"Edict of Thessalonica," also known as Cunctos Populos
The Emperors Gratian, Valentinian, and Theodosius, Augusti, an edict to the people of the city of Constantinople.
All peoples, whom the moderation of our mercy rules, we wish to remain
in that religion which the divine Apostle Peter handed over to the
Romans, the religion until now from him is very well known, and which
clearly is followed by the pontifex Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of
Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness; that is, that, according to
the apostolic teaching and the gospel doctrine, we believe in the
single Godhead of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, under
equal majesty and under pious Trinity. We order that those following
this law be included under the name of "Catholic Christians," but the
rest (whom we judge to be demented and insane) will take on the
disgrace of "heretical belief," and their little meetings will not
receive the name of churches; they shall suffer as vengeance, in the
first place, divine punishments, and after whatever we are moved to
which we shall determine according to heavenly judgment. Given this day
on the third of the Kalends of March [February 27] in Thessalonica by
Gratian in his fifth and Theodosius in his first consulate [380 C.E.].
Imppp. Gratianus, Valentinianus et Theodosius aaa. edictum ad populum
urbis Constantinopolitanae. Cunctos populos, quos clementiae nostrae
regit temperamentum, in tali volumus religione versari, quam divinum
petrum apostolum tradidisse Romanis religio usque ad nunc ab ipso
insinuata declarat quamque pontificem Damasum sequi claret et Petrum
Alexandriae episcopum virum apostolicae sanctitatis, hoc est, ut
secundum apostolicam disciplinam evangelicamque doctrinam patris et
filii et spiritus sancti unam deitatem sub parili maiestate et sub pia
trinitate credamus. Hanc legem sequentes christianorum catholicorum
nomen iubemus amplecti, reliquos vero dementes vesanosque iudicantes
haeretici dogmatis infamiam sustinere nec conciliabula eorum
ecclesiarum nomen accipere, divina primum vindicta, post etiam motus
nostri, quem ex caelesti arbitrio sumpserimus, ultione plectendos. Dat.
III kal. mar. Thessalonicae Gratiano a. V et Theodosio a. I conss.
Gratian: Emperor of Rome (367-383)
Valentinian (II): Emperor of Rome (375-395), half-brother of Gratian, nine years old at the issuing of this edict
Theodosius: Emperor of Rome (379-395), a general appointed by Gratian to rule with Valentinian, founder of a new dynasty
Augusti: title taken by senior emperors of the Roman Empire following the tetrarchy of Dioclectian
pontifex: in classical Roman
religion, a senior priesthood; used by Christians as a title of respect
for very prominent bishops by the late fourth century
Damasus: Bishop of Rome, 366-384
Peter: Bishop of Alexandria, 373-381; spent much of his time as Bishop in exile during the reign of non-Nicene emperors
"catholic": From the Greek word katholikē, meaning "universal"
"heretical": from the Greek word hairetikę, originally meaning "following a specific school of thought," in fourth-century Christian contexts meaning "of deviant belief"