

The first written records of Christians in France date from the 2nd century when Irenaeus detailed the deaths of ninety-year-old bishop Saint Pothinus of Lugdunum (Lyon) and other martyrs of the 177 AD persecution in Lyon. In 496 Remigius baptized King Clovis I, who therefore converted from paganism to Catholicism. In 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, forming the political and religious foundations of Christendom in Europe and establishing in earnest the French government's long historical association with the Catholic Church. The French Revolution (1789–1790) was followed by heavy persecution of the Catholic Church. Laïcité, absolute neutrality of the state with respect to religious doctrine, is nowadays the official policy of the Republic of France.

Estimates of the proportion of Catholics range between 41% and 88% of France's population, with the higher figure including lapsed Catholics and "Catholic atheists". The Catholic Church in France is organised into 98 dioceses, which in 2012 were served by 7,000 sub-75 priests. 80 to 90 priests are ordained every year, when the church would need eight times as many to compensate the number of priest deaths. Approximately 45,000 Catholic church buildings and chapels are spread out among 36,500 cities, towns, and villages in France, but a majority are no longer regularly used for mass. Notable churches of France include Notre Dame de Paris, Chartres Cathedral, Reims Cathedral, and Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Eglise de la Madeleine, and Amiens Cathedral. Its national shrine, Lourdes, is visited by 5 million pilgrims yearly. The capital city, Paris, is a major pilgrimage site for Catholics as well.

Some of the most famous French saints include St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Irenaeus, St. Jean-Marie Vianney the Curé of Ars, St. Joan of Arc, St. Bernadette, Louis IX of France, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, St. Catherine Labouré and St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Christendom Astray from the Bible

Christendom Astray From the Bible (commonly: Christendom Astray) is a polemic work by the Christadelphian Robert Roberts that claims to demonstrate that the main doctrines shared by most Christian denominations are at variance with the teachings of the Bible. In the preface to the book the author states the rationale of Christendom Astray From the Bible as follows:

THE enlightened reader will bear with the seeming arrogance of the title. It is a proposition-not an invective. The question proposed for consideration is a question for critical investigation. Attention is invited to the evidence and the argument. They are strictly within the logical sphere. They can be examined and dismissed if found wanting. What the title affirms is that Christendom, the ostensible repository of revealed truth, is away from that truth.

Christendom College

Christendom College is a Catholic liberal arts college in Front Royal, Virginia, United States, located in the Shenandoah Valley. It is endorsed by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. The school does not accept federal funding, except for the Yellow Ribbon GI Bill.

Christopher Dawson

Christopher Henry Dawson (12 October 1889, Hay Castle – 25 May 1970, Budleigh Salterton) was a British independent scholar, who wrote many books on cultural history and Christendom. Dawson has been called "the greatest English-speaking Catholic historian of the twentieth century". The 1988–1989 academic year at the College of Europe was named in his honour.

Eastern Christianity

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 (that are in communion with Rome but still maintain Eastern liturgies), and the denominations descended from the Church of the East. The Ukrainian Lutheran Church is also an Eastern Christian church that uses the Byzantine Rite. The term is used in contrast with Western Christianity (namely the Latin Church and most of Protestantism), 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, Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Malabar coast of South India, and parts of the Far East. The term does not describe a single communion or religious denomination. Some Eastern churches have more in common historically and theologically with Western Christianity than with one another. The various Eastern churches do not normally 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, and the political divide between the Western and Eastern Roman empires. Because the largest church in the East is the body currently known as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the term "Orthodox" is often used in a similar fashion to "Eastern", to refer to specific historical Christian communions. However, strictly speaking, most Christian denominations, whether Eastern or Western, consider themselves to be "orthodox" (following correct beliefs) as well as "catholic" (or "universal"), as two of the Four Marks of the Church listed in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed: "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic" (Greek: μία, ἁγία, καθολικὴ καὶ ἀποστολικὴ ἐκκλησία).There are several liturgical rites in use among the Eastern churches (excepting the non-liturgical dissenting bodies). These are the Alexandrian Rite, the Antiochene Rite, the Armenian Rite, the Byzantine Rite, the East Syriac Rite and the West Syriac Rite.

James VI and I

James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. The kingdoms of Scotland and England were individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciaries, and laws, though both were ruled by James in personal union.

