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Introduction [2of 2]: 313 A.D. - 1521 A.D. The Birth of Revised Rome [the 7th Global Gentile Kingdom] and the Emergence of the Holy Roman Empire -- The extended 325 A.D. Constantinian system of dual Church and State set up a system of both cooperation and tensions between the Church religion and the State governments - A dual system that would last almost unhindered until the Protestant Reformation of the late 1400's and early 1500's

History: The three Church synods of Antioch convened between 264 A.D. and 269 A.D. had so accurately confirmed the Divinity of Jesus Christ among the minds of the common man that the heretics of the day admitted an almost complete defeat and had no alternative but to take their heretical doctrines out, away from civilization and into the deserts of Egypt [becoming the desert monks - desert fathers] in a desperate attempt to revise, retool, re-spin and readapt their heresies into a format that someday could become acceptable to the common people. Emperor Constantine realizing that the Roman agents of disinformation had been regulated to the desert region of Egypt acted quickly and in 313 A.D. issued the Edict of Milan legalizing [though without mentioning Christianity by name] all sects of Christianity with a primary emphasis on protecting, fostering and furthering the heretical sects of christianity while continuing to misrepresent and oppress true Christianity. With Emperor Constantine's 313 A.D. Edict of Milan and the success of his oversight of the Nicene Council in 325 A.D. the heretics of the desert had found their day and were quickly able to return to the cities but by this time with the protection of the Roman government the heretics of the desert not only returned to the cities but began to fill the seats of power and authority both within the city governments and also within the true Christian Church. [article link]

Wikipedia: Constantinian shift [Government presiding over Christianity] - The Constantinian shift is a term used by Anabaptist and Post-Christendom theologians to describe the political and theological aspects of the 4th-century (325 A.D.) process of Constantine's legalization [and secular takeover] of Christianity - The term was popularized by the Mennonite theologian John H. Yoder

Historical context: According to Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic tradition, [Emperor] Constantine I adopted Christianity as his system of belief after the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 A.D. His legions, who were victorious, fought under the "labarum", a standard (flag) with the first two Greek letters of Christ's name [XP - the first two (capital) letters chi (X) and rho (P) of the Greek word Christ] {Note: Constantine replaced the cross of Christianity with the letters X and P - the letters probably had a dual occult meaning}. -- In 313 A.D., the Edict of Milan legalized Christianity {Note: without mentioning Christianity by name} **alongside other religions {specifically heretical sects of Christianity} allowed in the Roman Empire. In 325 A.D., the First Council of Nicaea signaled consolidation of Christianity under an orthodoxy endorsed by Constantine, and though this did not make other Christian groups outside the adopted definition illegal, the dissenting Arian bishops [who were in all probability occult agents working for Constantine] were initially exiled. **But Constantine reinstated Arius {the heretic} before his death ***and exiled Orthodox {Christian} Athanasius of Alexandria. In 380 A.D. Emperor Theodosius I made Christianity the Roman Empire's official religion (see State church of the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire and the Goths) and did enforce the edict. In 392 he [Emperor Theodosius I] passed legislation prohibiting all pagan cultic worship. During the 4th century, however, there was no real unity between church and state: In the course of the Arian controversy, leading Trinitarian bishops, such as Athanasius, Hilary of Poitiers, and Gregory of Nyssa, were exiled by Arian emperors, as were leading Arian and Anomoean theologians such as Aëtius. Towards the end of the century [during the ongoing Church and State power struggle], **Bishop Ambrose of Milan made the powerful Emperor Theodosius do penance for several months after the massacre of Thessalonica before admitting him again to the Eucharist [Communion Supper]. On the other hand, only a few years later, Chrysostom, who as bishop of Constantinople criticized the excesses of the royal court [the Government], and was eventually banished and died while traveling to his place of exile. -- Theological Implications: Theologians critical of the Constantinian shift [Government presiding over Christianity] also see it as the point at which membership in the Christian church became associated with citizenship (in the country) rather than a personal decision (with Jesus). American theologian Stanley Hauerwas names the shift as the foundation for the expression of Christianity in the United States today that is closely associated with patriotism and civil religion. [article link]

