An Eastern Christian icon depicting Emperor Constantine and the Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea (325) as holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.
The Cenacle on Mount Zion, claimed to be the location of the Last Supper and Pentecost. Bargil Pixner claims the original Church of the Apostles is located under the current structure.
Various depictions of Jesus
A diagram of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre based on a German documentary. The church is claimed to be at the site of Calvary and the Tomb of Jesus.
Crucifixion, representing the death of Jesus on the Cross, painting by Diego Velázquez, c. 1632.
The Church of St Peter near Antakya, Turkey, said to be the spot where Saint Peter first preached the Gospel in Roman Antioch.
The Law and the Gospel by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1529); Moses and Elijah point the sinner to Jesus for salvation.
Map of Western Anatolia showing the "Seven Churches of Asia" and the Greek island of Patmos.
The Trinity is the belief that God is one God in three persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit.
Remains of the ancient Roman aqueduct in Caesarea Maritima.
Midnight Mass at a Catholic parish church in Woodside, New York City, U.S.
St Paul's Pillar in Paphos
Show on the life of Jesus at Igreja da Cidade in São José dos Campos, affiliated to the Brazilian Baptist Convention.
The Chapel of Saint Paul, said to be Bab Kisan where St. Paul escaped from Old Damascus
An early circular ichthys symbol, created by combining the Greek letters ΙΧΘΥΣ into a wheel, Ephesus, Asia Minor.
St. Peter's Basilica, believed to be the burial site of St. Peter, seen from the River Tiber
The Bible is the sacred book in Christianity.
A scene showing Christ Pantocrator from a Roman mosaic in the church of Santa Pudenziana in Rome, c. 410 AD
St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, the largest church in the world and a symbol of the Catholic Church.
Amphithéâtre des Trois-Gaules, in Lyon. The pole in the arena is a memorial to the people killed during the persecution.
The 7th-century Khor Virap monastery in the shadow of Mount Ararat; Armenia was the first state to adopt Christianity as the state religion, in AD 301.
St Paul's Islands near St. Paul's Bay, traditionally identified as the place where St Paul was shipwrecked
The Monastery of St. Matthew, located atop Mount Alfaf in northern Iraq, is recognized as one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence.
According to tradition, the Indo-Parthian king Gondophares was proselytized by St Thomas, who continued on to southern India, and possibly as far as Malaysia or China.
Kadisha Valley, Lebanon, home to some of the earliest Christian monasteries in the world.
Christendom by A.D. 600 after its spread to Africa and Europe from the Middle East.
An example of Byzantine pictorial art, the Deësis mosaic at the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.
Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, where he preached the First Crusade. Illustration by Jean Colombe from a copy of the Passages d'outremer, c. 1490.
Martin Luther initiated the Reformation with his Ninety-five Theses in 1517.
Michelangelo's 1498–99 Pietà in St. Peter's Basilica; the Catholic Church was among the patronages of the Renaissance.
A depiction of Madonna and Child in a 19th-century Kakure Kirishitan Japanese woodcut.
A Christian procession in Brazil, the country with the largest Catholic population in the world.
Trinity Sunday in Russia; the Russian Orthodox Church has experienced a great revival since the fall of communism.
The global distribution of Christians: Countries colored a darker shade have a higher proportion of Christians.
Pope Francis, the current leader of the Catholic Church.
St. George's Cathedral in Istanbul: It has been the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople whose leader is regarded as the primus inter pares in the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, the seat of the Ethiopian Orthodox.
A 6th-century Nestorian church, St. John the Arab, in the Assyrian village of Geramon in Hakkari, southeastern Turkey.
Saint Mary Church; an ancient Assyrian church located in the city of Urmia, Iran.
A 19th-century drawing of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery receiving the Aaronic priesthood from John the Baptist. Latter Day Saints believe that the Priesthood ceased to exist after the death of the apostles and therefore needed to be restored.
Unitarian Church of Transylvania in Cluj-Napoca.
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A copy of the Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas, a famous Christian apologetic work.
Christians fleeing their homes in the Ottoman Empire, circa 1922. Many Christians were persecuted and/or killed during the Armenian genocide, Greek genocide, and Assyrian genocide.
Countries with 50% or more Christians are colored purple; countries with 10% to 50% Christians are colored pink
Nations with Christianity as their state religion are in blue
Distribution of Catholics
Distribution of Protestants
Distribution of Eastern Orthodox
Distribution of Oriental Orthodox
Distribution of other Christians
Links between interdenominational movements and other developments within Protestantism
Historical chart of the main Protestant branches

The first followers of Christianity were Jews or proselytes, commonly referred to as Jewish Christians and God-fearers.

- Early centers of Christianity

Jesus' apostles and their followers spread around the Levant, Europe, Anatolia, Mesopotamia, the South Caucasus, Egypt, and Ethiopia, despite initial persecution.

