Roman Catholic Church by G4SUK622


									Rachel Benjamin student no:47327170

Assignment 2

Christianity: Discuss the main branches of Christianity that exists today. In your survey you should
attend to the origins, founders and main charachterists of these divisions and subdivisions within

Before we look at the different branches of Christianity that exist today it would be important to explain
where it has originated from.

At the most basic level, a “Christian” is anyone who professes that Jesus of Nazareth is the “Christ” (the
"Messiah," the "anointed one" of God).

Christ” is a title derived from the Greek word Christos (lit. “anointed one”), which in turn comes from
the verb chrio (“to anoint; to smear or pour oil over someone”). It has exactly the same meaning as
“Messiah,” which is derived from the Hebrew Mashiah . According to Acts 11:26, the first time those
who believed in Jesus were called “Christians” was in Antioch, a Greek-speaking city of ancient Syria
about the year 35 or 40 CE. Before that time, in the Aramaic-speaking environment of Judea, the
followers of Jesus may have been called Nazarenes, or Messianists, or Followers of the Way, or by some
other designation.

About a quarter to a third of the world's population are Christians. Christianity is the world's largest

Though not by all Christian denominations most Christians branches belief in the following creeds or
statement of religions which have shaped or divided them from one another:

    1. The Apostles' Creed was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries. It is the most popular
       creed used in worship by Western Christians. Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and
       God the Creator. It was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal
       candidates in the churches of Rome. This statement of faith remains largely acceptable to most
       Christian denominations:
    2. The Nicene Creed, largely a response to Arianism, was formulated at the Councils of Nicaea and
       Constantinople in 325 and 381 respectively and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom
       by the First Council of Ephesus in 431.
    3. The Chalcedonian Creed, developed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, though rejected by the
       Oriental Orthodox Churches,[ taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, in confusedly,
       unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably": one divine and one human, and that both natures are
       perfect but are nevertheless perfectly united into one person.
    4. The Athanasian Creed, received in the western Church as having the same status as the Nicene
       and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity; neither
       confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance."
       According to the text book the human search for meaning modern day Christianity is marked by
       three trends:

           1. “A multiplication of churches after the first split from the Catholic Church, as churches
              continued to split from the Protestant churches
           2. Expansions far outside the confines of Europe
           3. An increase movement towards closer understanding and cooperation between various
              churches in the 20th century.”

   According to the census of 1991 the major Christian denominations in South is represented as

   Denominations                                       Percentage
   African Initiated Churches                          33
   Reformed family                                     18
   Catholics                                           11
   Methodists                                          9
   Anglicans                                           6
   Lutherans                                           4
Main Branches of Christianity:

Many organizational schemes divide Christians into several main “branches” (each of which can be
further subdivided, of course). Yet how many “main” branches are there? Who gets grouped
together? Where do smaller groups belong? And does arranging the divisions in certain ways reflect
any bias?

      Three (or Four) Main Branches: Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant (and Anglican, "Anglo-
       Catholic"; half-way between Catholic & Protestant)
           o Some schemes suggest five, six, or more "main" branches, possibly including: Nestorian,
               Monophysite, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, Restorationist, Independent,
               Marginal, etc.?
      Subdivisions of the Main Branches (here in overview; see the next section for more details):
           o Eastern Christians are mostly "Eastern Orthodox," but some are Nestorians ("Church of
               the East") or Monophysites ("Oriental Orthodox").
                     The divisions among these Eastern Churches go back almost 1500 years,
                        stemming from disagreements in the fifth century CE.
                     Long after the East/West divisions of 1054, some Eastern Churches reunited
                        with the Roman Catholic Church (thus called "Uniate" Churches).
           o Protestant Christians are subdivided into thousands of different denominations, as well
               as "independent" or "non-denominational" groups.
                     The historically earliest were founded in the 16th century by Martin Luther
                        ("Lutherans") and by John Calvin ("Reformed" or "Calvinist" Christians).
                     The Anglicans, or "Church of England," separated from the Roman Catholic
                        Church for political, not theological reasons; thus, "Anglo-Catholic" beliefs and
                        practices are similar to Roman Catholics, but Anglicans don't acknowledge the
                        leadership role of the Bishop of Rome (the "Pope").
  The three primary divisions of Christianity are Roman Catholicism, the Orthodox church, and
  Protestantism. There are other Christian groups that do not fit neatly into one of these primary

