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Roman Catholicism Founder: Emperor Constantine

Illuminator

New Member
Anti-Catholic Myths and Lies:
#1 Emperor Constantine Founded the Catholic Church


This story, most famously told by Jehovah Witnesses, SDA, and Fundamentalist Protestants, came out of their necessity to support their lie that there was an apostasy in the early Church. It is their way to explain how their reform and late arrival is justifiable.

13 Logical Problems with the Constantine Founder Myth:

  1. If Constantine started the Catholic Church, then it would, therefore, seem to follow that Constantine himself was a Catholic Christian. This was not the case. Constantine (possibly) was not be baptized into the faith until he was on his deathbed on May 22, 337 A.D. (SEE ALSO: Was Constantine Baptized an Arian).
  2. For Christianity to become the official religion of the Roman Empire, would require an Edict. The Edict of Milan, which was issued by Constantine and Licinius (as noted above) only put Christians on equal footing with all the other recognized religions in the Roman Empire; granting the same religious freedom that was already being extended to the pagans and Jews. It would not be until 392 A.D. when Emperor Theodosius removed government support from the old Roman pagan religions and established the Christian Faith (Catholicism) as the sole religion of the empire.
  3. If by virtue of Constantine calling a general council of all the bishops of the Church to meet with him at Nicaea (a resort town in the hills of Asia Minor just south of Constantinople), a Church was created, it then, therefore, follows that: (a) the Church that existed prior to the Council from which all the bishops were called merged themselves into the new church of Constantine; (b) we should see no continuity between the preexisting church and the new Church; (c) we should see no continuity between the pre-Nicaea Church and modern day Catholic Church. I’ll dismiss these non-sequitur arguments below.
  4. If by virtue of Constantine issuing an edict of religious freedom for Christians and calling together the First Council of Nicaea means that he started the Catholic Church, it would, therefore, mean that anytime a Roman Emperor granted religious freedom to any religion or stepped into resolve their controversies that they had become the founder of that pagan or Jewish religion. We don’t see such a claim by Protestants about the Emperor of Rome in any other circumstance than with the Catholic Church. In addition, this assumption also fails to recognize that the Roman Emperor thought himself to be in charge of all things in his empire. Therefore, it would have been natural and welcomed for the Emperor to extend his leverage and protection to assemble together all of the Catholic bishops of the Roman Empire.
  5. The reason why Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea was to resolve the controversy over Arius’ teaching that Christ Jesus was not consubstantial with God the Father. Therefore, it then follows that for there to have been a heresy or even an counter belief to create a controversy, there must have been prior to Arianism a well-established belief about the nature Jesus Christ in a Church community that all agreed with this understanding. Otherwise, the teachings of Arius would not have caused such a controversy.
  6. That Constantine assembled together all of the bishops of the Roman Empire proves that there were well-organized dioceses and churches prior the First Council of Nicaea who were in agreement with each other. Further research into this area will demonstrate the precise areas in which they agreed, such as the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, about many of the books which were thought to be inspired Scripture, and the Bishop of Rome being the successor of Peter and the head of the universal Church.
  7. 218 years before the Council of Nicaea Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, appointed by Saint Peter, wrote a letter to the Smyrnaeans in which he used the word ‘Catholic’ to denote the Church established by Jesus Christ:
“Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people also be: as Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”
  1. In that same letter Saint Ignatius gave a teaching about the Holy Eucharist that continues to be taught only by the Catholic Church today:
“They abstain from the Eucharist and from the public offices; because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ; which suffered for our sins, and which the Father of his goodness, raised again from the dead. And for this cause contradicting the gift of God, they die in their disputes: but much better would it be for them to receive it, that they might one day rise through it.”
  1. 170 years before the Council of Nicaea Saint Justin Martyr wrote in First Apology (a letter to pagan emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 A.D.) explaining what Christians did at Mass):
“On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits.
“When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves . . . and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation. When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss.
“Then someone bring bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek: eucharstian) that we have been judges worthy of these gifts. When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgiving, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: ‘Amen.’
“When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give those present the “eucharsited” bread, wine and after and take them to those who are absent.”
  1. 136 years before the Council of Nicaea Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, and a disciple of Saint Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John, proclaimed that all churches must be in unity with the Church of Rome, which was established by Peter and Paul:
“But since it would be long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether, through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assembled other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition.”
  1. It is true. If Emperor Constantine started the Catholic Church, then there should be no way to trace the continuity of every Bishop of Rome, from Peter to Francis today. To the contrary, there is only one Church on the face of this earth that can verifiably point to the Church in Rome, established by Peter and Paul, and by continuity in leadership, doctrine, and tradition show a seamless continuity from the first century until today, and that Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
  2. Prior to the Council of Nicaea there had been many local councils where local bishops, priests, and deacons gathered to issue canons to the faithful; such as the Councils of Carthage, where Saint Cyprian presided at the Seventh Council in 256 A.D. where a canon was issued stating, “. . . heretics, who are called antichrists and adversaries of Christ, when they come to the Church, must be baptized with the one Baptism of the Church, so that friends may be made of adversaries, and Christians of antichrists.” Another example of the Council of Elvira, Spain in 300 A.D. where 19 bishops and 26 priests and deacons gathered together to issue 81 canons. Canon 16 stated, “Heretics, if they do not which to come over to the Catholic Church, are not to be given Catholic girls in marriage.” Therefore, how could Constantine have started the Catholic Church in 325 A.D. if it already existed in Spain in 300 A.D.?
  3. The Romans were aficionados when it came to documenting the legal affairs and history of the Empire. If it had been the case that Constantine established his own state religion or established a new state Church, we would have been able to find it documented somewhere in history that such an event happened, but when we examine the history and legal documents from ancient Rome, we find no traces that the myth that Constantine founded the Catholic Church is true.
Moreover, if Constantine did found the Catholic Church at the First Council of Nicaea then we should be able to find at least some once reference to the Roman Emperor in the creed and canons of the Council, but in the Creed of Nicaea and in its Twenty Canons nothing was mentioned about the Roman Emperor. Nothing at all.

