Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Religious Studies
Editors: Erwin Fahlbusch, Jan Milič Lochman, John Mbiti, Jaroslav Pelikan and Lukas Vischer

The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online describes modern-day Christian beliefs and communities in the context of 2000 years of apostolic tradition and Christian history. Based on the third, revised edition of the critically acclaimed German work Evangelisches Kirchenlexikon. The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online includes all 5 volumes of the print edition of 1999-2008 which has become a standard reference work for the study of Christianity past and present. Comprehensive, reflecting the highest standards in scholarship yet intended for a wide range of readers, the The Encyclopedia of Christianity Online also looks outward beyond Christianity, considering other world religions and philosophies as it paints the overall religious and socio-cultural picture in which the Christianity finds itself.

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(763 words)

Author(s): Streck, Bernhard
Some human rights groups and nongovernmental organizations today have suggested substituting the names “Roma” and “Sinti” for the collective term “Gypsies” (Ger. Zigeuner, Gk. Athinganoi, Lat. cingari, possibly from Pers. zang [iron, tin]; Eng. “Gypsy” represents a back-formation of gipcyan, var. of “Egyptian,” from a belief that Gypsies came originally from Egypt). Since the Middle Ages the traditional designation “Gypsy” has allegedly been perceived as a term of discrimination (Prejudice). “Roma” and “Sinti” designate the two …

Roman Catholic Church

(8,155 words)

Author(s): Kennedy, Arthur L.
The term “Roman Catholic Church” is a specific designation of the church that is in union with the bishop of Rome, known also as the patriarch of the West and the pope. Since some Eastern churches are also in union with the bishop of Rome but do not worship according to the Latin, or Roman, ritual (e.g., Melchite, Maronite, and Chaldean), the Roman Catholic Church most frequently speaks of itself as the Catholic Church, as can be seen in all 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), and also throughout the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994; Catholic, Catholicity, 1.3; Chur…

Roman Empire

(5,381 words)

Author(s): Vollmer, Dankward
1. Age of the Republic 1.1. Rise of Rome The Roman Empire developed out of the city of Rome. Favorably situated for commerce on the Tiber River and on a road used to transport salt, Rome became an urban center (from 650 b.c. onward) under the influence of an alien aristocracy that spoke another language, the Etruscans of Etruria, Tuscany. Older settlements on the individual Roman hills go back to the 10th/9th and 8th centuries (the legendary date of its founding is 753 b.c.). Most of the people were enga…


(3,157 words)

Author(s): Molnár, János
1. General Features Romania became a separate state in 1859 as a result of the 1848 revolutions, when Moldavia in the east (between the Eastern Carpathian Mountains and the Prut River) and Walachia in the south (between the Transylvanian Alps and the Danube) elected a common prince, with a united national assembly to follow in 1862. In 1866 the two brought in a foreign ruler, Charles of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, who was prince (1866–81) and then king (1881–1914). Independence was consolidated under Charles during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, and Romania became a kingdom in 1881. In …

Roman Religion

(3,922 words)

Author(s): Cancik, Hubert
1. Definition 1.1. Distinctions In their classic epoch the Romans clearly distinguished their religion—the cultus deorum (cult of the gods), religiones (pl. religions), but also religio (sing.)—from other parts of their culture. Thus they maintained the difference between sacer and profanus (Sacred and Profane), ius divinum and ius humanum (divine and human law), and dies fasti, dies comitiales, and dies nefasti (days for business, for public assemblies, and for neither). The Romans structured religion from different angles: 1. legally, by nature, place, and time, as w…

Romans, Epistle to the

(1,918 words)

Author(s): Hübner, Hans
1. General Features P. Melanchtho…


(8,882 words)

Author(s): Burwick, Frederick
Romanticism, an intellectual and artistic movement associated with the fervor of revolutionary change ¶ that engaged all of Europe and the United States during the latter third of the 18th and the first third of the 19th century, left no discipline of human endeavor unaltered. There was a Romantic way of playing the violin, as in the spontaneity and virtuosity of Niccolò Paganini (1782–1840), whose left-hand pizzicato, double-stop harmonics, and ricochet bowings made it seem that he played in duet with an inv…


(2,832 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier-Wiederanders, Gerlinde
1. Concept Situated on the Tiber, Rome (Lat. and It. Roma) is the capital of Italy and the seat of the papacy. On the basis of its history it is not just the name of a city but also, like Jerusalem, a religious concept. It is a holy city, even eschatologically, as the eternal city, Roma aeterna, and so forth. This meaning goes back to antiquity, when Rome was the origin and center of the empire that its citizens seized and founded (Roman Empire). 2. History In the following centuries romanitas, the culture or aura of the Roman Empire, became a leading concept in movements of church…


(805 words)

Author(s): Beinert, Wolfgang
1. Form “Rosary” (from Lat. rosarium, “rose garden”) refers to a meditation on the Christian mysteries of salvation from a Marian standpoint (Mary, Devotion to). The name, which derives from the flowers used to adorn statues of Mary, traces back to a Spanish legend (1270) according to which Mary prefers an Ave Maria to flowers. The rosary now takes the form of an introduction (sign of the cross, reciting of the Apostles’ Creed, Gloria Patri, the Lord’s Prayer, three Ave Marias) and sets of five “mysteries” (each preceded by the Lord’s Prayer and fo…


(812 words)

Author(s): Ruppert, Hans-Jürgen
1. Older Rosicrucians Shortly before the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), among Tübingen student friends of J. V. Andreae (1586–1654), who later became general superintendent and court preacher, there appeared two anonymous Rosicrucian manifestoes— Fama Fraternitas (Account of the brotherhood, 1614) and Confessio Fraternitatis (Confession of the fraternity, 1615)—followed by Chymische Hochzeit Christiani Rosencreutz (The chemical wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz, 1616), now known to have been written by Andreae. These are the first traces of the repo…

Rule of Faith

(713 words)

Author(s): Wyrwa, Dietmar | Bromiley, Geoffrey W.
1. Early Church The phrase “rule of faith” (regula fidei), equivalent to “rule of truth,” is a term and concept that we first find in Irenaeus (ca. 130–ca. 200). It then occurs in almost all second- and third-century church fathers but is less common in Constantinian usage. As the defining genitive shows, what is meant is the substance of Christian faith, or truth as a standard and normative authority. In the rule of faith the church has preserved the quintessence of Christian belief, and it has shown its fidelity to the apostolic tradition by maintaining the r…


(5 words)

See Household Rules

Rural Missions

(7 words)

See Urban Rural Mission


(6,194 words)

Author(s): Pospielovsky, Dimitry V.
1. Nineteenth-Century Reforms 1.1. The Political Background Early Russian statehood was based on the Byzantine symphōnia principle of a partnership between ¶ church and state (more often abused than adhered to). That structure came to its final end in Russia with the abolition by Peter the Great (ruled 1682–1725) of the patriarchate and its replacement by the czar as the terrestrial head of the church and a synod ruled by an emperor-appointed bureaucrat. After this point, to use the term “autocrat” for Russian czars…

Russian Orthodox Church

(11,193 words)

Author(s): Pospielovsky, Dimitry V.
1. Beginnings 1.1. The Baptism of Russia The historical event known as the baptism of Rus’ occurred around 988, when Vladimir I (ruled 980–1015), grand prince of Kiev, ordered the conversion of all Russians to Byzantine Christianity, beginning in Kiev. There is no evidence of any large-scale resistance to the new faith in the Dnieper River area, since Christianity had been known there for at least a century and a half, and Vladimir’s grandmother Princess Olga had been baptized into the Greek church, pr…

Ruth, Book of

(1,492 words)

Author(s): Huwiler, Elizabeth
1. Narrative Elements The Book of Ruth is a tightly crafted narrative; interpreters consider it a short story or novella. That is, the way it makes sense is as a narrative. And to make sense of it readers need to attend to characterization, setting, and plot. 1.1. Characterization The major characters in the book are Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. There are also minor characters: Elimelech, Mahlon, Chilion, Orpah, the women of Bethlehem, field hands, the relative nearer than Boaz, and the baby Obed. These characters are known through their own speech…