An earlier Edict of Toleration of Gelarius, issued in A.D. 311, can be accessed here.

Reference:CPG 3495 (10.5.1-14)
Greek Text:Eusebius, CH 10.5.1-14 (Loeb 265: 444-452) 
Latin Text:Lactantius, On the Death of the Persecutors 48.1-12 (Migne PL, Vol. 7, Col. 267) 
Other Ancient Versions:
English Translation:FCC (AGC)

Greek (Eusebius)English Latin (Lactantius) 
V.1   Φέρε δή, λοιπὸν καὶ τῶν βασιλικῶν διατάξεων Κωνσταντίνου καὶ Λικιννίου τὰς ἐκ τῆς Ῥωμαίων φωνῆς μεταληφθείσας ἑρμηνείας παραθώμεθα.] Let us place before us the rest of the imperial decrees of Constantine and Licinius, translated from the Roman language.

2. Ἤδη μὲν πάλαι σκοποῦντες τὴν ἐλευθερίαν τῆς θρῃσκείας οὐκ ἀρνητέαν εἶναι, ἀλλ᾿ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου τῇ διανοίᾳ καὶ τῇ βουλήσει ἐξουσίαν δοτέον τοῦ τὰ θεῖα πράγματα τημελεῖν κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ προαίρεσιν ἕκαστον, κεκελεύκειμεν τοῖς τε Χριστιανοῖς . . . τῆς αἱρέσεως καὶ τῆς θρῃσκείας τῆς ἑαυτῶν τὴν πίστιν φυλάττειν· 
Since it was already perceived long ago that freedom of religion ought not be denied, but each one ought to be given the right to follow his own thoughts and desires according to his own choosing, we have ordered that Christians be permitted to retain the faith of their own religion and persuasion.   
3. ἀλλ᾿ ἐπειδὴ πολλαὶ καὶ διάφοροι αἱρέσεις ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἀντιγραφῇ, ἐν ᾗ τοῖς αὐτοῖς συνεχωρήθη ἡ τοιαύτη ἐξουσία, ἐδόκουν προστεθεῖσθαι σαφῶς, τυχὸν ἴσως τινὲς αὐτῶν μετ᾿ ὀλίγον ἀπὸ τῆς τοιαύτης παραφυλάξεως ἀπεκρούοντο.But since many different restrictions clearly seemed to have been added in that document which granted this right,  some of them after a short time were prevented from exercising it.   

4. “Ὁπότε εὐτυχῶς ἐγὼ Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Αὔγουστος κἀγὼ Λικίννιος ὁ Αὔγουστος ἐν τῇ Μεδιολάνῳ ἐληλύθειμεν καὶ πάντα ὅσα πρὸς τὸ λυσιτελὲς καὶ τὸ χρήσιμον τῷ κοινῷ διέφερεν, ἐν ζητήσει ἔσχομεν, ταῦτα μεταξὺ τῶν λοιπῶν ἅτινα ἐδόκει ἐν πολλοῖς ἅπασιν ἐπωφελῆ εἶναι, μᾶλλον δὲ ἐν πρώτοις διατάξαι ἐδογματίσαμεν, οἷς ἡ πρὸς τὸ θεῖον αἰδώς τε καὶ τὸ σέβας ἐνείχετο, τοῦτ᾿ ἔστιν, ὅπως δῶμεν καὶ τοῖς Χριστιανοῖς καὶ πᾶσιν ἐλευθέραν αἵρεσιν τοῦ ἀκολουθεῖν τῇ θρῃσκείᾳ ᾗ δ᾿ ἂν βουληθῶσιν, ὅπως ὅ τί ποτέ ἐστιν θειότητος καὶ οὐρανίου πράγματος, ἡμῖν καὶ πᾶσι τοῖς ὑπὸ τὴν ἡμετέραν ἐξουσίαν διάγουσιν εὐμενὲς εἶναι δυνηθῇ.

When we, Constantine Augustus and Licinius Augustus, had joyfully convened near Mediolanium, we were considering everything pertaining to the common good and security. Of all the things we found to be beneficial for all people, we believed that which pertained to the reverence of the Divine ought to be dealt with first: namely, that we might grant to the Christians, and to others, the freedom and right to follow whatever religion they desire. By doing so, we hoped that any deity seated in heaven may be gentle and favorable to us and to all who live under our rule.  

