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The official alliance of a single Christian group with the Roman Empire in the reign of Constantine was fatal first to the so-called Pagans and later to nearly all the other groups of Christendom. The latter were persecuted, imprisoned, or killed and their writings burnt. The Emperor Magnus Maximus even put the Bishop of Avila to death for his beliefs. The Emperor Theodosius made death the prescribed penalty for all believers in Manichean Christianity which taught reincarnation. The vigour with which the Emperor Justinian proscribed and destroyed heretical books and documents left little record for later generations to know what other Christians had taught and believed on this tenet of rebirth. Justinian slew more than a million heretics in the Near East alone. Several canons in the service of Orleans cathedral in France were, some centuries later, burnt alive for embracing these doctrines. The diffusion of this single idea in the Western lands is likely to start questioning and inquiry into its background, history, and doctrinal ramifications. This may lead in turn to startling discoveries about what really happened not only to this tenet but to others of Oriental derivation which were stamped out ruthlessly.

-- Perspectives > Chapter 9: From Birth to Rebirth > # 31

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