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Although Herod the Great did much good as a ruler, including rebuilding of the Temple of Jerusalem, he is best remembered as a cruel tyrant who murdered his family members and ordered the massacre of infant boys in Bethlehem at the time of the bir (read more)

Featured Article: Nazca Lines

Nazca Lines - Monkey
The Nazca lines are a series of geoglyphs located in the Nazca Desert, a high arid plateau that stretches more than 80 km (50 miles) between the towns of Nazca and Palpa on the Pampas de Jumana in Peru. They are believed to have been created by the Nasca culture between 200 B.C.E. and 700 C.E. The region's dry and windy climate has kept the lines clear. Visible from the air, the designs are less noticeable from ground level. Thus, in the twentieth century when airplanes began flying over this area the markings stirred up great interest. In 1994, the Nazca plain was deemed a UNESCO Heritage Site, in order to protect the ancient creations from modern human encroachment.

The lines form numerous individual figures, ranging in complexity from simple lines to stylized hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, llamas, and lizards. The Nazca Lines remain one of the many mysteries of the ancient world, with suggested explanations ranging from astronomical calendar, sacred paths, to UFO markings made by extraterrestrials. Thus, the Nazca Lines reflect the creativity of human beings, both in their design and construction by the ancient culture, and in efforts to decipher them by contemporary researchers.

Popular Article: Society of Jesus

Founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola
The Society of Jesus (Latin: Societas Iesu, "S.J.," "S.I." also called the "Jesuits") is a Roman Catholic religious order known for its rigorous scholarship and apostolic zeal. Founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius of Loyola (a former knight who became a priest), the Jesuits became renowned for their work in the fields of missionary outreach, direct evangelization, intellectual research, and education (schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, theological faculties, cultural pursuits). Included among their famous members are Saint Francis Xavier and Peter Faber.

Jesuits are required to pledge allegiance to the Pope but their intellectual independence and separate leader in the order (sometimes called the "Black Pope" after the color of the Jesuit habit) has occasionally lead them to be seen as a threat to the Vatican. Given their immense learning, the Jesuits were occasionally entangled in the debates of geopolitics, which did not always go well for them. At times, the order was seen as a dangerous and powerful movement within the church and occasionally repressed by the Papacy.

Today, the Jesuits are a well-respected and flourishing religious order with ministries in 112 nations on six continents. Their headquarters, known as the General Curia, is found in Rome. Jesuits continue to be actively engaged in social justice and human rights issues in modern times, especially interreligious dialogue, and Liberation theology. In 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the first Jesuit Pope, taking the name Pope Francis.