Edict of Thessalonica discussion. - Printable Version
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Edict of Thessalonica discussion. - DanielM - 26-06-2011 06:59 PM
I saw that the forum has been a bit quiet recently so thought I'd throw a spanner in the works to liven things up.
I was reading a few articles on the history of the Roman Imperial Church and come across an online discussion board with an interesting single line topic. It quite simply said:
"Constantine's Edict of Milan was the worst thing to ever happen to Christianity. Discuss."
I thought I'd take this idea a step further and ask something more relevant and interesting.
"Theodosius' Edict of Thessalonica was the worst thing that could happen to the Early Church. Discuss"
What do people think? Was Christianity becoming the state religion a positive or negative?
- Dougherty - 27-06-2011 05:31 PM
my understanding of the Eastern mindset is rally that life is not so much secular and religiousbut both are intertwined which is why the empire was under the church. HOWEVER the issue isnt so much that the church became the state religion as it is that the church began to slack off a little when persecution lifted clergy became a title and statuss rather than remaining what it was... i think in that is the error.
- DanielM - 08-07-2011 06:26 PM
I'm looking at this less from a "Did Christianity go wrong when it became legal" than that. I think the legalisation and lack of persecution did change things, but not as much as the existance of the later Imperial Church which seems to have led to a clash of state ideal and traditional Christian values.
- vrc - 10-07-2011 09:01 PM
Interesting question, but:
my feeling is that the church is the sum of its parts; each of us has to examine and re-examine ourselves regularly, in the light of our current understanding and faith, and ask for assistance from Jesus Christ where we note we are failing and need His help. We form the church: without us as congregants and followers of Jesus Christ, it doesn't exist.
I am less interested in the structure and shortcomings of the path of the church itself. In the final analysis, it is our own individual growth that echoes in eternity, not the route that the church has taken by means of political acceptance. Jesus is interested in our hearts, not our worship structures.
I am sure that Christ Jesus knew the church, like everything else upon the planet, would have its challenges and faults, but still wanted it to grow so that each of us coming after the original brave disciples, can have the opportunity to find that which He intended us to find, e.g. His love, His forgiveness, and His Way.
From my perspective, as the church is indeed still doing that and providing the teachings that Jesus Christ intended it to provide, it has not lost its way at all, and is still feeding His flock, which is the point of its existence.
As I write this, I have been listening to 'Gladiator' on my CD player, and thinking about all those poor unfortunates who were thrown to the lions in the Coliseum. I also have a picture book of Roman Mosaics, where one unfortunate individual is shown meeting his end at the hands (or should I say, 'teeth'?) of a female lion gouging out his eye. This man may or many not have been a Christian, but many such were, and to my mind, they were just so brave, refusing to buckle just because a violent death was on offer. Had it not been for such individuals, we would never have had the opportunity to find our own relationship with Jesus, today.
It's incredible how the church has remained stalwart, through thick and thin, over 20 centuries. As it said on those DVDs that Father Simon sent me, Father David pointed out that the church remains because it is God's Will that it does so. Hallelujah!
Not sure my response is taking the discussion in the direction you might have intended - sorry, Daniel!
- DanielM - 14-07-2011 10:00 PM
Hi vrc, it is good to see you back on here.
I completely agree with you on this, I must admit that I get drawn up in things such as Church politics sometimes. I supose it is just my nature as a bit of a history geek that I look into the ways of man rather than will of God sometimes. :lol:
Your first point is an excellent one, we should all be looking into our own salvation first and foremost. For 20 centuries people in the Church have argued about Church policy whilst God's policy for mankind has not changed.
Also I understand that all that has happened to the Church is the will of God. In the hours prayers we thank and glorify God "For all things and in all things." So even those things that temporally we see as damaging for the Church will serve a greater purpose in the end.
It is fascinating what happens when man tries to play God. Little does he know that God is in fact playing him at the same time.
edict of thessalonica tradition - kirk yacoub - 29-07-2011 08:57 AM
Put simply, Christ told us that His Kingdom is not of this world, which means that the Church, which is His Body, cannot be part of the world, particularly in any state/political sense. We in the Syriac Orthodox Church have been fortunate in that we have never been part of a state religion.
Look at the history of the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Tsarist Rusian Empire, all teach us that the clerics who involved themselves with politics never had a sufficiently long spoon to sup with the devil of political power.
Re: edict of thessalonica tradition - Dougherty - 30-07-2011 06:46 PM
kirk yacoub Wrote:Put simply, Christ told us that His Kingdom is not of this world, which means that the Church, which is His Body, cannot be part of the world, particularly in any state/political sense. We in the Syriac Orthodox Church have been fortunate in that we have never been part of a state religion.true however are we not to bring everything we have here into God? Reconciliation of creation is something that we as Christians are supposed to do. Isn't this why things and material items are blessed?
- Fr Simon - 03-08-2011 02:05 PM
Yes, I agree we are to bring everything to God but I also agree with Kirk that an established Church whether Byzantine or Tzarist binds the Church to the world and I do not find this compatible with the Gospel. I believe that a politically esatablished Church renders the Church of this world as well as in this world.
The Coptic Orthodox Church too has been fortunate to have not been a state religion.
I have absolutely no problem with Christians taking part in politics as in every other sphere of life and bringing their Christian influence to bear.
- Dougherty - 03-08-2011 04:56 PM
Fr Simon Wrote:Yes, I agree we are to bring everything to God but I also agree with Kirk that an established Church whether Byzantine or Tzarist binds the Church to the world and I do not find this compatible with the Gospel. I believe that a politically esatablished Church renders the Church of this world as well as in this world.on a side bite father did you ever get my email? You asked me to email you a while back and I never heard back
- Fr Simon - 03-08-2011 08:42 PM
I am not sure whether I did receive it - but given my (in)abilities with all things technological... please send it again and hopefull I will manage better this time,
edict of thessalonika discussion - kirk yacoub - 06-08-2011 10:01 AM
Politics does not cover but actually includes a number of sins and I wonder if Christians are able to be politically active in the sense of a political party. It is one thing to condemn governments such as that of Syria for their brutal violence against their own people, or to condemn the economic policies of the present ConDem government in Britain, because both contradict basic tenets of Christianity, but it is another to be a member of a political party with all the compromises such a thing must entail. I was stunned to read that the late Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh, whose writings on prayer I value highly, was a fan of Margaret Thatcher, the Apostle of Selfishness and Greed. What a ghastly contradiction!
- vrc - 07-08-2011 07:28 AM
I would imagine that things today are pretty much the same as they were in Jesus' time, e.g. most people don't have a lot of money or a lot of say in what goes on.
I prefer to place zero value in politics or politicians, then do not suffer from the disappointments concomitant with the belief that things will change (e.g. the general population are in substantially the same position as in Roman times, despite different theories, names and labels). I prefer to put my faith exclusively in what Christ has taught, which supersedes all other power.
I don't wish to go down the road of discussing politics, because to me it is mere appearance, huff and puff, achieving nothing.