To the contrary, what all the canons are dealing with is membership of those who had rejected the faith during the persecution, fallen lapse, or who had been excommunicated, primacy of Churches, and the administration of the Sacraments. Altogether the canons are concerned with establishing a solidarity and uniformity of administration and liturgy in the Catholic Church. There is no concern whatsoever in these canons for the Roman Empire or the Roman Emperor in the Canons of the Council of Nicaea.

In regards to the Nicene Creed, it was dealing with more fully proclaiming the Apostle’s Creed, which the Church already affirmed in manner that resolved the Arian heresy. We find nothing in the Creed of this Council that supports the Myth of Constantine Founding the Catholic Church:
“The Synod at Nice set forth this Creed.
The Ecthesis of the Synod at Nice.
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not), or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion — all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.”
Indeed, the only place we see name of Constantine mentioned in reference to the Council of Nicaea is in a post-Council Synod Letter written to the Church of Alexandria, but only in regards paying him deference and honor due to him as the Emperor of Rome who called the bishops together to resolve the Arian heresy:

13 Logical Problems with the Constantine Founder Myth:

If Constantine started the Catholic Church, then it would, therefore, seem to follow that Constantine himself was a Catholic Christian. This was not the case. Constantine (possibly) was not be baptized into the faith until he was on his deathbed on May 22, 337 A.D. (SEE ALSO: Was Constantine Baptized an Arian).
For Christianity to become the official religion of the Roman Empire, would require an Edict. The Edict of Milan, which was issued by Constantine and Licinius (as noted above) only put Christians on equal footing with all the other recognized religions in the Roman Empire; granting the same religious freedom that was already being extended to the pagans and Jews. It would not be until 392 A.D. when Emperor Theodosius removed government support from the old Roman pagan religions and established the Christian Faith (Catholicism) as the sole religion of the empire.
If by virtue of Constantine calling a general council of all the bishops of the Church to meet with him at Nicaea (a resort town in the hills of Asia Minor just south of Constantinople), a Church was created, it then, therefore, follows that:
(a) the Church that existed prior to the Council from which all the bishops were called merged themselves into the new church of Constantine;
(b) we should see no continuity between the preexisting church and the new Church; (c) we should see no continuity between the pre-Nicaea Church and modern day Catholic Church. I’ll dismiss these non-sequitur arguments below.
If by virtue of Constantine issuing an edict of religious freedom for Christians and calling together the First Council of Nicaea means that he started the Catholic Church, it would, therefore, mean that anytime a Roman Emperor granted religious freedom to any religion or stepped into resolve their controversies that they had become the founder of that pagan or Jewish religion. We don’t see such a claim by Protestants about the Emperor of Rome in any other circumstance than with the Catholic Church. In addition, this assumption also fails to recognize that the Roman Emperor thought himself to be in charge of all things in his empire. Therefore, it would have been natural and welcomed for the Emperor to extend his leverage and protection to assemble together all of the Catholic bishops of the Roman Empire.
The reason why Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea was to resolve the controversy over Arius’ teaching that Christ Jesus was not consubstantial with God the Father. Therefore, it then follows that for there to have been a heresy or even an counter belief to create a controversy, there must have been prior to Arianism a well-established belief about the nature Jesus Christ in a Church community that all agreed with this understanding. Otherwise, the teachings of Arius would not have caused such a controversy.
