Constantines Effects on Christianity

Topics: Roman Empire, Christianity, Constantine I Pages: 14 (4839 words) Published: June 3, 2013
Running Head: Constantine’s Effect on Christianity

Constantine's Effect on Christianity

Jarod A. Bleibdrey, M.S.C.J

American Public University

Hist533: Late Antiquity and Byzantium

Dr. Leda Ciraolo, PhD.

May 2013
Table of Contents


Christianity and the Unity of the Empire3

Equal to the Apostles6

Byzantine Clergy8

From Catacombs to the Byzantine Church9

Christian Army12

Symphonia “The Harmony of Politics and Faith”13

Conversion of Constantine14

Constantine and Heresy: The Donatists15

The Missionary Work of Constantine15

Hindsight of Actions and Intent16



In the 4th century, the status of Christianity changed due to the efforts of a single person, Constantine the Great, who officially promoted and allowed Christianity in the empire of Rome. Christianity may lead people to think about the great saints, leaders of the church, bishops or martyrs. But it is believed that in the starting of the 4th century, Constantine the Great made a revolutionary transformation which cemented the unbelievable connection between the Christian Church and the civil state. Facing many obstacles, Constnantine had to create a full political, religious and social transition, in order for Christianity to secure a main stream foothold and thus spread. This becomes evident during the reign of Constantine, as the Christian religion that had been persecuted as a perilous sect became licit, and was incorporated into the life of the empire.

Christianity and the Unity of the Empire
Constantine is considered as a gift for Christianity as he provided “imperium” through Christianity that aroused the idea of common belonging and solidarity within the Empire. It shows that Constantine gave all the people of the Empire a new focus in life, a means to rally their passions and create new specified social norms. The world was fully parted by civil wars and broken by political efforts to which Constantine wanted a tough common denominator. The conquered territories were huge and the Romanization of the dissimilar peoples were not capable to gain a comprehensive understanding of Constantine’s intentions. This is largely due to the conqured peoples embracement of polytheism, and their lack of belief that a single deity could be responsible for all aspects of life and creation. Constantine understood that monotheistic Christian would bind people together who had previously belonged to different religions and cultures; but he also understood that the initial faith was an edged sword, whereas solidifying the nation under one religion would gain a beneficial set of social norms, the people would be forced to forego their traditions and customs that were present since Rome’s inception. Every ecclesiastical struggle and heresy was also a political struggle[1]. The historical account of the Byzantine Empire consisted partly of civil wars, which were aroused by religious misunderstandings. Due to this problem, Constantine conceived it as his duty to preserve dogmatic unity within the Church of God; he understood that religious disunity is far more dangerous and evil than any other sort of conflict or war. It has been observed that Constantine used to call himself the “bishop of external affairs,” who looked after the political and social problems of the church, all the while protecting its integrity. Constantine was trapped in the huge controversy shaking the Christian unity: Arianism. In 325, the emperor dispatched a letter to the adverse parties in order to convene the first ecumenical council to Nicea. At the Council the religious leaders discussed how the clash within the Church could become a political threat for the empire, and this required the intervention of a political ruler. The world changed in 325 at Nicaea as the emperor entered a meeting,...

Bibliography: 3. Grant, Michael. The Emperor Constantine. England: Orion Books Ltd, 1998.
4. Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Early Centuries. England: Penguin Books, 1990.
5. Treadgold, Warren. A History of the Byzantine State and Society. California: Stanford University Press, 1997.
[7] Grant, Michael. The Emperor Constantine. England: Orion Books Ltd, 1998.
[8] Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Early Centuries. England: Penguin Books, 1990.
[9] Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Early Centuries. England: Penguin Books, 1990.
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