Pagan Roman emperor venerated Christ’s image
Catholic World News - July 20, 2011
A pagan Roman emperor venerated an image of Christ every morning, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi notes in a brief L’Osservatore Romano article.
Alexander Severus (222-35) “venerated at dawn in his lararium portraits of his ancestors, images of several emperors, the figure of Apollonio of Tiana, but also the icons of Christ, Abraham and Orpheus,” writes the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. “This syncretism was widespread in the empire at the time and the Roman pantheon unhesitatingly gathered together the figures, ideas, symbols and cults of the Orient, creating an intercultural and multi-religious climate which corresponded to the multiethnic makeup of the populations of the metropolis and of the empire.”
Although several saints were martyred during Alexander Severus’ reign, the era is viewed as a relatively tolerant time that preceded the brutal persecutions of Decius (249-51), Valerianus (253-58), and Diocletian (286-305).
An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:
Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!
Progress toward our January expenses ($20,175 to go):
All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!