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II. Persecutions(迫害)of Christians in Roman Empire ★ ★ ★
n At first Rome paid little attention to the religion. They tolerated the Christians because they were regarded as a harmless sect of the Jews.
n Then two things became apparent as the movement spread:
n i. The Christians under no circumstance would worship any other god and refused even the conventional emperor worship of the deified Augustus which was required of all Romans;
n ii. The meetings of the Christians were secret and they refused to divulge to those not initiated into the sect the proceedings of their gatherings →rumor among the Roman populace that Christians met in secret assembly and ate the bodies and drank the blood of small children
n  It was because of these two factors that Christianity was persecuted 
n Persecution of Christians by the Roman authorities encouraged the spread of the faith and a change in its emphasis. "The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church." A cult(宗教仪式) of martyrs殉道者 developed, and even those who had not the heart for martyrdom themselves revered local martyrs, and believed in the miracles reported of them in their lives and of their relics after death.
P.S.: martyrs殉道者,殉教者,烈士:指宁愿选择去死也不愿放弃其宗教信条的人
n For simple and uneducated people, these martyr-saints supplied the place of older deities who had been credited with magical powers and gave them something closer than a remote majestic God and his crucified(处死:把…钉在或绑在十字架上处死) Son with which to meet the terrors and trials of the world.
III. The Fourth Century
n Of all the centuries of Christian history, besides that formative first century, it is the fourth that is the most important, for
n It was during the fourth century that the Christian religion became a tolerated religion, then toward the end of the century emerged as the State Religion of the Empire. (来源:专业英语学习网站 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
n  The great breakthrough for the Christians came when the Emperor Constantine declared it a tolerated (legal) religion in his famous Edict of Milan in 313 A.D.
i. Emperor Constantine
n Constantine the Great (313-337) was born about 274 A.D. to the Roman general Constantius,, and his concubine Helena
n who was a Christian.
n In 305, Constantius was made the Augustus, the supreme ruler in the West.
n After his father’s death Constantine was elected as Emperor
n As he was leading his army against Maxentius who also claimed the title of Augustus, Constantine relied upon the counsel of his mother and prayed to the Christian God for a victory.
n The next day, they were victorious in battle. For this one act, Constantine granted freedom of worship to the Christians in the famous Edict(布告, 法令) of Milan(米兰), the Magna Carta of religious liberty.
P.S.   Milan米兰:意大利北部一城市,位于热那亚东北。可能由塞尔特人所建,公元前 222年被罗马人占领,因其处于战略要地,自中世纪以来一直是一个重要的商业、金融、文化和工业中心。
n Seeing in it the hope of moral solidarity as well as the consolidation of the Empire, Constantine adopted a preferable attitude to Christianity. He was even baptized as a Christian upon his death bed.
ii.. Establishment as the State Religion of Roman Empire
n The emperors who followed Constantine continued pro-Christian policies.
n In 392 A.D., Emperor Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Empire and outlawed all other religions.
n Christianity thus had changed from an object of oppression to the State religion of the Empire.
IV. Some Factors for Christianity’s Triumph(获得胜利)★ ★ ★
n Christianity emerged out of the Roman Empire. Since it was only one among many oriental mystery cults that sprang up in the East, how could it outstrip its rivals and the dominant religion in the Empire?
n i. Roman toleration 
n ii. While intellectual philosophies of the Hellenistic world had a cold, intellectual appeal and did not involve the emotions of the people, Christianity offered consolation and hope for a better life, hence, appealing to the distressed masses.
n iii. The Roman rulers saw that Christianity could contribute to the consolidation of the Empire as well as moral solidarity. (团结)
V. Schism(基督教内分裂) in Christianity
i. The Roman Catholic: )天主教的)
n The Roman Catholic is the successor of the church established in Rome soon after Christ's death.
n It traces its spiritual history to the early disciples of Jesus. The Pope, or spiritual leader, traces his office's lineage back to St. Peter, the first Pope, one of Jesus' disciples.
n Roman Catholicism was originally predominately practiced in Ireland, Poland, France and Spain
ii. Eastern Orthodox
n Eastern Orthodox: During the fourth century, due to the division of the Roman Empire into western and eastern components, the Roman Catholic church split and the Eastern Orthodox branch was formed.
n The two churches became officially separate in 1054. Orthodoxy is common in Russia, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, the Ukraine, and Armenia
iii. Protestantism新教
n The Protestant branch split from Roman Catholicism during the Reformation, a sixteenth and seventeenth century series of church reforms in doctrine and practice. This movement challenged the authority of the Pope, and became popular in Scandinavia, England, and the Netherlands.
n Protestantism eventually divided into many denominations which arose in response to disputes over doctrine, theology, or religious practice. Some of the large denominations today are Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists.
VI. A New Mode of Christian life After Persecution
n With the end of persecution there emerges a new type of Christian leader and a new mode of Christian life. The kudos that had formerly gone to the martyr-saints were transferred to the hermits and monks, who, having withdrawn to the solitude of the desert or wilderness, had succeeded in conquering the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil by self-imposed austerities and constant prayer.
n This is the beginning of monasticism.
Monasticism: 96-8 ★ ★ ★(修道院制度)
n Origin of Monasticism:
n It had started in the third century in the eastern Mediterranean region as a movement of individuals in flight from the corruption of the cities to the peace of the desert. The large number who desired to emulate these first hermits necessitated the organization of communities in order to maintain discipline.
n Monks and nuns lived in communities apart from the world, but they prayed together and practiced the Christian virtues of love, humility, and obedience in their relations with one another.
n The monastery is a school for the teaching of the true Christian life. The Christian monks did a lot to help preserve and transmit a large part of the traditional heritage of the western culture.
n St. Benedict & The Benedictine Rule (本笃会戒律, founded about 529 A.D.) :
n The monks devoted to the monastic life had to give up the pleasures and pains of sexual love, taking a vow of chastity before entering the community. He was to have no personal property, not so much as a knife or pen, and he was to obey the abbot and senior brothers in all humility. Eating and sleeping were restricted to limits balanced between the body's subordination to the spirit and its natural animal needs. The monk was to divide his time among prayer, labor for the community, study and meditation(沉思, 冥想). The monastery became his home and his family, and he was not to leave except on permission or order of the abbot.
5. The New Testament: 77 ★
n Jesus had left no written records.
n Notable components of the New Testament include:
n i. Four Gospels by Jesus’ early followers:
n     Matthew《马太福音》
n     Mark《马可福音》
n     Luke  《路加福音》
n     John《约翰福音》
→ They deal with the birth, teaching, death and Resurrection of Jesus.
n ii. The Acts of the Apostles (《使徒行传》), a history of the early Christian movement;
n iii. The Epistles, or Letters to Romans (《罗马书》)
n iv. The Book of Revelation (《启示录》), a visionary account of the final triumph of God’s purpose.
7. The Translation of the Bible:86-9
n The influence of the Bible:
n It is more than a religious book, for it reflects most extensively western ideas and culture.
n As it were, it left an enormous influence on the human race, especially in aspects of religious beliefs, language and literature.
n As for its contributions to literature, refer to p. 89.
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