Jesus - Christianity Christmas, The Day Celebrated Term Paper

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Jesus - Christianity Christmas, the day celebrated as the birth of Jesus Christ, is the basis of one of Christianity's holiest observances and its story proclaims the advent of a Savior, the miracle of God's invasion of human history (Sheler pp). Although only Matthew and Luke mention the birth of Christ, the birth is nonetheless believed to have fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies that "a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel," and that out of Bethlehem 'one will go forth ... To be ruler in Israel'" (Sheler pp).

There are numerous religious traditions within Christianity that vary by culture, as well as thousands of diverse beliefs and sects (Christianity pp). In fact, during the past two millennia, it has been grouped into three main branches, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism (Christianity pp). Christianity is the world's largest single religion with over 2.2 billion followers (Christianity pp).

Christianity originated in the first century, when according to the New Testament, Jesus' followers were first called Christians by non-Christians in the city of Antioch, where they had fled after the early persecutions in Judea (Christianity pp). During the first three centuries, Christianity spread rapidly through Egypt into North Africa, Sudan and Ethiopia, from Mesopotamia to Persia, Inner Asia and India, and from Greece and Rome to Europe (Christianity pp).

There were two main communities of Christians, the Jewish Christians who were those Jews and Gentile converts, and the Hellenistic Christians who were those who were more influenced by the Greek-speaking world and believed the central message of Christianity could be represented in ways more appropriate for Gentiles (Christianity pp). Tertullian, one of...

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Also during this time, the canonical books of the New Testament began to appear and a church hierarchy emerged, the Bishops of Alexandria, Antioch and Rome assumed the title Patriarch (Christianity pp).
In 312, Roman Emperor Constantine was converted and with his Edict of Milan in 313, he made Christianity a state religion, however, during the reign of Julian the Apostate, 361-363, persecution was briefly revived when he tried to restore paganism to the empire, then in 382, Christianity was made the official favored religion by Emperor Theodotius (Christianity pp). Similar events took place in Georgia and Armenia, however, in Persia, the Christians struggled under the oppressive Sassanids who tried to revive Zoroastrian (Christianity pp).

Christianity had spread to most of the Western world, the Middle East, parts of Africa, and into the Far East by the second millennium (Christianity pp).

During the European Reformation of the 1500's, Protestants and several other churches renounced allegiance to Rome over abuses of the growing Papal authority, thus, sparking a…

Sources Used in Documents:

Work Cited

Christianity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity

Crusades. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crusades

Sheler, Jeffrey L. "The first noel."

U.S. News & World Report; 12/21/1992; pp.


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