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4. Emperor Constantine
Misconception: Emperor Constantine invented the Catholic Church in 325 AD
In 313 AD, Emperor Constantine announced toleration of Christianity in the Edict of Milan, which removed penalties for professing Christianity. At the age of 40 he converted to Christianity and in 325 he convened the first ecumenical Council of Nicaea. Because of the importance of this council, many people believe that Constantine created the Church, but in fact there had been many councils (though not as large) prior to Nicaea and the structure of the Church already existed. Constantine was at the council merely as an observer and the Bishops and representative of the Pope made all of the decisions. Before the council of Nicaea, priestly celibacy was already the norm, baptism of infants was practiced (as were all 7 sacraments), and the structure of priests and Bishops was already 300 years old.