Oct. 28th marks Milvian Bridge Day — a day on which some Christians solemnly reflection on the relationship of religion and the civil government.
On October 28, 312 c.e. a battle at the Milvian (Mulvian) Bridge between Constantine and Maxentius resulted in victory for Constantine. Many traditions agree on two things – there was a vision of the Christian Cross superimposed on the sun; and the words “In This Sign, Conquer”, “In hoc signo vinces”, were experienced by Constantine. Some say it did not happen this way.
Constantine went on to become the Emperor of the Roman Empire. His experience with the Christian Way led him to make Christianity legal in the Empire. No longer were believers in Christ to be persecuted. Now the believers were recognized and honored by the imperial government.
At first seen as a great benefit to the Christian community, entanglements with the political realm and with persons of great secular power soon burdened the church with problems. Today there is debate over the relationship of Church and State and concern over the use of power to enforce religious belief and practice.
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