  Let us look at the main branches of Christianity and the difference among them:

         The Main Branches of Christianity: An Overview of Some Contrasts and Differences

Branch:                    Orthodox                 Catholic                      Protestant
Meaning/Origin of          “right teaching;         “universal; general; whole” “protesting” against
Name                       correct opinion”                                     Catholicism
Geographical Origins       Eastern Roman            Western Roman Empire,         Central Europe,
                           Empire,                  esp. Rome                     esp. Germany & Switzerland
                           esp. Constantinople
Principal Languages        Greek, Russian, etc.     Latin, European, etc.         German, Dutch, English, etc.
Concentrations Today       Eastern Europe           S. America & W. Europe        N. Europe & N. America
Number of Members          ca. 250 Million          over 1 Billion                ca. 400-500 Million
Top Leaders                Patriarchs (esp.         Pope (Bishop of Rome);        varies greatly by
                           Constantinople &         Cardinals, Archbishops,       denomination:
                           Moscow);                 Bishops                       Bishops? Presidents? None?
Local Leaders              Priests, Deacons,        Priests, Deacons, Lay         Pastors, Ministers, Deacons,
                           Monks                    Ministers                     Elders, etc.
Titles for Worship         Divine Liturgy           Holy Eucharist, Mass          Sunday Worship, Communion
# Books in Bible           53-56 OT + 27 NT         46 OT + 27 NT                 39 OT + 27 NT
Artistic Focus             Painted Icons, lots of   Statues, Paintings, Stained Little art; often plainer church
                           gold                     Glass                       decors
Distinctive Emphases       Maintain Ancient    Papal Authority; Seven             Participatory Music; Biblical
                           Customs & Languages Sacraments                         Preaching
Sacraments of Initiation Baptism, Chrismation,      Infant Baptism, Child First   Infant Baptism in some
                         Communion                  Communion,                    denominations;
                         all three together,        Teen Confirmation; all at     Adult Baptism more common
                         usually for infants        once for Adults

  Roman Catholic Church

  Roman Catholic Beliefs

  The basic religious beliefs of Roman Catholics are those shared by other Christians as derived from the
  New Testament and formulated in the ancient Creeds of the early ecumenical councils, such as Nicaea
  (325) and Constantinople (381). The central belief is that God entered the world through the
Incarnation of his Son, the Christ or Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. The founding of the church is traced to
the life and teachings of Jesus, whose death is followed by resurrection from the dead after which he
sends the Holy Spirit to assist believers. This triple mission within the Godhead is described doctrinally as
the divine Trinity, God one in nature but consisting in three divine persons.

Roman Catholics attach special significance to the rites of Baptism and Eucharist. Baptism is
sacramental entry into Christian life, and the Eucharist is a memorial of Christ's death and resurrection
in which he is believed to be sacramentally present. The Eucharist is celebrated daily in the Roman
Catholic church.

Catholic ethical doctrines are based ultimately on the New Testament teachings but also on the
conclusions reached by the church, especially by the popes and other teachers.

The Roman Catholic church's prohibition of remarriage after divorce is the strictest of the Christian
churches, although the church does admit the possibility of annulments for marriages judged to be

The Worship of the Church

The public worship of the Roman Catholic church is its liturgy, principally the Eucharist, which is also
called the Mass. After the recitation of prayers and readings from the Bible, the presiding priest invites
the faithful to receive communion, understood as sharing in the sacramental presence of Christ. At the
Sunday liturgy the priest preaches a sermon or homily, applying the day's biblical texts to the present
lives of believers. The church observes a liturgical calendar similar to that of other Christians, following a
cycle of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost. It also follows a distinctive cycle of
commemoration of the saints. The worship of the church is expressed as well in rites of baptism,
confirmation, weddings, ordinations, penitential rites, burial rites or funerals, and the singing of the
Divine Office. A distinguishing mark of Catholic worship is prayer for the dead.

