Constantine and the Conversion of Europe
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‘Constantine hardly deserves the title of Great which posterity has given him, either by his character or by his abilities. He was highly susceptible to flattery, and fell completely under the influence of any dominating personality who happened to be at his side …Still less does Constantine deserve the title of saint, which the Eastern Church has bestowed upon him. He was, it is true, according to his lights, a good man on the whole, though his political murders – particularly that of Licinius – shocked even contemporary opinion, and his execution of his wife and son was felt by many to be an inexpiable stain on his character…To the other title which the Orthodox Church has bestowed upon him, “the Peer of the Apostles,” he has a better claim, for his career profoundly influenced the history of the Church and the future of Christianity …Constantine had no doubts about his imperial duty. It was his task to secure God’s favour on the empire by securing, by force if necessary, that his subjects worshipped God in a manner pleasing to Him.’ Originally published by Macmillan, 1948.