Christianity altered the traditional values and infrastructure of the Roman state after Constantine issued the Edict of Milan in 313. The Edict proclaimed religious tolerance; Christians were given special privileges that included legal rights. Christianity required each city to have a religious leader that presided over the churches; the leaders reported to the churches headquarter this led to a hierarchy in leadership. This altered the political infrastructure of the Roman Empire as previous leadership was only lead by the emperor whose appointed leaders did not have as much power as the church leaders. Church leaders influenced the political environment as they were close to the emperor; they were involved in decision making. Due to hierarchy in church leadership, there was need for a religious capital that became Rome where the religious leaders meet the pope. The traditional religion of Rome allowed women to hold religious positions like priestesses (Speer 96). Christianity only allowed religious positions for men who became priests and church leaders, this weakened women as they were no longer allowed to have any positions in the religious structure.
Christians had shifted from being the persecuted to been the persecutors of the pagans. Those that did not practice Christianity turned to ascetic and monastic lifestyles (McGiffert 26). The Roman Empire regarded its citizens as servants but Christians believed they were God’s servants. Earlier, bearing children was considered a duty to the state. Due to the biblical teachings, many Christians considered celibacy righteous giving rise to priests who led celibate lives. With the declaration of Christianity orthodox some traditional values were considered blasphemous.
I think these changes were not inevitable. Most of these changes happened because Constantine allowed Christians to practice their faith. The support of the Emperor, who practiced Christianity made these changes easy (Speer 95). Christians had become important people as they greatly influenced the running of the empire; it was only natural that they introduced their ways.
McGiffert, Arthur Cushman. “The Influence of Christianity upon the Roman Empire.” Havard Theological Review (1909): 28-49.
Speer, Alanna. “How Did Christianity Become the Dominant Religion of the Latest Roman Empire?” History in the Making vol 3 no.2 (2014): 91-97.