Wednesday, September 30

What if?? St.Constantine - Pagan or Saint? (Part 1 of 2)

#2. What if Saint Constantine the Great had lost the battle of the Milvian Bridge?

 It is amazing to know that many eccentric historical accounts of some Emperors have resulted in the propagation, governance and strengthening of certain religions in the world. And it is really surprising to find out that even the ritual structure of some of these religions has been changed in accordance to the Emperor's interests. The funniest part I observed is that in spite of knowing all these things, the 'created and modified rituals' that were formed by priests from the command of some Emperor are still being followed by people today as culture and tradition attaching to them a tag line of 'sanctity'.

Coming to the story of Constantine I the Great, one can understand why I started off this post mentioning eccentric historical accounts. Actually, Constantine I is being regarded as 'Saint' only by some Eastern Orthodox Churches. For the remaining Christian community that accept sainthood of mortal people, he is considered as 'The Great' for his contribution to the religion of Christianity.

Before discussing the history that led me to ask the above question, I think we need to discuss the administration of the Roman Empire. Before Diocletion established Tetrarchy in the Roman Empire, there was dictatorship by the emperor and the emperors were considered as incarnations of the Roman pagan Gods. We all know that the Roman empire was founded by Romulus and Remus who were the sons of the Roman mythological war God, Mars. Also, the Roman pagan Gods are related to one another and so the Emperors used to have their own lineage from the Gods. Hence, it was the Emperors, not the Gods, that used to be crazy !!

This establishment of a Godly lineage was much regarded by the Roman emperors as well as the public. Why we need to stress on this is that Constantine was the son of Flavius Constantius with Helena, whom Constantius did not marry. Hence, there had always been an illegitimate lineage associated with Constantine and he had done many things in his life to mask it. The magnitude of his eccentricity is so much that he changed his lineage from the Roman pagan Gods twice in his life to mask this illegitimacy. Well, the controversy and confusion in his personality comes when one considers the time line in which he did all these things.

We all know that Constantine abolished Tetrarchial administration, established monarchy and Christianity in the Roman Empire and hence became the founder of the Holy Roman Empire and orthodox Roman Catholic Christianity. He summoned the first council of Nicaea and his efforts were also spent on bringing out the 340 Bibles for the Constantinople church. It is not at all a controversial statement when it is said that these early 340 Bible versions are the basis for the present day Holy Bible versions, let it be the orthodox Catholic Bibles or the popular King James version of the Holy Bible that we see today.

What makes Constantine, the very founder of the Holy Roman Empire, who established Sunday as the sabbath day for orthodox Christianity, elevated the Cross, convened the Christian councils that formed the ritual structure of Christianity (that are even followed today), an eccentric and controversial person is his Paganism itself!! I am mentioning a couple of them in this post. He declared himself as a Christian at the age of forty but he was baptized on his death bed!! He had kept his lineage of the Roman Pagan Gods even after the establishment of Holy Roman Empire!! 

I shall be discussing the historical events in the necessary detail that led Constantine establish the Holy Roman Empire in the part 2 of this post. We shall also try to look at the controversial personality of St.Constantine in the next post.

When one tries to understand the motives behind all the things Constantine had done to Christianity, one really wonders at the hard and bitter form of truth that history carries with itself even though a label of 'sanctity' is associated to many of these things today. Honestly speaking, I am not criticizing the rituals or the doctrine of any religion here. As I have stated in the "What if?? Prologue" post, I was rather amazed by the contrasting historical accounts that led to the propagation and acclaim of different religions and wanted to share them in my blog. Moreover, I am of an opinion that no person in this world is eligible to criticize  the Doctrine, Rituals and Revelations of any religion. It is similar to criticizing the path of one's life and hence should be strictly forbidden.

Any contradicting comments?

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