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The Edict of Galerius (311) - granting recognition and freedom of worship to Christians, following the Great Persecution.
as found in Lactantius Liber de Mortibus Persecutorum, XXXIV (On the Deaths of Persecutors, Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died)
Latin text with English translation
Click here to read at earlychurchtexts.com in the original Latin (with dictionary lookup links). The English translation below is from the ANF series.
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Geoffrey de Ste Croix
G. W. Bowersock
Robin Lane Fox
XXXIV. Amongst our other regulations for the permanent
advantage of the commonweal, we have hitherto studied to reduce all things to a
conformity with the ancient laws and public discipline of the Romans. It has
been our aim in an especial manner, that the Christians also, who had abandoned
the religion of their forefathers, should return to right opinions. For such
wilfulness and folly had, we know not how, taken possession of them, that
instead of observing those ancient institutions, which possibly their own
forefathers had established, they, through caprice, made laws to themselves, and
drew together into different societies many men of widely different persuasions.
After the publication of our edict, ordaining the Christians to betake
themselves to the observance of the ancient institutions, many of them were
subdued through the fear of danger, and moreover many of them were exposed to
jeopardy; nevertheless, because great numbers still persist in their opinions,
and because we have perceived that at present they neither pay reverence and due
adoration to the gods, nor yet worship their own God, therefore we, from our
wonted clemency in bestowing pardon on all, have judged it fit to extend our
indulgence to those men, and to permit them again to be Christians, and to
establish the places of their religious assemblies; yet so as that they offend
not against good order. By another mandate we purpose to signify unto
magistrates how they ought herein to demean themselves. Wherefore it will be the
duty of the Christians, in consequence of this our toleration, to pray to their
God for our welfare, and for that of the public, and for their own; that the
commonweal may continue safe in every quarter, and that they themselves may live
securely in their habitations.
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Liber de Mortibus Persecutorum
Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died
On the Deaths of the Persecutors
Persecution of Christians under Roman Empire
Edict of Galerius
Toleration of Christians
Freedom of Worship
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