Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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Manumissio in ecclesia
(1,095 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; Priest/Presbyter; Bishop [Episcopos]), empowered like civil magistrates to become the legal guarantors.



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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 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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