Christianity

Information

Christianity is the religion of the followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was born as a Jew in Bethlehem in 4 BC to Virgin Mary.He was known as the 'Son Of God',who possessed divine powers.Jesus Christ, was the eternal word of God who assumed human form to serve humanity and to rescue the human beings from the sins.

He travelled widely to various places, preaching to people.

Some of the Jewish priests were shaken by the growing popularity of Jesus Christ and conspired to kill him and finally succeeded in their plot to crucify him.On the third day after his Crucifixion, Jesus reappeared and lived on earth for another 40 days and then ascended to heaven.

The incidents before and after his birth matched the predictions of the Old Testament, which,mentioned that, the son of God would be born on the earth to rid humanity of its sins.The followers of Jesus,called 'Christians', formed a new faith,termed as Christianity.Today there are more than 1 million followers of Christianity all over the world.

Christians see God as the Lord of Israel and the father of the divine and human figure of Jesus Christ. Christians insist that the originator and preserver of creation is one,but represented in the Holy Trinity, as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.Jesus Christ suffered and died to redeem mankind from sin. Christians further believe that Jesus Christ now sits next to the,God as the final judge of the dead and will rappear again.

Story Of Jesus Christ

The Word , Jesus existed before anything existed in this universe.Jesus was the creator. Gabriel , the Angel of Lord, visited a virgin,named Mary,who was supposed to get married to a man named Joseph. Gabriel came to Mary and told her that God has blessed her. Mary was stunned with the dialogue of the Angel and got confused.

Gabriel further clarified to Mary that she would conceive a son and that she should name him as Jesus.Gabriel further added that the child Jesus will be called as Son of the God.

The surprised Mary asked the Angel how it was possible since she had no physical relation with any man. The Angel said," the "Holy Spirit" will bless you to get a son who will be called the "Son of God". Mary affirmed," let it happen to me according to your word.

Mary was to get engaged to Joseph but joseph asked for divorce since she was pregnant before marriage and any physical relations.Soon, the Angel appeared in the dream of Joseph and convinced him,"Joseph, don't be afraid to take Mary as your wife, she is carrying "Holy Spirit" with her. Mary will have a son and you will call him as Jesus, the one we have been waiting for to save the people from their sins.

Joseph got up from sleep and obeyed the Angel's advise and took Mary as his wife.Mary gave birth to her son in Bethlehem whom she wrapped in clothes and laid him in a manger, since there was no room for them in the inn.

There were shepherds working in the field in the night with their flocks.An angel of the Lord appeared there and said to them,"Today,Christ the Lord, a savior, is born and this will be the sign. You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger.

The shepherds said."Let's go to Bethlehem right now and see the miracle, which the Angel has informed us.On reaching there the shepherds found Mary, Joseph and the baby lying in the manger.When they saw the baby Jesus, they explained what had been told about the child.

Everyone was astonished to know it.But Mary kept all these sayings to herself, pondering them in her heart.Then the shepherds returned to their fields, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen.

After Joseph and Mary had completed all the ceremonies and fulfilled the laws required regarding their firstborn, they returned home.When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the king of the Jews ? We have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him".

King Herod and all Jerusalem was disturbed by this. Herod gathered the chief priests and asked them where Jesus would be born. Herod secretly called the wise men to know the exact time the star would appear and he sent them to Bethlehem to find out information about the young child. As per Herod's instructions the wise men went their way. The star, which they saw in the east, went before them until it stood over where the young child was.

The wise men came into the house that the star had directed them to, and saw the young child in the arms of Mary. They fell down and worshipped him and gifted gold and myth.After the wise men had left, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying,"Immediatelt take the child and mother, and go to Egypt and stay there until I tell you.Herod is going to search for the child in order to destroy him".

Joseph got up and took the child and mother to Egypt.They stayed in Egypt until the death of Herod.After the death of Herod,an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream saying,"Take the young child and his mother,to Israel. The ones those wanted to finish the child, are no more.As per the Angel's advise,Joseph left Egypt and came back to Israel.

Later on,Joseph was frightened when he came to know that Archelaus, the son of Herod, was ruling over Judea.And being warned by God in a dream, he left Judea and went to Galilee where he settled in Nazareth.This fulfilled the prophecy that said that the Messiah would be called a "Nazarene".The child grew and increased in strength. He was filled with wisdom.

The grace of God was upon him.Jesus at the age of 12 years used to sit among the teachers, listening and asking various questions. Everyone was stunned at his brilliance and the way he used to answer the questions.

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday, also known as 'Holy Thursday' is the Thursday of Passion Week, one day prior to Good Friday.Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples on this day,which is known as the Last Supper.

Maundy Thursday focusses on two important events as follows,.

First, Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples and thereby instituted the Lord's Supper, also called Communion. Special Communion service on Maundy Thursday is observed in some Christian churches, in the memory of Jesus' Last Supper with his disciples.

Second, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, as an act of humility and service. Some Christian churches observe a foot-washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday to commemorate Jesus' washing the feet of the disciples.

The word 'Maundy' originates from the Latin word for 'command.' The 'Maundy' in Maundy Thursday refers to the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another. It is a good thing to remember the Last Supper and Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf. It is a good thing to remember the Lord's example of humility.

Good Friday

Good Friday is believed to be the day on whichJesus was arrested by clergymen.Good Friday is the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified.Hence, Good Friday is believed to be the time when Christians keep fast and celebrate the day over the birth of Christ.Some people believe that 'Good' refers to 'GOD' and it is God's Friday.

Many priests including Judas and Jewish community accused him of spreading revolutionary changes and riots in their town amongst people,because of teachings.

A conspiracy was plotted against Jesus, in which they planned to hatch Christ. Jesus was also acused of motivating people for not paying taxes to their King. He was charged and was produced in front of the Roman Governor to prove his innocence. But the Roman Governor gave him a clean chit.

Finally, Jesus was handed over to Jewish and Judas communities since they didn't followed the decisions given by the Roman Governor. After Christ's possession they took him for crucifixion.They made him wear crown of thorns and he was brutally killed and on the huge wooden cross he was hanged.He was addressed by the crowd as 'King of Jews' which were following him on his way to possession.

Jesus was nailed down and made to suffer for three hours and finally he died at 3 o'clock. But before dying he prayed his last wish to God that," Oh God forgive the sinner's who planned the conspiracy against me as they don't know that by killing me what size of sin they have performed."

Celebration

So, on Good Friday a cross is unveiled in churches and Christians keep fast on and begin the rituals for Good Friday.The Good Friday celebration starts by kissing a plank of wood depicted on the cross of Christ.

Then other practice starts from 3 o'clock when four gospels from the holy book are read out .Later on at midnight,general communion service is performed,after which a burial takes place.On Good Friday the church bells remains silent because this day is marked as a Sad day for Christians.

It is also believed that ,before the beginning of his teachings,Jesus observed a forty days fast in desert to overcome the Evil one. However, this period of forty days is popularly known as 'Ash Wednesday'. This ends on 'Lent' also known as 'Good Friday'.

Many people even today perform a three-hour service on Friday in remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ, in which one service includes seven distinct elements stating seven utterances of Christ when he was hanged on cross.In Goa,at Panjim, Good Friday is celebrated in large spirit.


Church

Ceremony

Ceremonial worship of the holiday follows closely to the events described in the scriptures. Some congregations still hold a three-hour service on Friday representing the three hours ,Jesus was hanged on the cross. A typical service includes seven distinct elements representative of Christ's seven utterances while on the cross.

A popular ceremony,'The Way of The Cross' takes place on Good Friday. The ritual is performed by the clergymen along with the crowd following and carrying a large wooden cross-representing the cross on which Jesus was hanged and nailed down to death.

Message

The message of Good Friday is that evil can never be conquered by evil, but only by goodness, violence by non-violence, hatred by love for the enemy.

Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday, called as Sabbatum Sanctum in Latin, is the last day of Holy week, and the 40th day of the traditional fast of Lent. Mary is also a Holy Saturday symbol. The evening of Holy Saturday begins the third and final day of the Paschal Triduum.

In the primitive Church Holy Saturday was known as Great, or Grand, Saturday, Holy Saturday, the Angelic Night, the Vigil of Easter, etc. It is no longer, like Maundy Thursday a day of joy, but one of joy and sadness intermingled; it is the close of the season of Lent and penance, and the beginning of paschal time, which is one of rejoicing.

By a noteworthy exception, in the early Church this was the only Saturday on which fasting was permitted (Constit. , VII, 23), and the fast was one of special severity. Dating from the time of St. Irenaeus, an fastfrom every kind of food was observed for the forty hours preceding the feast of Easter, and although the moment assigned for breaking the fastat dawn on Sunday varied according to time and country, the abstinence from food on Holy Saturday was general.

There are no Masses said on Holy Saturday,In the Western Church. and the day is essentially a liturgically sparse time of reflection upon Christ's death and burial in anticipation of the Great Vigil of Easter . The vigil usually begins the night of Holy Saturday, lasting until Easter morning. Very little happens on Holy Saturday, that is until the beginning of the Great Paschal Vigil.

There is deep symbolism upon which we can reflect on Holy Saturday. On this day, the Church waits at the Lord's tomb, and meditates on His Passion and Death and His descent into Hell. With prayer and fasting we await his glorious Easter resurrection.