The Roman Catholic church also fosters devotional practices, both public and private, including
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament (a ceremony of homage to Christ in the Eucharist), the Rosary,
novenas (nine days of prayer for some special intention), pilgrimages to shrines, and veneration of
saints' relics or statues. The devotional importance attached to the Saints (especially the Virgin Mary)
distinguishes Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy from the churches of the Reformation. In the
last two centuries the Roman Catholic church has taught as official doctrine that Mary from her
conception was kept free of original sin (the Immaculate Conception) and that at the completion of
her life was taken up body and soul into heaven (the Assumption). Catholics are also encouraged to
practice private prayer through meditation, contemplation, or spiritual reading. Such prayer is
sometimes done in a retreat house with the assistance of a director.

The Organization of the Church

The Roman Catholic Church is structured locally into neighborhood parishes and regional dioceses
administered by bishops. In recent times national episcopal conferences of bishops have assumed some
importance. Catholic Church policy is characterized, however, by a centralized government under the
pope, who is regarded as the successor to the apostle Peter, entrusted with a ministry of unity and
encouragement. The First Vatican Council (1869 - 70) further enhanced the role of the papacy by
declaring that the church's Infallibility (or inability to err on central issues of the Christian faith) can be
exercised personally by the pope in extraordinary circumstances. This teaching of the pope's primacy
and infallibility is a major stumbling block to the unification of the Christian churches.

The pope is elected for life by the College of Cardinals (about 130). He is assisted in the governance of
the church by the bishops, especially through the World Synod of Bishops that meets every three years.
More immediately in the Vatican City, the papal city - state within Rome, the pope is aided by the
cardinals and a bureaucracy known as the Roman Curia. The Vatican is represented in many countries by
a papal nuncio or apostolic delegate and at the United Nations by a permanent observer.

By tradition the all - male ordained clergy (bishops, priests, and deacons) are distinguished from the
laity, who assist in the ministry of the church. In the Western (Latin) rite of the Catholic church, bishops
and priests are ordinarily celibate. In many of the Eastern Rite churches, priests are allowed to marry.
Some Catholics live together in Religious Orders, serving the church and the world under vows of
poverty, chastity, and obedience. Members of these orders of congregations include sisters (or Nuns),
brothers, and priests. Priests who belong to religious orders are sometimes called regular clergy,
because they live according to a rule (Latin regula). Most priests, however, are ordained for ministry in a
diocese under a bishop and are called diocesan or secular priests.

Church discipline is regulated by a code of Canon Law. A revised code for the Latin rite went into effect
in 1983. A code for the Eastern Rite churches is in preparation.

 Catholic Christians are mostly "Roman Catholic"; yet some groups still call themselves "Catholic," but
 are no longer united with Rome.

The "Old Catholic Church" broke away in 1870, disagreeing with the decrees from the First Vatican
Council about "papal infallibility."

Various groups of "Traditionalist Catholics" or "Tridentine Catholics" broke after 1965, disagreeing with
reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Other groups of "Progressive Catholics" broke since 1965, thinking the reforms instituted by Vatican II
did not go far enough.

The Catholic Church comprises that are headed by bishops, in communion with the Pope, the Bishop of
Rome, as its highest authority in matters of faith, morality and Church governance. The Roman Catholic
Church through Apostolic succession traces its origins to the Christian community founded by Jesus
Christ. Catholics maintain that the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic church" founded by Jesus subsists
fully in the Roman Catholic Church,

The church acknowledges other Christian churches and communities and works towards reconciliation
among all Christians. The Catholic faith is detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


The word Orthodox literally means right teaching or right worship, being derived from two Greek words:
orthos (right) and doxa (teaching or worship). As the false teachings and divisions multiplied in early
Christian times, threatening to obscure the identity and purity of the Church, the term Orthodox quite
logically came to be applied to it. The Orthodox Church carefully guards the truth against all error and
schism, both to protect its flock and to glorify Christ whose body the Church is.

