Constantine and the Movement towards Unity in the Empire and the Church, 305-325
A study of Constantine's political and religious life provides a good example of a fourth century man who pursued both his individual and collective goals. Constantine's individual ambition was to rule the empire, a goal on which he never wavered and which he eventually achieved. Along with this personal goal, however, he also championed the collective goal shared by all Christians, that is, to provide a safe, unified political and religious atmosphere in which both the individual Christian and the corporation of the Church could prosper. By providing this atmosphere, Constantine could secure for himself and for the empire, the favor of the high God. This paper will study Constantine's methods of securing both his personal goals and the goals of the state. It is the purpose of this paper to examine the events leading to Constantine's sole reign in 324, and to discover that after his conversion at the Milvian Bridge it was his earnest desire to promote peace, politically, militarily, and doctrinally in his reign as emperor and in his self proclaimed role as overseer of the Church. It is in that effort, then, that this paper will discuss the events from 305 to 325 AD and the controversies with which Constantine dealt in the movement towards unity, both in the empire and in the Church.