James was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and a great-great-grandson of Henry VII, King of England and Lord of Ireland, positioning him to eventually accede to all three thrones. James succeeded to the Scottish throne at the age of thirteen months, after his mother was compelled to abdicate in his favour. Four different regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1583. In 1603, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died childless. He continued to reign in all three kingdoms for 22 years, a period known after him as the Jacobean era, until his death in 1625 at the age of 58. After the Union of the Crowns, he based himself in England (the largest of the three realms) from 1603, only returning to Scotland once in 1617, and styled himself "King of Great Britain and Ireland". He was a major advocate of a single parliament for England and Scotland. In his reign, the Plantation of Ulster and British colonisation of the Americas began.

At 57 years and 246 days, James's reign in Scotland was longer than those of any of his predecessors. He achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament. Under James, the "Golden Age" of Elizabethan literature and drama continued, with writers such as William Shakespeare, John Donne, Ben Jonson, and Sir Francis Bacon contributing to a flourishing literary culture. James himself was a talented scholar, the author of works such as Daemonologie (1597), The True Law of Free Monarchies (1598), and Basilikon Doron (1599). He sponsored the translation of the Bible into English that would later be named after him: the Authorised King James Version. Sir Anthony Weldon claimed that James had been termed "the wisest fool in Christendom", an epithet associated with his character ever since. Since the latter half of the 20th century, historians have tended to revise James's reputation and treat him as a serious and thoughtful monarch. He was strongly committed to a peace policy, and tried to avoid involvement in religious wars, especially the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) that devastated much of Central Europe. He tried but failed to prevent the rise of hawkish elements in the English Parliament who wanted war with Spain.

Judge for Yourselves!

For the 1953–1954 NBC television series starring Fred Allen, see Judge for Yourself.Judge for Yourselves! (subtitle: For Self-Examination, Recommended to the Present Age, Second Series) is a work by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. It was written as part of Kierkegaard's second authorship and published posthumously in 1876. This work is a continuation of For Self-Examination. This work continues a critique of Christendom, Christianity as a social and political entity, and its cultural accommodation. Kierkegaard discusses Bishop Jakob Mynster as a representative of Christendom and one of the main reasons Judge for Yourselves! was not published in Kierkegaard's lifetime was of his personal respect for Mynster.

Imitation, the imitation of Christ, is really the point from which the human race shrinks. The main difficulty lies here; here is where it is decided whether or not one is willing to accept Christianity. If there is emphasis on this point, the stronger the emphasis the fewer the Christians. If there is a scaling down at this point (so that Christianity becomes, intellectually, a doctrine) more people enter into Christianity. If it is abolished completely (so Christianity becomes, existentially, as easy as mythology and poetry and imitation an exaggeration, a ludicrous exaggeration), then Christianity spreads to such a degree that Christendom and the world are almost indistinguishable, or all become Christians; Christianity has completely conquered – that is, it is abolished!

Lancaster Gate Memorial Cross

The Lancaster Gate Memorial Cross is a grade II listed war memorial in Lancaster Gate, London, commemorating residents of the Metropolitan Borough of Paddington who died fighting in the First World War.The memorial cross was designed by Walter Tapper in the Gothic Revival style and its sculpture was executed by Laurence Arthur Turner. It consists of a column surmounted with a golden cross, below which in eight niches are the figures of Saint George for England, Saint Louis for France, and six of the warrior saints of Christendom: Maurice, Longinus, Victor, Adrian, Florian and Eustace.The memorial was originally sited on the footpath outside Christ Church and was unveiled on 27 March 1921 by John Maud, the Bishop of Kensington. It was seriously damaged in the Great Storm of 1987 but restored and moved to Lancaster Gate in 2002 as part of the Lancaster Gate street improvement scheme. The restored memorial was unveiled on 11 November (Armistice Day) 2002. In 2016, the first memorial service since then was held at the cross.

Latin Church

The Latin Church (also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church) is the largest particular church of the Catholic Church, employing the Latin liturgical rites. It is one of 24 sui iuris churches, the 23 other forming the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is headed by the Bishop of Rome - the pope, traditionally called the Patriarch of the West - with headquarters in the Vatican City, enclaved within Rome, Italy. The Latin Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity, according to Catholic tradition, through its direct leadership under the Holy See.