That Constantine assembled together all of the bishops of the Roman Empire proves that there were well-organized dioceses and churches prior the First Council of Nicaea who were in agreement with each other. Further research into this area will demonstrate the precise areas in which they agreed, such as the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, about many of the books which were thought to be inspired Scripture, and the Bishop of Rome being the successor of Peter and the head of the universal Church.
218 years before the Council of Nicaea Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, appointed by Saint Peter, wrote a letter to the Smyrnaeans in which he used the word ‘Catholic’ to denote the Church established by Jesus Christ:
“Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people also be: as Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”

In that same letter Saint Ignatius gave a teaching about the Holy Eucharist that continues to be taught only by the Catholic Church today:
“They abstain from the Eucharist and from the public offices; because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ; which suffered for our sins, and which the Father of his goodness, raised again from the dead. And for this cause contradicting the gift of God, they die in their disputes: but much better would it be for them to receive it, that they might one day rise through it.”

170 years before the Council of Nicaea Saint Justin Martyr wrote in First Apology (a letter to pagan emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 A.D.) explaining what Christians did at Mass):
“On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits.

“When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves . . . and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation. When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss.

“Then someone bring bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek: eucharstian) that we have been judges worthy of these gifts. When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgiving, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: ‘Amen.’

“When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give those present the “eucharsited” bread, wine and after and take them to those who are absent.”

136 years before the Council of Nicaea Saint Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, and a disciple of Saint Polycarp who was a disciple of the Apostle John, proclaimed that all churches must be in unity with the Church of Rome, which was established by Peter and Paul:
“But since it would be long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether, through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assembled other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition.”

It is true. If Emperor Constantine started the Catholic Church, then there should be no way to trace the continuity of every Bishop of Rome, from Peter to Francis today. To the contrary, there is only one Church on the face of this earth that can verifiably point to the Church in Rome, established by Peter and Paul, and by continuity in leadership, doctrine, and tradition show a seamless continuity from the first century until today, and that Church is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
Prior to the Council of Nicaea there had been many local councils where local bishops, priests, and deacons gathered to issue canons to the faithful; such as the Councils of Carthage, where Saint Cyprian presided at the Seventh Council in 256 A.D. where a canon was issued stating, “. . . heretics, who are called antichrists and adversaries of Christ, when they come to the Church, must be baptized with the one Baptism of the Church, so that friends may be made of adversaries, and Christians of antichrists.” Another example of the Council of Elvira, Spain in 300 A.D. where 19 bishops and 26 priests and deacons gathered together to issue 81 canons. Canon 16 stated, “Heretics, if they do not which to come over to the Catholic Church, are not to be given Catholic girls in marriage.” Therefore, how could Constantine have started the Catholic Church in 325 A.D. if it already existed in Spain in 300 A.D.?

