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On the other hand Commodus and other villainous emperors rather favoured them." Religious philosopher Simone Weil wrote: "By the time of Constantine, the state of apocalyptic expectation must have worn rather thin.[The imminent coming of Christ, expectation of the Last Day - constituted 'a very great social danger.'] Besides, the spirit of the old law, so widely separated from all mysticism, was not so very different from the Roman spirit itself.
Christians' refusal to join pagan celebrations meant they were unable to participate in much of public life, which caused non-Christians–including government authorities–to fear that the Christians were angering the gods and thereby threatening the peace and prosperity of the Empire.
In addition, the peculiar intimacy of Christian society and its secrecy about its religious practices spawned rumors that Christians were guilty of incest and cannibalism; the resulting persecutions, although usually local and sporadic, were a defining feature of Christian self-understanding until Christianity was legalized in the 4th century.
A series of more centrally organized persecutions of Christians emerged in the late 3rd century, when emperors decreed that the Empire's military, political, and economic crises were caused by angry gods.
though the issue of Paul of Tarsus and Judaism is still debated today.
To resolve doctrinal differences among the competing factions within the Church, in or around the year 50, the apostles convened the first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem.
This council affirmed that Gentiles could become Christians without adopting all of the Mosaic Law.
In part to ensure a greater consistency in their teachings, by the end of the 2nd century Christian communities had evolved a more structured hierarchy, with a central bishop having authority over the clergy in his city, leading to the development of the Metropolitan bishop.In the 16th century, in response to the Protestant Reformation, the Church engaged in a process of substantial reform and renewal known as the Counter-Reformation.In subsequent centuries, Catholicism spread widely across the world despite experiencing a reduction in its hold on European populations due to the growth of Protestantism and also because of religious skepticism during and after the Enlightenment.During this time, the period of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, there were considered five primary sees (jurisdictions within the Catholic Church) according to Eusebius: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria, known as the Pentarchy.The battles of Toulouse preserved the Catholic west, even though Rome itself was ravaged in 850, and Constantinople besieged.In 313, the struggles of the Early Church were lessened by the legalisation of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine I.