Edictum de Fide Catholica (AD 380)

This Edict did more than make Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, it is often asserted that it specifically established the Roman Catholic Church as the official state Church. We  see in the actual text, however, that Peter the Bishop of Alexandria (who is reguarded as the 17th Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark) is also named.  This is some 70 years before the schism  with Oriental Orthodoxy in 451. There were of course other heretical groups at this time (see Heresies).  There were also other eccleasistical sees in existence at the time.  Later Valentinean III would issue a decree granting power to the Pope of Rome in 445. Valentinian III was emperor of the west.

It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our Clemency and Moderation, should continue in the profession of that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it hath been preserved by faithful tradition; and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe the one deity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity.


We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title of Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since, in our judgment, they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume: to give to their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of the divine condemnation, and in the second the punishment which our authority, in accordance with the will of Heaven, shall decide to inflict.

(Theodosius, Edictum de fide catholica).

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EDICTUM GRATIANI, VALENTINIANI ET THEODOSII DE FIDE CATHOLICA
Christianity becomes state religion of the Roman Empire
( February 27, AD 380 )
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Codex Theodosianus, XVI, 1, 2 ( Magnou-Nortier, Paris, 2002 ).
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IMPPP. GRATIANVS, VALENTINIANVS ET THEODOSIVS AAA. EDICTVM AD POPVLVM VRBIS CONSTANTINOPOLITANAE.

Cunctos populos, quos clementiae nostre regit temperamentum, in tali volumus religione versari, quam divinum Petrum apostolum tradidisse Romanis, religio usque nunc ab ipso insinuata declarat, quamque pontificem Damasum sequi claret et Petrum Alexandriae episcopum, virum apostolicae sanctitatis, hoc est, ut secundum apostolicam disciplinam evangelicamque doctrinam Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti unam deitatem sub parili maiestate et sub pia trinitate credamus. Hanc legem sequentes Christianorum catholicorum nomen iubemus amplecti, reliquos vero dementes vesanosque iudicantes haeretici dogmatis infamiam sustinere, nec conciliabula eorum ecclesiarum nomen accipere, divina primum vindicta, post etiam motus nostri, quem ex caelesti arbitrio sumpserimus, ultione plectendos.
DAT. III KAL. MAR., THESSALONICAE, GRATIANO A. V ET THEODOSIO A. I CONSS.

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Barzano, Il cristianesimo nelle leggi di Roma imperiale, Milan, 1996 ; Gaudemet, Atti Ac. rom. costant., VI, 1986, pp. 1-22 ; Gaudemet, L'Édit de Thessalonique, Aspect of the Fourth Century, Leide, 1997, pp. 43-51.
http://webu2.upmf-grenoble.fr/Haiti/Cours/Ak/Constitutiones/Thessalonique.htm 4/21/12