Encyclopedia of Christianity Online

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

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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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(3,128 words)

Author(s): Sawatsky, Walter
In Christian history the Ukraine played a central role during the Slavicization of Eastern Christianity. It also played a key formative role as home of the largest and most active Greek, or Eastern Rite (Uniate), Catholic Church. Since Ukraine’s reemergence as a sovereign country in August 1991, there has been a struggle within Orthodoxy between those asserting an autocephalous patriarchate for Ukraine (the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kievan Patriarchate [UOC-KP], led since 1995 by Patriarch Filar…


(582 words)

Author(s): Kirchner, Hubert
In the 18th century the term “Ultramontanism” (Lat. “beyond the mountains,” here meaning the Alps) came into polemical use to describe a European Roman Catholicism that was oriented to the pope. The movement developed historically in reaction to national church movements such as Gallicanism, and theologically in opposition to the theses of Justinus Febronius (pseud. of J. N. von Hontheim [1701–90]) that would exalt the rights of bishops at the expense of the papacy (Episcopacy 1). Those who supported papal infallibility and papalism were Ultramonta…


(715 words)

Author(s): Flasche, Rainer
Umbanda is a new and consciously syncretistic (Syncretism) religion of Brazil. It is also a name for religious groups of Afro-Brazilian origin. Indian spirituality and elements of popular Catholicism (worship of the saints) contribute to it, along with spiritism, which is widespread in Brazil. The basis and historical starting point, however, are the structurally different African traditions of the originally northern Brazilian Candomblé (priestly type, West African religions) and the southern M…

Una Sancta Movement

(1,513 words)

Author(s): Voss, Gerhard
1. Name In Germany the Una Sancta movement—one of ecumenical awakening between the rise of National Socialism (Fascism) and Vatican II—was specifically ecclesiological, spiritual, and dialogic, and it embraced Protestant and Roman Catholic theologians, pastors, and laity, both men and women. In the worldwide 20th-century ecumenical movement the Una Sancta movement was part of the surge of interdenominational efforts that had arisen in the 19th century and that sought to renew the historical shape …


(4 words)

See Anointing


(1,264 words)

Author(s): Monsma, George
1. Definition and Causes Those who are over a certain age (often the maximum age of mandatory school attendance), who are totally without work, and who are available for work and actively seeking it are considered unemployed by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and most countries collecting statistics on unemployment. Those who work at all for pay (and often those who work without pay in family businesses) are considered employed. The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percentage of the total number of those employed and unemployed (Work). Although unemploymen…


(421 words)

Author(s): Kimminich, Otto | Editors, the
The founding of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was proposed in 1943 by the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education, which was meeting to seek ways of rebuilding the systems of education crippled by the war. The UNESCO charter was signed in London by 37 countries on November 16, 1945. Its model was the International Committee of Intellectual Co-operation, which the League of Nations had organized in January 1921. As of October 2005, UNESCO had 191 member states and 6 associate members. Because of tensions between states,…

Uniate Churches

(1,884 words)

Author(s): Suttner, Ernst C. | Editors, the
1. Phenomenon So-called Uniate Churches are churches of Eastern Christendom that are in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. The term “uniate” was first used by those opposed to the Union of Brest-Litovsk (1595/96), which brought many Ukrainian Orthodox believers into allegiance with Rome. The churches thus united with Rome, which prefer to call themselves Eastern Catholic (EC) churches, belong to various traditions, following Byzantine, Coptic, Syrian, and other rites. The several EC churches of the Byzantine tradition, which were given the designation “Greek-…

Unification Church

(1,795 words)

Author(s): Beverley, James A.
1. History The Unification Church is one of the most well-known and controversial new religious movements (New Religions). It is led by Korean native Sun Myung Moon, who was born on January 6, 1920. He was influenced in his youth both by traditional Christian churches and by several indigenous Korean religious movements (South Korea 2). Moon’s disciples believe that Jesus appeared to Moon on April 17, 1935, and that Moon was asked to fulfill the mission of Jesus. Moon has been married twice. His first marriage lasted over ten years (1943–53), and Moon has one child from t…

Unio mystica

(6 words)

