Codex Theodosianus 16.2.12 and the Genesis of the Ecclesiastic Privilegium Fori



The tolerance of the Roman state towards Christianity, which had been established by Constantine in 313, did not entail peace and religious stability for the Empire. The gradual accumulation of competences by bishops through their status as religious specialists as well as their uneasy relationship with political power throughout the increasingly radicalized the Arian-Nicene conflict and led the imperial authorities to adopt a series of legal measures. Those measures aimed at clarifying the status of the episcopate and its relationship with the legal authorities. In this context, the passing of the so-called ecclesiastical privilegium fori attempted to provide an answer to the pleas for legal independence by the bishops. Nevertheless, despite the fact that it was enacted in the context of the Constantinian dynasty granting a series of privileges to the Church, this legal measure, like all others, was not immune to the selfish manipulation of the very same authorities that had passed it.


CTh 16.2.12 – privilegium fori – Arian-Nicene Conflict – Constantius II.
  • Year: 2019
  • Volume: 13
  • Page/Article: 1-21
  • DOI: 10.18573/jlarc.109
  • Published on 6 Jul 2019
  • Peer Reviewed