Constantine was one of the greatest Roman emperors who led Rome during 306 to 337 AD where he is located on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History. It was during his reign that Christianity became recognized as the Roman Empire’s primary religion. While historians are yet to have a solid evidence of Constantine’s decision of choosing Christianity and establishing it as the empire’s dominant religion, there were some doubts about the form of Early Christianity that Constantine favored. Moreover, several studies have proven that one of the possibilities that Constantine turned to Christianity was because of the influence of his mother towards him. However, Constantine was not baptized until a few years before he died.
Brief Information about the Life of Constantine
Constantine was born and raised at Naissus. His father, Flavius Constantius, was a renowned army officer who eventually divorced Constantine’s mother in 289 to marry Theodora. Driven to find his mission in life, Constantine decided to pursue a military career and travelled throughout the Roman Empire. During his crossing to the Alps, along with his army, he had a dream of a brilliant cross that was shining as it faced the sun. The cross bore the words “In this sign, conquer”. When he woke up from that dream, he decided to take it as a sign and guide throughout his journey. He was also able to defeat Maxentius, who was his rival at that time. Eventually, Constantine succeeded in conquering Rome, which led him to his victory as the empire’s new emperor.
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Early Christianity at the Time of Constantine
During the rule of Constantine, the early years of Christianity were filled with perils and threats. For instance, believers encountered harsh persecution by the government. There was also the issue on Arian heresy or the denial of Christ’s divinity. However, God decided to raise up a mighty leader who would defend Christianity from its adversaries. Thus, Constantine was able to overcome these events that helped shape the Christian religion throughout time.
Constantine‘s Conversion to Christianity
One of the significant turning points in Early Christianity’s great history was Constantine’s conversion to the Christian religion. This event was also depicted as the “Triumph of the Church” or the “Constantinian Shift”. It was in 313 AD that Constantine, along with Licinius, legalized Christian worship. Constantine left a legacy that is visible in the transformation of Christianity from being a private sect to a recognized public church. He also set the religion on a firm institutional ground that turned the Church into one of the leading cultural forces affecting the ancient world. Sunday was chosen as the day of worship, and it was also made into a public holiday. However, there were no firm evidences as to whether it was Emperor Constantine who chose Sunday instead of Saturday as the day of worship for Christians. There were two documents written in the first century that expressed how the Christians worshipped during a different day from the Sabbath day by the Jewish. Nevertheless, one thing is definite – that it was Constantine who transformed this religion, which used to be considered as an illegal sect, into a widely recognized religion of the Romans.
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