Christianization

Christianization (or Christianisation) was the conversion of societies to Christianity beginning in late antiquity in the Roman Empire and continuing through the Late Middle Ages in Europe. Outside of Europe, the process was significantly halted by the parallel process of Islamisation, beginning in Arabia and the Near East.

Various strategies and techniques were employed in different regions and time periods. Often the conversion of the ruler was followed by the compulsory baptism of his subjects, often leading to the marginalisation of previously practiced religions. Some of these processes included evangelization by monks or priests, organic growth within an already partly Christianized society, or by campaigns against paganism, such as the conversion of pagan temples into Christian churches, or the condemnation of pagan gods and practices, such as declaring that the native pagan gods were actually, unbeknownst to the worshippers, demons. There is a long history of connecting Christianization and colonialism,[1] genocide and ethnic cleansing of whole nations,[citation needed][neutrality is disputed] especially but not limited to the New World and other regions subject to settler colonialism. A strategy for Christianization was Interpretatio Christiana – the practice of converting native pagan practices and culture (see also: Inculturation), pagan religious imagery, pagan sites and the pagan calendar to Christian uses.


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