Constantine I, later called Constantine the Great by Christians, is known for creating the spark that would allow Christianity to spread throughout Europe.
When Constantine became emperor in 306 AD, religion was an unsanctioned religion. Constantine believed that the only way to avoid suffering was to please the Gods, as by Roman tradition. The refusal of the Christians to make and worship idols made Constantine fear the wrath of the Roman deities. As a result, Christians were forced out of Roman government and suppressed by the armies.
Constantine had a change of mind though after winning the Battle of Milvian Bridge and thereby unifying the Latin-speaking Western Roman Empire. As he was getting ready for battle, Constantine apparently saw the Greek initials of Jesus Christ in the sky, followed by the words "Conquer by This". After being victorious in battle, Constantine promptly began to recognize Christianity.
The first thing Constantine did was to make a symbol combining Jesus' Greek initials as his personal emblem. But more importantly, he joined Linicus, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire to decree the Edict of Milan.
According to the Edict of Milan, Christians had the right to practice their religion, confiscated Christian property was returned, and Christians were allowed to preach in public, which in turn increased the religion's spread. It also proclaimed Sunday as a day of worship. Finally, it made possible the increasing social and political participation by Christians.
During this time, both the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem were built. It is said that on his death bed Constantine himself adopted the religion.
- The Edict of Milan was neither an official edict nor was it from Milan. It is unknown where the name come from.
- Christianity only became the official and only legal religion of the Roman Empire during the late fourth century under Emperor Theodosius I.
- Constantine sponsored and encouraged the Council of Nicaea from which the Nicene Creed originated in 325: "We believe in one God the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ. the Son of God."
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Source: Intellectual Devotional