The origins of Christian kingship: the Constantine model. Jerome offers, in Chronicon, an image of the first Christian emperor based on two distinct but related aspects, such as the Aryan baptism by the hand of Eusebius of Nicomedia and the decidedly negative influence that the Arian controversy provoked in the Church. This authentic witness, but not one in the choir, retains an echo of a problematic assessment, developed during the fourth century, of the serious shadows and contradictions of the religious policy of the first Christian emperor. Immediately after his death emerged in all their seriousness both the problem of baptism administered by an Aryan, and the conflicting relationship between emperor and bishops, which had its most traumatic expression in the banishment of Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra. This was a complex issue, of which Eusebius was aware in developing his account of the baptism as a final act of Constantine's life: he avoids mentioning Eusebius of Nicomedia and adopted much caution in defining the relationship between Constantine and the bishops, using formulas such koinòs epískopos or epískopos tòn ektós. Actually, if Constantine has moved away from a strict observance of the Nicene doctrine and sent into exile Athanasius, this was not due to a personal choice on the doctrinal level, but rather to a 'political model' on the authority of the Emperor in matters of religion and cults. Constantine in fact did not derogate from a traditional component of the imperial power, indicated by exercise of the function of Pontifex Maximus. It should be recognized the consistency in Constantine's policy, which, on the one hand - in the edict to the East of the provincial 324 - expressly reaffirmed the legitimacy of the traditional cults, and with a rescript, issued in the last year of his reign, granted to the inhabitants of Hispellum to build a temple for the worship of the imperial family, while the other showed impatience with the doctrinal intransigence of Athanasius: the latter in fact entailed two consequences, both harmful to the prestige of the imperial figure, to subtract pontifex maximus to the competence to decide on the cults and the priests (in the case: the bishops) and to not accept the political composition commissioned by the Emperor. Jerome pointed accurately, in the age of Theodosius, the critical points of the image of Constantine at a time when the Church reflected with determination on the relationship between imperium and sacerdotium. There were sufficient grounds to set aside Constantine and replace it with other spiritual references (think of Augustus' theology transposed from Orosius); but the first Christian emperor appeared as an indispensable foundation, to get started and much favored the institutionalization of the Church and to have contributed to the definition of the Nicene Creed. It adopted a resolution that would have a secular success, say millennial: to redefine the figure of Constantine so that it was fully compatible with three objectives: the protection of the doctrine (Trinitarian), the consolidation of the 'Chair of Peter' and the structuring of the Church in imitation of the empire. It began with the obliteration of baptism given at Nicomedia and with a false reconstruction of the relationship between Constantine and Athanasius, to go on, at the end of the fifth century, to the invention of the baptism of Sylvester. The study traces the reworking of the figure of the first Christian emperor, by linking the various components of the 'myth' of Constantine with political needs, cultural and doctrinal historical contexts in which they emerged over four centuries, and distinguishes two phases: 380-451 and 451-787, drawing attention on four key moments, namely on the years 381, 451, 502 and 787. In the years of the First Council of Constantinople, in fact, the removal of the Eusebius’ model took place; the Council of Chalcedon subsequently recorded a historic revision aimed adjustment of the historical Constantine to that of Nicene orthodoxy; during the Laurentian Schism the alleged baptism by Sylvester helped to consolidate the position of the Chair of Peter; almost three centuries later, in the Second Council of Nicaea, it was decided finally on the canonization of the acts of Sylvester (and the iconoduly of Constantine) as required by a momentary consolidation of relations between the West and East. There were thus laid the foundations for the 'Donation of Constantine', drawn up in due time, in the late eighth century, to support Charlemagne in the conflict with the Lombards and to acquire jurisdiction over assets of patrimonium Petri.

K istokam carskoj vlasti v christiankom mire: model’ Konstantina

BONAMENTE, Giorgio
2011-01-01

Abstract

The origins of Christian kingship: the Constantine model. Jerome offers, in Chronicon, an image of the first Christian emperor based on two distinct but related aspects, such as the Aryan baptism by the hand of Eusebius of Nicomedia and the decidedly negative influence that the Arian controversy provoked in the Church. This authentic witness, but not one in the choir, retains an echo of a problematic assessment, developed during the fourth century, of the serious shadows and contradictions of the religious policy of the first Christian emperor. Immediately after his death emerged in all their seriousness both the problem of baptism administered by an Aryan, and the conflicting relationship between emperor and bishops, which had its most traumatic expression in the banishment of Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra. This was a complex issue, of which Eusebius was aware in developing his account of the baptism as a final act of Constantine's life: he avoids mentioning Eusebius of Nicomedia and adopted much caution in defining the relationship between Constantine and the bishops, using formulas such koinòs epískopos or epískopos tòn ektós. Actually, if Constantine has moved away from a strict observance of the Nicene doctrine and sent into exile Athanasius, this was not due to a personal choice on the doctrinal level, but rather to a 'political model' on the authority of the Emperor in matters of religion and cults. Constantine in fact did not derogate from a traditional component of the imperial power, indicated by exercise of the function of Pontifex Maximus. It should be recognized the consistency in Constantine's policy, which, on the one hand - in the edict to the East of the provincial 324 - expressly reaffirmed the legitimacy of the traditional cults, and with a rescript, issued in the last year of his reign, granted to the inhabitants of Hispellum to build a temple for the worship of the imperial family, while the other showed impatience with the doctrinal intransigence of Athanasius: the latter in fact entailed two consequences, both harmful to the prestige of the imperial figure, to subtract pontifex maximus to the competence to decide on the cults and the priests (in the case: the bishops) and to not accept the political composition commissioned by the Emperor. Jerome pointed accurately, in the age of Theodosius, the critical points of the image of Constantine at a time when the Church reflected with determination on the relationship between imperium and sacerdotium. There were sufficient grounds to set aside Constantine and replace it with other spiritual references (think of Augustus' theology transposed from Orosius); but the first Christian emperor appeared as an indispensable foundation, to get started and much favored the institutionalization of the Church and to have contributed to the definition of the Nicene Creed. It adopted a resolution that would have a secular success, say millennial: to redefine the figure of Constantine so that it was fully compatible with three objectives: the protection of the doctrine (Trinitarian), the consolidation of the 'Chair of Peter' and the structuring of the Church in imitation of the empire. It began with the obliteration of baptism given at Nicomedia and with a false reconstruction of the relationship between Constantine and Athanasius, to go on, at the end of the fifth century, to the invention of the baptism of Sylvester. The study traces the reworking of the figure of the first Christian emperor, by linking the various components of the 'myth' of Constantine with political needs, cultural and doctrinal historical contexts in which they emerged over four centuries, and distinguishes two phases: 380-451 and 451-787, drawing attention on four key moments, namely on the years 381, 451, 502 and 787. In the years of the First Council of Constantinople, in fact, the removal of the Eusebius’ model took place; the Council of Chalcedon subsequently recorded a historic revision aimed adjustment of the historical Constantine to that of Nicene orthodoxy; during the Laurentian Schism the alleged baptism by Sylvester helped to consolidate the position of the Chair of Peter; almost three centuries later, in the Second Council of Nicaea, it was decided finally on the canonization of the acts of Sylvester (and the iconoduly of Constantine) as required by a momentary consolidation of relations between the West and East. There were thus laid the foundations for the 'Donation of Constantine', drawn up in due time, in the late eighth century, to support Charlemagne in the conflict with the Lombards and to acquire jurisdiction over assets of patrimonium Petri.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/847498
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