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Christianity in the roman empire.
#46
The Chi-Rho symbol was used by pagan Greek scribes (pre- and post- Incarnation) to mark, in the margin, a particularly valuable or relevant passage; the combined letters Chi and Rho standing for ''chr?ston,'' meaning "good." Grant, Michael (1993), The Emperor Constantine, London. ISBN 0-75380-5286 p. 142.
Martin

Fac me cocleario vomere!
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#47
Many thanks, Urselius Smile
Salvianus: Ste Kenwright

A member of Comitatus Late Roman Historical Re-enactment Group

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My Re-enactment Journal

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#48
OK, I kind of understand that. :lol:
Conor Maher
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#49
Quote:
Jona Lendering:3qpu67n7 Wrote:Constantine now ordered his soldiers to paint XP-signs on the shields: a sign that was common in the cult of Apollo
Ooh, I have been trying to pin down a source for the pre-Christian use of the 'chi-rho' for ages - can you help me out with a reference?
Found it! A. Schütze, Mithrasmysterien und Urchristentum (1972³) page 163. To the top of the old symbol of the sun - the six-pointed star - a crescent moon was added (an inverted C).


And what I said was not completely right: I should have written "cult of the Sun God".
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#50
IIRC recent archaeology has revealed pre-Constantinian Christian uses of the Chi-Ro. The only one I know of is from the Vatican Necropolis in the tomb of the Valerii which dates to Marcus Aurelius' reign. Here's a recent article about the tombs beneath Saint Peter's Basilica : http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,358641,00.html

Here's mention about the Chi Ro inscription : http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/TombH.htm

If it was already a Christian symbol at that time then Constantine merely popularized it along with Christianity.

Somehow I doubt that the Christians consciously 'took' it from the cult of the sun god which wasn't even invented until the late third century AD and probably never gained as many adherents as Christianity.

~Theo
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#51
Quote:Here's mention about the Chi Ro inscription : [url:1ikv8m6a]http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/Necropolis/TombH.htm[/url]
If it was already a Christian symbol at that time then Constantine merely popularized it along with Christianity.
I stand corrected. Thank you very much; this is really important for me.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#52
Quote:... the cult of the sun god which wasn't even invented until the late third century AD and probably never gained as many adherents as Christianity.
Just on a point of detail, why do you date Sun worship to the late third century? (e.g. the Sol Invictus dedication from Corbridge dates to the AD 160s)
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#53
Quote:Just on a point of detail, why do you date Sun worship to the late third century? (e.g. the Sol Invictus dedication from Corbridge dates to the AD 160s)
I might add that an inscription of Heliogabalus Sol Invictus has been found in Woerden, Holland; it also dates back to the 160s. (And again, it is irrelevant to this debate about Christianity.)
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#54
Cult of the sun god? :? Bit confused now but I am sure I will understand eventually!
Conor Maher
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#55
Thank you for catching my error. In my mind I may have mixed up the cult's date of origin with its elevation to state recognition. My numismatic chart doesn't show a coin dating earlier than the third century AD with a 'SOL INVICTVS' inscription.

Quote:Just on a point of detail, why do you date Sun worship to the late third century? (e.g. the Sol Invictus dedication from Corbridge dates to the AD 160s)

Oh, I'm sure sun-worship is as old as time itself but I'm refering to its 'Sol Invictus' incarnation. As for the inscription, I wasn't aware of any dating to the Principate period. Interesting !

~Theo
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#56
Quote:Oh, I'm sure sun-worship is as old as time itself but I'm refering to its 'Sol Invictus' incarnation. As for the inscription, I wasn't aware of any dating to the Principate period. Interesting !
My goodness, the worship of Sol Invictus was one of the major army cults along with Mithraism! (But I fear we are derailing your original discussion -- apologies. :oops: )
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#57
No, no. I am finding this all very fascinating. Please carry on.
Conor Maher
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#58
Quote:In regards to when exactly the Roman Empire became majority Christian, I decided to check and see what Gibbon had to say. Gibbon estimates that only 20% of the population was Christian by the time of Constantine. Like others have mentioned, he also points out that some regions and cities had a much higher proportion of Christians than others (Near East vs. Gaul, for instance).

It looks like he thinks that the Empire was majority Christian by about a generation after Theodosius – say about 420 or so.

Well, Gibbon isn't exactly cutting edge research and we have materials and approaches available to us now that he couldn't have dreamed of. Estimates of the per centage of Christians in the Empire when Constantine came to the throne vary, and range from 5 to 15, but rarely as high as 20%. And recent studies indicate that the majority had converted by the late Fourth Century, not the early Fifth. The best book on the subject is Rodney Stark's The Rise of Christianity. Stark uses a combination of historical analysis, social research approaches and the study of more recent, well-documented conversion rates to estimate how Christianity grew. Working from a reasonable estimate, based on sociological research, of a 40% growth rate per decade, Stark traces the growth of Christianity from 40 believers in 30 AD to 6 million in 300 AD, with most of this growth coming from social networks of family and friends converting family and friends.
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#59
Quote:THe first pope is debated. The Catholic church says that it was St. Peter, others dissagree. I didnt find who everyone else thinks was the first pope.

The question of "first pope" is ambiguous, as it can mean several things: First bishop of Rome, first bishop to call himself "papa" or "father of fathers", first pontiff or first bishop of Rome to claim primacy. According to tradition, first to call himself "papa" or "papa abba" was Heraclas, bishop of Alexandria, in 232 CE. First "Vicar of Christ" was pope Gelasius I in 495, advocating papal supremacy among christian patriarchs, a doctrine already advanced by pope Leo I (440-461). Some claim that the first "pope" was Boniface III (607), who sought and obtained a decree from emperor Phocas which restated that "the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle should be the head of all the Churches".

The title of supreme (or universal) pontiff (Pontifex Maximus) was officially abandoned by emperor Gratian in 382, after which it was appropriated by bishops of Rome at some unknown time: Damasus I (366-384), Leo I and Gregory I (590-604) are all mentioned in various encyclopaedias. The word pontifex, however, appears at least twice in latin texts before that: Tertullian applies it to Callixtus I, emperor Theodosius' decree from 380 already calls Damasus a pontifex, not an episcopus.

Jona Lendering has already tactfully answered the question about Peter as first bishop of Rome.
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#60
Thank you Dardanus Lupus, you have been very helpfull and that last post was very informative. On reflection, I believe that I was asking of the first Pontiff. However, I supose that the first pope in my eyes (the eyes of a catholic) would either be the first pontiff, the first vicar of christ, or even possiby the first to recieve the papal ceremony and be voted in by conclave. Now, that I accept is a very modern idea in terms of 'Roman Army Talk' because the Vatican was probably not built for centuries in the future. (I am no expert but the sistine chapel ceiling was painted by Michaelangelo and he was no roman! even I know that!) Please correct me if anything I have said is incorrect. So now, I suppose my new objective is not only to find the time christianity was the majority in the roman empire, but also the first Pontiff
Quote:First "Vicar of Christ" was pope Gelasius I in 495
answered part of my question as well. So if someone could tell me who was the first pontiff or even their views on the matter of first pope I would be greatfull.
Conor Maher
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