For a little background; The edict of Milan was signed by Constantine I and Licinius in 313. Constantine was the emperor of the western Roman Empire and Licinius ruled the Balkans. It gave Christians and persons of all other religions the right to practice their religion without persecution.
Constantine himself is considered a saint by the Orthodox Church, although his Christianity is a subject for debate and he did not actually receive baptism until shortly before his death. While he publicly proclaimed himself to be a Christian, he still took part in many pagan practices. In this way he is indeed a forerunner of many Christian churches who incorporate pagan practices, symbols and holidays into Christian religion.
Serbian Patriarch Irinej Invites All To Edict Of Milan Celebrations
BELGRADE – Serbian Patriarch Irinej invited on Thursday all believers and people of goodwill to join in the final part of the marking of a great historic event – 1700 anniversary of the Edict of Milan, as the closing ceremony is scheduled to take place in Nis on Sunday, when heads of Orthodox Churches of other countries will hold a liturgy.
“A great privilege has been bestowed upon our Church that the central ceremony of the entire Christianity be in our city, Nis, because Emperor Constantine was born in it,” Patriarch Irinej told Tanjug ahead of the gathering that the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) qualified as the greatest in its history.
The Edict that Emperor Constantine issued gave the Christianity the freedom or right to freely preach, Patriarch Irinej said.
This great event was a turning point in the history of mankind, as the European culture based on the truths of Christianity developed on its foundations, the Patriarch said.
Patriarch Irinej announced that representatives of all Orthodox Churches, other Christian Churches and communities, and culture officials from the entire Christian world will gather on that occasion.
Bishop of Backa Irinej, a spokesman for the SPC, announced that two holy objects will be on display at the Cathedral of St. Emperor Constantine and Empress Helena in Nis – a part of the holy cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified and a hand of St. John The Baptist.
According to the schedule that was published by the SPC, a ceremonial welcome will be organized at St. Archangel Michael’s Cathedral in Belgrade on Saturday for high priests, among which Patriarch Bartholomew I, the Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’, and Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem are expected.
|Serbian Patriarch Irinej|