- Christianity
An Eastern Christian icon depicting Emperor Constantine and the Fathers of the First Council of Nicaea (325) as holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.

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Funerary stele of Licinia Amias on marble, in the National Roman Museum. One of the earliest Christian inscriptions found, it comes from the early 3rd century Vatican necropolis area in Rome. It contains the text ΙΧΘΥϹ ΖΩΝΤΩΝ ("fish of the living"), a predecessor of the Ichthys symbol.

History of Christianity

Funerary stele of Licinia Amias on marble, in the National Roman Museum. One of the earliest Christian inscriptions found, it comes from the early 3rd century Vatican necropolis area in Rome. It contains the text ΙΧΘΥϹ ΖΩΝΤΩΝ ("fish of the living"), a predecessor of the Ichthys symbol.
The eastern Mediterranean region in the time of Paul the Apostle
Christ Jesus, the Good Shepherd, 3rd century
St. Lawrence (martyred 258) before Emperor Valerianus by Fra Angelico
A folio from Papyrus 46, an early-3rd-century collection of Pauline epistles
Virgin and Child. Wall painting from the early Roman catacombs, 4th century.
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Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine (centre) and the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325) holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.
Imagined portrait of Arius; detail of a Cretan School icon, c. 1591, depicting the First Council of Nicaea.
The ceiling mosaic of the Arian Baptistery, built in Ravenna by the Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great.
An Eastern Roman mosaic showing a basilica with towers, mounted with Christian crosses, 5th century, Louvre
The Church of the East during the Middle Ages
Coptic icon of St. Anthony the Great, father of Christian monasticism and early anchorite. The Coptic inscription reads ‘Ⲡⲓⲛⲓϣϯ Ⲁⲃⲃⲁ Ⲁⲛⲧⲱⲛⲓ’ ("the Great Father Anthony").
A mosaic of Justinian I in the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna, Italy
Roderick is venerated as one of the Martyrs of Córdoba
Raid on the Monastery of Zobe and the death of hegumenos Michael and his 36 brothers, depicted in the Menologion of Basil II.
"Hospitality of Abraham", icon by Andrei Rublev; the three angels represent the Godhead according to Trinitarian Christians.
Western Europe, the Holy Roman Empire, Kievan Rus', and the Byzantine Empire in the Middle Ages (year 1000)
The spread of Cistercians from their original sites in Western-Central Europe during the Middle Ages
Henry IV, the Holy Roman Emperor at the gate of Canossa Castle in 1077, during the Investiture controversy.
The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Crusader states with their strongholds in the Holy Land at their height, between the First and the Second Crusade (1135)
St. Cyril and St. Methodius monument on Mt. Radhošť
Christianization of Kievan Rus', the first unified federation of Slavic tribes
Christianization of Moravia under the rule of Rastislav
Jan Hus defending his theses at the Council of Constance (1415), painting by the Czech artist Václav Brožík
Michelangelo's Pietà (1498–99) in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
American Discovery Viewed by Native Americans (Thomas Hart Benton, 1922). European discovery and colonization had disastrous effects on the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and their societies.
The Council in Santa Maria Maggiore church; Museo Diocesiano Tridentino, Trento
Galileo before the Holy Office, a 19th-century painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury
Philipp Spener, the founder of Pietism
Churches of the Moscow Kremlin, as seen from the Balchug
Demolition of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow on the orders of Joseph Stalin, 5 December 1931, consistent with the doctrine of state atheism in the USSR
Pope Pius XI
Laying on of hands during a service in a neo-charismatic church in Ghana

The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion, Christian countries, and the Christians with their various denominations, from the 1st century to the present.

The early Christian groups were strictly Jewish, such as the Ebionites, and the early Christian community in Jerusalem, led by James the Just, brother of Jesus.

Valentin de Boulogne's depiction of Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, c. 1618-1620 (Blaffer Foundation Collection, Houston, Texas)

Jewish Christian

Jewish Christians (יהודים נוצרים) were the followers of a Jewish religious sect that emerged in Judea during the late Second Temple period (first century AD).

Jewish Christians (יהודים נוצרים) were the followers of a Jewish religious sect that emerged in Judea during the late Second Temple period (first century AD).

Valentin de Boulogne's depiction of Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, c. 1618-1620 (Blaffer Foundation Collection, Houston, Texas)

According to, the term "Christian" (Χριστιανός) was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ", by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch.

Jewish Christians were the original members of the Jewish movement that later became Christianity.

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet, painting by Ford Madox Brown (1852–1856), Tate Britain, London

Christianity in the 1st century

Thus also known as the Apostolic Age.

Thus also known as the Apostolic Age.

