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When Christian slaves in the early Asian Church suggested that community funds might be used to purchase their freedom, they were soon disabused of their hopes, a line supported by one of the greatest Church Fathers (Ignatius of Antioch.).He declared that their ambition should be to become better slaves, and they should not expect the Church to gain their liberty for them.Christians naturally interpreted this as not merely acceptance, but approval.If Jesus had opposed slavery he would, they claimed, surely have said so. In pre-Christian times and in non-Christian countries people expressed doubts about slavery and sought to improve the lot of slaves the Stoic philosophers provide a notable example.The Christian Roman Empire actively helped slave owners to recover fugitive slaves, and punished anyone giving them shelter. In 650 Pope Martin I condemned anyone teaching slaves about freedom or encouraging them to escape their bonds.A Church Council of Châlons in 813 decreed that slaves belonging to different owners could not marry without their owners' consent.We know of other slave owning Christians in various ways, for example one, Ausonius ,recorded having tattooed his recaptured runaway slave on the forehead (the significance seems to have been guilt about tattooing, because tattooing was banned by the bible) Pagan slaves who wanted to become Christians required permission from their masters.
This law was not rescinded by the string of Christian Emperors, who headed the Christian Church under the system of caesaropapalism.Augustine called on the free to give thanks because Christ and his Church did not make slaves free, but rather made bad slaves into good slaves. Augustine teaching that the institution of slavery derives from God and is beneficial to both slaves and masters would be cited by many later Popes as evidence, indeed proof, of the acceptability of slavery.It was an integral part of the Christian "Tradition" one of the main sources of authority in the Church.Exodus -21 If a slave is gored by a bull, it is the master, not the slave, who is to be compensated (Exodus ).Time and time again the Old Testament confirms that slaves are property and their lives are of little consequence.
His orthodox approach followed the words of St Paul: "Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. Don't let it trouble you although if you can gain your freedom, do so." (1 Corinthians -21 NIV).