Speaking about religion in Europe cannot be separated from the discussion of Christianity. The majority of people in Europe are Christian. Therefore, Christianity becomes the biggest religion in Europe. Well, Christianity can be divided into some groups such as Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant, and others. Catholics become the biggest Christian group in Europe and following by Orthodox and Protestant. On the other hand, Christianity has been spread out through Europe. The biggest population of Christian in Europe is in Russia. Meanwhile, Germany becomes the second biggest Christianity. The third biggest Christianity country is Italy.
Well, Christianity is originally coming from the Middle East. However, since Christianity has been applied in Europe since the first century and legalized in the fourth century, the presence of Christianity in Europe is more meaningful than the presence of Christianity in the Middle East. Just like the community legalized to increase trust for online business. Christianity in Europe influences the life of western civilization. The influences can be seen in philosophy, architecture, science, art, and culture. For example, the number of saints in Europe is higher than in other continents. It proves that Christianity has been selected as the way of life for the people in Europe.
Christianity has a long way to go before becoming the largest religion in Europe. The first state that legalized Christianity as the religion in Armenia. This country did the legalization of Christianity in AD 301. Then, Armenia built the Etchmiadzin Cathedral in AD 301 – 303 that will be known as the Armenian Apostolic Church. Meanwhile, the Roman Empire as the greatest empire in Europe at that time legalized Christianity in AD 380. The Early Middle Ages became a great time when many areas in Europe got the Christianization process. The term Europe was also influenced by Christendom.
Christianity also affects the architecture in Europe. Since Christians need to gather for doing their pray, they need a spacious building that can accommodate all of the Christians. There are six types of Christian buildings such as house church, atrium, basilica, bema, mausoleum, and cruciform. Each type of building has its characteristics. The different groups on Christianity also affect the different styles of churches. For example, the church or cathedral between Eastern Christianity and Western Christianity is different. Eastern Christianity tends to build basilica. Meanwhile, Western Christianity tends to build Mausoleum. The culture of each nation also affects the ornament of the Christian Church. It can be found with the different architecture of the Church in Russia and Italy.
Praying always has important roles for everyone. They who believe in God will pray as the way to communicate with God. The same thing also happens to Christians. They believe in Christ and they pray to get blessings and deliver gratitude for the blessings that God has granted. In this case, there are many kinds of prayers and there are also many forms of prayer. Pilgrimage becomes one of them. This may be one of the extreme way in praying. People commonly do pilgrimage because they have special wish and they make themselves deserve to get the graces by doing pilgrimage. There are also people who do pilgrimage because they have got great blessing from God. Their prayers are answered and they want to thank God for it.
For the pilgrimage, actually it is not a new habit. The Apostles have done it and many saints and holy people of God also did pilgrimage. This becomes a great and sacred journey since this will not only make them feel worthy to get God’s grace, but this is also a good way to fight against the will of flesh, as what Jesus Christ has ordered. In the old time, people did pilgrimage by walking. They walked for tens up to hundreds kilometers and they were happy with this. Each pain and other bad experiences that was experienced were taken as a way of salvation for the sins. They dedicate the life and they make great effort since they with members want to be worthy in front of God.
Right now, there were only some of the people who do the pilgrimage by walking. There have been transportation and they use it. However, there are also some people who still want to do as the holy people of God did the pilgrimage. They want to feel the experiences of the sacred pilgrims. There are many great and sacred places to visit. Holy land of Jerusalem becomes the main spot since it is Jesus’ hometown and there are many sacred places to visit since those are representing God’s journey. Then, Grotto of Blessed Mary in Lourdes is the other famous place. This is the place where Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette and delivering some sacred messages for people.
People pray when they want to talk to God. The prayers can be about many things. Most of the people pray because they want to ask for somethings from the One who can give all what people need. They can have many kinds of wishes and hopes. There are also people who pray for saying thanks or gratitude because of what God has granted. Even, there are also people who pray to share their experiences. God is like a good friend who can always listen to many things since God himself who asks everyone to come to Him when they have heavy burden, and He will relieve the burdens.
