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A 13th-century mosaic of Jesus ChristA 13th-century mosaic of Jesus Christ Christians believe in one God who sent his son Jesus Christ to Earth to save people from sin by sacrificing his own life. The name Christ is from a Greek word meaning “the anointed one” (touched with holy oil). The Christian holy book, the Bible, contains both the Old Testament (similar to the Hebrew Bible, which is also a holy book for Jews) and the New Testament, which describes the life and work of Jesus and his disciples. There are 2.3 billion Christians, making it the world's largest religion. Christianity has three main branches—Roman Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox. In the Roman Catholic church, the Pope (from the Latin papa, "father") has supreme authority. Orthodox followers believe that their bishops are supreme. Protestants believe that the Bible is the only authority.

The shepherds visit Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem.The shepherds visit Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem.
A painting of the CrucifixionA painting of the Crucifixion

Jesus Christ

Jesus was born around 2000 years ago in Judaea (Judah), then part of the Roman Empire. He spent his life teaching people about love and forgiveness. He had many followers, but he made enemies among the Jewish priests. Disappointed that Jesus would not help them overthrow the hated Romans and re-establish a Jewish kingdom, the people of Jerusalem turned against him as well. The priests persuaded the Roman governor to condemn Jesus to death by crucifixion. Three days after his crucifixion, Jesus’s tomb was found to be empty: he was resurrected (risen from the dead). He then rose to heaven in what is known as his ascension.

The Sermon on the MountThe Sermon on the Mount

Teachings of Jesus

The Vatican City and the Pitcairn Islands (in the Pacific Ocean) are the only countries or territories where 100% of the inhabitants are Christian.

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