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There is no agreement on how Christianity managed to spread so successfully prior to the Edict of Milan and the establishment of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire.
In The Rise of Christianity, Rodney Stark argues that Christianity triumphed over paganism chiefly because it improved the lives of its adherents in various ways.
The first Christians were essentially all ethnically Jewish or Jewish proselytes.
(3) The miraculous powers ascribed to the primitive church. (5) The union and discipline of the Christian republic, which gradually formed an independent and increasing state in the heart of the Roman empire." In the post-Apostolic church, bishops emerged as overseers of urban Christian populations, and a hierarchy of clergy gradually took on the form of episkopos (overseers, in-spectors; and the origin of the term bishop) and presbyters (elders; and the origin of the term priest), and then deacons (servants).Larger-scale persecutions followed at the hands of the authorities of the Roman Empire, beginning with the year 64, when, as reported by the Roman historian Tacitus, the Emperor Nero blamed them for that year's Great Fire of Rome.According to Church tradition, it was under Nero's persecution that Peter and Paul were each martyred in Rome.While the historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles is disputed by critics, the Acts of the Apostles is the major primary source of information for this period.