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From Persecution to the State Religion, Constantine

In the fourth century Christianity was moved from being a persecuted minority of the population to the official state religion of the Roman Empire. Explain using references, how did this transition take place? As well, discuss what the pros and cons were of putting this movement into the center of society.

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The Great Persecution of Christians "began in 303 at the instigation of Galerius, but with the support of Diocletian" (Ferguson, 178). Christian buildings were leveled, scriptures were burned, bishops imprisoned and sacrifice to the gods were required (Ferguson, 179).

In 306, Constantine was named emperor. In 312, Constantine is said to have received a vision which "marked his espousal of the Christian religion" (Ferguson, 181).

In 313, Constantine issued "The Edict of Milan". "This edict did not set up Christianity as the only and official religion of the Empire. It did not forbid the practice of heathen religions. The Edict of Milan put a stop to the persecutions, and proclaimed absolute freedom of conscience. It placed Christianity upon a ...

Solution Summary

In the fourth century Christianity was moved from being a persecuted minority of the population to the official state religion of the Roman Empire. This response discusses how this took place, the results from this change and the pros and cons of Christianity becoming legal and even promoted under Constantine's rule.

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