Cum feliciter, tam ego Constantinus Augustus, quam etiam ego Licinius Augustus, apud Mediolanum convenissemus, atque universa, quae ad commoda et securitatem publicam pertinerent, in tractatu haberemus, haec inter caetera quae videbamus pluribus hominibus profutura, vel in primis ordinanda esse credidimus, quibus divinitatis reverentia continebatur, ut daremus et christianis, et omnibus liberam potestatem sequendi religionem, quam quisque voluisset, quo quidem divinitas in sede coelesti, nobis atque omnibus qui sub potestate nostra sunt constituti, placata ac propitia possit existere.
5. τοίνυν ταύτην τὴν [ἡμετέραν] βούλησιν ὑγιεινῷ καὶ ὀρθοτάτῳ λογισμῷ ἐδογματίσαμεν, ὅπως μηδενὶ παντελῶς ἐξουσία ἀρνητέα ᾖ τοῦ ἀκολουθεῖν καὶ αἱρεῖσθαι τὴν τῶν Χριστιανῶν παραφύλαξιν ἢ θρῃσκείαν ἑκάστῳ τε ἐξουσία δοθείη τοῦ διδόναι ἑαυτοῦ τὴν διάνοιαν ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ θρῃσκείᾳ, ἣν αὐτὸς ἑαυτῷ ἁρμόζειν νομίζει, ὅπως ἡμῖν δυνηθῇ τὸ θεῖον ἐν πᾶσι τὴν ἔθιμον σπουδὴν καὶ καλοκἀγαθίαν παρέχειν· 

And so this is the beneficial and proper decision we reached: we believe that nobody who observes the Christian religion, or who has given his mind to whatever religion he feels is appropriate for himself, ought to be denied the opportunity to practice it. We did this so that the supreme deity, to whose religion we have freely devoted our minds, may in all things bestow his favor and benevolence upon us.Itaque hoc consilio salubri ac rectissima ratione ineundum esse credidimus, ut nulli omnino facultatem abnegandam putaremus, qui vel observationi christianorum, vel ei religioni mentem suam dederat, quam ipse sibi aptissimam esse sentiret; ut possit nobis summa divinitas, cujus religioni liberis mentibus obsequimur, in omnibus solitum favorem suum benevolentiamque praestare.

6. ἅτινα οὕτως ἀρέσκειν ἡμῖν ἀντιγράψαι ἀκόλουθον ἦν, ἵν᾿ ἀφαιρεθεισῶν παντελῶς τῶν αἱρέσεων, αἵτινες τοῖς προτέροις ἡμῶν γράμμασι τοῖς πρὸς τὴν σὴν καθοσίωσιν ἀποσταλεῖσι περὶ τῶν Χριστιανῶν ἐνείχοντο καὶ ἅτινα πάνυ σκαιὰ καὶ τῆς ἡμετέρας πραότητος ἀλλότρια εἶναι ἐδόκει, ταῦτα ὑφαιρεθῇ καὶ νῦν ἐλευθέρως καὶ ἁπλῶς ἕκαστος αὐτῶν τῶν τὴν αὐτὴν προαίρεσιν ἐσχηκότων τοῦ φυλάττειν τὴν τῶν Χριστιανῶν θρῃσκείαν ἄνευ τινὸς ὀχλήσεως τοῦτο αὐτὸ παραφυλάττοι. ἅτινα τῇ σῇ ἐπιμελείᾳ πληρέστατα δηλῶσαι ἐδογματίσαμεν,   Therefore it is fitting for you to know, your Reverence, that we are pleased to remove in every way all restrictions that had previously been written about those who go by the name “Christians.”  Now, truly, every one of them who has the desire to observe the Christian religion may do so without disturbance or molesting.  We believed it necessary that these things be fully brought to your attention.  

Therefore it is fitting for you to know, your Reverence, that we are pleased to remove in every way all restrictions that had previously been written about those who go by the name “Christians.”  Now, truly, every one of them who has the desire to observe the Christian religion may do so without disturbance or molesting.  We believed it necessary that these things be fully brought to your attention.  

   7. ὅπως εἰδείης ἡμᾶς ἐλευθέραν καὶ ἀπολελυμένην ἐξουσίαν τοῦ τημελεῖν τὴν ἑαυτῶν θρῃσκείαν τοῖς αὐτοῖς Χριστιανοῖς δεδωκέναι.  
Therefore know that we have given the free and absolute right to those Christians to practice their religion.

quo scires nos liberam atque absolutam colendae religionis suae facultatem hisdem christianis dedisse.

8. ὅπερ ἐπειδὴ ἀπολελυμένως αὐτοῖς ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν δεδωρῆσθαι θεωρεῖς, <συνορᾷ> ἡ σὴ καθοσίωσις καὶ ἑτέροις δεδόσθαι ἐξουσίαν τοῖς βουλομένοις τοῦ μετέρχεσθαι τὴν παρατήρησιν καὶ θρῃσκείαν ἑαυτῶν ὅπερ ἀκολούθως τῇ ἡσυχίᾳ τῶν ἡμετέρων καιρῶν γίνεσθαι φανερόν ἐστιν, ὅπως ἐξουσίαν ἕκαστος ἔχῃ τοῦ αἱρεῖσθαι καὶ τημελεῖν ὁποίαν δ᾿ ἂν βούληται [τὸ θεῖον]. τοῦτο δὲ ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν γέγονεν, ὅπως μηδεμιᾷ τιμῇ μηδὲ θρῃσκείᾳ τινὶ μεμειῶσθαί τι ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν δοκοίη.Understanding what we are granting, may your Reverence know that the same right and freedom of worship has been granted to other religions for the sake of peace in our times, that each man may have the free ability to adhere to whatever religion he has chosen. For we do not wish to disparage any religion or anything esteemed.   

