Glossary of Terms

Acts of the Apostles

The fifth book of the New Testament written toward the end of the first century. It tells a story about the first Christians and the birth of the church. 

Aladura Churches in Nigeria

The Aladura churches are independent African churches (or African Instituted Churches—AICs), that emphasize prayer and healing. Aladura is the Yoruba word for “praying people.” The Aladura churches reflect the indigenization of Christianity through its use of African symbols, traditional healing modalities, and worship styles.

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Anglicanism in Nigeria

Anglicanism is a Protestant Christian tradition that emerged during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. It includes the Church of England and a variety of others around the world united by shared doctrine and practice under the Anglican Communion umbrella organization. The Archbishop of Canterbury is regarded as the unofficial spiritual leader of the international Anglican community.

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Assembly of God

The Assembly of God is Brazil’s largest Pentecostal church, claiming more than 14 million members. Part of the first wave of Pentecostal churches, two Swedish missionaries from Chicago introduced the church to northern Brazil in the 1910s and it retains a headquarters in Belém. Unlike other imports, the church empowered Brazilian converts from its first days and relied on Brazilians to evangelize their compatriots.

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Bishop of Alexandria from 328-373 CE.


A Roman Catholic order named after St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) and founded in the Thirteenth Century.


In the context of Christianity, an autocephalous church is one in which the Bishop or Patriarch is the highest ranking religious authority and does not report to any ecclesiastical authority above him. It is common designation among Eastern Orthodox churches.


A ritual practice of cleansing and spiritual renewal. For Jews in Jesus’ time, the ritual of tvila was practiced by converts to Judaism and used for other forms of ritual cleansing. In the Gospel accounts, Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist, an itinerant preacher and one foretelling of the coming of the “Messiah” or anointed one.

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Brazilian Conference of Bishops

The Brazilian Conference of Bishops (CNBB) was founded in 1952 by a group of bishops who were deeply critical of the economic and political status quo. This perspective grew out of the bishops’ backgrounds, many of whom were from poorer, rural states, but was also related to independent funding received from European Catholic organizations that allowed for autonomy from the state.

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Byzantine Empire

The Eastern portions of the Roman Empire that survived the fall of Rome and flourished until the Ottoman invasion of the capital Constantinople in 1453. 

Catholicism in France

Catholicism is the majority religion in France, though small numbers—roughly 4.5% of Catholics—attend mass and overall, adherence to Catholicism is declining. Roman Catholicism was the state religion of France beginning with the conversion of King Clovis I (d. 511) until the French Revolution, when the Church’s relationship with the state was radically redefined.

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Catholicism in Myanmar

Roman Catholicism arrived in Myanmar with the Portuguese in the 16th century. Burmese descendants of the Portuguese, known as Bayingyi (derived from the Persian farenji, “foreigner” a term used widely throughout the Indian Ocean region and a legacy of the Crusades), make up the oldest Catholic community.

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Catholicism in Nigeria

Catholicism arrived in the territory that would come to be known as Nigeria with Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, though their missionary efforts were largely unsuccessful and Catholicism virtually disappeared by the 17th century. Modern Catholic missions were established by priests from the Society of African Missions of Lyon in 1865, beginning in Lagos, and a vicariate was established in Benin in 1870. By 1920, numerous missions had appeared throughout Igboland, eventually outnumbering Anglican Church Missionary Society missions. Holy Ghost priests and priests from the St.

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Catholicism in the Philippines

Since the colonial period, Catholicism has been the cornerstone of Filipino identity for millions in the Philippines. Catholicism rapidly spread during the early years of Spanish colonialism, in part due to a lack of otherwise centralized religious institutions, other than Islam in the south, which might have challenged it. Its close associations with Filipino identity have placed the Catholic Church at the heart of nationalism, social justice, and other movements, while at the same time has been associated with power, elitism, and exploitation at various points in its history.

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A Catholicosate is an area of ecclesiastical jurisdiction overseen by a Catholicos, a religious leader within an Eastern Christian tradition, including among Eastern Catholics and Orthodox Christians.


The English version of a Greek translation (Χριστός) of the Hebrew “Messiah” or anointed one. Christians use the term as both a title, Christ Jesus, and a name, Jesus Christ to represent their belief that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah that Jews believe will be sent by God to act of their behalf. 

Christianity in Egypt

Christianity is the largest minority tradition in Egypt; at least one in ten Egyptians are Christian. 90% of these are Coptic Christians, followed by smaller communities of Protestants, Roman Catholics, Independents, and others.

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