Wikipedia: Constantine the Great - Roman Emperor from 306 A.D. to 337 A.D. - The foremost general of his time, Constantine defeated the emperors Maxentius and Licinius during civil wars - He also fought successfully against the Franks, Alamanni, Visigoths, and Sarmatians - Constantine built a new imperial residence in place of Byzantium, naming it Constantinople, which would later be the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire for over one thousand years - He is thought of as the founder of the Eastern Roman Empire - The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having some influence within the religious discussions going on within the Catholic Church of that time, e.g., the dispute over Arianism -- Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius (AD 250-336), a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the persons of the Trinity ('God the Father', 'God the Son' and 'God the Holy Spirit') and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a [created] subordinate entity to God the Father - Deemed a heretic by the First Council of Nicaea of 325 A.D., Arius was later exonerated in 335 at the First Synod of Tyre, and then, after his death, pronounced a heretic again at the First Council of Constantinople of 381 -- The Roman Emperors Constantius II (337-361) and Valens (364-378) were Arians or Semi-Arians

Religious policy: Constantine is perhaps best known for being the first Christian Roman emperor; his reign was certainly a turning point for the Church. In February 313, Constantine met with Licinius in Milan where they developed the Edict of Milan. The edict stated that Christians should be allowed to follow the faith of their choosing. This removed penalties for professing Christianity (under which many had been martyred in previous persecutions of Christians) and returned confiscated Church property. The edict protected from religious persecution not only Christians but all religions, allowing anyone to worship whichever deity they chose. A similar edict had been issued in 311 by Galerius, then senior emperor of the Tetrarchy; Galerius' edict granted Christians the right to practice their religion but did not restore any property to them. The Edict of Milan included several clauses which stated that all confiscated churches would be returned as well as other provisions for previously persecuted Christians. ... Constantine did not patronize Christianity alone, however. After gaining victory in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312), a triumphal arch-the Arch of Constantine-was built (315) to celebrate it; the arch is decorated with images of Victoria and sacrifices to gods like Apollo, Diana, and Hercules, but contains no Christian symbolism. In 321, Constantine instructed that Christians and non-Christians should be united in observing the venerable day of the sun, referencing the esoteric eastern sun-worship which Aurelian had helped introduce, and his coinage still carried the symbols of the sun cult until 324. Even after the pagan gods had disappeared from the coinage, Christian symbols appeared only as Constantine's personal attributes: the chi rho between his hands or on his labarum, but never on the coin itself. Even when Constantine dedicated the new capital of Constantinople, which became the seat of Byzantine Christianity for a millennium, he did so wearing the Apollonian sun-rayed Diadem. -- The reign of Constantine established a precedent for the position of the emperor as having some influence within the religious discussions going on within the Catholic Church of that time, e.g., the dispute over Arianism. Constantine himself disliked the risks to societal stability that religious disputes and controversies brought with them, preferring where possible to establish an orthodoxy. The emperor saw it as his duty to ensure that God was properly worshiped in his empire, and that what proper worship consisted would be determined by the Church. In 316, Constantine acted as a judge in a North African dispute concerning the validity of Donatism. After deciding against the Donatists, Constantine led an army of Christians against the Donatist Christians. More significantly, in 325 he summoned the Council of Nicaea, effectively the first Ecumenical Council (unless the Council of Jerusalem is so classified). Nicaea was dealt mostly with Arianism. Constantine also enforced the prohibition of the First Council of Nicaea against celebrating the Lord's Supper on the day before the Jewish Passover (14th of Nisan) (see Quartodecimanism and Easter controversy). Constantine made new laws regarding the Jews. They were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. [article link]

