Christianity is the largest religion in Europe. Christianity has been practiced in Europe since the first century, and a number of the Pauline Epistles were addressed to Christians living in Greece, as well as other parts of the Roman Empire.
As 2010 Catholics were the largest Christian group in Europe, accounting for more than 48% of European Christians. The second-largest Christian group in Europe were the Orthodox, who made up 32% of European Christians. About 19% of European Christians were part of the Protestant tradition. Russia is the largest Christian country in Europe by population, followed by Germany and Italy.
Since at least the legalization of Christianity by the Roman Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, Europe has been an important centre of Christian culture, even though the religion was inherited from the Middle East and important Christian communities have thrived outside Europe such as Oriental Orthodoxy and the Church of the East since the time of Christ. Christian culture has been an important force in Western civilization, influencing the course of philosophy, art, and science.
Europe has a rich Christian culture, especially as numerous saints, martyrs and popes were European themselves. All of the Roman Catholic popes from 741 to 2013 were from Europe. Europe brought together many of the Christian holy sites and heritage and religious centers.
Historians believe that St. Paul wrote his first epistle to the Christians of Thessaloniki (Thessalonians) around AD 52. His Epistle to the Galatians was perhaps written even earlier, between AD 48 and 50. Other epistles written by Paul were directed to Christians living in Greece (1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Philemon, Philippians, 2 Thessalonians) and Rome (Romans) between the 50s and 70s of the first century.
The Record of Saint Dorotheus Bishop of Tyre is that the Church at Tyre sent Saint Aristobulus (of the seventy) to Britain as bishop in AD 37. The Church seems to have been begun by him around the Bristol Channel area and 150 years later we have names of bishops recorded. By AD 550 there are recorded 120 bishops spread throughout the British Isles.
Armenia was the first state in the world to adopt Christianity as its state religion in AD 301. The oldest state-built church in the world, Etchmiadzin Cathedral, was built between AD 301–303. It is the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Roman Empire officially adopted Christianity in AD 380. During the Early Middle Ages, most of Europe underwent Christianization, a process essentially complete with the Baltic Christianization in the 15th century. The emergence of the notion of "Europe" or the "Western World" is intimately connected with the idea of "Christendom", especially since Christianity in the Middle East was marginalized by the rise of Islam from the 7th century, a constellation that led to the Crusades, which although unsuccessful militarily were an important step in the emergence of a religious identity of Europe. At all times, traditions of folk religion existed largely independent from official denominations or dogmatic theology.
Movements in art and philosophy, such as the Humanist movement of the Renaissance and the Scholastic movement of the High Middle Ages, were motivated by a drive to connect Catholicism with Greek thought imported by Christian pilgrims.
East–West Schism and Protestant Reformation
The East–West Schism of the 11th century and the Protestant Reformation of the 16th tore "Christendom" into hostile factions. Following the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, atheism and agnosticism became widespread in Western Europe. 19th-century Orientalism contributed to a certain popularity of Buddhism, and the 20th century brought increasing syncretism, New Age and various new religious movements divorcing spirituality from inherited traditions for many Europeans. The latest history brought increased secularisation, and religious pluralism.
Western culture, throughout most of its history, has been nearly equivalent to Christian culture, and many of the population of the Western hemisphere could broadly be described as cultural Christians. The notion of "Europe" and the "Western World" has been intimately connected with the concept of "Christianity and Christendom" many even attribute Christianity for being the link that created a unified European identity.
Though Western culture contained several polytheistic religions during its early years under the Greek and Roman empires, as the centralized Roman power waned, the dominance of the Catholic Church was the only consistent force in Europe. Until the Age of Enlightenment, Christian culture guided the course of philosophy, literature, art, music and science. Christian disciplines of the respective arts have subsequently developed into Christian philosophy, Christian art, Christian music, Christian literature etc.
Christianity had a significant impact on education and science and medicine as the church created the bases of the Western system of education, and was the sponsor of founding universities in the Western world as the university is generally regarded as an institution that has its origin in the Medieval Christian setting. Many clerics throughout history have made significant contributions to science and Jesuits in particular have made numerous significant contributions to the development of science. The Civilizing influence of Christianity includes social welfare, founding hospitals, economics politics, architecture, literature and family life.
Although the Protestant reformation was a religious movement, it also had a strong impact on all other aspects of European life: marriage and family, education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy, and the arts.
- Catholic Church: European countries or areas with significant Catholic populations are Andorra, Austria, western Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, France, western and southern Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latgale region in Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the east and south of the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, central and southern Switzerland, western Ukraine and Vatican City. There are also large Catholic minorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina (13-17%), Albania (10-15%). In the Czech Republic, Catholics are 10% of the population. In Serbia and Romania, Catholics constitute over 5% of the overall population.
- Eastern Orthodox Christianity: European countries or areas with significant Eastern Orthodox populations are Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, North Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, and the European parts of Kazakhstan. Eastern Orthodox Christians are a large minority in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Estonia.[a] Small minorities of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Finland (especially Karelia), Lithuania, Armenia, and Poland.
- Oriental Orthodox Christianity: Armenia has a large Oriental Orthodox majority.
- Protestantism: European countries or areas with significant Protestant populations are Denmark, Finland, the central, eastern and northern parts of Germany, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the central and northern part of the Netherlands, and the eastern, northern and western parts of Switzerland. There are significant Protestant minorities in Estonia, Latvia, France, the northeastern Piedmont region of Italy, Slovakia, the western and southern parts of Germany, the eastern part of Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, Ireland, Serbia and Romania.
