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N.S. Gill

Great Persecution

By February 24, 2014

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Galerius
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On This Day in Ancient History - February 24
On February 24, A.D. 303 the Great Persecution began with the posting of an edict, probably promoted by Galerius (Caius Galerius Valerius Maximianus) who was Diocletian's Caesar, but signed by all four of the rulers of the Tetrarchy. Paul Keresztes (citation below) says the edict probably included the following provisions:

(a) all churches were to be destroyed; (b) all Scriptures were to be given up and burnt; (c) all, undoubtedly, persisting Christians were to lose all their rights in the courts of justice, whether as plaintiffs or defendants; (d) persisting Christians of high or special standing or position in society or elsewhere were to lose all the rights and privileges that derived from their special standing; (e) persisting Christians of the Imperial household were to lose their personal freedom.

The persecution was supposed to begin the day before on the pagan festival of Terminalia. It was signed on the 23rd, and on that day the Christian church in Nicomedia was destroyed, but the notice wasn't put up until the following day. "From the Great Persecution to the Peace of Galerius," by Paul Keresztes. Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 379-399

"This day in ancient history" caveat: please see Unreliability of Dates.

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Comments

February 25, 2009 at 2:31 am
(1) Mike says:

This might not be the perfect venue for this question but it’s something which I’ve been very curious about for a long time.

What was attractive about Christianity to its early adopters, before Constantine’s conversion provided some political and social advantages to the faith? Why was it seen as a superior choice to Roman or Greek paganism or any of the other eastern religions circulating throughout the Empire at the time?

Also, is it known how large the Christian population before Constantine really was in the empire?

I’ve seen conflicting numbers and reasons for early adoption and I was curious about your opinions, Ms. Gill, and those of your readers.

February 25, 2009 at 11:11 am
(2) Randy Sanders says:

Elaine Pagels in her book “Beyond Belief” gives a plausible answer that Christianity was “free” and that there was no need of any other intermediary between the believer and Jesus. In pagan religions and even Judaism in order to truly practice ones religion you had to pay priests for blessings or buy animals for sacrifice from the temples. It was like Henry Ford and the model T, it was a religion that the masses could afford.

March 2, 2012 at 3:58 am
(3) Maria says:

Mike, your question is a valid one considering who badly the organized Churches have used and abused Christ and what these people lived and saw, for they saw Him and felt the power. Once the power of God that flows from the Holy Spirit is seen and felt then this whole world and all in it seem very small indeed.
Keep looking for the answer you will not be disappointed and once you know personally the answer, then one becomes quiet and the rush and busy world of now has no ties upon you. Never be afraid of asking questions and you will have to fight to get the truth but your rewards are grand.
I live in Iran now for over 30 years (an American DAR) and have seen loads, my work is why I came the comment to do my job and this is not a Christian loving nation, it is easy to follow the crowd, but living to live without the confines of the world to see God is no manís fool nor is He ever beholden unto a man (woman, child) The power of living, being and rising above it all is what it was and still is all about. But you will find that only in personal research, trial and error, look up and see a wonder you never thought possible.

March 2, 2012 at 5:58 am
(4) Prof. MUSTER says:

Diocletian himself in 298 ad,
ordered all Egyptian manuscripts destroyed
because they may contain the formulae of
making false-Coin-ed gold from Sulpheric Iron Oxide(=Pyrite+)

The Galerian Edict in 305 ad , an extention
in the Nicean Creed( dd 325 ad.)Divus Julio,is made God J.Christ
( Book F.Carotti, ” was J.C. Jesus Christ ? 1999.)

March 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm
(5) rachel williams says:

this is a test to see if my comment gets posted. the last one didint and we are trying to find it. I thought it was very good.

cheers, R. Williams

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