Posts tagged ‘Constantinople’

May 19th, 2013

Was Constantine a Christian or Pagan?

by Max Andrews

From the time that Constantine’s (AD 227-337) father died (306) until Constantine challenged Maxentius at Milvian bridge (312), he was consolidating his position of power in Gaul and Britain.  Even at this early date he showed the same military and political acumen that he would later exhibit as emperor:  He strengthened his defenses against the barbarians along the Rhine, winning the gratitude of his French subjects.  He did not impose onerous taxes on the people, and entertained the bloodthirsty among them with frequent shows in the circuses  He was deft in diplomacy and military strategy. Above all, he was a patient man, not playing his hand until the time was right.

At the Battle of Milan (312) Constantine prepared for his invasion of Italy by making sure that Licinius could not take advantage of it by seizing Maxentius’s territories to the East.  To that end, he offered Licinius his half-sister Constance in marriage, and waited until Licinius was militarily engaged with Maximinus Daia before launching his own campaign.  He committed only ¼ of his troops to the battle – the rest remaining in Gaul to ward off barbarian advances. Upon winning the battle and gaining control of the western half of the empire, Constantine moved to consolidate his power, entering into an alliance with Licinius in 313 (the “Edict of Milan”). 

March 29th, 2012

Theology Thursday: John Chrysostom

by Max Andrews

The name “John the Golden-mouthed” was given him over a century after his death.  Of the great preachers of the fourth century, which included Ambrose and Gregory Nazianzen, none was greater than John Chrysostom.  Yet great as his oratorical skills were, greater still was his personal integrity and boldness in confronting the rich and powerful of his day. Chrysostom was born in Antioch. His mother, Anthusa, became a widow at age twenty when John was an infant. She refused to remarry, instead devoting herself to her son.  John received training in rhetoric and was being groomed for a profession in law by the most famous orator of the day, Libanius. In fact, when asked who should succeed him, Libanius answered: “John, but the Christians have laid claim on him.” In keeping with his mother’s wish, John entered upon his catechumenate at the age of twenty, and three years later was baptized by Bishop Meletius of Antioch.

John studied theology under Diodore of Taursus, leader of the Antiochene School. Early on he felt called to the monastic life, but put off entry into a monastery so long as his mother was alive so that he could care for her.  Shortly after her death in 373 he joined a monastery in the Syrian mountains, living as a hermit for two years. So great were his austerities that he did lasting damage to his health.

He was ordained deacon in 381, serving in Antioch under bishop Flavian. Flavian also ordained him presbyter in 386 and, in view of his gifts, appointed him to devote special attention to preaching.  While at Antioch, John achieved fame for preaching that sought to instruct and reform those who were only nominally Christian.

March 1st, 2012

Theology Thursday: Constantine

by Max Andrews

Theologian: Constantine (AD 227-337)

General summary of Constantine and his theology: *I’m aware that Constantine isn’t a theologian per se but does have a huge impact on early church history and theology, which is worth noting.* From the time that his father died (306) until Constantine challenged Maxentius at Milvian bridge (312), he was consolidating his position of power in Gaul and Britain.  Even at this early date he showed the same military and political acumen that he would later exhibit as emperor:  He strengthened his defenses against the barbarians along the Rhine, winning the gratitude of his French subjects.  He did not impose onerous taxes on the people, and entertained the bloodthirsty among them with frequent shows in the circuses  He was deft in diplomacy and military strategy. Above all, he was a patient man, not playing his hand until the time was right.