According to Catholic tradition, Mary represents the entire body of the Church. As she awaited in faith for the victorious triumph of Her Son over death on the first Holy Saturday, so we too wait with Mary on the present Holy Saturday. This faithful and prayerful symbolic waiting has been called the Hour of the Mother.

Easter Sunday

Easter is an important festival for Christians.It is one of the most important festivals in the Christian calendar and marks the beginning of the spring season. Easter is the day when Jesus Christ rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. after three days of his crucifixion. The Easter is mainly celebrated two days after the Good Friday and therefore always happens to fall on a Sunday.

A grand religious feast takes palace on Easter Sunday.The Sunday service in the Churches on the day of Easter is done in a big way and is attended by a big crowd all over the world.This is the festivalof rejuvenation of life and living. Easter Sunday commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Easter marks an entire season comprising of various traditions and religious practices and constitutes a Church season, known as Eastertide or Easter Season starting with the Easter Sunday. At earlier times, the Easter season used to continue for 40 days, that is till Ascension, the day when, Jesus, the Savior formally departed from earth on the 40th day after his resurrection.

At present the Easter Season officially continues for 50 days till the Pentacost, the day commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and all his followers. Pentacost always comes ten days after Ascension and is celebrated on the 50th day of the resurrection with an extensive feast.

In the olden times, only Easter Sunday was celebrated as a holy day.But later on, eachday of the week preceding Easter was established as holy days including the Good Friday.Christians make an elaborate preparations to celebrate Easter which is the oldest of all Christian festivals. The festival marks the transition from night to day and from death to life.

It symbolizes new beginnings and joys of the spring harvest season. There are many symbols associated with Christian Easter Sunday such as eggs, rabbits, chicks, lilies, sunrise service and new outfits.

It is believed that Easter Eggs represent the beginning of life while rabbits and chicks represent the rebirth of the earth. Besides, the lily, especially the White Lily, which is also known as the Easter Lily, is a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians celebrate Easter with great joy and enthusiasm ,all over the world.

Bible

The holy book of the Christians is the Bible.The Bible contains a collection of writings dating from 9 BC to 1 AD written in English,Hebrew,Aramaic, and Greek languages.The Bible is divided into the Old Testament with 46 books and the New Testament with 27.

The Old Testament is a Hebrew text, sacred to both the Jews and Christians and contains information about the creation of the world.The life and teachings of Jesus Christ, which form the centre of Christian belief, are recorded in the New Testament.

Divisions

The Emperor of Rome,Constantine, converted to Christianity in 313 AD.and thereafter, Christianity became the formal religion of the Roman Empire.The religion was also known as Catholic or universal and the Roman Pope was honoured as its chief.Later, a large part of the world had become Christian by the end of the 11th century and soon many controversies arose.

Further, in 1054 AD, the Church formally got divided into the Eastern Orthodox and the western Roman Catholic schools.In the 16th century Martin Luther advocated many reforms in the Church, which led to yet another split in the Christian community and the formation of Protestant churches across Northeast Europe.

The Protestants did not approve the authority of the Pope and advanced the cause of the Bible as the sole authority.Later even protestants came out with various divisions.

Messengers

It is said that Jesus Christ deputed 12 learned men as his messengers and directed them to spread his teachings and guide the people.The 12 delegates are -Thaddaeus ,James, son of Alphaaeus -Peter (Simon)and his brother Andrew- James and his brother John - Philip and Bartholomew,the sons of Zebedee -Thomas and Matthew - Simon the Patriot and Judas Iscariot.

Miracles Of Jesus Christ

1) Water turns wine

This miracle of Jesus happened in the village of Cana, in Galilee. Jesus, with his Mother and disciples were invited at a wedding ceremony.The stock of wine was over. Jesus had six water bowls filled with water up to the brim . Jesus called the master of ceremony and made him taste the water that turned wine.

The master of ceremony soon called the bridegroom and told him, "Everyone serves the good wine at the begining and then the inferior one after the quests become drunk. But you have served the good wine stock until now".

2) Serious son recovered

A royal official whose son was very sick had come to Cana. He came to know that Jesus was there. He visited Jesus and requested him to come down and heal his son, who was seriously ill and nearing to death. Jesus told him "Go, your son will recover soon".

The man was convinced and was on the way back to his town. On his way to Capernaum he met his servants.He inquired about the health of his son,when the servents told him that his was safe and recovering fast.He asked them the exact time when his son began to recover.

They said that previous day at 1:00 in the afternoon the fever had gone ". He soon realised that that was the correct time when Jesus had blessed him by saying "Your son will live".