About prayers, there are many kinds of prayers, and songs are some of them. For some people, they may think that songs are songs and this cannot be called as prayers. However, songs are things that cannot be separated from Christians’ life. This is like prayers and even there are proverbs saying that songs can work better than prayer. That is why in liturgy, there are prayers and songs and they are just like united things. They cannot be separated. Songs may not be sung, but they can be read as such poems. Of course, it is better when people sing the songs.
Songs for liturgy has a great effect. The songs can be a form of gratitude and this can be an effective way to make the heart say thanks to God. Songs can make the heart opened and the gratitude will be said consciously from the deepest part of heart. Then, songs can also be useful to make people reflect of things that have been done in life and bring such an awareness for them to turn their life. Of course, songs can be a sign that shows God is always be with His people. Sometimes, during the hardship, people sing and suddenly they feel touched. They feel that God is in there and God is listening to the prayer. Holy Spirit works through the songs to strengthen the heart of the faithful.
For Christian, there are some essential things for their faith in God. One of them is about sacraments. Sacraments has important roles in faith of Christians since it is related to the expression of faith, celebrations, and prayers. Sacraments are understood as means for the grace of God. God comes and grant blessings through sacraments, and Christians respond the faith and blessings by the sacraments. There are seven sacraments in Catholic Church. The first sacrament is Sacrament of Baptism. This is the first sacrament that will become the signs for people to be part of Catholic Church. In this sacrament, water and candle becomes two important instrument as the signs of purification and baptism, and also sign of guidance from the Holy Spirit. By the baptism, person will be included in Christ’s Salvation.
Then, the second sacrament is Sacrament of Confirmation. When the Baptism is to baptize and make someone being part of Catholic Church, Sacrament of Confirmation is to confirm person for their mission of proclamation of Faith and Gospel. Through the anointment of sacred oil, someone receive blessing and confirmation from Holy Spirit. God through the Holy Spirit will strengthen someone for the mission in the world. This sacrament is usually given by the hand of Bishop.
Then, the next sacrament is Sacrament of Eucharist. Sacrament of Eucharist is one of the mystery in Christian faith since in this sacrament, God shows his mercy and blessing for human. He sacrificed his only Son, Jesus Christ. Through His blood and body, people are saved. In the holy mass or Eucharist, they who have been declared as ready to receive the body of Christ, will receive the body of Christ in a form of consecrated bread. These three sacraments are called as the initiation sacraments.
Then, the fourth sacrament is matrimony. As its name, this sacrament is given to man and woman who are ready to live as husband and wife and become Christian family at Through this sacrament, the man and woman are united by God’s blessing and the marriage will never be broken.
That is why there is no divorce in Catholic Church. Only death can separate them. Then, the fifth sacrament is sacrament of Holy Order. Different from Sacrament of Matrimony, in this sacrament, someone will receive holy ordination to become priest. Then, the last sacrament is sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. This sacrament is given to provide strength for people who are sick. Usually, this is given for people who are going to face death because of the sickness.
For Christian, prayer cannot be separated from songs. In worships, Eucharist, and other events, songs and prayers share important roles. That is why songs cannot be easily separated from Christian life. In this case, even old proverbs say that singing works better than praying. This is famous proverb for Christians showing that singing songs are important and this cannot be separated from liturgy. In this case, of course there are many kinds of great benefits that make songs are also loved by Christians.
Firstly, songs make people relaxed. In some ways, people can also be more focus with the songs. That is why songs are used in many kinds of prayer. This is also why songs are used in meditation and contemplation. These two habits of prayers always have songs since these are helpful to make people get relaxed. They later can pray well and they can also meditate and contemplate easier. In a liturgy, songs are also important. In some ways, songs can say and deliver gratitude. Songs can be more effective than prayers in some chances since the songs involves emotion and people’s emotion can be easily carried away as the songs sung in the prayer. Sometimes, songs are also able to create moods, such as songs in the period of Lent. The songs have sad emotion and this is helpful to make people able to contemplate the sadness and sacrifices made by Christ for salvation of humans.
