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Christianity; Most Influential Religion in History

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Christianity; Most Influential Religion in History

When Christianity became the state religion for the Roman Empire, it became the largest and most influential religion of its time. It started with the spread of the central beliefs and values of Christianity through Jesus and his early followers more specifically spreading after his death. Under many prominent figures, such as Constantine the great Roman Emperor, Christianity went from a persecuted faith to the most important religion in the Roman Empire. The appeal of Christianity to women also allowed for it to be spread and became one of its main attractions.

The moral force and the central beliefs and values obtained by Christianity allowed for its growth to prosper. The message of the salvation through “the kingdom of God” was one of great importance. “Jesus’s emphasis on the ethical requirements of the law rather than its literal interpretation is reflected in many of his teachings.” (WC pg 183) In other words, laws such as circumcision, ritual purity, and prohibitions of the consumption of certain foods, to some did not offer freedom but slavery. What helped his believers move past that and start to gain listeners was to preach to non-Jewish audiences. He was now not just the messiah but “the anointed one”. He was the divine representation of God, and came to have many loyal followers who abided by tradition and ethical standards.

In 312 AD, he was the first emperor to publicly convert to Christianity. Constantine’s conversion was prompted before going into war, “that led him to emblazon Christian symbols on his banners and the shields of his soldiers the night before a major battle north of Rome, at the Milvian Bridge over the Tiber.” (WC, pg. 193) He conquered, and to show his appreciation for his victory he went on to construct churches throughout the empire. He took a persecuted, illegal faith and he made it an apparent favored faith among the imperial. It allowed for them to be prestigious, profitable and attractive to the ruling classes. In the year 313, he formed the Edict of Milan which guaranteed freedom of worship to all of Rome. It completely changed Christianity and made a pathway for what it was set to become.

The role women played when it came to religion and Christianity was different depending on when and who you spoke to. In the Hellenistic Greek world women played an important and prominent role within the church. The held high statuses which was unusual, like patrons and officeholders. During the time period of the consolidation of Europe women started



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