The Roman Emperor Constantine had a problem—how to maintain unity across his far-flung empire. Despite centuries of persecution, Christianity was still growing. Admittedly, Christians were peaceable citizens who worked an honest day and paid their taxes. Who wouldn’t want an empire filled with such good people?
But the pagans feared that the growing Christian population might revolt and take over the Empire. So, they barred Christians from many occupations and opportunities for advancement. In defense, Christians developed their own communities where they could control their lives. Constantine believed this tension was fostering instability in his Empire.
Then, the wily emperor hit upon an idea that changed the history of both Christianity and the Roman Empire. Why not combine the best features of both religions? In essence, form a new religion, one in which both pagans and Christians could find common ground.
Constantine’s idea won the day. The
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The Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, Aug., 1900.
The Christian Sabbath, 2nd ed. (Baltimore: The Catholic Mirror ), pp. 29–31.
A quotation from a letter written in Nov. 1895 by Mr. H. F. Thomas, chancellor to Cardinal Gibbons, replying to an inquiry as to whether the Catholic Church claims to have changed the Sabbath.
Betsy Mayer is the managing editor of Last Generation magazine.