Then, songs can also make people feel as a unity. When the songs are sung in the worship or Eucharist, all of the people singing the songs can be united in the songs and they can pray well. These are great to experiences. Moreover, songs are also the good way to make people open their God to the God’s grace. These can be seen from some of Christians who use songs to feel and receive the Holy Spirit. Some of the people who sing can get graces to experiences Holy Spirit coming to them.
Prayers the means of communications of the believers to their God. In communication, Christians can say many things. They can say gratitude, adoration, and many other things. Of course, prayers also become a form of faith. There will be no prayers when there is no faith to God. People will never ask for somethings if they do not believe in God and they do not believe that God will grant them the wishes. They will not also say gratitude when they even do not feel GodÆs graces in their life. That is why prayer is the proclamation of faith. In this case, that is also why the first form of prayer is adoration or worship. This is the first point of prayer since people will never pray when they have no faith in God. They prayers because they want to worship Him and adore His graces that have made them alive. There are many forms of adoration and the one of the most common adoration is the adoration toward the Sacred Heart of Christ. There are many church that even has special devotion and adoration for the Sacred Heart of Christ.
Then, there is also prayer of petition. This is the common prayers done by Christians. Since they believe in God and His mercy, then they have prayers of petition. In this prayers, the faithful pray to ask for somethings that they need. There are many kinds of needs and these are not only about the spiritual needs. There are also physical needs and many kinds of things to ask. Some people pray to get miracles so they can be free from their sickness. The other people pray to ask for special blessings so they can have child. There are also some people who pray to ask for GodÆs forgiveness. In praying, people also do such kinds of special devotion, such as novena toward Blessed Mary. There are many forms of novena for Blessed Mary since Christians believe that Mother Mary will deliver the prayers toward her lovely son, Jesus Christ.
Moreover, there is also prayers of thanksgiving. Sometimes, the players forget about this. Most of the prayers are about the petition and sometimes there is also prayers of worship and adoration. However, most of the people forget to thank God for things that they have received. They ask for somethings, but they will forget after their prayer is answered by God. Luckily, God is merciful and he keeps blessing his beloved humans with abundance of blessings.
Just like other religions in the world, Christianity also has its own practice of praying. And just like other religions in the world, prayer forms an important set of activity in Christianity. Christian prayers are diverse; a practitioner can read the prayers from a text or pray spontaneously at a moment’s notice. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer is an example of text containing prayers Christians can read from. The Lord’s Prayer is perhaps the most common type of prayer among Christians Matthew 6:9-13 explains that the prayer is one that Jesus used to teach his followers to pray. Within Christianity, the Lord’s Prayer is a model for petition, confession, and adoration at the same time. Christian prayers commonly consist of three stages. It begins with vocal prayer. The procession then moves forward to some sort of meditation. Everything is then capped off with a series of contemplation, which is also called intercession.
Based on its setting, Christian prayers can be divided into two major groups: corporate/public and private. Corporate prayer is done by sharing the prayer with everyone in worship setting or other public areas. Prayers in this setting can be read from a formal written text or informal impromptu prayers. Private prayers, on the other hand, are done by an individual within a setting that is private. The prayers can be done either aloud or silently.
Christian prayers can also be classified into several categories based on the way they are structured. Liturgical prayers are commonly found in Catholic Church. This category is very orthodox in nature and the prayers are done according to Catholic credo. A Catholic Mass is an example of worship in liturgical form. During the Mass, bible readings are held and priest will read a sermon. Non-liturgical prayers are often found in Evangelical church. Generally speaking, prayers of this type are more informal in structure as they are not scripted. Another characteristic of this prayer is that it is often done extemporaneously. The last type is the charismatic prayers. The prayers of this kind can be observed. As a matter of fact, within Pentecostal churches charismatic prayers are the main form of worship. The prayers are typically structured with songs and dances. Other kinds of artistic expressions may also be involved. An apparent structure may be absent in this type; rather, the worshippers are said to be guided by the God himself.
