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Beginning in the mid-2nd c., Christians responded to the pagans on the cultural level by apologetic, represented by Quadratus, Aristides, Justin, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and later, Clement of Alexandria and Origen, all writing in Greek; and Tertullian, Minucius Felix, Cyprian and Arnobius of Sicca in Latin. San Diego Metro Map On the existential level, they replied by nonviolence to use a modern expression: the faithful witnessed to Christ by sacrificing their lives. A real spirituality was born, with two strong points: negatively, the rejection of idolatry in any form; positively, the sequela of Christ, the faithful witness see Rev 1:5, as shown clearly by the acts and passions of the martyrs with due caution as to their age and historical reliability or the exhortations to martyrdom.

With the Edict of Galerius published 30 April 311 and then with Constantine and his successors, the situation changed radically: Christians were allowed freedom to meet and worship; their properties, confiscated by the imperial treasury or acquired by others, were returned. Furthermore, from the first years of his reign, Constantine issued a series of legislative provisions favoring the Christian communities, which gradually tended to confer a special status on them. Particularly significant were those from 319 on introducing moral requirements along the lines of the gospel message into Roman law, without ruling out the influence of older pagan legal traditions. This was one sign, among others, of the change which took place over a very few years in the church-empire relationship; another sign was imperial donations, which often took the form of largesse to individual churches.

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