Substantial distinguishing theological emphases, liturgical traditions, features and identity can be traced back to the Latin church fathers, and most importantly the Latin Doctors of the Church, active during the first centuries A.D., including in the Early African church. After the East-West schism in 1054, in the Middle Ages its members became known as Latins in contrast with Eastern Christians.

The Latin Church was in full communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church until the East-West schism. The Protestant Reformation in the 16th century resulted in Protestantism breaking away. Since 19th century, also smaller groups of Independent Catholic denominations broke away.

With approximately 1.255 billion members (2015), it remains by far the largest particular church not only in the Catholic Church or Western Christianity, but in all Christianity.

Middle Ages

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages (or medieval period) lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority, invasions, and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages. The large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete. The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became widely admired later in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded as campaigns to Christianise pagan Europe continued. The Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty, briefly established the Carolingian Empire during the later 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but later succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, and Saracens from the south.

During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased greatly as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, and feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages. The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, and by the founding of universities. The theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, and the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages.

The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine, plague, and war, which significantly diminished the population of Europe; between 1347 and 1350, the Black Death killed about a third of Europeans. Controversy, heresy, and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, and peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.

Nun freue dich, du Christenheit

"Nun freue dich, du Christenheit" (Now be joyful, you Christendom) is a Catholic hymn for Easter. It goes back to a 1390 hymn, which later appeared as "Freu dich, du werte Christenheit". The final version appeared first in the Catholic hymnal Gotteslob of 1975, later in several regional sections of the Gotteslob.

Patriarchate

Patriarchate (Greek: πατριαρχεῖον, patriarcheîon) is an ecclesiological term in Christianity, designating the office and jurisdiction of an ecclesiastical patriarch. Historically, there were (and still are) several types of patriarchates in Christendom, spanning from ancient patriarchates of the Pentarchy, to titular or honorary patriarchates with no actual institutional jurisdiction.

Pilgrimage to Chartres

The Chartres pilgrimage (French: pèlerinage de Chartres), also known in French as the pèlerinage de Chrétienté (English: pilgrimage of Christendom), is an annual pilgrimage from Notre-Dame de Paris to Notre-Dame de Chartres occurring around the Christian feast of Pentecost, organized by Notre-Dame de Chrétienté (English: Our Lady of Christendom), a Catholic lay non-profit organization based in Versailles, France. Although the pilgrimage has existed since 1983, the organisation was not founded until 2000.

The pilgrimage characteristically makes use of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite of the Catholic Church.

At Pentecost in 2007, for the 25th anniversary of the pilgrimage, and following the announcement of the motu proprio letter Summorum Pontificum on the traditional liturgy of the Church, there were nearly ten thousand pilgrims in Chartres on May 28, despite the difficult weather conditions.

Postchristianity

Postchristianity is the loss of the primacy of the Christian worldview in political affairs, especially in the Western world where Christianity had previously flourished, in favor of alternative worldviews such as secularism or nationalism. It includes personal world views, ideologies, religious movements or societies that are no longer rooted in the language and assumptions of Christianity, at least explicitly, although they had previously been in an environment of ubiquitous Christianity (i.e. Christendom).

Some scholars have disputed the global decline of Christianity, and instead hypothesized of an evolution of Christianity which allows it to not only survive, but actively expand its influence in contemporary societies.

Satanism

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on Satan. Contemporary religious practice of Satanism began with the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966, although a few historical precedents exist. Prior to the public practice, Satanism existed primarily as an accusation by various Christian groups toward perceived ideological opponents, rather than a self-identity. Satanism, and the concept of Satan, has also been used by artists and entertainers for symbolic expression.

Accusations that various groups have been practicing Satanism have been made throughout much of Christian history. During the Middle Ages, the Inquisition attached to the Roman Catholic Church alleged that various heretical Christian sects and groups, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars, performed secret Satanic rituals. In the subsequent Early Modern period, belief in a widespread Satanic conspiracy of witches resulted in mass trials of alleged witches across Europe and the North American colonies. Accusations that Satanic conspiracies were active, and behind events such as Protestantism (and conversely, the Protestant claim that the Pope was the Antichrist) and the French Revolution continued to be made in Christendom during the eighteenth to the twentieth century. The idea of a vast Satanic conspiracy reached new heights with the influential Taxil hoax of France in the 1890s, which claimed that Freemasonry worshiped Satan, Lucifer, and Baphomet in their rituals. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria spread through the United States and United Kingdom, amid fears that groups of Satanists were regularly sexually abusing and murdering children in their rites. In most of these cases, there is no corroborating evidence that any of those accused of Satanism were actually practitioners of a Satanic religion or guilty of the allegations leveled at them.

