Like most large bodies of theology, beliefs and moral codes, Christian Mysticism has had its own share of divergent crossroads and ‘abandoners’. It is believed that the ‘original’ strain, which supposedly was the Church ordained by the apostles is the Roman Catholic Church, based in the Vatican City. The Roman Catholic Church extends a hefty influence throughout many countries in the world, including some countries in Asia. The pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church; the hierarchy is composed of archbishops, bishops, cardinals, ordained priests and lay people of the Church.
Religions differ mainly in two areas. The first, lies in the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) and second, common practices in worship, how a person should live his life and what a person must do to gain the favor of God. Since religious groups have interpreted the Holy Scripture differently, each sect or sub-group or derivative of the Christian faith has its own particular set of traits. Some groups emerged in protest of perceived wrongs done by the early Church. The Protestants, for instance, rebelled against the feudal practices of the Church.
What about Jesus?
We can say that if there was one person that was common throughout the different divergent Christian religions, it would have to be Jesus himself. In the Roman Catholic theology, it is Jesus, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the son of God (the Father). It is he who was resurrected from the dead and rose physically from the plane of mortality unto heaven. Jesus is omnipresent in many teachings of the Church and is a central figure of many cults and sub-systems formed throughout the world.
Jesus’ wounds (called stigmata) appear to have mystical powers as well. It is believed that some of the faithful develop these wounds as a sign of their piety and complete submission to God. The appearance of stigmata has not been accepted completely by the Roman Catholic Church, though for some minor sects it is accepted as a direct miracle.