Religion stemming from the teachings of Jesus in the 1st century AD. Its sacred scripture is the Bible, particularly the New Testament. Its principal tenets are that Jesus is the son of God (the second person of the Holy Trinity), that God's love for the world is the essential component of his being, and that Jesus died to redeem humankind.
Christianity was originally a movement of Jews who accepted Jesus as the messiah, but the movement quickly became predominantly gentile. The early church was shaped by St. Paul and other early Christian missionaries and theologians; it was persecuted under the Roman empire but recognized by Constantine I in 313. During the centuries since Jesus' death, Christianity has subdivided into numerous sects that continue to proliferate; the major divisions are Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism.
Nearly all Christian sects have an ordained clergy, members of which are typically though not universally male. Members of the clergy lead group worship services and in many sects are viewed as intermediaries between the laity and the divine. There are now more than 1.7 billion adherents of Christianity throughout the world, found on all continents.