May 21, 383

“Prohibition of Christians from Participating in Pagan, Jewish, and Manichaean Cults” Issued by Emperors Gratian, Valentinian II, and Theodosius I [Roman Empire; Present-day Italy]: “We punish Christians for going into the temples and to the altars of heretics, by denying these apostates the right to make wills. Furthermore, let the crimes of those persons be punished, who, having neglected the dignity of the Christian name and religion, have infected themselves with the plague of Judaism. Moreover let that binding and unceasing punishment which both my father Valentinian prescribed from his divine wisdom and my decrees have no less often commanded fall upon those who have from time to time preferred to hunt out the evil secrets of the Manichaeans and their wicked haunts. Also let the same punishments as those suffered by people guilty of this error be visited upon the authors of this proselytism, who have turned weak minds to their society; nay we even decree that more severe punishments, far beyond the ordinary, dependent on the decisions of the judges and the gravity of the crime committed, be pronounced upon the wicked contrivers of this type of crime. But to avoid continual criminal aspersions being leveled against the dead, and constant retrial in the courts of questions of heredity, long dormant during the passing of many years, we decree a time limit for cases of this nature; therefore, if a person accuses a dead person of having profaned and deserted the Christian religion, and declares that this dead person went over to the sacrileges of the rites and temples of the Jews, or the disgraceful acts of the Manichaeans, and the accuser proves that he himself did not make this declaration for the sake of the will, then let him start the correct proceedings within a space of five years, the time limit which has been established for testamentary cases, and make a proper beginning for the prosecution of such a case, so that, in the everlasting light of day he may prove his accusation of the crime and wickedness of the deceased (which accusation, if false, is a criminal act) when he has appeared in person making his accusation by public testimony; for this accuser, if ignorant of such a crime, and acquiescing in a lie for the benefit of evil persons, may not continually accuse anyone of this apostasy using as an excuse the fact that he did not swear in the name of God.” [Editor’s note: Author’s footnote dates this law in 383 as Theodosian code 16.7.3]
“The Persecution of the Jews in the Roman Empire (300-428).” James Everett Seaver. 1952, Page 47; Accessed online 8/2/2011