Describe the Spread of Christianity in the Middle East
Spread of Christianity in the Middle East
Christianity originated in the Middle East in the 1st century AD and was one of the major religions of the region. Christianity spread rapidly from Jerusalem along major trade routes, encompassing Egypt, North Africa, Syria, Asia Minor, Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Southern Europe. The most populous Christian cities included Alexandria, Antioch, Rome, Constantinople (4th century), and Jerusalem (5th century). However, doctrinal disputes in the 4th and 5th centuries provoked conflict in the church. Disagreements on the worship of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary formed the premise of the conflict. As a result, sects such as the Church of the East, Oriental Orthodox Church, and Eastern Orthodox Church were established.
This is a preview of the whole essay
As a result of the rise of Islam and the Arab-Muslim Conquest of the Middle East and North Africa in the 7th century, Christianity slowly declined in these regions, and by the 10th century, Christians made up only 10% of the population of the Islamic Empire. At the end of the eleventh century, the Crusades brought in the ideas of the Roman Catholic Church from the west. After the Crusades, many eastern churches formed religious bonds, known as communions, with the Roman Catholic Church. After the publication of Martin Luther's 95 Theses in the 16th century, Catholicism and Protestantism became the two dominant branches of Christianity. During the Enlightenment, religious and cultural ideas regarding the controversial subjects of astronomy, theology, and philosophy were examined more holistically, aided by Galileo's public opposition to the Roman Catholic Church. His support of science as a way of knowing altered a previously grounded Christian foundation in the west.
After the Reformation, western churches of reformed tradition traveled into Egypt, Lebanon, and surrounding areas in the 19th century to spread the ideas of Christianity. American Presbyterian missionaries' efforts to convert the native Jews to Christianity were largely unsuccessful. A growing hostility to Christians throughout the region, partly because of the rise of a more assertive form of Islam and partly because of a reaction to western imperial influences in the Middle East, caused the erosion of many Christian church members who opted to emigrate to the west in pursuit of greater religious freedom. Christian emigrants from all churches raised fears that Christianity could become extinct in its original homeland, including the Palestinian city of Jerusalem. All of the eastern Christian churches and the major western churches are represented in Jerusalem, whose holy places have continued to be the goal of Christian pilgrimage since the 4th century. Some of the other Eastern Churches have small communities in Jerusalem, while others are simply a diplomatic presence. There are also small communities of Anglicans, Lutherans and other reformed traditions in the city.