Relationship Between Church and State Essay

  • Length: 6 pages
  • Sources: 5
  • Subject: History
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #94822870

Excerpt from Essay :

Julius Caesar stood at the commencement of the Roman empire, so did Constantine stand at the end of the Roman empire. Remarkably, there are still the historical landmarks that helped define the contemporary Christianity and its spread in the earlier decades. In Rome, the Milvian Bridgestill stands over the murky waters of Tiber River, it is upon these grounds that the battle that would be a critical milestone in the unfolding of European and Christian civilization. The factual records that were written almost 1700 years ago are still accessible in the libraries and the information on Constantine can still be objectively analyzed and used to tell the expansion trend of the early church and the relationship that there is between Christianity and the state.

Constantine rule and the influence on the church expansion



Historically, Diocletian, who was the last great prosecutor of the church managed to reform the administration of the Roman Empire and appointed three leaders who would act as co-rulers. After his retirement, there was a struggle for the leadership and power, one of the protagonists was called Constantine, he was a general in the Roman Empire and son to one of the co-rulers. In October 312 AD Constantine and his troops marched to Rome ready for battle and there was a second troop by Maxentius, who would later on become a tyrannical emperor. This was the first greatest challenge that the young Constantine had ever faced. Te two forces were at logger heads for the control of Rome, the mightiest empire in the face of the earth up that given moment (Haykin M. A. G., 1999: Pp5-6).



Constantine had a pit stop to reevaluate his battle plans and realized that he required far much more than just the military prowess to win the Roman Empire battle. On the other side, apart from the military force, Maxentius had significantly high magical enchantments. It was great challenge to Constantine since he was brought up in a monotheist background and his father believed only in the existence of God. Constantine knew that the pagan gods failed to protect their followers. With such a strong belief in Christian God, he decided to consult the heavenly intervention in the battle. He pleaded with the God of his father to stretch forth His arm and intervene in the battle. As he was engaged and engulfed in the prayer mood, Constantine suddenly was absorbed into a deep vision. He had a reverie in which he saw the sign of the cross clearly embedded on the sky and the inscriptions reading 'In hoc signo vinces', which in English means "In this sign you will win." With these revelations and vision, Constantine was amazed, deeply. It was so practical that even his army witnessed the miracle and the revelation. In the fall of the night, the vision and revelation was confirmed to Constantine when he saw that it was the son of God, Christ himself, that he was dealing with. Constantine embraced the revelation and agreed with the revelations of vision that he saw. He consequently had the sign of the cross inscribed on armors that the soldiers were going to use in the battle. When he went to the battle, despite the inferiority in terms of number, Constantine won the battle (Curtis K., 2017).



The victory that Constantine had, which was overwhelming, and his subsequent rise to the emperor of Rome seat meant that the world would never be same as before. The Milvian Brideg battle also changed the role and place of the church in the empire. It is ironical, that the church, which previously suffered extensive persecution yet never formed resistance armies or engage in subversive political campaigns, would not be the institution that got entrenched and protected by the political and military conquest. The church became more powerful in the matters of the state. Secular power started mixing up with the religious might and daily endeavors. The new emperor, Constantine started to patronize the then church with gifting and favors which the church had never seen before his rise to power. Constantine edged more towards entrenching Christianity as the official empire or state religion. This was done in systematic and systemic manner, not an instant overhaul to the new system. It was incremental. First it was made clear that it was Christianity that had prevailed in the battle and not any other religion or superstitious beliefs. By the end of the 4th Century, Christianity had been made the authorized faith of the Roman Empire. It was at this time and with such a drastic change that the political centers and powers that existed became significantly weakened. This gave room for the church to be more established and stabilized. The church became the unifying factor of the Roman society. It ended up edging out the empire in terms of time and powers hence ultimately replaced the empire.



The success that the church achieved, eventually proved too much to handle. The church was unable to handle the…

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