The churches founded by the Apostles themselves include the Patriarchates of Constantinople,
Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Rome. The Church of Constantinople was founded by St. Andrew,
the Church of Alexandria by St. Mark, the Church of Antioch by St. Paul, the Church of Jerusalem by Sts.
Peter and James, and the Church of Rome by Sts. Peter and Paul. Those founded in later years through
the missionary activity of the first churches were the Churches of Sinai, Russia, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria,
Romania, and many others.

Each of these churches is independent in administration, but, with the exception of the Church of Rome,
which finally separated from the others in the year 1054, all are united in faith, doctrine, Apostolic
tradition, sacraments, liturgies, and services. Together they constitute and call themselves the Orthodox

Eastern Orthodoxy comprises those churches in communion with the Patriarchal Sees of the East, such
as the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople.

 Like the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church also traces its heritage to the foundation
of Christianity through Apostolic succession. It has an episcopal structure, though the autonomy of the
individual, mostly national churches is emphasized.

A number of conflicts with Western Christianity over questions of doctrine and authority culminated in
the Great Schism. Eastern Orthodoxy is the second largest single denomination in Christianity, with over
200 million adherents.

The Oriental Orthodox Churches (also called Old Oriental Churches) are those eastern churches that
recognize the first three ecumenical councils—Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus—but reject the
dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon and instead espouse a Miaphysite christology.

The Oriental Orthodox communion comprises six groups namely:

    1.   Syriac Orthodox,
    2.   Coptic Orthodox,
    3.   Ethiopian Orthodox,
    4.   Eritrean Orthodox,
    5.   Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (India)
    6.   Armenian Apostolic churches.


In the 16th century, Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and John Calvin inaugurated what has come to be
called Protestantism.

Luther's primary theological heirs are known as Lutherans. And Zwingli and Calvin's heirs are , and are
referred to as the Reformed Tradition.
Most Protestant traditions branch out from the Reformed tradition. In addition to the Lutheran and
Reformed branches of the Reformation, there is Anglicanism after the English Reformation. The
Anabaptist tradition was largely ostracized by the other Protestant parties , but has achieved a measure
of affirmation in recent history.

 Some but not all Baptists prefer not to be called Protestants, claiming a direct ancestral line going back
to the apostles in the 1st century.

The oldest Protestant groups separated from the Catholic Church in the 16th century Protestant
Reformation, followed in many cases by further divisions.

For example,

the Methodist Church grew out of Anglican minister John Wesley's evangelical and revival movement in
the Anglican Church.

               Several Pentecostal and non-denominational Churches, which emphasize the cleansing
                power of the Holy Spirit, in turn grew out of the Methodist Church. Because Methodists,
                Pentecostals, and other evangelicals stress "accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and
                Savior", which comes from John Wesley's emphasis of the New Birth, they often refer to
                themselves as being born-again.
               Special groupings are the Anglican churches descended from the Church of England and
                organised in the Anglican Communion. Some Anglican churches consider themselves
                both Protestant and Catholic. Some Anglicans consider their church a branch of the
                "One Holy Catholic Church" alongside of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox
                Churches, a concept rejected by the Roman Catholic Church and some Eastern
               Some groups of individuals who hold basic Protestant tenants identify themselves
                simply as "Christians" or "born-again Christians". They typically distance themselves
                from the confessionalism and/or creedalism of other Christian communities by calling
                themselves "non-denominational". Often founded by individual pastors, they have little
                affiliation with historic denominations.


               An Overview of the Main Branches, Churches, Denominations, Religious Orders, and
                other identifiable Groups within Christianity of the Past and Present.
               A brief overview of the Eastern Orthodox Church's history and teaching. Some
                contemporary moral questions. The church building. A final note.
               The human search for meaning: A multi religious introduction to the religious of

From the above mentioned it is clear that all churches are formed from the same base which is Jesus
Christ and different beliefs and interpretations of the word of God has resulted in the formation of
different branches of denominations as referred to today.
I declare that this assignment is my own work. Where secondary material has been used this has been
acknowledge and references under sources. I understand that plagiarism ia and am aware of the
department’s policy in this regard. I have not allowed anyone else to borrow or copy my work.

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