The Relationship Between the Church and the Roman empire: From Persecution to the State Religion
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This study has explored the changed relationship between the church and the Roman Empire between the second and the fourth century as presented in the books Apology by Tertullian and The Death of the Persecutors by Lactantius and Life of Constantine by Eusebius. Tertullian presents the adverse condition of the church-state relationship at the end of the second century. He shows the vulnerable situation of the church and the church practitioners under the Pagan emperors. The Apology shows the persecution and its nature Christian had to face. On the other hand, The Death of the persecutors represents the time at the end of the third century when Christianity encountered The Great Persecution. This book features two crucial factors regarding the church-state relationship. The first one is the ever-worst relationship between the church and the empire at the time of Emperor Diocletian and his predecessors. The second is the rise of Constantine as a Christian emperor. This book the last section gives the glance of the changed scenario in the church-state relationship after Constantine declared the policy of toleration against all religions including Christianity. The Life of Constantine provides every detail of Constantine’s effort to promote Christianity and his patronage to the church. Hence these three books represent the three different state of church-state relationship: persecution, toleration, and promotion. And this study is focused on how this relation had been changed over two hundred years. For this purpose, I have applied the historical research method. With the application of this method comparison of two different times has been done. And with the comparative study, it is concluded that there was a change in a church-state relationship beginning from the persecution to toleration and making its way to the state religion by the end of the fourth century.