The Revised Roman Empire - Saint Helena - the mother of Emperor Constantine I - She is traditionally credited with finding the relics of the True Cross, with which she is invariably represented in Christian iconography - Constantine appointed his mother Helen as Augusta Imperatrix, and gave her unlimited access to the imperial treasury in order to locate the relics of Judeo-Christian tradition - In 326-28 A.D. Helena undertook a trip to the Holy Places in Palestine [Israel] - The chapel at St. Catherine's Monastery [in Sinai Egypt - including Helen's Chapel of the Burning Bush] often referred to as the Chapel of Saint Helen-is dated to the year AD 330 {Note: every 'discovery' of Helena the mother of Emperor Constantine I is considered to be discredited - especially her [confirming] Mt. Sinai in Egypt [the Chapel of the Burning Bush - Source: SacredSites.com] when the Bible proclaims that the real Mt. Sinai was 'outside' (Exodus 18:1,5) of Egypt (Galatians 4:25) [in Arabia - Saudi Arabia]. Also Note: **it is one of the most blasphemous concepts [Mt. Sinai in Egypt] to locate God in Egypt - God is not in Egypt, He is outside of Egypt [human slavery and human bondage] - the whole concept of the Bible is to leave Egypt [the world system] and for worshipers go outside of Egypt (the world) to have a true relationship [fellowship] with God - **pastors who preach that one corner of Egypt [Sinai Peninsula - St. Catherine's Monastery] is acceptable to God have missed much of the entirety of the Bible - The Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus was even crucified outside the city of Jerusalem so we would know to look outside the [world system] city for a true relationship with Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:12-14).} -- Note: A sustainable relationship with God is generally not to be found in this worldly system though minor glimpses and interactions with God can be experienced. The worldly system saturated with misconceptions and false premises from deceived and misinformed individuals like Richard Dawkins is a system designed and maintained simply to hinder a person's true relationship with God. Therefore leaving the misinformed worldly system and entering the Promises of the Biblical realm is an important part of a sustainable relationship with God.}

Family life: The bishop and historian Eusebius of Caesarea states that she was about 80 [years old] on her return from Palestine (Israel). Since that journey has been dated to 326-28, Helena was probably born in 248 or 250. Little is known of her early life. Fourth-century sources, following Eutropius' "Breviarium," record that she came from a low background. Saint Ambrose was the first to call her a stabularia, a term translated as "stable-maid" or "inn-keeper". He makes this fact a virtue, calling Helena a bona stabularia, a "good stable-maid". Other sources, especially those written after Constantine's proclamation as emperor, gloss over or ignore her background. ... Relic discoveries: Constantine appointed his mother Helen as Augusta Imperatrix, and gave her unlimited access to the imperial treasury in order to locate the relics of Judeo-Christian tradition. In 326-28 Helena undertook a trip to the Holy Places in Palestine. According to Eusebius of Caesarea she was responsible for the construction or beautification of two churches, the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, and the Church on the Mount of Olives, sites of Christ's birth and ascension. Local founding legend attributes to Helena's orders the construction of a church in Egypt to identify the Burning Bush of Sinai. The chapel at St. Catherine's Monastery--often referred to as the Chapel of Saint Helen-is dated to the year AD 330. -- Jerusalem was still rebuilding from the destruction of Emperor Hadrian, who had built a temple dedicated, according to conflicting accounts, to Venus or Jupiter over the site of Jesus's tomb near Calvary and renamed the city Aelia Capitolina. According to tradition, Helena ordered the temple torn down and, according to the legend that arose at the end of the fourth century, in Ambrose, On the Death of Theodosius (died 395) and at length in Rufinus' chapters appended to his translation into Latin of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, which does not mention the event, chose a site to begin excavating, which led to the recovery of three different crosses. Then, Rufinus relates, refusing to be swayed by anything but solid proof, the empress (perhaps through Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem) had a woman who was already at the point of death brought from Jerusalem. When the woman touched the first and second crosses, her condition did not change, but when she touched the third and final cross she suddenly recovered, and Helena declared the cross with which the woman had been touched to be the True Cross. On the site of discovery, Constantine ordered built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as well as those on other sites detected by Helena. -- She also found the nails of the crucifixion. To use their miraculous power to aid her son, Helena allegedly had one placed in Constantine's helmet, and another in the bridle of his horse. Helena left Jerusalem and the eastern provinces in 327 to return to Rome, bringing with her large parts of the True Cross and other relics, which were then stored in her palace's private chapel, where they can be still seen today. Her palace was later converted into the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. This has been maintained by Cistercian monks in the monastery which has been attached to the church for centuries. Tradition says that the site of the Vatican Gardens was spread with earth brought from Golgotha by Helena to symbolically unite the blood of Christ with that shed by thousands of early Christians, who died in the persecutions of Nero. -- According to one tradition, Helena acquired the Holy Tunic on her trip to Jerusalem and sent it to Trier. Several of Saint Helena's treasures are now in Cyprus, where she spent some time. Some of them are a part of Jesus Christ's tunic, pieces of the holy cross and the world's only pieces of the rope to which Jesus was tied with on the Cross. The latter has been held at the Stavrovouni Monastery, which was also founded by Saint Helena. [article link]

