Vatican conference traces impact of Constantine's conversion
April 17, 2012
Church-state relations, religious freedom, and the early history of Europe will all be in focus during a Vatican conference this week. The conference, on the Emperor Constantine, is sponsored by the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.
At an April 17 press conference introducing the conference, Father Bernard Ardura, the president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, underlined the importance of Constantine’s reign, and his conversion to Christianity, for the future of Europe. Constantine’s decisive victory at the Milvian Bridge, he remarked came at a time when “the era of imperial persecution against Christians was about to come to an end, giving way to the evangelization of the entire empire and molding the profile of western Europe and the Balkans; a Europe which gave rise to the values of human dignity, distinction and cooperation between religion and the state, and freedom of conscience, religion and worship.”
This week’s conference is one of two events scheduled to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of Constantine’s conversion. Next year a conference in Milan will continue the discussion, while also marking the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, establishing religious freedom in the Roman empire.
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