Western Christianity

Western Christianity is a religious category composed of the Latin Church and Protestantism, together with their offshoots such as Independent Catholicism and Restorationism. The large majority of the world's 2.4 billion Christians are Western Christians (about 2 billion – 1.2 billion Latin Catholic and 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.[1] 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.[2]

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 maintains the use of the Latin liturgical rites, Protestant denominations and Independent Catholicism use a wide variety of liturgical practices.

History

Gustav Vasa Bible 1541
Title page of the Lutheran Swedish Gustav Vasa Bible, translated by the Petri brothers, along with Laurentius Andreae.
Jesuites en chine
Jesuit scholars in China. Top: Matteo Ricci, Adam Schaal and Ferdinand Verbiest (1623–88); Bottom: Paul Siu (Xu Guangqi), Colao or Prime Minister of State, and his granddaughter Candide Hiu

For most of its history the church in Europe has been culturally divided between the Latin-speaking west, whose centre was Rome, and the Greek-speaking east, whose centre was Constantinople. Cultural differences and political rivalry created tensions between the two churches, leading to disagreement over doctrine and ecclesiology and ultimately to schism.[3]

Like Eastern Christianity, Western Christianity traces its roots directly to the apostles and other early preachers of the religion. In Western Christianity's original area Latin was the principal language. Christian writers in Latin had more influence there than those who wrote in Greek, Syriac, or other Eastern languages. Though the first Christians in the West used Greek (such as Clement of Rome), by the fourth century Latin had superseded it even in the cosmopolitan city of Rome, while there is evidence of a Latin translation of the Bible in the 2nd century (see also Vetus Latina) in southern Gaul and the Roman province of Africa.[4]

With the decline of the Roman Empire, distinctions appeared also in organization, since the bishops in the West were not dependent on the Emperor in Constantinople and did not come under the influence of the Caesaropapism in the Eastern Church. While the see of Constantinople became dominant throughout the Emperor's lands, the West looked exclusively to the see of Rome, which in the East was seen as that of one of the five patriarchs of the Pentarchy, "the proposed government of universal Christendom by five patriarchal sees under the auspices of a single universal empire. Formulated in the legislation of the emperor Justinian I (527–565), especially in his Novella 131, the theory received formal ecclesiastical sanction at the Council in Trullo (692), which ranked the five sees as Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem."[5]

Over the centuries, disagreements separated Western Christianity from the various forms of Eastern Christianity: first from East Syriac Christianity after the Council of Ephesus (431), then from that of Oriental Orthodoxy after the Council of Chalcedon (451), and then from Eastern Orthodoxy with the East-West Schism of 1054. With the last-named form of Eastern Christianity, reunion agreements were signed at the Second Council of Lyon (1274) and the Council of Florence (1439), but these proved ineffective.

The rise of Protestantism led to major divisions within Western Christianity, which still persist, and wars—for example, the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585–1604 had religious as well as economic causes.

In and after the Age of Discovery, Europeans spread Western Christianity to the New World and elsewhere. Roman Catholicism came to the Americas (especially South America), Africa, Asia, Australia and the Pacific. Protestantism, including Anglicanism, came to North America, Australia-Pacific and some African locales.

Today, the geographical distinction between Western and Eastern Christianity is now much less absolute, due to the great migrations of Europeans across the globe, as well as the work of missionaries worldwide over the past five centuries.

Features

Slovakia region Spis 33
Catholic St.Martin´s cathedral in Spišské Podhradie (Slovakia). Behind the cathedral there is the gothic Spiš Castle.
Benozzo Gozzoli 004a
Saint Thomas Aquinas was one of the great Western scholars of the Medieval period.

Original sin

Although "original sin" can be taken to mean the sin that Adam committed, it is usually understood as a consequence of the first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam. With the exception of tendencies such as Pelagianism, Western Christianity is thought to hold this doctrine, which was championed especially by Saint Augustine, who wrote: "The deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin" (De nupt. et concup., II, xxvi, 43).[6]

Filioque clause

Most Western Christians use a version of the Nicene Creed that states that the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son", where the original text as adopted by the First Council of Constantinople had "proceeds from the Father" without the addition of either "and the Son" or "alone". This Western version also has the additional phrase "God from God" (in Latin Deum de Deo), which was in the Creed as adopted by the First Council of Nicaea, but which was dropped by the First Council of Constantinople.

