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Rome and the Rise of Christianity

            In the year 312 CE, in Rome; a time of chaos was upon society. Two generals were in direct opposition, fighting for control of the vast, powerful empire. One of the generals, Constantine, was struggling to take his rightful spot as emperor. Almost on cue, a vision of a sun with a cross came to him. The sun was an important figure to him, for he had a fascination with the god Helios. However, the idea of the cross was a new image to him, which is similar to the situation of the upcoming, religion, Christianity. He interpreted this to mean that he must fight by the cross in order to emerge victorious. He immediately instructed all members of his army to paint crosses on their shields and fight in the name of Christ. Once he reached his goal and crowned himself emperor, he realized his vision did in fact have spiritual significance. He eventually credited Christianity for his success in war and became a devoted follower. For many reasons, Constantine and his imperial support is undoubtedly the reason as to why Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. .
             The major reasons why Constantine caused Christianity to become the dominant religion of the Roman Empire is because he passed the Edict of Milan, he donated large amounts of money to the church, and he enabled the copying of sacred scriptures/allowed the construction of religious buildings. The first of these reasons, the Edict of Milan, is a document passed by Constantine that completely accepted Christians in society. "In the next year, A.D. 313, Constantine announced an end to the persecution of Christians. In the Edict of Milan, he declared Christianity to be one of the religions approved by the emperor" (Rand McNally, World History: The Rise of Christianity, McDougal Littell, Illinois, 2005). This document was essential, due to the fact that it ended the persecution, execution and banishment of the majority of christians and allowed them to worship and express themselves freely.

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