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Religious Liberty still a problem, 1700 years after the 'Edict of Milan' was signed

2013-04-21

SERGIO TANZARELLA
Historian, Pontifical Gregorian University
“The Edict of Milan never existed, because the edict was not issued in Milan, but rather in  Nicomedia. It was not enacted by Constantine, but by Licinius, the  Eastern Emperor.”

After Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in Rome in 312, Constantine met with emperor Licinius to see what could be done about the persecution of Christians.

SERGIO TANZARELLA
Historian, Pontifical Gregorian University
“Above all, it was a recognition of religious freedom. In addition to the official religion, all other faiths were accepted. Another important ecclesiastical point is that all the property that had been confiscated from Christians were returned.”

It was the first time in history that a government officially recognized religious freedom. But it was not an isolated event. Two years earlier, in 311 the emperor Galerius had already issued a decree calling for an end to the persecution of Christians.

SERGIO TANZARELLA
Historian, Pontifical Gregorian University
“That decree had already set the path for the rights of Christians. So what happened in the year 313 came about because of it.”

According to the Agency "Open Doors" currently more than 100 million Christians worldwide face persecution.  Unfortunately, 1700 years after the first "edict" was recognized, this universal right is still a lingering problem.


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