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Causes of the persecution of Christians under the emperor Decius (249 – 250).

Príčiny prenasledovania kresťanov za vlády cisára Décia (249 – 250)


Marta Sendeková, Katedra histórie Filozofická fakulta UPJŠ v Košiciach,  

Mária Kotuľáková,

ISSN: 1335-3608


In the middle of the 3rd century the Roman Empire found itself in a long-lasting socio-political and economic crisis. In 249, on the military acclamation, Decius succeeded to the Imperial throne, who tried to stabilize conditions by means of a handful of reforms in the socio-political, economic, and primarily in the religious area. He tried to renew the authority of the Emperor based on the Roman traditions and paganism. In 249 or 250 he issued an edict on the sacrifice in order to force all inhabitants of the Empire to revere the cult of the Emperor and traditional Roman deities, seeking thus a reintroduction of the prosperity of the Roman Empire. Ancient sources mention several motives leading the Emperor into prosecution processes such as hatred for his predecessor, public opinion and disrespect for the Imperial order on sacrifice. Christians refused to make a pagan sacrifice, so they were seen as state enemies. The issue of the edict was subsequently followed by the persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire, and which, for the first time in the Christian history, was of a general Imperial character.

Bibliographic information

SENDEKOVÁ, Marta – KOTUĽÁKOVÁ, Mária. Causes of the persecution of Christians under the emperor Decius (249 – 250). Individual and Society, 2012, Vol. 15, No. 2.

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