Date of Easter

The date of Easter usually differs between Eastern and Western Christianity, because the calculations are based on the Julian calendar and Gregorian calendar respectively. However, before the Council of Nicea various dates including Jewish Passover were observed. Nicea "Romanized" the date for Easter and anathematized a "Judaized" (i.e. Passover date for) Easter. The date of observance of Easter has only differed in modern times since the promulgation of the Gregorian calendar in 1582; and further, the Western Church did not universally adopt the Gregorian calendar at once, so that for some time the dates of Easter differed as between the Eastern Church and the Roman Catholic Church, but not necessarily as between the Eastern Church and the Western Protestant churches. For example, the Church of England continued to observe Easter on the same date as the Eastern Church until 1753.

Even the dates of other Christian holidays differ between Eastern and Western Christianity.

Lack of essence-energies distinction

Western denominations

Today, Western Christianity makes up close to 90% of Christians worldwide with the Catholic Church accounting for over half and various Protestant denominations making up another 40%.

Hussite movements of 15th century Bohemia preceded the main Protestant uprising by 100 years and evolved into several small Protestant churches, such as the Moravian Church. Waldensians survived also, but blended into the Reformed tradition.

Protestant branches
Major branches and movements within Protestantism.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Christianity in the Roman Empire". Khan Academy. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Distinguishing the terms: Latins and Romans". Orbis Latinus.
  3. ^ "General Essay on Western Christianity", Overview Of World Religions. Division of Religion and Philosophy, University of Cumbria. © 1998/9 ELMAR Project. Accessed 1 April 2012.
  4. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article "Latin"
  5. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica: Pentarchy
  6. ^ Harent, Stéphane. "Original Sin." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 7 June 2009.
Acolyte

An acolyte is an assistant or follower assisting the celebrant in a religious service or procession. In many Christian denominations, an acolyte is anyone who performs ceremonial duties such as lighting altar candles.

In others, the term is used for one who has been inducted into a particular liturgical ministry, even when not performing those duties.

Antependium

An antependium (from Latin ante- and pendēre "to hang before"; pl: antependia), also known as a parament or hanging, or, when speaking specifically of the hanging for the altar, an altar frontal (Latin: pallium altaris), is a decorative piece, usually of textile, but also metalwork, stone or other material that can adorn a Christian altar.

Specifically, and as the etymology of the word suggests, an antependium hangs down in front of whatever it covers, and is to be distinguished from the altar linens which are used in the service of the Eucharist, and an altar cloth which covers the top of the altar table (mensa).

Archbishop

In Christianity, an archbishop (, via Latin archiepiscopus, from Greek αρχιεπίσκοπος, from αρχι-, 'chief', and επίσκοπος, 'bishop') is a bishop of higher rank or office. In some cases, such as the Lutheran Church of Sweden and the Church of England, the title is borne by the leader of the denomination. Like popes, patriarchs, metropolitans, cardinal bishops, diocesan bishops, and suffragan bishops, archbishops are in the highest of the three traditional orders of bishops, priests (also called presbyters), and deacons. An archbishop may be granted the title or ordained as chief pastor of a metropolitan see or another episcopal see to which the title of archbishop is attached.

Breviary

A breviary (Latin: breviarium) is a liturgical book used in Western Christianity for praying the canonical hours.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.

Cantor (Christianity)

In Catholicism, the cantor, sometimes called the precentor or the protopsaltes (Greek: πρωτοψάλτης, lit. 'first singer'; from Greek: ψάλτης, translit. psaltes, lit. 'singer') is the chief singer, and usually instructor, employed at a church, a cathedral or monastery with responsibilities for the ecclesiastical choir and the preparation of liturgy.