Wikipedia: Athanasius (296 - 2 May 373) - In June 328, at the age of 30, three years after Nicaea and upon the repose of Bishop Alexander, he became archbishop of Alexandria - He continued to lead the conflict against the Arians for the rest of his life and was engaged in theological and political struggles against the Emperors Constantine and Constantius and powerful and influential Arian churchmen, led by Arian Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia and others - He was known as "Athanasius Contra Mundum" - Within few years of his departure, St. Gregory of Nazianzus called him the "Pillar of the Church" - His writings were well regarded by all Church fathers who followed, in both the West and the East - His writings show a rich devotion to the Word-become-man, great pastoral concern, and profound interest in monasticism -- The so-called Athanasian Creed dates from well after Athanasius's death and draws upon the phraseology of Augustine's De trinitate {Note: The Athanasian Creed, was probably written by Vincent of Lérins in about (475-525 A.D.) as a summary of Athanasius' works and writings in the same way that the Apostles' Creed was earlier written by Ambrose in about 390 A.D. as a summary of the Apostles (N.T) works and writings.}

Athanasius is counted as one of the Great Doctors of the Church in Eastern Orthodoxy where he is also labeled the "Father of Orthodoxy". He is also one of the four Great Doctors of the Church from the East in the Roman Catholic Church. He is renowned in the Protestant churches, who label him "Father of The Canon". Athanasius is venerated as a Christian saint, whose feast day is 2 May in Western Christianity, 15 May in the Coptic Orthodox Church, and 18 January in the other Eastern Orthodox churches. He is venerated by the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox, the Roman Catholics, the Lutherans, and the Anglican Communion. ... Athanasius' letters include one "Letter Concerning the Decrees of the Council of Nicaea" (De Decretis), which is an account of the proceedings of that council, and another letter in the year 367 which was the first known listing of the New Testament including all those books now accepted everywhere as the New Testament. (earlier similar lists vary by the omission or addition of a few books, see Development of the New Testament canon). Several of his letters also survive. In one of these, to Epictetus of Corinth, Athanasius anticipates future controversies in his defense of the humanity of Christ. Another of his letters, to Dracontius, urges that monk to leave the desert for the more active duties of a bishop. There are several other works ascribed to him, although not necessarily generally accepted as being his own work. These include the Athanasian creed, which is today generally seen as being of 5th-century Galician origin. Athanasius was not what would be called a speculative theologian. As he stated in his First Letters to Serapion, he held on to "the tradition, teaching, and faith proclaimed by the apostles and guarded by the fathers." In some cases, this led to his taking the position that faith should take priority over reason. He held that not only was the Son of God consubstantial with the Father, but so was the Holy Spirit, which had a great deal of influence in the development of later doctrines regarding the Trinity. [article link]

Wikipedia: Ambrose - Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose (337 - 4 April 397), was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century - He was one of the four original doctors (of particular importance) of the Roman Catholic Church - In spite of Imperial opposition, Bishop Ambrose declared: "If you demand my person, I am ready to submit: carry me to prison or to death, I will not resist; but I will never betray the Church of Christ. I will not call upon the people to succour me; I will die at the foot of the altar rather than desert it. The tumult of the people I will not encourage: but God alone can appease it." - Soon after acquiring the undisputed possession of the Roman empire, Theodosius died at Milan in 395, and two years later (April 4, 397) Ambrose also died - He was succeeded as bishop of Milan by Simplician - Ambrose's body may still be viewed in the church of S. Ambrogio in Milan, where it has been continuously venerated - along with the bodies identified in his time as being those of St. Gervase and St. Protase - and is one of the oldest extant bodies of historical personages known outside Egypt

