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Jesus Family Tomb: Branches of Christianity

Christianity is a vast religion that comprises several different branches. These distinct groups each have their own unique set of theological beliefs and practices. But what are the five major branches of Christianity and how did they come about during the history of Christianity?

The Five Major Branches of Christianity

Anglicanism
The Church of England and of Anglican communities around the world, the Anglican Church has its origins in the English Reformation that saw Henry VIII repudiate papal authority during the sixteenth century. However, it is important to clarify that the monarchy is not the head of this branch of the Christian Church, as is commonly believed, but rather acts as supreme governor that furthermore does not have a role outside of England. The Bishop of Canterbury is the Churchís central spiritual figure and is considered to hold the position of the first among equals. Anglicanism is noted for the ordination of women in some of its dioceses.

Orthodox Christianity
Individuals of this Christian branch, which broke with Roman Catholicism during the Great Schism, believe in God as being both three entities and just one (triune). The church is based on the tenets of communion with the traditions of the Apostles as well as communion with the original concepts of Christianity. The ecumenical councils that took place from between the fourth and eighth centuries are considered to be central in the establishment of the doctrines of Orthodox Christianity. Jesus Christ is considered to be the head of the Church, while the Church itself represents the body of Jesus Christ.

Protestantism
Based on the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation in which Martin Luther promulgated a rejection of the hierarchical nature of Roman Catholicism . The five main tenets of Protestantism are the following: solus Christus in which the authority of the Pope is repudiated and in which Jesus Christ is seen as the only mediator between God and humankind; sola scriptura in which scripture is seen as having divine authority and not the clergymen who interpret these scriptures for the masses; sola fide in which faith alone is sufficient for salvation, in juxtaposition to the balance of faith and good works espoused in the Roman Catholic Church; sola gratia in which salvation is found in Godís gift of free grace; and soli Deo gloria in which glory is given to God alone, and not to individuals holding positions of ecumenical authority.

Roman Catholicism
This is the largest branch of the Christian Church and represents one half of all Christians. It is comprised of one western or Latin Church as well as 22 eastern autonomous Catholic churches. The Roman Catholic Church is in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. Its central tenets are monotheism, recognition of the trinity (God as the Father, Jesus Christ as the Son, and the Holy Spirit). It also espouses the concept of original sin, in which humans are fallen due to the disobedience of God of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; salvation of human souls is achieved through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Nicene Creed is among one of its central documents.

United and Uniting Churches
Refers to the union of different Protestant denominations, which have their own distinct traditions. The oldest known example of a United Church is the Evangelical churches of Germany, in which a federation of Lutheran and Reformed Churches was established in 1817. Churches of this Christian branch believe in the Reformed tradition, in which God is supreme. Lesslie Newbigin was a central figure of the uniting churches movement, and was a founding bishop of the Church of South India as well as a moderator of the United Reform Church of Great Britain.


Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene: Mariamne Early Christianity
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