Jesus Christ is considered by Christians to be the Messiah predicted in the Old Testament. December 25, which is celebrated by many Christians as “Christmas,” marks the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary in a manger in Bethlehem. Mary is thought to have been impregnated by God, via the holy spirit. As an adult, Jesus healed, preached parables, worked miracles, and spoke with the authority of God. Jesus quickly gained support and a strong following, the basis of which was composed of his 12 Disciples. However, the Roman authorities became uneasy with Jesus’ extreme influence, and ordered his death by crucifixion. Two days after his death, Jesus was resurrected, an event which is today observed by Christians as Easter Sunday.
Jesus then ascended to heaven, but his disciples spread the values of Christ and Christianity. However, this faith was not widely accepted in its early days. Christians faced persecution in the Roman empire, and many died as martyrs, until Justinian converted and legalized the religion through the Edict of Milan in 312 AD. In 325, Constantine called the Council of Nicea, in which the fundamental elements and beliefs of Christianity were established, as documented in the Nicene Creed.
In 1054, the Great Schism prompted the creation of two separate branches of Christianity: one of which followed the Roman Catholic Church and Pope, and the other, known as the Eastern Orthodox Church, which was led by the emperor of Constantinople. In the following centuries, the Christian faith developed into multiple distinguished denominations.