Emperors Require Curial Class Members Becoming Clergy Turn Over Their Property Hot

Emperors Require Curial Class Members Becoming Clergy Turn Over Their Property

Emperor Valentinian I

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Roman Emperors Valentinian I and Valens require that any members of the curial class who become members of the clergy in the Christian church must turn over their property to a relative or the state. This is designed to ensure that the Roman government is not deprived of tax revenue by too much property moving into the church where it is exempt from taxation. This decree states:

"If anyone chooses service as a member of the Christian clergy, they must either make a near relative a decurion in his stead by transferring to him all of his property. Or, alternatively, he must cede all of his property to the municipal council which he left.

Anyone who did neither of these things when he originally joined the clergy must be recalled to the municipal council." [CTh 12.1.59]

A few days ago Valentinian I and Valens ordered that wealthy Roman citizens not be allowed to become clergy at all; now members of the curial class are prevented from joining the clergy without first turning over the property to someone else so that it can continue to generate tax revenue.

The purpose of both is the same: to prevent too much wealth from being transferred to the control of the Catholic Church.

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Emperors of Rome: Valentinian I

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