Prayers has important roles in life of Christians. Prayers become the main way to communicate with God. Human pray to say gratitude for things that they have got. They also pray to ask for somethings in a form of wishes and hopes. There are also prayers of lamentation and many other things to say in the prayers. Talking about prayers and communication with God, Eucharist becomes the central part of all. Eucharist has liturgy in it and these have important parts from the beginning until the closing part of the Eucharist. The main part of this is when there is holy consecration where wine and bread are turned into blood and flesh of Christ as what he has scarified for the salvation of all human. There is also moment when the Holy Bible is read and there is homily to reflect what God says to his fellow humans.
Of course, there are also prayers in daily life of Christians. They pray when they wake up in the morning and before they start their activities. Then, they will close the day with night prayer. These are common to see and there are many kinds of prayers. Some of the prayers are spontaneous prayers, it means that this has no formula and it is a personal prayer. Everyone speaks as what they want to say to God. However, there are also some prayers that have special formulas and these are prayers passed down from the old time. There are many prayers and Rosary is one of them. This is special prayer as the devotion to Mother Mary. This is quite popular prayer for players and there are special months for this devotion. There are October and May dedicated as the month of Mary and month of Rosary.
Of course, there are also songs that cannot be separated from the Christian belief. Songs have been part of prayers and these have been from the era of Old Testament. Moses and the Jews had many kinds of songs. There are also Psalms in Old Testament that becomes collection and compilation of songs and poems for God. These are still used up to now and there are some psalms and poems in the Psalms of Old Testament composed into songs. Songs also become important part of liturgy. There are songs used in the liturgy starting from the opening songs up to closing songs. The songs are used to bring nuances and prepare the heart.
For Christians, sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ become the core of faith. His sacrifice brings salvation for every human who believe in him. That is why this sacred events are celebrated and these becomes so important in the liturgy. That is why Christians have Easter or Passover as the celebration of Jesus who have won against the death and he could raise from the death. Easter becomes the main celebration for Christians. Before the Easter, there is period of Lent as the preparation for the Christians to welcome Jesus’s resurrection and winning against the death.
It is true that Easter or Passover becomes the special events for Christians. In this event, people commemorate special events that become the event of salvation. This is the moment when God sacrificed his only Son to redeem human’s sins. This salvation happened once for all eternity and this salvation is for people who believe in him. That is why this becomes so important. During the period of Lent, people are fasting as what the people in the Old Testament did. Christians take this opportunity to share the sadness and suffering that Jesus Christ had to experience for the redemption and salvation of human. By the period of Lent, people take part in his suffering, death, and resurrection.
There are many things to do during the period of Lent. There are 40 days and mostly people take fasting as the main things to do. Then, there are also charity actions done for people who are in need. This is very common to do since Christians do not only want to feel the good life, but they also want to share the good life to the unfortunate people, especially in the special moment of Lent. There are also communal prayers in certain community or group of Christians. All of these activities are to make Christian able to take part in Christ’s salvation.
Ora et labora. That is the Latin proverb that is so famous and this is so familiar for Christians. Christians are so closely related to prayers and there are many kinds of prayers. Related to the proverb, it can be translated into ôpray and workö. This becomes a famous proverb, but it does not mean that people will literally pray while working. It is more about bringing spirit of prayer in daily life. It is about remembering God in all things that people do in daily life. Related to this, there is a prayer called contemplation in action. This is famous especially for people in the monastery. They spend their daily life in the monastery and they have daily routine of prayer. There are many prayers to do during the daily activities.
For the life in monastery, they are so familiar with contemplation. It is like meditation, but it is more active compared to the meditation. This kind of prayer is more about being silence and try to reflect things related to the God or Bible. There are many things to reflect and these are connected to the daily life. What they do in the daily life will be connected in the reflection. These are to find the meaning of what they do and try to understand what God says in the activity. This is totally important for the people in the monastery.
Commonly, these are done in combination with music of Taize. This kind of music is getting more popular since it is effective to bring people deeper in the state of meditating. This is so popular and even people outside the monastery start to do it. There are many communities make some kinds of activities related to the meditation and contemplation and this is in combination of Taize music. This will be great things to do and this is worth to try.
