Constantine Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2030 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Although he himself followed another religion, he maintained its own for the empire, for everyone has his own customs, everyone his own rites. The divine mind has distributed different guardians and different cults to different cities. As souls are separately given to infants as they are born, so to peoples the genius of their destiny.

In the essential Roman legions, however, Christianity was unpopular because it accepted women, and the soldiers followed Mithras and Isis. Since the Roman Emperors ruled by "favor from the Gods" and stayed in power through the support of the legions, it was important for them to be seen visibly aiding the cause of religion. The insolence of the Christians consisted in their public refusal to sacrifice and build idols, which some modern writers see as an oath of allegiance. Refusal might easily bring upon all the Roman people the loss of Jupiter's and the other Gods support. "The army was conservative, a creature of habit; it was slow to Christianize even its externals; it was used to obeying orders. It was recruited from diverse sources, some of them not even Roman, and internal tolerance of different beliefs had always been necessary for it to function efficiently."

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Constantine and Licinius' Edict of Milan (313) neither made paganism illegal nor made Christianity a state-sponsored religion. It gave religious freedom. It legalized Christianity, returned confiscated Church property, and established Sunday as a day of worship. Though the church prospered under Constantine's patronage, its controversies, which had been lively within the Christian communities since the mid-2nd century, now flared in public schisms accompanied by riotous violence. One of the most vehement was the African Donatist schism, which began in 311 A.D. Donatists, Christians themselves, would not forgive or recognize other Christians who they thought had betrayed or abandoned Christ during the past persecutions. Constantine, divinely appointed, saw ending religious disorder as the emperor's duty.

Term Paper on Constantine Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus, Assignment

To settle the problem of Arianism, a dispute about the personhood and godhood of Jesus, Constantine called the First Council of Nicaea (May 20 - July 25, 325). The purpose of the council was to create an orthodox Christian religion, to draw up a statement of the fundamental beliefs to which Christians would adhere. This statement of beliefs would become known as the Nicene Creed. Horrified by the Donatist and Arian fractualizations, Constantine resolved to restore the unity of the Church and provide a clear guideline on what it meant to be a practicing Christian, a momentous event in the history of the Church and subsequent history of Europe.

Specifically, the council, dealt with the problems raised by the Arian controversy, concerning the nature of Jesus, deciding against the Arians in favor of Trinitarianism. The new heresy of Arianism was causing intense controversy, and Constantine wanted to bring about peace. "After listening for two months to heated, long-winded arguments that he did not understand about the nature of God, he made it clear that he would no longer tolerate stubborn insistence on what he considered small and unimportant points. He demanded unity, expressed in a single acceptable creed."

Another result of the council was an agreement by all the Churches, [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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