Constantine and the Christian Empire

How Constantine treated the Christian Church
Constantine was an advocate of Christianity or the idea of Christianity and preserved the church and her followers because of his own “conversion” and success on the battle of the Milvian Bridge. The story is told that after he asked God for help, God gave him a sign and the battle was won. So out or reverence to this Christian God who helped him win, he led the church through a new time where church/state relationships evolved in the Roman Empire and later through the Middle Ages.

The results of Constantine’s attitude to Christianity
A positive outcome that became of his conversion was the lack of persecution of the Christians at this time, whether or not his belief in a god or the God was genuine faith, he kept the people of God safe and harbored in their faith systems.
It was said that possibly Constantine continued to identify the sun with the Christian God in some way and many Christian writers would portray Christ in sun imagery.

The specific instances in which Constantine intervened in the life of the Church.
In reaction to this attitude or ideal, later the church adapted too many pagan ideas and images. From sun–worship, for example, came the celebration of Christ’s birth on the twenty–fifth of December, the birthday of the Sun.
Another problem for the church that was a result of Constantine’s views was that the only Christian example for the role of a so called “Christian emperor” was the Old Testament kings of Israel, who actually had a major role in preserving peace and purity of religion in their kingdoms. In this time of culture, once the doctrine that the Emperor was somehow over the church had been established, it was never completely tested or challenged.
A third impact that Constantine had on the church is shown through this statement, “‘I am going to make plain to them what kind of worship is to be offered to God … What higher duty have I as emperor than to destroy error and repress rash indiscretions, and so cause all to offer to Almighty God true religion, honest concord and due worship?” Although he never went to Africa to relay this message, he ordered the churches under the leadership of the Donatists’ to be confiscated and their leaders banished.


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