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In Christianity the qualification ecumenical is originally (and still) used in terms such as "ecumenical council" and "Ecumenical Patriarch" in the meaning of pertaining to the totality of the larger Church (such as the Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church) rather than being restricted to one of its constituent local churches or dioceses.

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This can result in the one Catholic Church being counted as 242 distinct denominations, as in the World Christian Encyclopedia.

Additionally, single nondenominational congregations or megachurches without denominational affiliation are effectively counted each as its own denomination, resulting in cases where entire "denominations" may account for only a handful of people.

However individual denominations are counted, it is generally acknowledged that they fall into the following major "families" of churches: Some of these families are in themselves a single communion, such as the Catholic Church.

Other families are a very general movement with no universal governing authority.

Christianity is the largest religion in the world (making up approximately one-third of the population) and the various divisions have commonalities and differences in tradition, theology, church government, doctrine, and language.

The world's 2.2 billion Christians are visibly divided into different communions or denominations, groupings of Christians and their churches that are in full communion with one another, but to some degree exclusive of other Christians.

If ecumenism is the quest for Christian unity, it must be understood what the divisions are which must be overcome.

Christianity has not been a monolithic faith since the first century or Apostolic Age, if ever, and today there exist a large variety of groups that share a common history and tradition within and without mainstream Christianity.

Moreover, the classic distinction between Pentecostals and Charismatics is that the former are entire denominations (such as the Assembly of God) or include most nondenominational churches, whereas the latter are Spirit-filled Christians in already existing Catholic or mainline Protestant churches.

Moreover, some Evangelical churches are also Pentecostal, though certainly not all. The oldest lasting schism in Christianity resulted from fifth-century disagreements on Christology, heightened by philosophical, linguistic, cultural, and political differences.

indicates that 349 churches/denominations already account for nearly 80% of the world's Christian population.

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