Wealthy Roman Citizens Denied Cleric Positions in the Churches

Wealthy Roman Citizens Denied Cleric Positions in the Churches

Emperor Valens
Source: Jastrow

Timeline of History

Religious History
Christian History
Church & State History

Roman Emperors Valentinian I and Valens forbid wealthy Roman citizens from becoming clergy in the Christian church.

This decree states:

"We forbid altogether that wealthy plebeians shall be received as clerics in the Church." [CTh 16.2.17]

One of the drawbacks of providing so many privileges to the Christian church, especially the tax exemptions, is that the government could make conversion to Christianity too attractive. If too many rich people enter the church in some fashion, then too much tax revenue will be lost, and this will undermine the effectiveness of Roman government.

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Emperors of Rome: Valens

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