EDICT of MILAN

Name wrongly given to the text, cited by Eusebius of Caesarea HE X, 5 and Lactantius De mort. persec. 48, of a letter written to the provincial governors in 313 by the two emperors Constantine I and Licinius, who had met at Milan after Constantine’s victory over the usurper Maxentius. The document recognized freedom of worship for Christians and marked a decisive step forward from Galerius’s edict of 311, which merely ended the anti-Christian persecutions for reasons of clemency and political opportunity; the text also prescribed restitution of goods previously confiscated from Christian communities corpori Christianorum, thus sanctioning their existence as lawful institutions. Modern criticism has considerably reduced the importance attributed for centuries both to the so-called Edict and to Constantine’s personal initiative in favor of Christian worship.

EDICT of MILAN Photo Gallery



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