32. St. Miltiades 311-314

Miltiades

Pope Miltiades was our second Pope that came from Africa. He arrived after a period of sede vacante of the Papacy,or in simpler terms,the Pope’s seat was empty. Rome was a mess. There was Emperor Maxentius and then he had co-emperors that constantly fought with each other. One of the co-emperors named Constantine challenged Maxentius for the rule of Rome,and after defeating him,issued a edict of toleration for all Christians. Why? Before his battle with Maxentius,Constantine had a vision of a cross and heard the words “In this sign will thy conquer”. His soldiers,many still pagan,went into battle with crosses on their shields and they were victorious despite being outnumbered. Constantine then returned houses,shrines and other Church property that had been taken away by earlier emperors and on top of that,he gifted to Pope Miltiades the Lateran Palace to live in. I’m sure Miltiades spent his first night there checking behind all the doors and curtains,expecting Roman soldiers to jump out and martyr him at any minute. The other shoe never dropped. The Bishop of Rome would call this home for the next thousand years and Christianity would soon become the primary religion of Rome. Our next Pope would even baptize the Roman emperor! The horrible Roman persecutions that constantly threatened to destroy Christianity for 300 years were basically over. Early Christians had seen the worst that humanity could throw at them and triumphed. All suffering and setbacks and misery endured out of a fire for Jesus Christ that could never be extinguished. On a final note,I’m glad to finally not have to write about Popes being murdered every week.

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