Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Constantinian shift is a term used by Anabaptist and Post-Christendom theologians, to describe the beginning of Christendom in 325 AD when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire under the emperor Constantine I. Despite Constantine's favoritism towards Christianity, it did not officially become the Roman Empire's religion until 381 under Emperor Theodosius I.
Critics of the merger of church and state point to this shift of the beginning of the era of Constantinianism when Christianity and the will of God gradually came to be identified with the will of the ruling elite; and in some cases was little more than a religious justification for the exercise of power.
Augustine of Hippo was an apologist for the Constantinian shift and many of his writings attempt to justify the association of Christianity with empire. In addition, several bishops and patriarchs during the 4th century were sent into exile by the reigning emperor when they lost favor with the emperor, including Athanasius of Alexandria and John Chrysostom. As bishop of Constantinople, Chrysostom was notorious for criticizing the excesses of the royal court, and ultimately died while traveling to his place of exile.
- The Powers and God's Providential Rule: Church and State - article discusses the effect of the Constantinian shift on the church from an Anabaptist perspective
- Social Constantinianism - an Evangelical perspective on the Constantinian shift
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