- Anglicanism (or Episcopalianism, in Scotland) is the largest denomination in the United Kingdom (England and Wales), with a large minority in Northern Ireland, and smaller numbers in the Republic of Ireland, Malta, Scotland, Spain and Portugal. Communities also exist throughout Europe, particularly in large cities and other regions where British ex-pat communities live (see Diocese in Europe). The US-based Episcopal Church has long had a presence in Western Europe (see Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe).
- Calvinism in forms of Continental Reformed Church, Presbyterianism and Congregationalism is predominant in North and West Switzerland, in the Netherlands, and there are minorities in Germany and Hungary. It is the main religion in Scotland and a large minority in Northern Ireland, and smaller numbers in England and Wales, Ireland and Malta.
- Lutheranism is prevalent in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Northern and Western Germany. There are also minorities throughout Europe, particularly in Southern Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary and Alsace (France), with smaller numbers in Austria, Poland, and the Netherlands, Romania (among the German and Hungarian ethnic groups), Switzerland, Italy and the United Kingdom.
- Note that most Calvinist and Lutheran churches in mainland Europe have merged to united Protestant churches (e.g. in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France). Exclusive Lutheranism still prevails in Scandinavia.
- Methodism is an important minority denomination in both Great Britain and Ireland. Methodism and especially the United Methodist Church is present in most countries of Europe.
- Pew Forum, Religious Composition by Country, 2010-2050
- Christianity in Europe, including the Asian part of Russia, excluding the European part of Turkey
- Koch, Carl (1994). The Catholic Church: Journey, Wisdom, and Mission. Early Middle Ages: St. Mary's Press. ISBN 978-0-88489-298-4.
- Dawson, Christopher; Glenn Olsen (1961). Crisis in Western Education (reprint ed.). ISBN 978-0-8132-1683-6.
- "After Benedict: who will be the next Pope?". Speroforum.com. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- Quoted in Robin Lane Fox, The Unauthorized Version, 1992:235.
- Johannes Schade (2006), The Encyclopedia of World Religions, Foreign Media Booksll, ISBN 978-1-60136-000-7
- Howard Clark Kee, Franklin W. Young (1957), Understanding the New Testament, Prentice Hall, ISBN 978-0-13-948266-3
- Koch, Carl (1994). The Catholic Church: Journey, Wisdom, and Mission. High Middle Ages: St. Mary's Press. ISBN 9780884892984.
- Koch, Carl (1994). The Catholic Church: Journey, Wisdom, and Mission. Renaissance: St. Mary's Press. ISBN 9780884892984.
- Dawson, Christopher; Glenn Olsen (1961). Crisis in Western Education (reprint ed.). p. 25. ISBN 9780813216836.
- Henkel, Reinhard and Hans Knippenberg "The Changing Religious Landscape of Europe" edited by Knippenberg published by Het Spinhuis, Amsterdam 2005 ISBN 90-5589-248-3, pages 7-9
- Dawson, Christopher; Glenn Olsen (1961). Crisis in Western Education (reprint ed.). p. 108. ISBN 9780813216836.
- Koch, Carl (1994). The Catholic Church: Journey, Wisdom, and Mission. The Age of Enlightenment: St. Mary's Press. ISBN 978-0-88489-298-4.
- Dawson, Christopher; Olsen, Glenn (1961). Crisis in Western Education (reprint ed.). ISBN 978-0-8132-1683-6.
- Encyclopædia Britannica Forms of Christian education
- Rüegg, Walter: "Foreword. The University as a European Institution", in: A History of the University in Europe. Vol. 1: Universities in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-521-36105-2, pp. XIX–XX
- Verger, Jacques (1999). Culture, enseignement et société en Occident aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles (in French) (1st ed.). Presses universitaires de Rennes in Rennes. ISBN 286847344X. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- Susan Elizabeth Hough, Richter's Scale: Measure of an Earthquake, Measure of a Man, Princeton University Press, 2007, ISBN 0691128073, p. 68.
- Woods 2005, p. 109.
- Encyclopædia Britannica Jesuit
- Encyclopædia Britannica Church and social welfare
- Encyclopædia Britannica Care for the sick
- Encyclopædia Britannica Property, poverty, and the poor,
- Weber, Max (1905). The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
- Encyclopædia Britannica Church and state
- Sir Banister Fletcher, History of Architecture on the Comparative Method.
- Buringh, Eltjo; van Zanden, Jan Luiten: "Charting the 'Rise of the West': Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe, A Long-Term Perspective from the Sixth through Eighteenth Centuries", The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 69, No. 2 (2009), pp. 409–445 (416, table 1)
- Encyclopædia Britannica The tendency to spiritualize and individualize marriage
- Karl Heussi, Kompendium der Kirchengeschichte, 11. Auflage (1956), Tübingen (Germany), pp. 317-319, 325-326
- Regional Distribution of Christians Pew Research Center
- Predominant Religions
- Summary of Religious Bodies in Albania Archived 2013-05-30 at the Wayback Machine (Source: World Christian Encyclopedia, 2001, Oxford University Press. Vol 1: p. 51)
- As the denomination surpass Lutheranism in its country, since the early 2010s
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Christianity in Europe.|
- Antemurale Christianitatis
- Catholic Church in Europe
- Church attendance
- Conference of European Churches
- Islam in Europe
- Religion in Europe
- Religion in the European Union
- Christianity by country
- Catholic Church by country
- Protestantism by country
- Religion in North America
- Religion in South America
- Irreligion in Europe
- List of religious populations
- Major world religions