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The Rise and Spread of Christianity During the Roman Empire

Lisa Smith Jun 14, 2019
Today, Christianity is the world’s major religion representing approximately 2 billion believers. Christianity began as a small group of Judaism and is the major inspiration behind the rise of Islam, the second largest religion.

Christianity is based on the life, teachings, and death of Jesus Christ in the first AD century.
The largest Christian groups include the Protestant churches, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches. There are numerous independent churches of Christians in the Eastern region such as Eastern Orthodoxy.

Over the years, Christianity gained fame in Roman Empire after the introduction of Christian Roman emperors such as Constantine.
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In the early centuries, the followers of Jesus spread Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. It is believed that Paul constructed a church in Rome.

The majority of the first Christian groups were from the east, in Egypt, there was Alexandria as well as Jerusalem and Antioch.
Due to Christianity teachings of the theology of love, caring for the orphans, widows, and sick, and stance against infanticide, abortion, and adultery, it gained believers among both non-Jews and Jews. The Message of unity thus brought together Christians.
During the first and second century, it was hard to speak of Christianity because it was considered as a cult and a threat to the empires.

Christians were persecuted and charged for treason for refusing to sacrifice or worship the emperor.
The message of equality, charity, and faith by Christians was appealing to the dispossessed people in the Roman community.

In the early church, women were treated as Men’s equal. Women served as deaconesses, and due to the popularity of Christianity among women, the religion was passed from generation to another.
Additionally, Christians were generous to the poor.

As an aftermath of good Christian values in Roman Empires, many people such as the sick, the women, the slaves, and the poor became loyal followers of Christianity. Therefore, Christianity continued to spread and rise.
Regardless of its rising popularity in the eastern and western regions, Christianity might not have become the dominant religion in Rome had it not found imperial backing.

Diocletian’s was an emperor during the 4th century. Persecution of Christians was common under the rule of Diocletian especially in Antioch his hometown.
After the abdication of Emperor Diocletian in 305 AD, Christian persecution decreased tremendously. Under the reign of the Great Emperor Constantine, Christianity rose from a persecuted religion to an important Rome religion.

Following the Mulvian Bridge War in 312 AD, Constantine became the sole emperor of the Roman Empire.
After overcoming 180,000 men with 40,000, he claimed that his victory came from the sign of the cross and was inspired by the great mind of God.

Constantine stopped the prosecutions of Christians, restored their property, excused clergy from liturgies, and offered financial support to Christians.
In addition, Constantine made Christianity the legal Roman Empire religion. He also approved laws against pagan rites celebration and closed temples of pagans.

Even though the Roman Empire was collapsing, Christianity remained the main eastern and western culture and its legacy still lives on.
Christianity has become the most dominant world religion. Numerous factors compelled the rise and spread of Christianity during the Roman Empire.

Paul the apostle also contributed towards the rise of Christianity in Rome by building a church.
Even though Emperor Diocletian ordered the persecution of Christians in Rome, Emperor Constantine abolished Christians persecutions, offered them support and made Christianity the official state religion.

After the collapse of the Roman Empire, its legacy is still living on to-date.