3) Demoniac Relieved

Once Jesus was preaching in a synagogue in Capernaum when a man possessed by a demon was present there who started shouting by saying,"Oh,Jesus of Nazareth,Why are You bothering us ! are you here to destroy all the evil spirits? i know you are the Holy Son of God! !

" Soon,Jesus commanded the evil spirit to stop shouting and to imerge out of the man. The evil spirit screamed loudly and convulsed the man violently and left the demoniac. The entire Galilee was stunned with the news of this miracle.

4) Healing a leper

Jesus came down the hillside,after preaching the "Sermon on the Mount". He was followed by a large number of his dissiples.Later on A leper came to him and knelt before him.

He worshipped Jesus and pleaded, "if you desire to heal me, you can definitely do it and cure me soon". Jesus,in blessings,touched the man, and said "I desire to, be healed and get cured". Soon the leper was healed.

5) Paralysed Man Cured

Large number of crowd gathered around the house of Jesus in Capernaum.Four persons lowered a paralytic patient from the roof in the house,in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their belief in him,he was convinced and Jesus said to the patient "Son your sins are forgiven!" Jesus made them understand that the Son of God has authority to forgive sins.

He instructed the patient to stand up. take his mat and go home". The paralysed man stood up,took the mat and went out.The whole crowd was stunned at the sight and exclaimed, "We have never witnessed any such miracle before".

6) Widow's son raised

In the town of Nain,a widow had an only son who was dead and was being carried out. On seeing this,Jesus felt sorry for the lady who was a widow and consoled her not to lament.

Jesus touched the bier and said " Young man, I say to you, rise!" The dead man got up and started speaking. Jesus handed him over to his mother. The relatives and onlookers were amazed to see the wonder and the news of the miracle by Jesus spread all over the country.

7) Storm calmed down

Jesus and his disciples were sailing in a ship to cross the Sea of Galilee. Suddenly a massive windstorm arose which gave rise to high tides.The waves were beating on the ship causing it to sway and about to topple.

Jesus was peacefully sleeping on a cushion. The afraid disciples woke up Jesus. Jesus with his divine power redirected the wind and ordered the sea to calm down by saying "Peace! Be still!" Then the wind stopped and there was a silence.

Jesus said ,"Have you still no faith?". The disciples were shaken by the miracle of Jesus and exclaimed that even wind and storm knew his powers.

8) Healing of internal bleeding

A woman who was severely suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years, tried all the doctors and spent all the money she had but it was all in vein.She was not cured but the disease became worse.She later on decided to achieve the grace of Jejus.She saw Jejus in crowd and went ahead thinking that if she touches his clothes then she will get cured.

So she touched his clothes and to her surprise,Immediately her hemorrhage stopped, and she felt relieved from her disease. Jesus was aware of all this., He turned back and asked "Who touched my clothes?" The woman got scared and fknelt before him, and confessed the fact. Jesus clarified to her "O lady! your faith has cured you,go and take rest, God bless you !"

9) Two blind men healed

Once two blind men came after Jesus and pleaded, "Have mercy on us !" Jesus sasked them whether they had belief that he can cure them. They affirmed "Yes, my Lord." Then Jesus touched their eyes and said "According to your faith let it be done to you." Soon their eyes were cured and the blindness was healed. The two cured happy men spread the news all over even though Jesus had told them not to reveal it.

10) Feeding 5000 men and their families

Near the sea of Galilee,in a desert a big mob surrounded. It was very late and they had no food to eat. Jesus requested his disciples to give them something to eat. There were five loaves and two fishes with a small boy.Jesus told them to sit down.Jesus then took the five loaves and two fish, and looked up at the sky at heaven.

He then broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among all of them.The food was multiplied, and all 5000 men and their families ate and were satified.

11) Walking on water

Once dissiples were standing on the sea-shore of Galilee and saw Jesus coming walking towards them over the sea.Ther disciples were terrified at the sight thinking that it was a ghost.Then Jesus convinced them that it was he only and no reason to be afraid.One dissiple said "Lord if its You, command me to come to you over the water."

Jesus agreed to it, and the dissiple started walking on the water.Later there was strong wind and high tides which made him frightened and started drowning in the sea. He pleaded to Jesus to save him.Jesus immediately gave him a helping hand and told him,"you have a little faith, you doubted and started drowning ?" When they sat in the boat the storm ceased.

12) Cripled woman cured

Jesus was preaching in a Synagogue on the Sabbath. A woman came there who was bent over and unable to stand upright.She was cripled for 18 years. When Jesus saw her, he called her and laid hands on her saying, "oh lady, you are relieved from all your ailments.Soon the lady got cured and stood upright and bowed before Jesus.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God !

Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins !

Please forgive my sins and give me the gift of eternal life !

I ask you in to my life and heart to be my Lord and Savior !

I want to serve you always !