Christian Denominations

One Church of Christ, One Head-Christ, in a Diversity of Many Members
One Church of Christ, One Head-Christ, in a Diversity of Many Members


By definition, the word “Denomination” refers loosely to any one body of Christians, forming a group which distinguishes itself from all others, by reason of an almost endless list of factors. There are doctrine reasons, as well as liturgical, dogmatic, eschatological, christological and ecclesiological factors, all playing a role in the extraordinary diversity of religious denominations within Christianity. Historically, there used to be a distinction between “Denominations” and “Churches”; the former was mostly applicable to non-mainstream, and the latter referred almost exclusively to mainstream, well known and established groups. With the arrival of Ecumenism in the 20th Century, the double terminology gradually gave in to a more level, democratic fashion, which prefers to see all groups – including mainstream churches – as Denominations of one kind or another. Focus shifted to a more inclusive approach, valuing what unites the various groups, rather than the differences that separate them.

Ecumenism, or "Oikumene" in the earlier Greek origin, acquired the meaning it has today: Dialogue
Ecumenism, or “Oikumene” in the earlier Greek origin, acquired the meaning it has today: Dialogue

It is not easy to compile a comprehensive List of all Christian denominations because there are hundreds of them. On the one hand, how to choose the most important denominations is tricky and may be unfair to others; and on the other hand, the risk of the List being utterly out of date by the time we are finished with it is very real. The Christianity Portal on Wikipedia is arguably the best source and most comprehensive resource online. It contains an excellent and expertly compiled List of Christian Denominations, which will provide plenty of validated data, with quality articles on each denomination, written by Wikipedia contributors, scholars and experts. It is reliable, well screwed together, informative and entertaining to read.
The OCAC – Old Catholic Apostolic Church is listed there too and OCAC St. Catherine’s Seminary is a subscribed contributor, whenever data needs to be added.

One Church, with only One Head, is One Body with many organs, its members, its various Churches

One Head + One Body + Many Members = One Church

It has long been upheld by theologians, scholars and Church Fathers that the One Church of Christ is His mystical Body, Jesus is the One and Only Head of His Church. And just as a Human body for example forms one single unit, even though it comprises a great variety of organs, members and parts; so is the Mystical Body of Christ Jesus, His One Church, formed by a great many diverse parts, members and organs, which is to say, the hundreds, thousands of churches and denominations. Similarly, within each of those, one might find again hundreds of different religious orders, congregations, institutes, each of them individualised by a specific charism, or a certain number and type of charisms, which give every single one of these orders, congregations and institutes, a unique character, a particular vocation, thus embracing a specific Mission.
Christianity is by its own dynamic nature, diversity and variety; monoliths do not really work well in Christianity and when attempted, the results are not encouraging. The way Christianity grows is really something that can only be described as Supernatural, the wonderful work of the Holy Spirit, forever responding to the great variety of cultures within Humanity, with a matching variety of Godly Inspiration, even though the fundamental tenets of the Christian Faith remain the same. It is a wonderful mystery of which Humanity can barely grasp a little of Its effect, but never truly the essence of Its inner workings. We see it work, we know it works, but we have no idea how.
Christian denominations, the various and many churches, religious orders, congregations, institutes, lay groups, youth organisations and more… All of that is the tangible result, the fruit of this dynamic Spirit, forever blowing God’s inspiration, whispering Jesus’ Love into our hearts and minds, painting as it were, together into the one single canvas of Humanity, the totality of God’s universal colours.

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