This is an extensive overview of Catholicism's rich history, beginning with the extraordinary life of Christ and the first centuries of the propagation of faith. It describes the significance and traditions of Catholic ritual, and includes a guide to the important festivals and holy days in the Catholic calendar. It explores the religious and social history of Christian saints from the Holy Family and the Apostles through the medieval period to modern times. It includes biographies for each saint, with historical information about the era in which they lived, what holy works they performed and their feast day. It describes the life and work of hundreds of well-known and much-loved saints, such as St Teresa of Avila, St Francis of Assisi and Edith Stein, as well entries for lesser-known 1st-century martyrs and African saints of the 19th century. This comprehensive book provides a detailed insight into the world of Catholicism as well as a visual encyclopedia of over 500 saints. The first part of the book, Catholic History, begins with the life of Jesus Christ and looks at how the early church developed.
This is followed by discussions on medieval catholicism, the Crusades, the foundation of monastic orders, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The second section, Catholic Doctrine, looks at the essential principles of Catholic belief, such as the Holy Trinity, the Eucharist, the role of Mary, and Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. This is followed by Practising Catholicism, which looks at the key institutions of the Church and its religious practices. Finally Saints and Sainthood tells the story of sainthood through the biographies of selected saints. Lavishly illustrated with more than 1000 photographs and fine-art paintings, this book offers an insightful guide to a complex and rich religion.
Tessa Paul has worked for more than 20 years as a researcher on European cultural and religious history. She has written extensively on Christian art for popular magazines. She co-edited and co-wrote Fiesta!, a series of 32 volumes on the festivals of Christianity and other major world faiths.
Consultant Reverend Ronald Creighton-Jobe is an Oratorian Father at the London Oratory Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.