See Mystical Union


(1,702 words)

Author(s): Kirchner, Hubert
1. Term As a model of church unity and unification, union has a long history. Various forms of union have taken place, so that a single definition is hardly possible. 1.1. From the Middle Ages different unions have been contracted between the Roman Catholic Church and parts of the Orthodox Church that have integrated Orthodox Church structures into the worldwide Roman Catholic Church (note the union bull of Clement VIII in 1595, Magnus Dominus et laudabilis: “we receive, unify, attach, annex, and incorporate”; see N. Thon, 394). The Orthodox Church retained the liturgi…


(2,370 words)

Author(s): Hill, Andrew M.
1. Term The name “Unitarian” implies oneness—in particular, the oneness of God. On occasion, this name has been used to identify any monotheistic faith (Monotheism), but more usually it refers to a diverse group of churches and religious movements in continental Europe, the British Isles, and North America that emerged, for the most part, from various branches of Reformed Protestant Christianity. Sometimes these churches and movements have used the Unitarian name, while at other times they have de…

United and Uniting Churches

(4,006 words)

Author(s): Best, Thomas F.
United churches are those formed through the union of two or more existing churches to produce a new, autonomous church. In a united church the separate identities of the uniting churches have been brought together such that all members share an agreed basis of faith and form a single eucharistic fellowship; all have become responsible for one another within one ecclesial community; all members and ministers are recognized as members and ministers of that church with a defined place in its life …

United Arab Emirates

(937 words)

Author(s): Power, Bernard J.
1. General Situation Few countries have undergone the dramatic changes experienced by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the last quarter of the 20th century. Located between Saudi Arabia and Oman on the northeast part of the Arabian Peninsula, its seven constituent emirates (Arab. emir, “prince”), or states, are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. They have undergone remarkable economic and social development, being transformed from a population of indigent nomads into prosperous modern communiti…

United Kingdom

(8,367 words)

Author(s): Smith, Mark
1. Historical Development The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is constituted from four major units: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Each of these regions has had a distinct history, both secular and ecclesiastical. The present article deals with the first three of these regions, collectively known as Great Britain until the 17th century, when the part of Ireland that became “Northern Ireland” in 1920 began to develop a distinctive religious identity. From that p…

United Nations

(1,870 words)

Author(s): Pierard, Richard V.
1. Origins The concept of an association of all the nations of the world to keep the peace and promote international cooperation seems to have originated with British foreign secretary Edward Grey (1905–16) and was promoted during World War I by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson (1913–21) in his statement of war and peace aims (the Fourteen Points). A commission at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 drafted the covenant for the League of Nations (LN, Société des Nations), and it was included in all the peace treaties. The LN, with headquar…

United States of America

(5,352 words)

Author(s): Marty, Martin E.
1. Christian Churches 1.1. Indian Churches The story of Christianity in the United States of America should begin with reference to the conversion of Native Americans, long called Indians. Most of the conquerors and settlers claimed to have interest in converting the Indians by baptizing them and leading them to faith (Mission). However, a combination of several factors kept the Indians from being receptive to attempts at conversion. First, they had suffered terribly in acts of “Indian removal,” espec…


(2,696 words)

Author(s): Gassmann, Günther
On the basis of the biblical witness, and with the early creeds, Christianity confesses one church. From the beginning of the church, theological reflection has been concerned about the church’s unity, and ecclesiastical and theological history has sought to maintain or regain it. With the rise of the ecumenical movement, the struggle for unity became a dominant feature of church history in the 20th century, and it will continue to be an urgent task in the 21st century. 1. Terminology This new and intensive attention to one of the essential marks of the church, which embrac…

Universalism and Particularism

(1,269 words)

Author(s): Brown, Robert F.
1. Terms In philosophy, a universal term refers with the same meaning to each member of a class of objects. Common nouns provide the clearest examples of universal terms. For instance, “dog” refers to each animal that belongs to one of several wild species of canines or the various domestic breeds that derived from them. The correlative universal concept is the thought or idea that we think when correctly understanding and using the universal term. Dictionary definitions give us the meanings of terms by stating the shared essential characteristics of t…
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