Roman Emperors: Bishops Have Sole Authority Over Religious Legal Cases

Roman Emperors: Bishops Have Sole Authority Over Religious Legal Cases

Emperor Arcadius
Source: portableantiquities

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Roman emperors Arcadius and Honorius decree that bishops are to have sole authority over legal cases involving religion; provincial governors are to be limited to cases involving secular law.

This new decree states:

"Whenever there is a legal action involving matters of religion, the bishops must conduct that action.

Any other cases which belong to regular judges involving secular law must be heard in accordance with the laws." [CTh 16.11.1]

In the past people simply had the option of taking cases involving religion to bishops; now, however, it's a legal requirement. This indicates the extent to which Christian institutions are encroaching on areas once reserved for secular authorities.

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