Quod cum hisdem a nobis indultum esse pervideas, intelligit Dicatio tua, etiam aliis religionis suae vel observantiae potestatem similiter apertam, et liberam pro quiete temporis nostri esse concessam; ut in colendo quod quisque delegerit habeat liberam facultatem, quia (nolumus detrahi) honori, neque cuiquam religioni aliquid a nobis.

9. “Καὶ τοῦτο δὲ πρὸς τοῖς λοιποῖς εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον τῶν Χριστιανῶν δογματίζομεν, ἵνα τοὺς τόπους αὐτῶν, εἰς οὓς τὸ πρότερον συνέρχεσθαι ἔθος ἦν αὐτοῖς, περὶ ὧν καὶ τοῖς πρότερον δοθεῖσιν πρὸς τὴν σὴν καθοσίωσιν γράμμασιν τύπος ἕτερος ἦν ὡρισμένος τῷ προτέρῳ χρόνῳ, [ἵν᾿] εἴ τινες ἢ παρὰ τοῦ ταμείου τοῦ ἡμετέρου ἢ παρά τινος ἑτέρου φαίνοιντο ἠγορακότες, τούτους τοῖς αὐτοῖς Χριστιανοῖς ἄνευ ἀργυρίου καὶ ἄνευ τινὸς ἀπαιτήσεως τῆς τιμῆς, ὑπερτεθείσης [δίχα] πάσης ἀμελείας καὶ ἀμφιβολίας, ἀποκαταστήσωσι, καὶ εἴ τινες κατὰ δῶρον τυγχάνουσιν εἰληφότες, τοὺς αὐτοὺς τόπους ὅπως ἢ τοῖς αὐτοῖς Χριστιανοῖς τὴν ταχίστην ἀποκαταστήσωσιν In addition to this, we determined concerning the Christians that if anyone has purchased from our treasury or from anyone else a property where they were accustomed to convene, about which letters had been sent to your office or a decree passed, such properties shall be restored to the Christians without any demand for payment or money, and without any deception or ambiguity. Also anyone who received such property as a gift shall in the same way return it to the Christians as soon as possible.

Atque hoc insuper in persona christianorum statuendum esse censuimus, quod si eadem loca, ad quae antea convenire consueverant, de quibus etiam datis ad officium tuum litteris certa antehac forma fuerat comprehensa, priore tempore aliqui vel a fisco nostro, vel ab alio quocumque videntur esse mercati, eadem christianis sine pecunia, et sine ulla pretii petitione, postposita omni frustratione atque ambiguitate, restituantur. Qui etiam dono fuerunt consecuti, eadem similiter hisdem christianis quantocius reddant: 

10. οὕτως ὡς ἢ οἱ ἠγορακότες τοὺς αὐτοὺς τόπους ἢ οἱ κατὰ δωρεὰν εἰληφότες αἰτῶσί τι παρὰ τῆς ἡμετέρας καλοκἀγαθίας προσέλθωσι τῷ ἐπὶ τόπων ἐπάρχῳ [δικάζοντι], ὅπως καὶ αὐτῶν διὰ τῆς ἡμετέρας χρηστότητος πρόνοια γένηται. ἅτινα πάντα τῷ σώματι τῷ τῶν Χριστιανῶν παρ᾿ αὐτὰ διὰ τῆς σῆς σπουδῆς ἄνευ τινὸς παρολκῆς παραδίδοσθαι δεήσει.If anyone who acquired it, whether by payment or as a gift, should seek any kindness from us, they must inquire of the Vicars.  In this way we will benevolently take care of them, too.  All of this ought to be handed over to the Christians through your intercession and without delay.  

etiam vel hi qui emerunt, vel qui dono fuerunt consecuti, si petiverint de nostra benevolentia aliquid, Vicarium postulent, quo et ipsis per nostram clementiam consulatur. Quae omnia corpori christianorum protinus per intercessionem tuam, ac sine mora tradi oportebit.

