Allee McIntyre HIST 3020
Constantine The Great and Christianity
Christianity has been around for more than 2000 years and has become the most popular and most practiced religion in the world. With over 2.2 million followers of Christ, Christianity has saved and enlightened many people. From the beginning this belief has displayed a remarkable ability to flourish in many areas and in all cultural settings. “Christianity rapidly spread beyond its original geographical region of Roman occupied Palestine into the Mediterranean area. Something of this process of expansion is described in the Acts of Apostles(in the New Testament)”. Christianity is a faith capable of being relatable to everyone ...view middle of the document...
Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus, also known as Constantine the Great in his later years as an emperor, was born in 272 to his parents, Constantius Chlorus and Helena, also known as St.Helena, who is said to have found a piece of the cross of Jesus. The day and year Constantine was born is somewhat of a controversy because when Constantine became emperor in 306, he was known to make up many lies about his upbringing. Constantine was first exposed to Christianity by his mother but did not confirm he has accepted Christ as his savior until he was almost 42. In 293 AD, Constantius Chlorus was elevated to the rank of Caesar within the empire and Constantine became a member of the court of Diocletian.
Constantine proved to be a highly efficient officer with much promise and showed his true battle skills when serving under Diocletian's Caesar Galerius against the Persians.
In 312, 6 years after Constantine had become emperor, The Battle of Milvian Bridge occurred. According to Christian sources it is said that before the battle had begun Constantine looked up to the sun and saw a cross within the light and written inside were Greek words "Ἐν Τούτῳ Νίκα" which means “in this sign you shall conquer”. After seeing these words, Constantine commanded his troops to cover their shields with the symbol of Chi Ro, a Christian symbol consisting of the crossing over of the capital Greek letters Chi (Χ) and Rho (Ρ), which are the beginning two letters of spelling "Christ" in Greek. After covering their shields with this symbol, Constantine led his army to victory. This led Constantine to accept Christ into his life. Constantine made it extremely clear that he believed his empowerment was not simply the hard work put in by himself and his followers but that the protection of that High God alone was the reason he had become so successful. After the battle, the senate welcomed him to Rome as a higher power and the two remaining emperors, Licinius and Maximinus II Daia, could do nothing but agree to his demands. He was given the name senior Augustus. It was within his senior status that Constantine ordered Maximinus II Daia to stop his repression of the Christians. Though despite his acceptance of Christianity, Constantine remained very tolerant of the old pagan religions. Even with the conversion he was still known to have a special interest in the worship of the sun god.
It wasn’t until mid 313 AD that Constantine took his first steps to help and support the Christians. In June, Constantine and emperor Licinius of the East Empire created a document called the Edict of Milan, which proclaimed religious tolerance in the empire of Rome. The Edict of Milan helped in the return of church property that was confiscated by Galius in earlier years. The creation of this edict made the Roman Empire officially neutral with regard to religious worship. It neither made the traditional religious practices illegal nor made Christianity the religion of the...