Bishop of Milan: In the late 4th century there was a deep conflict in the diocese of Milan between the Catholics and Arians. In 374 the bishop of Milan, Auxentius, an Arian, died, and the Arians challenged the succession. Ambrose went to the church where the election was to take place, to prevent an uproar, which was probable in this crisis. His address was interrupted by a call "Ambrose, bishop!", which was taken up by the whole assembly. Ambrose was known to be Catholic in belief, but also acceptable to Arians due to the charity shown in theological matters in this regard. At first he energetically refused the office, for which he was in no way prepared: Ambrose was neither baptized nor formally trained in theology. Upon his appointment, St. Ambrose fled to a colleague's home seeking to hide. Upon receiving a letter from the Emperor Gratian praising the appropriateness of Rome appointing individuals evidently worthy of holy positions, St. Ambrose's host gave Ambrose up. Within a week, Ambrose was baptized, ordained and duly consecrated bishop of Milan. As bishop, he immediately adopted an ascetic lifestyle, apportioned his money to the poor, donating all of his land, making only provision for his sister Marcellina (who later became a nun), and committed the care of his family to his brother. Ambrose also wrote a treatise by the name of "The Goodness Of Death". -- Ambrose and Arians: According to legend, Ambrose immediately and forcefully stopped Arianism in Milan. He studied theology with Simplician, a presbyter of Rome. Using his excellent knowledge of Greek, which was then rare in the West, to his advantage, he studied the Hebrew Bible and Greek authors like Philo, Origen, Athanasius, and Basil of Caesarea, with whom he was also exchanging letters. He applied this knowledge as preacher, concentrating especially on exegesis of the Old Testament, and his rhetorical abilities impressed Augustine of Hippo, who hitherto had thought poorly of Christian preachers. In the confrontation with Arians, Ambrose sought to theologically refute their propositions, which were heretical. The Arians appealed to many high level leaders and clergy in both the Western and Eastern empires. Although the western Emperor Gratian held orthodox belief in the Nicene creed, the younger Valentinian II, who became his colleague in the Empire, adhered to the Arian creed. Ambrose did not sway the young prince's position. In the East, Emperor Theodosius I likewise professed the Nicene creed; but there were many adherents of Arianism throughout his dominions, especially among the higher clergy. In this contested state of religious opinion, two leaders of the Arians, bishops Palladius of Ratiaria and Secundianus of Singidunum, confident of numbers, prevailed upon Gratian to call a general council from all parts of the empire. This request appeared so equitable that he complied without hesitation. However, Ambrose feared the consequences and prevailed upon the emperor to have the matter determined by a council of the Western bishops. Accordingly, a synod composed of thirty-two bishops was held at Aquileia in the year 381 A.D. Ambrose was elected president and Palladius, being called upon to defend his opinions, declined. A vote was then taken, when Palladius and his associate Secundianus were deposed from the episcopal office. Nevertheless, the increasing strength of the Arians proved a formidable task for Ambrose. In 385 or 386 the emperor and his mother Justina, along with a considerable number of clergy and laity, especially military, professed Arianism. They demanded two churches in Milan, one in the city (the basilica of the Apostles), the other in the suburbs (St Victor's), to the Arians. Ambrose refused and was required to answer for his conduct before the council. He went, his eloquence in defense of the Church reportedly overawed the ministers of Emperor Valentinian, so he was permitted to retire without making the surrender of the churches. The day following, when he was performing divine service in the basilica, the prefect of the city came to persuade him to give up at least the Portian basilica in the suburbs. As he still continued obstinate, the court proceeded to violent measures: the officers of the household were commanded to prepare the Basilica and the Portian churches to celebrate divine service upon the arrival of the emperor and his mother at the ensuing festival of Easter. -- In spite of Imperial opposition, Bishop Ambrose declared: "If you demand my person, I am ready to submit: carry me to prison or to death, I will not resist; but I will never betray the church of Christ. I will not call upon the people to succour me; I will die at the foot of the altar rather than desert it. The tumult of the people I will not encourage: but God alone can appease it." [article link]

Creeds: The Apostles' Creed, written by Ambrose -- The Nicene Creed 325 A.D. -- The Athanasian Creed, possibly by Vincent of Lérins

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