Constantinianism

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Constantine the Great.

Constantinianism is the shift of ecclesial identity that occurred in the fourth century church when it became an imperial power, instead of a church identified with the martyrdom of Jesus and his followers. The result was to place the locus of the church's action in political and military realm rather than in the kingdom of God. Which created the beginning of Christendom (joining of the church and state).

Constantinianism refers to those policies said to be enacted, encouraged, or personally favored by Constantine the Great, a 4th-century Roman Emperor. In particular, it may refer to any of the following.

  • It may refer to a tendency to exuberance due of the subsequent rise of Christianity, sometimes called Christian triumphalism.
  • It may refer to the doctrines of the Council of Nicea, which Constantine promoted.
  • It may refer to the practice of state control of or influence over the Church, sometimes called Erastianism.
  • It may refer to Constantine's alleged preference for Orthodoxy over heresy.
  • It may refer to the corruption of Christian doctrine that is alleged to have taken place during or because of the reign of Constantine, sometimes called the Great Apostasy or more particularly the Constantinian shift.
  • It may refer to the notion that Constantine received his mandate from God, as in the Divine Right of Kings.
  • It may refer to the notion that Roman Emperors have authority over the Church, sometimes called Caesaropapism.

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