11. “Καὶ ἐπειδὴ οἱ αὐτοὶ Χριστιανοὶ οὐ μόνον ἐκείνους εἰς οὓς συνέρχεσθαι ἔθος εἶχον, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἑτέρους τόπους ἐσχηκέναι γινώσκονται διαφέροντας οὐ πρὸς ἕκαστον αὐτῶν, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὸ δίκαιον τοῦ αὐτῶν σώματος, τοῦτ᾿ ἔστιν τῶν Χριστιανῶν, ταῦτα πάντα ἐπὶ τῷ νόμῳ ὃν προειρήκαμεν, δίχα παντελῶς τινος ἀμφισβητήσεως τοῖς αὐτοῖς Χριστιανοῖς, τοῦτ᾿ ἔστιν τῷ σώματι [αὐτῶν] καὶ τῇ συνόδῳ [ἑκάστῳ] αὐτῶν ἀποκαταστῆναι κελεύσεις, τοῦ προειρημένου λογισμοῦ δηλαδὴ φυλαχθέντος, ὅπως αὐτοὶ οἵτινες τοὺς αὐτοὺς ἄνευ τιμῆς, καθὼς προειρήκαμεν, ἀποκαθιστῶσι, τὸ ἀζήμιον τὸ ἑαυτῶν παρὰ τῆς ἡμετέρας καλοκἀγαθίας ἐλπίζοιεν.

And since these same Christians are known to have possessed not only those properties in which they were accustomed to gather, but also others, namely the churches which they possessed as a community and not as individuals, we have ensured that the above law pertains to these also.  They shall be returned to these Christians, namely to the community and assembly you decide, without any ambiguity or controversy considering, of course, that it is maintained that those who return them without payment may expect to receive an indemnity from our benevolence, as we have said.  Et quoniam iidem christiani non ea loca tantum, ad quae convenire consueverunt, sed alia etiam habuisse noscuntur, ad jus corporis eorum, id est, Ecclesiarum, non hominum singulorum, pertinentia, ea omnia lege, qua superius, comprehendimus, citra ullam prorsus ambiguitatem vel controversiam hisdem christianis, id est corpori et conventiculis eorum reddi jubebis, supradicta scilicet ratione servata, ut ii qui eadem sine pretio, sicut diximus, restituerint, indemnitatem de nostra benevolentia sperent.

12. “Ἐν οἷς πᾶσιν τῷ προειρημένῳ σώματι τῶν Χριστιανῶν τὴν σπουδὴν δυνατώτατα παρασχεῖν ὀφείλεις, ὅπως τὸ ἡμέτερον κέλευσμα τὴν ταχίστην παραπληρωθῇ, ὅπως καὶ ἐν τούτῳ διὰ τῆς ἡμετέρας χρηστότητος πρόνοια γένηται τῆς κοινῆς καὶ δημοσίας ἡσυχίας.   In addition to all this, you ought to exhibit your most effective intercession on behalf of the Christian community so that our order may be carried out as soon as possible.  Then public order will be established through our clemency.  

In quibus omnibus supradicto corpori christianorum intercessionem tuam efficacissimam exhibere debebis, ut praeceptum nostrum quantocius compleatur, quo etiam in hoc per clementiam nostram quieti publicae consulatur.
13. τούτῳ γὰρ τῷ λογισμῷ, καθὼς καὶ προείρηται, ἡ θεία σπουδὴ περὶ ἡμᾶς, ἧς ἐν πολλοῖς ἤδη πράγμασιν ἀπεπειράθημεν, διὰ παντὸς τοῦ χρόνου βεβαίως διαμείναι,   

May it be so in order that, just as we have stated above, we may win divine favor (which we have experienced in all circumstances) and both our successes and the public good may persevere with steadfast blessing for all time.  Hactenus fiet, ut sicut superius conprehensum est, divinus juxta nos favor, quem in tantis sumus rebus experti, per omne tempus prospere successibus nostris cum beatitudine nostra publica perseveret.

14. ἵνα δὲ ταύτης τῆς ἡμετέρας νομοθεσίας καὶ τῆς καλοκἀγαθίας ὁ ὅρος πρὸς γνῶσιν πάντων ἐνεχθῆναι δυνηθῇ, προταχθέντα τοῦ σοῦ προστάγματος ταῦτα τὰ ὑφ᾿ ἡμῶν γραφέντα πανταχοῦ προθεῖναι καὶ εἰς γνῶσιν πάντων ἀγαγεῖν ἀκόλουθόν ἐστιν, ὅπως ταύτης τῆς ἡμετέρας καλοκἀγαθίας ἡ νομοθεσία μηδένα λαθεῖν δυνηθῇ.”In order that this notice of our benevolent decree may become widely known, let this document, distributed at your command and announced everywhere, be made known to everybody, lest our benevolent decree go unreported.  

Ut autem hujus sanctionis benevolentiae nostrae forma ad omnium possit pervenire notitiam, perlata programmate tuo haec scripta et ubique proponere, et ad omnium scientiam te perferre conveniet, ut hujus benevolentiae nostrae sanctio latere non possit.

Created by AGC. Last updated on 10/09/2023.

No Responses yet