Okay, how Christianity changed under Emperor Constantine is so fascinating, because the same leader that ended a long period of persecution* and allowed Christianity to be safely practised across the Roman Empire is also responsible for what has come to be the most negative part of Christianity.
Because early Christianity was very different from the Roman status quo. It was notably egalitarian. Pliny the Younger was perplexed that they had women - slave women no less - as deaconesses. Then again, Pliny the Younger was strikingly oblivious about many things. Anyways…the Romans were also suspicious of Christians because of the social structure of the faith; they did everything communally. There were no popes or bishops back then. Like early synagogues, ancient churches were as much social spaces as holy ones, often held in people’s homes. This wasn’t just because building churches was frowned upon, it seems to have been a natural part of their practice at that time.
And then it changed. Constantine was no idiot. He knew that to gain power over a fragmented empire, he needed to appease both polytheists and the increasing number of Christians in all classes of Roman society. There’s debate as to how much his own conversion was actually spiritual or whether it was more political. In his youth he seemed to glom onto whichever religion suited the situation best. And it was under Constantine that a huge amount of what is now standard Christian - or at least Catholic and Orthodox - practice was formalised. Churches were built, the sacraments were standardised, and much more negatively, the church became patriarchal and hierarchical because that was what Roman society was like.
So it makes me wonder what Christianity would have been like without the imperial framework it now sits on. Because a lot of what we now consider quintessentially Christian is really Roman. But Christianity has always been prone to absorbing influences from other religions, so who knows. It takes to synchretism like a duck to water.
There’s no point to this but speculation, really. I think it’s just a fascinating part of history.
younger keanu + gifs that make me weak in the knees
It’d be cool if the people who are crying about me posting “someone else’s gifs” would calm down and shut up. I don’t take credit for making any of these. I found them on Google to make a post. They’re not my creation. This is just a compilation. Calm the frontal fuck down.
To whoever made these gifs, thank you for blessing us all. If these are yours, please feel free to message me and let me know, and I will fully credit you. Much love
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