The history of Christianity goes back into Jewish ancestry and revolves around the 300 prophecies in the Old Testament, which reveals the upcoming of a Jewish Messiah who would be a Savior of humanity. Around 2000 years ago this prophecy was fulfilled by the birth of Jesus from the Virgin Mary in the town of Bethlehem in the land of Israel. He brought a hope of delight to the poor and rejected ones. The New Testament book of Luke (1:26-38) and Matthew (1:18-25) explains the virgin birth of Jesus. The birth of Jesus Christ also claimed a revolution and the revival of the teachings of Judaism.
In the beginning Christianity was considered as a sect of Judaism. As Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. ” (Matthew 5:17). But later on, the teachings of Jesus established the foundation of Christianity. The concept of salvation and eternal peace blessed the gloomy hearts. Just as the message of Jesus started to spread among the people, he was betrayed by one of his disciples Judas Iscariot for 30 pieces of silver. He was held responsible for treason and blasphemy.
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He was viciously beaten up and crucified at Golgotha before suffering on the cross for about 6 hours. The following Sunday, when the loyal Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to his tomb, they were astonished to see that the tomb was empty. The book of Matthew explains the resurrection of Jesus, “The angel said to the women, do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. ” (Matthew 28:5-7) In spite of the ban on Christianity in Rome during the second century, it kept on growing.
In third century, the Emperor Constantine stopped the harassment and encouraged the growth of Christianity. The differences between the Greek East and Latin West churches began to grow with time on the issues of use of icons, nature of Holy Spirit and day of Easter celebration. As time progressed, Christianity divided into three major branches. The Roman Catholic branch of Christianity is the successor of the church established in Rome soon after Christ’s death. It traces its spiritual history to the early disciples of Jesus.
The Pope, or spiritual leader, traces his office’s lineage back to St. Peter, the first Pope, one of Jesus’ disciples. Roman Catholicism was originally predominately practiced in Ireland, Poland, France and Spain. During the fourth century, the Roman Catholic Church split and the Eastern Orthodox branch was formed. The split was primarily a political one due to the division of the Roman Empire into western and eastern components. The two churches became officially separate in 1054. Orthodox churches are largely national, each associated with a particular country.
Orthodoxy is common in Russia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, the Ukraine, and Armenia. The Protestant branch split from Roman Catholicism during the Reformation, a sixteenth and seventeenth century series of church reforms in doctrine and practice. This movement challenged the authority of the Pope, and became popular in Scandinavia, England, and the Netherlands. Protestantism eventually divided into many denominations, which arose in response to disputes over doctrine, theology, or religious practice. Some of the large denominations today are Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists.