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Western Christianity

Western Christianity is a branch of the Christian religion. It is most generically held in contrast with Eastern Christianity.

Owing to several differences in approaches to theology, the church witnessed a break in communion and separated as the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Western Christianity includes individuals who are members of the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches. Most commonly, the members of this faction have ancestors that can be geographically traced backed to Western Europe.

The Latin Church and several denominations of the Protestant movement predominated much of Europe, Northern and Southern Africa, Australia and a large part of the Western Hemisphere.

Protestantism and Catholicism shared many similarities in their beliefs, approaches and customs and collectively came to be referred as Western Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox Church, on the other hand, had a completely different approach and separate practices.


Even during the 4th Century, there were growing conflicts and differences between Christians from Western Europe and those from Eastern Europe. Most of these differences were cultural, political, sociological and theological in nature. One of the major differences had to do with language. The churches in Western Europe were conducted in Latin and those in the East were strictly Greek. The language barrier posed a real threat to the continuity of Christianity as a unified religion and in year 1054, the East-West Schism occurred.

Distinctions from Eastern Christianity
  • The Western Church presented all its sermons, doctrines and scriptures exclusively in Latin
  • The administration of the Western Church was governed by one individual- the Bishop of Rome.
  • The Bishop or the Pope of Rome had universal jurisdiction over matters of the church.
  • The Pope also had supreme authority over doctrines.
  • An important theological difference was the ‘immaculate conception of Virgin Mary.
Other Salient Features of Western Christianity Original Sin

According to the theology supported by western Christianity, ‘The deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin.’

Filioque Clause

One of the major reasons for the east-west split was the Nicene Creed. According to the doctrines of Western Christianity,the Holy Spirit "proceeds from the Father and the Son". The original doctrine adopted by Constantinople states that ‘the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father’ and leaves it at that. The addition of the Filioque Cause was not well received by the faction of the church now known as the Greek Eastern Orthodox Church.

Date of Easter

Easter is the most important moveable feast celebrated by members of the Christian religion. However, members of the Roman Catholic Church along with those from various Protestant churches celebrate Easter on a day that is different from the date on which Easter is celebrated by members of the Orthodox Church. The formula for calculating the date of Eastern is the same, but the dates differ because Western Christianity uses the Gregorian calendar to mark its dates for the liturgical year.

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