The cantor's duties and qualifications have varied considerably according to time, place, and rite, and often its prestige was so high that it came close to the highest offices in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, for instance monastic cantors promoted to the office of an abbot or abbess. Sometimes the office was connected with administrative, militaric, and governmental duties (the "Maestro di Capella" at San Marco di Venezia), even with those of a schoolteacher, as in case of the Thomaskantor in charge of the Thomasschule zu Leipzig, educating a boys' choir that served four churches.

Generally a cantor must be competent to choose and to conduct the vocals for the choir, to start any chant on demand, and to be able to identify and correct the missteps of singers placed under him. He may be held accountable for the immediate rendering of the music, showing the course of the melody by movements of the hand(s) (cheironomia), similar to a conductor.

Confessor of the Faith

The title Confessor, the short form of Confessor of the Faith, is a title given by the Christian Church to a type of saint.

December

December is the twelfth and final month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and is the seventh and last of seven months to have a length of 31 days.

December got its name from the Latin word decem (meaning ten) because it was originally the tenth month of the year in the Roman calendar, which began in March. The winter days following December were not included as part of any month. Later, the months of January and February were created out of the monthless period and added to the beginning of the calendar, but December retained its name.In Ancient Rome, as one of the four Agonalia, this day in honor of Sol Indiges was held on December 11, as was Septimontium. Dies natalis (birthday) was held at the temple of Tellus on December 13, Consualia was held on December 15, Saturnalia was held December 17–23, Opiconsivia was held on December 19, Divalia was held on December 21, Larentalia was held on December 23, and the dies natalis of Sol Invictus was held on December 25. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

The Anglo-Saxons referred to December–January as Ġēolamonaþ (modern English: "Yule month"). The French Republican Calendar contained December within the months of Frimaire and Nivôse.

Easter

Easter, also called Pascha (Greek, Latin) or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

Most Christians refer to the week before Easter as "Holy Week", which contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. In Western Christianity, Eastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the 50th day, Pentecost Sunday. In Eastern Christianity, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the 40th day, the Feast of the Ascension.

Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts which do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars which follow only the cycle of the Sun; rather, its date is offset from the date of Passover and is therefore calculated based on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, which were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the council. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies. It has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March, but calculations vary.

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast is called by the words for passover in those languages; and in the older English versions of the Bible the term Easter was the term used to translate passover. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church, and decorating Easter eggs (symbols of the empty tomb). The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide. Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades. There are also various traditional Easter foods that vary regionally.

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.

Eastertide

Eastertide (also called the Easter Season as well as Easter Time) or Paschaltide (also called the Paschal Season as well as Paschal Time) is a festal season in the liturgical year of Christianity that focuses on celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It begins on Easter Sunday, which initiates Easter Week in Western Christianity, and Bright Week in Eastern Christianity. There are several Eastertide customs across the Christian world, including sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church, and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb. The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches throughout Eastertide. Other Eastertide customs include egg hunting, eating special Easter foods and watching Easter parades.

February

February is the second and shortest month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian calendar with 28 days in common years and 29 days in leap years, with the quadrennial 29th day being called the leap day. It is the first of five months to have a length of fewer than 31 days (the other four months that fall under this category are: April, June, September, and November), and the only month to have a length of fewer than 30 days, with the other seven months having 31 days. In 2019, February had 28 days.

February is the third and last month of meteorological winter in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, February is the third and last month of summer (the seasonal equivalent of August in the Northern Hemisphere, in meteorological reckoning).

Hieromonk

A hieromonk (Greek: Ἱερομόναχος, Ieromonachos; Slavonic: Ieromonakh, Romanian: Ieromonah), also called a priestmonk, is a monk who is also a priest in the Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholicism.

A hieromonk can be either a monk who has been ordained to the priesthood or a priest who has received monastic tonsure. When a married priest's wife dies, it is not uncommon for him to become a monk, since the Church forbids clergy to enter into a second marriage after ordination.

Ordination to the priesthood is the exception rather than the rule for monastics, as a monastery will usually only have as many hieromonks and hierodeacons as it needs to perform the daily services.

