CONSTANTINE’S RELIGIOUS POLICY
Constantine’s religious policy under his reign was to keep peace throughout the whole of the Roman Empire by stopping the persecution of Christians and allowing paganism to be practised together with Christianity, as well as being a follower of Christianity and using his own power to help it spread across his empire. Constantine’s religious policy also evolved greatly throughout his reign, from being a follower of paganism to finally the emperor that was largely responsible for the spread of Christianity which is still the dominating religion in society today.
Constantine’s major aspect of his religious policy was his attitude towards Christians. Constantine himself was a Christian, the first Christian Roman Emperor, and was the one that formally ended what is known as the “Great Persecution of Christians”, which happened (approximately) around AD 303. However, he did not just stop the persecution, but went far further and gave the Catholic Church finances it needed in order to spread around the Roman Empire. This is shown in his letter to Caecilian, bishop of Carthage in AD 313, the head of the Catholic Church in North Africa. In this letter Constantine lends money to specified ministers of the Church (presumably priests) to use to help spread Christianity throughout North Africa. Not only this, but Constantine also says that if the money he lent them was lacking, they would only need to ask for more and it would be given, also known as a blank cheque. This heavily defines his religious policy as pro-Christian, being the first Roman Emperor in history to support and even help spread Christianity.
Constantine did not just lend money to Catholic priests in order to help and spread Christianity, he also passed laws throughout his whole Empire to carry out this task. The Edict of Milan, carried out by himself and Licinius Augustus in AD 313, was the one of the first of these laws. This officially legalised Christianity and any other...