Under the genre of Christian music is the gospel music. Culture and social context affect the definition, significance, performance, and creation of gospel music. There are many purposes of gospel music: It could be for esthetic pleasure, for religious and ceremonial purposes, or a form of entertainment to be put out on the marketplace. Elements of gospel music consist of Christian lyrics and vocals dominating the composition. With roots in the black oral tradition, gospel music is an art form that dates back to the early 17th century. To accompany the composition, some churches resort to hand clapping and foot-stomping instead of musical instruments. Meanwhile, the term ôgospel musicö itself was first used in 1874. Authors such as Fanny Crosby, William Howard Doane, Charles H. Gabriel, Philip Bliss, and George F. Root can be said to be the composers of the original gospel songs. When radio first emerged in the 1920s, audience for gospel music became much wider. Gospel music moved into major auditoriums after World War II. Since then, concerts for gospel music turn out to be even more elaborate in the process.
There is another subgenre of gospel music called gospel blues. This genre is formed by basing the composition on the blues music. Application of this merger is apparent through combining evangelical lyrics with blues guitar. Other subgenres include Southern gospel, progressive Southern gospel, and Christian country music. The Christian country music is also known as country gospel music and it reached its popularity during the mid-1990s. Another subgenre of gospel music is bluegrass gospel music. The subgenre is derived from American mountain music. Celtic gospel music, on the other hand, mixes things up with Celtic influences and is popular especially in Ireland. The British black gospel is gospel music produced in the UK but is influenced by African diaspora.
The common elements of gospel music are vocals and Christian lyrics. Modern gospel music uses lyrics that are not explicitly Christian in spirit and may emphasize on the sound only. Some forms of gospel music may also involve choirs, Hammond organ or piano, bass guitar, drums, tambourines, and electric guitar. Gospel music is quite different from hymns. Hymns are composed in a measure that is statelier while gospel music comes with a syncopated rhythm as well as a refrain. In essence, gospel music contains some sort of religious warning or exhortation, persuasion, or testimony, or all of those aspects at once.
The purported miracles of Jesus of Nazareth (in addition to his life and teachings) form the basis of Christianity as an Abrahamic monotheistic religion. Jesus is the primary figure in the form of belief, he who is also known as the Messiah or the Christ. With 2.4 billion followers (roughly 33% of the global population), Christianity holds the record for being the largest religion in the world. Christians, those who practice Christianity, view Jesus as the Son of God who will come back to the world as the Messiah to save humanity, a prophecy written in the Old Testament. Western Civilization has Christianity to thank for its role in shaping the world. Christianity dated back to the mid-1st century, where it first emerged out of Judaism as a Judaic sect of Second Temple. Its birthplace was Judea, a Roman province, from which it spread across the world including Syria, Anatolia, Europe, Transcaucasia,
Mesopotamia, Ethiopia, Egypt, as well as the Indian subcontinent. Christianity had become the Roman EmpireÆs official state religion at the end of the 4th century. After the Age of Discovery, the religion spread to sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and the Americas through colonization and missionary work.
The Nicene Creed and the ApostlesÆ Creed contain the basic theology of Christianity. The creeds dictate that Jesus first suffered on the cross and died. He was buried subsequently and descended into hell. From there, he would rise back and offer eternal life to anyone who has faith in him. Those granted happiness will also be forgiven for their sins in the past. The creeds also say that Christ rises to heaven to unite with God the Father and the Holy Spirit and reigns there. He would then return to the world to provide judgment for both the living and the dead.
Written accounts of the life and teaching of Jesus are referred to as the gospel. There are four gospels of such nature: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These four gospels are canonical and are contained within the 5th century Christian Bible of the original Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches during a period known as the Great churchùuntil the two split during an event called East-West Schism in 1054. There are currently four large branches of Christianity: the Catholic Church, Protestantism, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Oriental Orthodoxy. The East-West Schism refers to the split between the Catholic, the Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox churches. Protestantism broke communion from the Catholic Church in the 16th century.