In the church hierarchy, a hieromonk is of higher dignity than a hierodeacon, just as a secular (i.e., married) priest is of higher dignity than a deacon. Within their own ranks, hieromonks are assigned order of precedence according to the date of their ordination. Ranking above a hieromonk are a hegumen and an archimandrite.

Latin Europe

Latin Europe may refer to:

Romance-speaking Europe, the areas of Europe where Romance languages are spoken

Legacy of the Roman Empire, the cultural and religious legacy of the Roman Empire and its distribution

Western Christianity, areas of Europe where Latin was the liturgical language of the Church during the Middle Ages

March

March is the third month of the year and named after Mars in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. It is the second of seven months to have a length of 31 days. In the Northern Hemisphere, the meteorological beginning of spring occurs on the first day of March. The March equinox on the 20 or 21 marks the astronomical beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, where September is the seasonal equivalent of the Northern Hemisphere's March. Birthday Number the letter "M".

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday is a Christian moveable feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in each of the four canonical Gospels.In most liturgical churches Palm Sunday is celebrated by the blessing and distribution of palm branches or the branches of other native trees representing the palm branches the crowd scattered in front of Christ as he rode into Jerusalem. The difficulty of procuring palms in unfavorable climates led to their substitution with branches of native trees, including box, olive, willow, and yew. The Sunday was often named after these substitute trees, as in Yew Sunday, or by the general term Branch Sunday.

Religious (Western Christianity)

A religious (using the word as a noun) is, in the terminology of many Western Christian denominations, such as the Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, and Anglican Communion, what in common language one would call a "monk" or "nun", as opposed to an ordained "priest". A religious may also be a priest if he has undergone ordination, but in general he is not.

More precisely, a religious is a member of a religious order or religious institute, someone who belongs to "a society in which members...pronounce public vows...and lead a life of brothers or sisters in common".Some classes of religious have also been referred to, though less commonly now than in the past, as regulars, because of living in accordance with a religious rule (regula in Latin) such as the Rule of Saint Benedict.

Spiritual direction

Spiritual direction is the practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn and grow in their own personal spirituality. The person seeking direction shares stories of his or her encounters of the divine, or how he or she is cultivating a life attuned to spiritual things. The director listens and asks questions to assist the directee in his or her process of reflection and spiritual growth. Spiritual direction advocates claim that it develops a deeper awareness with the spiritual aspect of being human, and that it is not psychotherapy, counseling, or financial planning.

Tonsure

Tonsure () is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair on the scalp, as a sign of religious devotion or humility. The term originates from the Latin word tōnsūra (meaning "clipping" or "shearing") and referred to a specific practice in medieval Catholicism, abandoned by papal order in 1972. Tonsure can also refer to the secular practice of shaving all or part of the scalp to show support or sympathy, or to designate mourning. Current usage more generally refers to cutting or shaving for monks, devotees, or mystics of any religion as a symbol of their renunciation of worldly fashion and esteem.

Tonsure is still a traditional practice in Catholicism by specific religious orders (with papal permission). It is also commonly used in the Eastern Orthodox Church for newly baptized members and is frequently used for Buddhist novices and monks. It exists as a traditional practice in Islam after completion of the Hajj and is also practiced by a number of Hindu religious orders.

Western religions

Western religions refers to religions that originated within Western culture, and are thus historically, culturally, and theologically distinct from the Eastern religions. The term Abrahamic religions (Islam, Eastern Christianity and Judaism) is often used in lieu of using the East and West terminology.

Western culture itself was significantly influenced by the emergence of Christianity and its adoption as the state church of the Roman Empire in the late 4th century and the term "Christendom" largely indicates this intertwined history. Western Christianity was significantly influenced by Hellenistic religion (notably Platonism and Gnosticism) as well as the Roman imperial cult. Western Christianity is based on Roman Catholicism (Latin Rite), as opposed to Eastern Orthodoxy, from which it was divided by the Great Schism of the 11th century, and further includes all Protestant traditions splitting off Roman Catholicism from the 16th century.

Since the 19th century, Western religion has diversified into numerous new religious movements, including Occultism, Spiritism and diverse forms of Neopaganism.

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