When Christianity Became the “Official” Religion of Rome

I have been discussing when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire.  It was not under Constantine, or even one of his sons who succeeded him on the throne.  It was only at the end of the fourth century, during the reign of Theodosius.  Here is what I say in my book about that new situation some seven decades after the conversion of Constantine.

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When Julian was killed in a poorly-conceived and even more poorly-executed battle with the Persians ...

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Making Rome Pagan Again

After Constantine converted to Christianity, every Roman emperor, for all time, was Christian – with one brief exception: his nephew Julian, most frequently referred to as Julian the Apostate, who ruled for nineteen months in 361-63 CE.   This short reign was highly significant: Julian tried to turn the empire back to the ways and worship of paganism.  He is called “the Apostate” because he started out as Christian but then opted to worship the traditional gods of Rome.  And he ...

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52

The Beginning of the End of Paganism

I have decided to pursue further the question of how, in the fourth century, Christianity took over the Roman imperial government (at the highest levels) leading to the proscription of pagan practices.   For that I will rely on a couple of extracts from my book,  The Triumph of Christianity, over a few posts.   Here is the continuation of the story after the death of Constantine.

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Constantine’s father Constantius became Caesar of the West in 293 CE and then senior ...

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Did Constantine Outlaw the Pagan Religions?

In today’s mailbag I deal with an interesting question about when, exactly, Christianity became the state religion of Rome and the traditional pagan religions were outlawed.   Was it during the reign of Constantine (as is popularly imagined?)?  Later?   At the end of the fourth century?   Here’s the question.

 

QUESTION:

I was listening to The Great Courses lectures on Early Middle Ages by professor Philip Daileader and he mentions that Christianity was made the official state religion of the Roman Empire and that ...

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The Conversion of Constantine

My book comes out tomorrow and I’m very excited!  Here is a foretaste of what is in it.   This is how I begin Chapter 1, which focuses on the conversion of Constantine.

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Few events in the history of civilization have proved more transformative than the conversion of the emperor Constantine to Christianity in the year 312 CE.  Later historians would sometimes question whether the conversion was genuine.  But to Constantine himself and to spiritual advisors close to him, there ...

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51

Did the Council of Nicaea Take Away Reincarnation and Give us the Bible?

In this Readers’ Mailbag I’ll deal with two questions that involve modern myths about the Council of Nicaea in the year 325.  Is it true that this is when the church fathers decided which books would be in the New Testament?  And that these authorities also removed all references to reincarnation from the Bible?   If you have a question you would like me to address in a future Mailbag, go ahead and ask!

 

QUESTION:  I’ve noticed many people have the misconception ...

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Where Did the Trinity Come From? Video Lecture.

Here is the third of my three talks that I gave last year at Coral Gables Congregational Church in (suprise) Coral Gables, Florida, on my book, “How Jesus Became God.”   This lecture deals with one of the most important questions in Christian thinking:  where did the idea and doctrine of the Trinity come from?  Good question!  I try to answer it in this video.  Enjoy!

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How Jesus Became God -UCC Part 3 of 3: