CHRISTIANITY

Christianity, the religion of the Christians, had been propounded and founded by Jesus Christ in West Asia. The Christianity spread among large number of people and vast geography when it was declared the State religion by the Roman Empire in 4th century AD. The Christians who believe the Christ, as son of God and God incarnate, called him the 'Messiah' who helped people fulfill their religious duties and died to save humanity from sin. The worship place of the Christians is called church. With the passage of time, as the Christianity spread vastly, the Church split into two broad groups- the Western under the Pope in Rome and the Eastern under the Patriarchates of Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople. Still later the Roman Church was broken up by Protestantism, and in the Eastern Churches many communities set up their own Patriarchates.

Although many of the present-day Christians embraced the religion in recent times, Christians came to this land in its earliest phase. Tradition has it that the Syrian Christians of South India were converted by Thomas Didymus, one of the twelve apostles of Christ. He is believed to have come to the Malabar coast about 50 AD and established seven churches in South India, where traditions of the ancient church are still preserved.

The Roman Catholicism in India owes a great deal to St. Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary who came to India in the middle of the 16th century.

It often surprises foreign visitors to discover that Christianity is as much a part of the Indian scene as the temples and tigers they read about. In parts of the country Christian churches are more typical features of the landscape than temples or mosques, and Christmas is as popular a festival among non-Christians as among the Christians. Similarly, the great Hindu and Muslim festivals have become part of the Indian Christian way of life.



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