Churches in the world today

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Christianity has split into several different Churches over the centuries. The three great divisions are between:

  • The Roman Catholic Church, led by the Pope and based in Rome,
  • The Orthodox churches which are mostly to be found in Eastern Europe and around the Middle East and
  • The Protestant churches, which broke off from the Roman Catholic Church and have produced various different groupings over the last 500 years.

Sometimes these different groups have been in bitter argument, and even at war, and this grim history is still evident. When the Pope visited Greece several years ago, some leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church refused to meet him. This was because they still felt deeply about the massacres of their people carried out by Catholic Crusaders centuries ago.

However, in the 20th century, a movement began, called ecumenism, which called for the different churches to learn to work together and respect each other's common Christianity.

All around the Christian world Christians from different churches and denominations have started to work together for the common good. This is still developing. It has led some Christians to think again about the way in which they treat those with whom they don't agree.

This has had an impact on Christian relations with Jews. There are various projects where Christians and Jews (and sometimes Muslims) work together to recognise what they have in common as well as learn to respect their differences.