Since the 19th century, various small religious groups have emerged that identify as Satanists or use Satanic iconography. Satanist groups that appeared after the 1960s are widely diverse, but two major trends are theistic Satanism and atheistic Satanism. Theistic Satanists venerate Satan as a supernatural deity, viewing him not as omnipotent but rather as a patriarch. In contrast, atheistic Satanists regard Satan as merely a symbol of certain human traits.Contemporary religious Satanism is predominantly an American phenomenon, the ideas spreading elsewhere with the effects of globalization and the Internet. The Internet spreads awareness of other Satanists, and is also the main battleground for Satanist disputes. Satanism started to reach Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, in time with the fall of the Soviet Union, and most noticeably in Poland and Lithuania, predominantly Roman Catholic countries.

Vincent Miceli

Vincent Peter Miceli, S.J. (1915 – June 2, 1991) was a Catholic priest, theologian, and philosopher.

Miceli was born in New York City, USA, in 1915, the ninth of ten children of Italian immigrants.While attending Cathedral High School and maintaining a 95.5 average he worked six days a week from 3-10pm delivering books. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1936 to pursue his studies and was ordained a priest in 1949. Fr Miceli received his STL from St Louis University in 1950 and his PhD from Fordham University in 1961. His doctoral dissertation was on the French Catholic existentialist, Gabriel Marcel.

Father Miceli is the author of several books: Ascent to Being (1961), The Gods of Atheism (1971), The Antichrist (1981), Women Priests and Other Fantasies (1985), The Roots of Violence (1989), and Rendezvous with God (1991).

Father Miceli also made appearances on the Good Morning America television show on ABC and the Crossfire show on CNN.

Father Miceli taught theology and philosophy at several universities including Gregorian University in Rome, Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, Loyola University New Orleans, and Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia.

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Western Christianity

Western Christianity is the Latin Church, and Protestantism, together with the offshoots of these such as independent Catholicism and Restorationist churches taken together. The large majority of the world's 2.4 billion Christians are Western Christians (about 2 billion – 1.2 billion Latin Catholic / 800 million Protestant). The original and still major part, the Latin Church, developed under the bishop of Rome (the Patriarch of the West) in the former Western Roman Empire in Antiquity. Out of the Latin Church emerged a wide variety of independent Protestant denominations, including Lutheranism and Anglicanism, starting from the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, as did Independent Catholicism in the 19th century. Thus, the term "Western Christianity" does not describe a single communion or religious denomination, but is applied to distinguish all these denominations collectively from Eastern Christianity.

The establishment of the distinct Latin Church, a particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church (in contrast to the Eastern Catholic Churches, also in full communion with the Pope in Rome) coincided with the consolidation of the Holy See in Rome, where the bishop claimed a particular role since Antiquity. The terms "Western" and "Eastern" in this regard originated with geographical divisions mirroring the cultural divide between the Hellenistic east and Latin West, and the political divide between the Western and Eastern Roman empires. During the Middle Ages adherents of the Latin Church, irrespective of ethnicity, commonly referred to themselves as "Latins" to distinguish themselves from Eastern Christians.With the expansion of European colonialism from the Early Modern era, the Latin Church, in time along with its Protestant secessions, spread throughout the Americas, much of the Philippines, Southern Africa, pockets of West Africa, and throughout Australia, and New Zealand. Thus, when used for historical periods after the 16th century, the term "Western Christianity" does not refer to a particular geographical area, but is rather used as a collective term for the Latin Church, the Protestant denominations, and Independent Catholicism that trace their lineage to the original Latin Church in Western Europe.

Today, the geographical distinction between Western and Eastern Christianity is not nearly as absolute as in Antiquity or the Middle Ages, due to the spread of Christian missionaries, migrations, and globalisation. The adjectives "Western Christianity" and "Eastern Christianity" are typically used to refer to historical origins and differences in theology and liturgy, rather than present geographical locations.

While the Latin Church maintain the Latin liturgical rites, Protestant denominations and Independent Catholicism retain a wide variety of liturgical practices.

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