Sirmondian Constitution Analysis

1144 Words 5 Pages
The Sirmondian Constitutions reflect some of the pragmatic ways in which Christian religion was transformed from a persecuted, underground religion under Diocletian to one that was officially favoured and publicly supported. Sirm. 1- 16 illustrate some of the significant social, economic, political and legal privileges accorded to Christian laymen and authorities. Legislation also served to establish an orthodox Christianity in line with the decisions of Church councils while penalizing those adhering to teachings proclaimed heretical. In contrast to the institutionalization of Christianity, pagans and those deemed to have deviated from the catholic faith and their supporters were to be corrected by the teachings of the priesthood as well …show more content…
This is reflected in legislation which barred Jews and pagans from the imperial service and prevented them from bringing cases in front of a civil court. Sirm. 12 outlined that pagan idols and alters were to be demolished by the landowner and that the buildings of pagans and other heretical sects was to be co-opted for public use. Additionally while Church estates were to be exempt from public services such as responsibility for constructing and repairing roads and brides, with the threat of exile imposed on individuals who sought to raise taxes from consecrated estates , the income from heretical sects and pagan temples was to be confiscated. Further, as Sirm. 13, suggests, people who took sanctuary in the church were provided safety outside its doors within 50 paces. All of these strategies lend credence to Macmullen’s proposition that Christianity was promoted through a ‘subtle mixture of social and material …show more content…
These included elevating the social standing of Christians and according significant judicial powers to the Episcopal courts, although the execution of these judgments were still left to civilian authorities, while marginalizing pagans, Jews and heretics, by confiscating their property, barring them imperial service and disallowing them from being represented in civil courts. In addition to social and legal advantages, there were also significant economic benefits afforded to Christians in that church property was relieved of the burden of taxes, while the land and income of pagan temples and heretical sects were utilized to cover the expenses of the

Related Documents