Jesus Washing Peter's Feet, painting by Ford Madox Brown (1852–1856), Tate Britain, London
The Crucifixion, by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, c. 1745–1750, Saint Louis Art Museum
The Cenacle on Mount Zion, claimed to be the location of the Last Supper and Pentecost. Bargil Pixner claims the original Church of the Apostles is located under the current structure.
James the Just, whose judgment was adopted in the apostolic decree of
Saint Paul, by El Greco
Mediterranean Basin geography relevant to Paul's life, stretching from Jerusalem in the lower right to Rome in the upper left.
An artistic representation of St. Clement I, an Apostolic Father.
A coin issued by Nerva reads
fisci Judaici calumnia sublata,
"abolition of malicious prosecution in connection with the Jewish tax"

The apostles went on to spread the message of the Gospel around the classical world and founded apostolic sees around the early centers of Christianity.

The Edict of Serdica was issued in 311 by the Roman emperor Galerius, officially ending the Diocletianic persecution of Christianity in the East.

Icon depicting Constantine I, accompanied by the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325), holding the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381

Nicene Creed

First adopted at the First Council of Nicaea in 325.

First adopted at the First Council of Nicaea in 325.

Icon depicting Constantine I, accompanied by the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325), holding the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381
Oldest extant manuscript of the Nicene Creed, dated to the 6th Century
17th-century Russian icon illustrating the articles of the creed

F. J. A. Hort and Adolf von Harnack argued that the Nicene creed was the local creed of Caesarea (an important center of Early Christianity) recited in the council by Eusebius of Caesarea.

It is the only authoritative ecumenical statement of the Christian faith accepted by the Catholic Church (with the addition of the Filioque), the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Church of the East, much of Protestantism including the Anglican communion.

Medieval illustration of the ecclesia from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (12th century)

Christian Church

Ecclesiological term referring to what different Christian denominations conceive of as being the true body of Christians or the original institution established by Jesus.

Ecclesiological term referring to what different Christian denominations conceive of as being the true body of Christians or the original institution established by Jesus.

Medieval illustration of the ecclesia from the Hortus deliciarum of Herrad of Landsberg (12th century)
An Eastern icon depicting the Descent of the Holy Spirit. The date of Pentecost is considered the "Birthday of the Church".
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An icon depicting Constantine I, accompanied by the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea (325), holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381.
Founded in AD 363, Mar Mattai Monastery, a Nestorian Church, is recognized as one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence.
The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered. –Augsburg Confession
Methodist preachers are known for promulgating the doctrines of the new birth and entire sanctification to the public at events such as tent revivals, brush arbor revivals, and camp meetings, which they believe is the reason that God raised them up into existence.
The nave of St. Peter's Church Phibsborough, Dublin, Ireland
St. Andrew's Church, Darjeeling. Built- 1843, Rebuilt- 1873

"Christian Church" has also been used in academia as a synonym for Christianity.

The Church gradually spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, gaining major establishments in cities such as Jerusalem, Antioch, and Edessa.

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883)

Diocletianic Persecution

The last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.

The last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer, by Jean-Léon Gérôme (1883)
Head from a statue of Diocletian at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum
Saint George before Diocletian. A 14th-century mural from Ubisi, Georgia. Christian tradition places the martyrdom of St. George, formerly a Roman army officer, in the reign of Diocletian.
Map of the Roman Empire under the Tetrarchy, showing the dioceses and the four Tetrarchs' zones of influence.
Wall painting of martyred saints, Ananias, Azarias, and Misael from the town of Samalut with Saints Damian and Cosmas; martyred during the persecutions of Diocletian in the late 3rd century AD. Stucco. 6th century AD. From Wadi Sarga, Egypt. British Museum

Eusebius of Caesarea, a contemporary ecclesiastical historian, tells a similar story: commanders were told to give their troops the choice of sacrifice or loss of rank.

The Edict of Serdica, also called Edict of Toleration by Galerius, was issued in 311 in Serdica (today Sofia, Bulgaria) by the Roman emperor Galerius, officially ending the Diocletianic persecution of Christianity in the East.

The Way of St. James (el Camino de Santiago), is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where legend has it that it holds the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great. The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987; it was also named one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 1993.

Christian pilgrimage

The Way of St. James (el Camino de Santiago), is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela where legend has it that it holds the remains of the apostle, Saint James the Great. The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987; it was also named one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites in 1993.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington
A typical street in Canterbury with the cathedral in the background.
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is one of the largest Christian pilgrimage sites in the world. Panoramic view with the Chapel of the Apparitions, the Sacred Heart statue and the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary
View of the walkway and the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida
Neo-classical Guadalajara Cathedral
The Shrine of El Quinche.
A lookout point on the way to El Cisne parrish. The white basilica can be seen in the distance.
Panoramic view of the festival, with sanctuary church of Sinaqara in background
Copacabana's Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana

Christianity has a strong tradition of pilgrimages, both to sites relevant to the New Testament narrative (especially in the Holy Land) and to sites associated with later saints or miracles.

Pilgrimages also began to be made to Rome and other sites associated with the Apostles, Saints and Christian martyrs, as well as to places where there have been apparitions of the Virgin Mary.