Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Amazing Facts about the Catholic Church

There are many interesting facts about the Catholic Church of which many are not aware. As this blog continues, I will continue to add more facts in future posts.

1. St. Peter's Basilica is the largest Church in the world. It was designed by many famous people including Michelangelo, Bernini and others. It was completed in the 1500s, but ever since Peter, there has been a church located there.

2. St. Peter is buried directly beneath the altar in St. Peter's Basilica.

3. St. Paul is also buried in the Vatican City.

4. The number of Christians was well into the many millions before Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. In fact, Constantine's convertion was heavily influenced by the sheer number of Christians at the time. This huge number developed despite Christianity being illegal and punishable by death. One of the reasons for this, besides divine intervention, was that Christians cared for their sick and dying, which allowed many to get better during plagues and outbreaks. Most Romans at the time were too afraid to catch something so they avoided caring for the sick, but Christians, not afraid of death, helped millions live. New evidence shows a series of plagues at the time of the Roman Empire, after each of which the proportion of Christians in the population grew substantially.

5. Popes, for centuries, have customarily taken a new name once elected. It has been a Catholic tradition since 1009, and the first pope to take a new name was John II in 533. However, this is not a requirement.

There will be more amazing facts later. Stay tuned!

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