The Merger

“There will be changes when I return,” were his parting words on the 29th of October and Miltiades knew exactly they meant. The past two days had been a whirlwind for the old arthritic. The miracle at Milvian Bridge was still fresh in his thoughts. He lay down on a soft bed in his new home and closed his eyes. It felt so sweet compared to the hard board he slept on the night before but his mind still wouldn’t rest. “Is this really what He wants?” he asked himself over and over. It was all very tempting. Property would be restored … no more hiding … no more pain. He was so tired. They all were, after more than two centuries of waiting and hoping.

After several restless minutes, he turned and let his knotted legs slide over the edge of the cushions until his dirty bare feet hit the floor. In a pouch hanging from the cord around his waist was a large and misshapen iron nail. He reached inside and pushed a finger against the bent point. It hurt. He pushed harder. “No!” he said aloud, “this is not how it will be. These gifts are one thing, but I’ll never accept what will inevitably come after he returns … We must get our house in order before the persecutions begin again. This is not how it will be!”

When Constantine finally did return sixteen months later, Miltiades, the Bishop of Rome was already at peace in the catacombs beneath the city. A new court was convened and Constantine gave his approval for a much younger man named Silvester to serve as successor to Peter. Where Miltiades saw danger, Silvester saw opportunity and followed it. For the first time, the Pope would be crowned as a Prince.

No comments: