Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Manumissio in ecclesia
(1,091 words)

Among Constantine’s broad legal and institutional reforms, manumissio in ecclesia (“manumission in the church”) named a new public act to release a person legally from slavery and into full Roman citizenship. The enfranchisement took the form of solemn rites performed by the owner in a church before the witnesses of its congregation and presided over by clergy (priests, the bishop), empowered like civil magistrates to become the legal guarantors.


Manumissio in ecclesia had several classical mo…

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Harrill, J. Albert, “Manumissio in ecclesia”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 27 June 2022 <>
First published online: 2018

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