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Christianity

A religion whose followers believe that Jesus is the Son of God and follow his beliefs and teachings. Jesus was born in Bethlehem which is now in disputed territory in the Middle East around 2000 years ago. He was killed by crucifixion. These two end points are important ceremonies in the Christian Year although they have been regularised by the Church to Christmas and Easter.

Originally, the Christian religion was spread by Jesus's disciples the most prominent of which was Peter who founded the Catholic Church in Rome. Most early Christians were therefore Catholic and looked to Rome as the home of the Church.

Christianity came to England in 597 AD with St Augustine who established the English centre at Canterbury in Kent as London was considered still too Pagan. 

The disputed territory in the Middle East contains Jerusalem, a place of pilgrimage for Christians. When Islam arose in 612 AD it also saw Jerusalem as a holy place and the Crusades ensued although the reasons and the protagonists are much more complex than this suggests.

England famously revoked the power of the Pope over England and declared that the Monarch (Henry VIII) was head of the church locally - hence the Church of England. In practice, catholicism and anglicanism were pretty much the same, especially in High Church where the similarity endures today.

Some Christians set about reforming the Catholic Church in the early 1500s and their efforts led to Protestantism - around the same time as Henry was distancing England from Rome. England therefore had a different protestant reformation experience from the rest of Europe.

The religious wars between Catholic and Protestant are the subject of many a Folk Song.