The Romans were aficionados when it came to documenting the legal affairs and history of the Empire. If it had been the case that Constantine established his own state religion or established a new state Church, we would have been able to find it documented somewhere in history that such an event happened, but when we examine the history and legal documents from ancient Rome, we find no traces that the myth that Constantine founded the Catholic Church is true.
Moreover, if Constantine did found the Catholic Church at the First Council of Nicaea then we should be able to find at least some once reference to the Roman Emperor in the creed and canons of the Council, but in the Creed of Nicaea and in its Twenty Canons nothing was mentioned about the Roman Emperor. Nothing at all.

To the contrary, what all the canons are dealing with is membership of those who had rejected the faith during the persecution, fallen lapse, or who had been excommunicated, primacy of Churches, and the administration of the Sacraments. Altogether the canons are concerned with establishing a solidarity and uniformity of administration and liturgy in the Catholic Church. There is no concern whatsoever in these canons for the Roman Empire or the Roman Emperor in the Canons of the Council of Nicaea.

In regards to the Nicene Creed, it was dealing with more fully proclaiming the Apostle’s Creed, which the Church already affirmed in manner that resolved the Arian heresy. We find nothing in the Creed of this Council that supports the Myth of Constantine Founding the Catholic Church:

Indeed, the only place we see name of Constantine mentioned in reference to the Council of Nicaea is in a post-Council Synod Latter written to the Church of Alexandria, but only in regards paying him deference and honor due to him as the Emperor of Rome who called the bishops together to resolve the Arian heresy:

Conclusion of the Emperor Constantine Founder Myth

Those who posit that Constantine founded the Catholic Church either with the Edict of Milan or by calling together the First Council of Nicaea are unable prove their claim. There is no documentation from that time, either explicit or implicit by historian or theologian that even hints that such an event transpired or was the intention of Constantine or the bishops of the Catholic Church to transpire.

This story, most famously told by Jehovah Witnesses and Fundamentalist Protestants, came out of their necessity to support their lie that there was an apostasy in the early Church. It is their way to explain how their reform and late arrival is justifiable. The myth is that because the Church of the Apostles fell in to apostasy, a remnant of the true and orthodox believers of Jesus remained hidden from and often persecuted by the Catholic Church until THEY brought the reform and true faith back. Prior the rise of Protestantism, no one ever dared to tell this lie. Only in the space of the unintelligent, uncurious, and hostile can such a myth and lie bear fruit.

Again, none of which can be proved or supported by the documented facts that the Churches we read about in the Bible started calling themselves Catholics by the early Second Century, and the unique teachings of that Church founded by the Apostles are only present in the Catholic Church today that is in union with See of Rome where the successor of Peter presides.
source
 

Willy

Pro Poster
The myth is that because the Church of the Apostles fell in to apostasy, a remnant of the true and orthodox believers of Jesus remained hidden from and often persecuted by the Catholic Church until THEY brought the reform and true faith back. Prior the rise of Protestantism, no one ever dared to tell this lie. Only in the space of the unintelligent, uncurious, and hostile can such a myth and lie bear fruit.
Though nearly all sects have persecuted their opponents, during a brief season, when men's passions were highly excited, and true religion had mournfully declined, yet no denomination except the papal hierarchy, has adopted as an article of religious belief, and a principle of practical observance, the right to destroy heretics for opinion's sake. (Fox's Book of Martyrs)

link to book …

 

Illuminator

New Member
Fox's Book of Martyrs has nothing to do with the OP. Whenever a myth is exposed, it's standard anti-Catholic polemics is to attempt to derail the thread. That won't work with me. There is no scholarly evidence that supports the Constantine myth. The only option is to re-write history to force fit it to support myths and more myths.
 
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Illuminator

New Member
Peter's location has nothing to do with his primacy, and it has nothing to do with your Constantine myths, which have been demolished. So you are desperately trying to change the topic because you are too proud to admit you are wrong about Constantine. Your Calvinistic link tells me you are not fussy about which anti-Catholic source you draw from. all of them denying the historical and archeological evidence, that you ignore without thinking for yourself.
Was Peter in Rome? | Catholic Answers

further reading: Was Peter in Rome? Yes, Absolutely he Was | Theology Forums
 
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CoreIssue

Administrator
Staff member
Now you're changing history. The long-standing Roman Catholic claim is Peter established the church at Rome and that he died in Rome. Both are false.
 
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