Two Popes and a Primate: The Changing Face of Global Christianity

May 15, 2013

As three Christian Churches recently elected new leaders, they confront a world in which global Christianity may be poised for the third major reorganization of its history. Here, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio becomes Pope Francis in March 2013.

While the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to head the Roman Catholic Church as Pope Francis received widespread international attention, in fact the last six months have seen the elevation of three Christian clerics to fill the top position in their respective churches. This month historian David Brakke examines the different processes involved in electing these figures and explains how the Christian world came to have two popes and a primate in the first place. He also looks ahead to the challenges the new Church leaders will face in the coming years as they confront globalization, the communications revolution, and the growing popularity of charismatic Christianity.

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