Edikt milánský

When I, Con­stan­tine Augustus, as well as I Lici­nius Augustus d for­tu­na­tely met near Medi­o­la­nurn (Milan), and were con­si­de­ring eve­ry­thing that per­ta­i­ned to the pub­lic wel­fare and secu­rity, we thou­ght -, among other things which we saw would be for the good of many, those regu­lati­ons per­ta­i­ning to the reve­rence of the Divi­nity ought cer­ta­inly to be made first, so that we might grant to the Chris­ti­ans and others full autho­rity to observe that reli­gion which each pre­ferred; whence any Divi­nity what­so­ever in the seat of the hea­vens may be pro­pi­ti­ous and kindly dis­po­sed to us and all who are pla­ced under our rule And thus by this who­le­some coun­sel and most upright pro­vi­sion we thou­ght to arrange that no one what­so­ever should be denied the oppor­tu­nity to give his heart to the observance of the Chris­tian reli­gion, of that reli­gion which he should think best for him­self, so that the Supreme Deity, to whose wor­ship we fre­ely yield our hearts) may show in all things His usual favor and bene­vo­lence. The­re­fore, your Wor­ship should know that it has ple­a­sed us to remove all con­di­ti­ons what­so­ever, which were in the rescripts for­merly given to you offi­ci­ally, con­cer­ning the Chris­ti­ans and now any one of these who wishes to observe Chris­tian reli­gion may do so fre­ely and openly, without molestation. We thou­ght it fit to com­mend these things most fully to your care that you may know that we have given to those Chris­ti­ans free and unrest­ric­ted oppor­tu­nity of reli­gi­ous wor­ship. When you see that this has been gran­ted to them by us, your Wor­ship will know that we have also con­ce­ded to other reli­gi­ons the right of open and free observance of their wor­ship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free oppor­tu­nity to wor­ship as he ple­a­ses ; this regu­lation is made we that we may not seem to detract from any dig­nity or any religion. 

More­o­ver, in the case of the Chris­ti­ans espe­ci­ally we este­e­med it best to order that if it hap­pems any­one here­to­fore has bou­ght from our tre­a­sury from any­one what­so­ever, those pla­ces where they were pre­vi­ously accus­to­med to assem­ble, con­cer­ning which a cer­tain decree had been made and a let­ter sent to you offi­ci­ally, the same shall be res­to­red to the Chris­ti­ans without pay­ment or any claim of recom­pense and without any kind of fraud or decep­tion, Those, more­o­ver, who have obta­i­ned the same by gift, are likewise to return them at once to the Chris­ti­ans. Besi­des, both those who have pur­cha­sed and those who have secu­red them by gift, are to appeal to the vicar if they seek any recom­pense from our bounty, that they may be cared for through our cle­mency,. All this pro­perty ought to be deli­ve­red at once to the com­mu­nity of the Chris­ti­ans through your inter­ces­sion, and without delay. And since these Chris­ti­ans are known to have possessed not only those pla­ces in which they were accus­to­med to assem­ble, but also other pro­perty, namely the chur­ches, belon­ging to them as a cor­po­ration and not as indi­vi­du­als, all these things which we have inclu­ded under the above law, you will order to be res­to­red, without any hesi­tation or con­tro­versy at all, to these Chris­ti­ans, that is to say to the cor­po­rati­ons and their con­ven­ticles: pro­vi­ding, of course, that the above arran­ge­ments be followed so that those who return the same without pay­ment, as we have said, may hope for an indem­nity from our bounty. In all these cir­cum­stan­ces you ought to ten­der your most effi­ca­ci­ous inter­ven­tion to the com­mu­nity of the Chris­ti­ans, that our com­mand may be carried into effect as quickly as possi­ble, whe­reby, more­o­ver, through our cle­mency, pub­lic order may be secu­red. Let this be done so that, as we have said above, Divine favor towards us, which, under the most impor­tant cir­cum­stan­ces we have already expe­ri­en­ced, may, for all time, pre­serve and pro­sper our suc­ces­ses toge­ther with the good of the state. More­o­ver, in order that the sta­te­ment of this decree of our good will may come to the notice of all, this rescript, pub­lished by your decree, shall be announ­ced eve­ry­where and brou­ght to the knowledge of all, so that the decree of this, our bene­vo­lence, can­not be concealed.

 

from Lactan­tius, De Mort. Pers., ch. 48. opera, ed. 0. F. Fri­tz­sche, II, p 288 sq. (Bibl Patr. Ecc. Lat. XI).

Both texts transla­ted in Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia. Dept. of His­tory: Translati­ons and Reprints from the Ori­gi­nal Sour­ces of Euro­pean his­tory, (Phi­la­del­phia, Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia Press [1897?-1907?]), Vol 4:, 1, pp. 28–30

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