Much of the impetus for this new religion rested in issues in the Jewish religion, including a long-standing belief in the coming of a Messiah and rigidities that had developed in the Jewish priesthood. Whether or not Christianity was created by God, as Christians believe, the early stages of the religion focused on cleansing the Jewish religion of stiff rituals and haughty leaders.
Galeriuswho had previously been one of the leading figures in persecution, in issued an edict which ended the persecution. Victory allowed him to claim the emperorship in the West. How much Christianity Constantine adopted at this point is difficult to discern. Roman coins minted up to eight years later still bore the images of Roman gods.
Constantine supported the Church financially, built various basilicas, granted privileges e. It had overtly Christian architecture, contained churches within the city walls, and had no pagan temples. Constantine also played an active role in the leadership of the Church.
Inhe acted as a judge in a North African dispute concerning the Donatist controversy. More significantly, in he summoned the Council of Nicaeathe first Ecumenical Council. Constantine thus established a precedent for the emperor as responsible to God for the spiritual health of their subjects, and thus with a duty to maintain orthodoxy.
The emperor was to enforce doctrine, root out heresy, and uphold ecclesiastical unity. Some, such as John Chrysostom and Athanasiussuffered exile, persecution, or martyrdom from Arian Byzantine Emperors. Germanic Christianity A popular doctrine of the 4th century was Arianismthe denial of the divinity of Christ, as propounded by Arius.
Though this doctrine was condemned as heresy and eventually eliminated by the Roman Church it remained popular underground for some time. In the late 4th century Ulfilasa Roman bishop and an Arian, was appointed as the first bishop to the Gothsthe Germanic peoples in much of Europe at the borders of and within the Empire.
Ulfilas spread Arian Christianity among the Goths firmly establishing the faith among many of the Germanic tribes, thus helping to keep them culturally distinct. They were mostly concerned with Christological disputes. Christianity as Roman state religion [ edit ] An Eastern Roman mosaic showing a basilica with towers, mounted with Christian crosses5th century AD, Louvre On 27 Februarywith the Edict of Thessalonica put forth under Theodosius Ithe Roman Empire officially adopted Trinitarian Christianity as its state religion.
After its establishment, the Church adopted the same organisational boundaries as the Empire: The bishops, who were located in major urban centres as per pre-legalisation tradition, thus oversaw each diocese. Among the sees, five came to hold special eminence: RomeConstantinopleJerusalemAntiochand Alexandria.
The prestige of most of these sees depended in part on their apostolic founders, from whom the bishops were therefore the spiritual successors. Though the bishop of Rome was still held to be the First among equalsConstantinople was second in precedence as the new capital of the empire.
Theodosius I decreed that others not believing in the preserved "faithful tradition", such as the Trinity, were to be considered to be practitioners of illegal heresy and inthis resulted in the first case of capital punishment of a heretic, namely Priscillian.
A particular consequence of this perspective was that Mary could not be properly called the mother of God, but could only be considered the mother of Christ.
The most widely known proponent of this viewpoint was the Patriarch of Constantinople Nestorius. Since referring to Mary as the mother of God had become popular in many parts of the Church this became a divisive issue. Many churches who followed the Nestorian viewpoint broke away from the Roman Church, causing a major schism.
The Nestorian churches were persecuted and many followers fled to the Sasanian Empire where they were accepted. The Sasanian Persian Empire had many Christian converts early in its history tied closely to the Syriac branch of Christianity.
The Empire was officially Zoroastrian and maintained a strict adherence to this faith in part to distinguish itself from the religion of the Roman Empire originally the pagan Roman religion and then Christianity.
Christianity became tolerated in the Sasanian Empire and as the Roman Empire increasingly exiled heretics during the 4th and 6th centuries, the Sasanian Christian community grew rapidly. This church evolved into what is today known as the Church of the East. Oriental Orthodoxy In the Council of Chalcedon was held to further clarify the Christological issues surrounding Nestorianism.
The resulting schism created a communion of churches, including the Armenian, Syrian, and Egyptian churches. Christian monasticism Monasticism is a form of asceticism whereby one renounces worldly pursuits and goes off alone as a hermit or joins a tightly organized community. It began early in the Church as a family of similar traditions, modelled upon Scriptural examples and ideals, and with roots in certain strands of Judaism.
John the Baptist is seen as an archetypical monk, and monasticism was also inspired by the organisation of the Apostolic community as recorded in Acts 2. Eremetic monks, or hermitslive in solitude, whereas cenobitics live in communities, generally in a monasteryunder a rule or code of practice and are governed by an abbot.
Originally, all Christian monks were hermits, following the example of Anthony the Great. However, the need for some form of organised spiritual guidance lead Pachomius in to organise his many followers in what was to become the first monastery.
Soon, similar institutions were established throughout the Egyptian desert as well as the rest of the eastern half of the Roman Empire. Women were especially attracted to the movement.Christianity in Ancient Rome was a dangerous venture. Religion was very important to the Romans.
Within the Roman Empire, Christianity was banned and Christians were punished for many years. Christianity Gains Converts And Religious Structure. Gradually over the next years, Christianity won a growing number of. converts. By the 4th century A.D., about 10 percent of the residents of the.
Roman Empire were Christian, and the new religion had also made converts. elsewhere in . Christianity within the Roman Empire The Romans viewed religion as very important, though they banned Christianity and punished Christians for a long time.
Christians were at first targeted for persecution by Nero in 64 AD - some were killed and eaten by dogs and others set on fire.
Christianity was by no means confined to the Roman Empire during late antiquity. Church of the East [ edit ] Historically, the most widespread Christian church in Asia was the Church of the East, the Christian church of Sasanian Persia. Feb 17, · Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe is a Lecturer in Roman History at King's College, London.
Her research interests include the history of early Christianity, political thought, and the history of ideas. Around Christianity was made the official religion of Rome and by the end of the fourth century, the majority of the Roman citizens had converted over to the religion.
Christianity played a huge role in Roman history and there are many more influential people and events that took place during this time.