Christianity is the world’s largest religion, both in terms of the number of adherents, of which there are about 2.3 billion, and in terms of geographical distribution – every country in the world has at least one Christian community.
The largest trends in Christianity are Catholicism, Orthodoxy and Protestantism. In 1054 there was a split of Christian church into Catholic and Orthodox). The appearance of Protestantism was the result of the reform movement in the Catholic Church in the 16th century.
Christianity emerged in the first century in Palestine, which at that time was under the rule of the Roman Empire, initially among the Aramaic-speaking population of the Mesopotamia, and in the first decades of its existence has spread to other provinces and among other ethnic groups.
Christianity was first adopted as a state religion in Great Armenia in 301. Under Emperor Constantine I, starting with the edict of 313 on freedom of religion, Christianity began to acquire the status of state religion in the Roman Empire.
Emergence of Christianity
Christianity was born in the I century in Palestine, in the Jewish environment in the context of the Messianic movements of Old Testament Judaism. Already in the days of Nero Christianity was known in many provinces of the Roman Empire.
According to the New Testament text of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 11:26), the noun “Χριστιανοί” – Christians, adherents (or followers) of Christ – was used for the first time to designate the supporters of the new faith in the Syrian-Hellenistic city of Antioch in the I century.
Initially, Christianity spread among the Jews of Palestine and the Mediterranean diaspora, but from the early decades, especially through the work of the Apostle Paul, it acquired many followers among other nations (“Gentiles”). Until the 5th century, the spread of Christianity took place mainly within the geographical limits of the Roman Empire, as well as in the sphere of its cultural influence (Armenia, East Syria, Ethiopia), later (mainly in the 2nd half of the 1st millennium) – among Germanic and Slavic peoples, and later (by the 13th-14th centuries) – also among the Baltic and Finnish peoples. In the new and modern times, the spread of Christianity outside Europe was due to colonial expansion and missionary activity.