7 Mar:
Contantine’s Sunday Sabbath

Rerun: Why is Sunday the Christian day of rest? Because Jesus said so? No! It was Roman emperor Constantine The Great who decreed on 7th March, 320 that “on the venerable day of the sun, let the magistrate and the people residing in cities rest and let all workshops be closed”.

It was a departure from the tradition of commemorating Sabbath on a Saturday, which had been in line with Jewish teachings – and the word of God as depicted in the Bible itself.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain how the Sumerians and Babylonians also played their part in the seemingly arbitrary division of the week into seven days; ask if Constantine was hedging his bets by merging the Christian calendar with the Roman sun-God’s special day; and reveal how the Emperor tried to cheat his way into Heaven at the very last minute…

Further Reading:

• ‘Constantine Orders That Sunday Becomes A Day of Rest’ (BBC History Magazine, 2016): https://www.pressreader.com/uk/bbc-history-magazine/20160225/281698319039318

• ‘Sol Invictus – Roman Sun God’ (Mythology.net, 2016): https://mythology.net/roman/roman-gods/sol-invictus/

• ‘Why Christianity Owes a Lot to the Roman Emperor Constantine’ (Smithsonian Channel, 2020): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y7c9vweo8k

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