Although toleration was give to Christianity in 311CE by Constantine
I, Christianity did not become the legal religion of the Roman
Empire until the reign of Theodosius I (379-395). At that point
not only was Christianity made the official religion of the Empire,
but other religions were declared illegal.
Theodosian Code XVI.1.2
It is our desire that all the various nation which are subject
to our clemency and moderation, should continue to the profession
of that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine
Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition
and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter,
Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to
the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us
believe in the one diety of the father, Son and Holy Spirit, in
equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers
of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for
the others, since in out judgment they are foolish madmen, we
decree that the shall be branded with the ignominious name of
heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the
name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement
of divine condemnation an the second the punishment of out authority,
in accordance with the will of heaven shall decide to inflict.
from Henry Bettenson, ed., Documents of the Christian Church,
(London: Oxford University Press, 1943), p. 31 [Short extract
used under fair-use provsions]
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Paul Halsall June 1997