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Killing Martin Luther
Twelve hundred years before, the Roman Empire was in danger and disarray. The power that had once ruled the world was in decline and was threatened by enemies both from within and without. While hoards of hostile tribes were gathering in the north, Rome?s Generals battled amongst themselves in the south. The treasury was depleted. Without money, the Senate was powerless.
It fell upon Emperor Constantine to find solutions. ...
Killing Martin Luther
Twelve hundred years before, the Roman Empire was in danger and disarray. The power that had once ruled the world was in decline and was threatened by enemies both from within and without. While hoards of hostile tribes were gathering in the north, Rome’s Generals battled amongst themselves in the south. The treasury was depleted. Without money, the Senate was powerless.
It fell upon Emperor Constantine to find solutions. The conquest of a thousand years was no longer an option. Faced with this dilemma, Emperor Constantine took advantage of a situation. A large portion of the empire had adopted a new religion from the eastern provinces. It was unlike the religions practiced by most Romans with its myriad of inconsequential gods. Though offerings and sacrifices were made to these gods, it was little more than a matter of respect and custom. The new religion had only one god and laid claim to men’s eternal souls, something heretofore unheard of. Though Emperor Constantine had no interest in the religion, he found one portion of its doings quite appealing. This new eastern religion promised nothing in this life but everything in the afterlife. Great riches, rewards and joy in the afterlife was assured to those who accepted the religion and helped it spread with their goods and their money.
The new religion offered numerous incentives for Emperor Constantine and for Rome. In little more than two hundred years this religion had laid claim to a full third of the inhabitants of the empire. On its own, it was building a substantial treasury. Even though thousands of these people, now known as Christians, had been killed by Roman Emperors for their beliefs, the sect continued to grow. This seemingly impossible adherence to something which offered nothing in this life and everything in the afterlife fascinated the Emperor. In addition to the much needed money, the Christian’s devotion to each other offered something Rome needed desperately, unity. The religion’s hold on man’s eternal soul and man’s willingness to give his worldly possessions for a place in eternity fascinated the Emperor. In 313, Constantine began his scheme. He issued the Edict of Milan ending persecution of the Christians throughout the empire. This action made him extremely popular and many of the bishops were more than willing to go along with his requests which were few, simple, and well reimbursed.
On the surface, the arrangement appeared quite simple. Emperor Constantine would declare Christianity the official religion of the empire and protect the Christians and their leaders. Thousands had died seeking these rights and thousands of others had only dreamed of them. In consideration for this, Constantine and future emperors would be able to appoint new leaders, all friendly to the church. The bishops saw it as recognition of their god and their leaders by the world’s greatest power, which, in reality, it was. Contributions and money, gifts and tributes received would be turned over to the church treasury which would become the treasury of Rome. From this, the priests and all of the leadership of the church would be paid. In addition, new church construction throughout the empire would be supported. The bishops were ecstatic.
Within a few decades, the elite of Rome changed from the Senators and Tribunes and Centurions, to the priests, the bishops and the Pope.
For twelve hundred years, the plot to save Rome thrived. The people believed that God watched them drop their offerings into the plate and that the fate of their eternal souls depended upon how much money they gave to the church.
This would continue until a simple man from Germany nailed his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of Wittenberg church. Killing Martin Luther follows two priests assigned to rid the church of Luther and end the damage he created. It follows them across the Alps and through the Catacombs of Rome.
Posted January 6, 2012