History

What happened in 313 a.d.?

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Constantine
Saint Constantine
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What happened in 313 a.d. that may have changed the world?

In American history, we learn all about dates; 1863, 1776, 1492. But long before any of those dates, what happened in 313 a.d. that would alter history worldwide forever?

 


The Edict of Milan

 


It was in that year that Christianity, which had already been slowly growing for three hundred years, would gain a firm, permanent foothold. In 313 the Edict of Milan was issued. In this edict, emperors Constantine and Licinius ordered that the Roman Empire would now be tolerant of religion, including Christianity. Many saw this basically as an imperial backing of the Christian church.

 


It had taken 300 years for 10 percent of the Roman Empire to turn toward Christianity, but once this edict was issued, it took less than one century for nearly all of the remaining 90 percent to follow suit.

 


The edict basically made religious intolerance illegal, and ordered that all Christian property that had been confiscated be returned to the Christian owners.

 


Constantine's influence

 


In reality, Constantine had already granted restitution and tolerance to Christians a couple of years earlier, but his name on this document beside Licinius' resulted in Christian tolerance becoming law across the empire.


The era immediately following this event is known to Christians as the peace of the church because up to this point, many considered Christianity a crime and Christians, who insisted that all others' gods were false, were often persecuted and killed for their intolerant, acerbic views toward other religions and gods.


The year 313 is also considered by many the year when Constantine began his cooption of Christianity.  Constantine, who was himself not a Christian at the time, basically made Christianity the official religion of the state because of its growing power.  He wanted that power to support him, and it worked like a charm.  In a relatively short span of time, the Christian church and the Roman Empire were one.


The church had already begun to split into many factions, and it was not long before Constantine brought all of the major leaders of Christianity in the Roman Empire together in order to prevent warring among the various Christian sects. Twelve years after he issued the Edict of Milan, he basically forced these 300 or so leaders to all come to agreement on what would be the one accepted version of Christianity. This event was called the "Council of Nicea."

 

 

As a direct result of what happened in 313 a.d., Christianity became a viable, and ultimately dominant religion in the world.


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