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Colosseum Exhibit Celebrates Constantine’s World-Changing Faith
The National Catholic Register ^ | 8/30/13 | Elizabeth Lev

Posted on 09/05/2013 7:22:41 PM PDT by marshmallow

1,700th Anniversary Of Religious Liberty On Display in Rome

The dawn of the fourth century must have seemed like the beginning of an endless night for the Christians of the Roman Empire.

As of 303, Emperor Diocletian, spurred on by his co-emperor Galerius, had unleashed a virulent round of persecutions, and it appeared that the imperial machine would not stop until it had ground Christianity into the dust.

And yet, in this darkest hour, the impossible happened; the two Augustii retired in 311; and, two years later, the new rulers Constantine and Licinius issued the Edict of Milan, which legalized Christianity throughout the Empire.

In the words of a jubilant Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, "After a dreadful spectacle, we have been privileged to see and celebrate such things that many of the martyrs before us craved to see and did not."

The dreadful "spectacle" included the violent deaths of Christians in the arenas of the empire, and, thus, it seems fitting that the greatest of these arenas, the Colosseum, should host an exhibit honoring the 1,700th anniversary of religious liberty.

"Constantine: 313 A.D.," offers a hero’s welcome to the man who ended 300 years of persecution and put Christianity on equal footing with the many other belief systems of the empire.

The exhibit opened in Milan, where Constantine proclaimed the edict, and has now moved to Rome, where he won the battle that would change the course of Christianity.

The exhibit transports the visitor to the turbulent world of the early fourth century, where economic crisis and constant war left people in distress. The emperors styled their images as abstract and unapproachable, as the many portraits of Diocletian and Galerius testify, with their large, unseeing eyes gazing out, but not at their viewers.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Catholic; History; Orthodox Christian

1 posted on 09/05/2013 7:22:41 PM PDT by marshmallow
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To: marshmallow
"In hoc signo vinces"

"under this sign you shall conquer"

words with a vision of the cross of Christ said to be seen by Constantine the great just before the battle of the Milvian bridge in 312 A.D. Victory in that battle is what made him Caesar.


2 posted on 09/05/2013 8:25:01 PM PDT by Celtic Conservative (tease not the dragon for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup)
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To: Celtic Conservative

Checked out the article and that which you had posted was not mentioned. Surprised.

3 posted on 09/06/2013 3:39:00 AM PDT by Biggirl (“Go, do not be afraid, and serve”-Pope Francis)
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To: marshmallow
One of the most interesting repercussions of the Edict of Milan was the rise of the Donatist sect. The governor of Africa had not been that eager to persecute a large portion of his population so he made the Christian leaders a deal. If they would turn over their scriptures as a sign of repentance he wouldn't pursue them further. They did.

When the Edict of Milan was issued the same church leaders in Africa went right back to their previous posts in the church. This didn't go over well with a large segment of the congregants who didn't think much of their weakness during persecution. They started calling these wafflers Traditors meaning "one who hands over." (That word sound familiar?) The Donatists not only wouldn't accept the Traditors but refused to acknowledge anyone who was ordained or appointed by a Traditor.

Constantine tried unsuccessfully to heal the breech and a later emperor sanctioned official persecution of the Donatists. Augustine, who had argued against the Donatists was one of the most vocal opponents of their persecution. This schism raged on for 100 years and may well have helped contribute to the fall of North Africa to the Vandals.

4 posted on 09/06/2013 4:03:07 AM PDT by Pan_Yan
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To: Biggirl
I'm suprised too. The knowledge of that event and its effect on Constantine is one of the pivotal moments in the rise of Christianity as a world religion.


5 posted on 09/06/2013 5:01:31 AM PDT by Celtic Conservative (tease not the dragon for thou art crunchy when roasted and taste good with ketchup)
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