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De La Salle Zobel Santiago Zobel School Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City S.Y.

2011-2012 Name: ____________________________________ Section: _____ Date: ___________

The Roman Persecution of the Church in the First 300 Years Christians were persecuted as a consequence of professing their faith. It began during the Ministry of Jesus and continued intermittently over a period of about three centuries until the time of Constantine when Christianity was legalized. This persecution impacted all aspects of Christian life including the development of the Canonical gospels, Christian theology, and the structure of the Church.

Forms of Persecution Crucifixion Feeding to the Lions Stoning to Death Imprisonment Exile

The Emperors of the Roman Empire 1. Emperor Nero (54-68 A.D.) - In 64, most of Rome was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome, which many Romans believed Nero himself had started in order to clear land for his planned palatial complex, the Domus Aurea. - Non-Christian historian Tacitus describes Nero extensively torturing and executing Christians after the fire of 64. 2. Emperor Domitian (81-96 A.D.) - According to many historians, Jews and Christians were heavily persecuted toward the end of Domitian's reign (89-96). - Those who worshipped another religion aside from the national religion were unlawful (atheism) and they were persecuted. 3. Emperor Trajan (98-117 A.D.) - The emperor said that Christians should not be sought out, anonymous tips should be rejected as "unworthy of our times," and if they recanted and "worshiped our gods," they were to be freed. Those who persisted, however, should be punished. 4. Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D.) - A law was passed under his reign, punishing every one with exile who should endeavor to influence people's mind by fear of the Divinity, and this law was aimed at the Christians. - One of the best-recorded acts of violence against Christians in Marcus Aurelius' reign is the persecution in Lyons, which occurred in 177 CE. Over 48 Christians were killed in it. 5. Emperor Septimus Severus (193-211 A.D.) - Writing during his reign, Clement of Alexandria said, "Many martyrs are daily burned, confined, or beheaded, before our eyes." - In 202 Septimius enacted a law prohibiting the spread of Christianity and Judaism. This was the first universal decree forbidding conversion to Christianity. 6. Emperor Maximinus of Thrax (235-238 A.D.) - He was the first Emperor never to set foot in Rome. - Maximinus the Thracian initiated a persecution in 235 in the reign of that was directed chiefly against the heads of the Church. - One of its first victims was Pope Pontian, who with Hippolytus was banished to the island of Sardinia.

7. Emperor Decius (249-251 A.D.) - In January 250, Decius issued an edict for the suppression of Christianity. - Christian followers who refused to offer a pagan sacrifice for the Emperor and the Empire's well-being by a specified date risked torture and execution. 8. Emperor Valerian (253-260 A.D.) - Under Valerian, who took the throne in 253, all Christian clergy were required to sacrifice to the gods. 9. Emperor Diocletian (284-305 A.D.) - Diocletian's preference for activist government, combined with his self-image as a restorer of past Roman glory, presaged the most pervasive persecution in Roman history. - A general persecution was called on February 24, 303 A.D. The Effects of Persecution to the Early Christians People who were devout Christians suffered greatly. Others went into hiding. Many Christians renounced their faith, they were forced to give up in fear of death and suffering.

How did the Early Christians Face the Persecution? Devout followers of Christ decided to face martyrdom. The Christians secretly did their prayers and worships in catacombs. Cowards gave in to the Roman Emperors wishes.

How do Christians Today Experience Persecution? Persecution seems to pass through three phases. 1. Disinformation - begins more often than not in the media. (through printed articles, radio, television and other means) Christians are robbed of their good reputation and their right to answer the accusations made against them. 2. Discrimination - relegates Christians to a second-class citizenship with inferior legal, social, political and economic standing than the majority in the country. 3. Persecution - can arise from the state, the police or military, extreme organizations, mobs, paramilitary groups, or representatives of other religions. Saints of the Roman Empire St. Constantine - The Roman emperor of 306-337 A.D. - Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. - Issued the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. which proclaimed religious tolerance of all religions throughout the empire. Saint Maurice - Was the leader of the legendary Roman Theban Legion in the 3rd century, and one of the favorite and most widely venerated saints of that group. - Patron saint of several professions, locales, and kingdoms. Saint Augustine - He was born in northern Africa in what is now Algeria in 354 A.D. - He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian. - He is the patron saint of brewers, painters, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses.