The Real Reason Mass is on Sunday Sounds Shocking 😳

Edict of Constantine

On 3 March 321, Constantine I decreed that Sunday (dies Solis) will be observed as the Roman day of rest [CJ3.12.2]:

On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost. (Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time. Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3 (1902), p. 380, note.)

Constantine’s decree was most likely modeled on pagan sun worship, though it is probable that he also intended to benefit the church, which already met for worship on Sunday. Some theorize that, because the practice favored the Christian day of worship, it also helped the church to avoid implicit association with the Jews. Eusebius, in Life of Constantine, claims Constantine stated: “Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.” (Book III, Chapter 18,

Chapter 18. He speaks of their Unanimity respecting the Feast of Easter, and against the Practice of the Jews.

At this meeting the question concerning the most holy day of Easter was discussed, and it was resolved by the united judgment of all present, that this feast ought to be kept by all and in every place on one and the same day. For what can be more becoming or honorable to us than that this feast from which we date our hopes of immortality, should be observed unfailingly by all alike, according to one ascertained order and arrangement? And first of all, it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. For we have it in our power, if we abandon their custom, to prolong the due observance of this ordinance to future ages, by a truer order, which we have preserved from the very day of the passion until the present time. Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way. A course at once legitimate and honorable lies open to our most holy religion. Beloved brethren, let us with one consent adopt this course, and withdraw ourselves from all participation in their baseness. For their boast is absurd indeed, that it is not in our power without instruction from them to observe these things. For how should they be capable of forming a sound judgment, who, since their parricidal guilt in slaying their Lord, have been subject to the direction, not of reason, but of ungoverned passion, and are swayed by every impulse of the mad spirit that is in them? Hence it is that on this point as well as others they have no perception of the truth, so that, being altogether ignorant of the true adjustment of this question, they sometimes celebrate Easter twice in the same year. Why then should we follow those who are confessedly in grievous error? Surely we shall never consent to keep this feast a second time in the same year. But supposing these reasons were not of sufficient weight, still it would be incumbent on your Sagacities to strive and pray continually that the purity of your souls may not seem in anything to be sullied by fellowship with the customs of these most wicked men. We must consider, too, that a discordant judgment in a case of such importance, and respecting such religious festival, is wrong. For our Saviour has left us one feast in commemoration of the day of our deliverance, I mean the day of his most holy passion; and he has willed that his Catholic Church should be one, the members of which, however scattered in many and diverse places, are yet cherished by one pervading spirit, that is, by the will of God. And let your Holinesses’ sagacity reflect how grievous and scandalous it is that on the self-same days some should be engaged in fasting, others in festive enjoyment; and again, that after the days of Easter some should be present at banquets and amusements, while others are fulfilling the appointed fasts. It is, then, plainly the will of Divine Providence (as I suppose you all clearly see), that this usage should receive fitting correction, and be reduced to one uniform rule.

Life of Constantine, Eusebius (Book III)
Fathers of the Church

So… why does mass on Sunday sound shocking?

Constantine moved it from the Sabbath to Sunday because of anti-Semitism and pagan sun worship.

Actually, um, he didn’t.

The second section is talking about having the Feast of the Pasch (“Easter” in English-speaking countries) celebrated on Sunday. Why? Because the Passover is a moveable calendar feast, and so if the Pasch was celebrated ‘three days’ after Passover, and Passover took place say on a Monday, then Easter would be celebrated on a Thursday that year, etc.

The first section is talking about Sunday as a day of rest. It is not saying, "And now you Christians stop celebrating the Sabbath and move worship to Sunday along with the rest of us pagan worshippers’. If anything, this was a way to get Christians less ‘targeted’ (and it is not anti-Semitic), since Christians would ‘stand out’ among Jews in their long established practice of Sunday worship (it’s even in the Bible, noted that the Christians celebrated the breaking of the bread, readings, sacred songs, etc., on Sunday, ‘the Lord’s Day’).

Also I cannot find “Edict of Constantine” when I check New Advent.

I find the Edict of Milan which addresses other things.

I also find a “Donation of Constantine” which is a proven forgery.

May I ask where you got the information you quoted?

Acts 20:7: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.”

“The first day of the week” = Sunday
“break bread” = worship (as in celebrate the Eucharist)

It’s right there in the New Testament, dude.

Christians were already worshipping on Sunday. Constantine did not change that. It is certainly well documented before Constantine, even if first century evidence is a little sparse.

As for the date of Easter proclamation, do you know its history? Some Christians observed it on a fixed solar day. Many others had to ask the Jews to date when Passover was to celebrate the following Sunday. And that wasn’t because the Church couldn’t follow a lunar calendar, but because even the Jews didn’t have a fixed way of calculating Passover. It could be arbitrarily adjusted by the Jewish authorities if roads were in poor condition, or if it didn’t look like spring had arrived properly yet. And it was also NOT the same calculation used by the ancient Israelites and Jews, even at that time, it had changed over the centuries. So the Church, rather than being dependent on the Jews, and itself being an authority to make such decisions, came up with an official and consistent way to calculate the Passover that all could agree on so that Christians could celebrate Easter on the same date. And it must also be noted that AFTER the Church took on the role of dating Passover itself, the Jewish community would later go on to change their method again ti something more consistent and less arbitrary (that is, the method Jews use today is not the same method they used in Constantine’s rime, either). So both Christians and later the Jews BOTH agreed that the pre-Nicean way of calculating Passover was in terrible shape. And that “Calculus” set by the Church was made by the Church, not Constantine, even if Constantine supported the decision with this edict.

Honestly, JPUSC, the history of dating Easter is pretty well known to anyone who looks into it, and there’s nothing really fishy behind it. It seems you’ve had your faith shaken by a controversy much smaller than ones the Church has weathered before, and now are falling into not just doubting but into really terrible propaganda.

Sunday actually made very little headway as a Christian day of rest until the time of Constantine in the fourth century. Constantine was emperor of Rome from AD 306 to 337. He was a sun worshiper during the first years of his reign. Later, he professed conversion to Christianity, but at heart remained a devotee of the sun. Edward Gibbon says, “The Sun was universally celebrated as the invincible guide and protector of Constantine.”

Constantine created the earliest Sunday law known to history in AD 321. It says this:

On the venerable Day of the sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits: because it often happens that another Day is not so suitable for grain sowing or for vine planting: lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.

Chamber’s Encyclopedia says this:

Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the Sabbatical observance of that Day is known to have been ordained, is the edict of Constantine, 321 A.D.

Following this initial legislation, both emperors and Popes in succeeding centuries added other laws to strengthen Sunday observance. What began as a pagan ordinance ended as a Christian regulation. Close on the heels of the Edict of Constantine followed the Catholic Church Council of Laodicea (circa 364 AD):

Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday (Sabbath), but shall work on that Day: but the Lord’s Day, they shall especially honour; and as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out from Christ.

Constantine enacted here the first example of what we would call “blue laws” - laws restricting trade and commerce on Sundays.

In other words, he was the first to give Sundays a special status out of respect for the religious observance that was already taking place on the day. Just like he was the first to offer Christians legal freedom to practice their religion without fear of persecution.

Doesn’t mean Christians weren’t already practicing their faith before Constantine, and certainly doesn’t mean they weren’t already worshipping on Sunday before him. Apart from those who believed in adhering to the Jewish custom of Saturday worship - and we know from scripture that this and many other Jewish observances were a point of difference and contention between different groups of early Christians.

Ah, I kind of thought you had picked up something of the kind.

Seventh Day Adventist sites. :bigyikes:

Explains the miscalling of documents and the out-of-context snippets.

So…why do you believe all this stuff?

So what is Constantine did those claims? The result is good though…all Christians worshipping on Sunday…and not on any day of one’s choosing…meaning, something good came out of it.

And secondly…why do you believe the claims of the 7th day adventists?

Do you believe in the claims of Ellen G White? How do you know they are true? what is your basis?

:thumbsup: This! Excellent. Case closed.

Wesrock said:

Honestly, JPUSC, the history of dating Easter is pretty well known to anyone who looks into it, and there’s nothing really fishy behind it. It seems you’ve had your faith shaken by a controversy much smaller than ones the Church has weathered before, and now are falling into not just doubting but into really terrible propaganda.

I’ll second this JPUSC.

This is so far off, you are obviously “reaching” for fault with the Church.

I have no idea what happened to you along the way but I 'll pray for you JPUSC.

God bless.


There is no doubt historically Roman Emperors had issues with Jews.

Constantine may have been antisemitic and pagan rituals were adopted in terms of the ritual itself. However, the reason for the celebration or ritual became Christ focused.

There are many rituals practiced in Christianity that can be traced back way before Constantine. The Bedouins were the first known nomadic tribe and each Spring they spread blood on their tent poles to celebrate new life. By all accounts Jews had a similar practice, but following the Exodus this ritual took on a new meaning and thus celebrated each year for a different reason.

The first Christians were Jews and as such continued to adhere to Judaism in many respects. When Gentiles became Christian there was considerable discord between Jew and Gentile concerning what aspects of Judaism they should continue to be adhered to - for example eating certain animals. Paul’s resolution was, ‘Let not the one not eating judge the one eating.’

Whilst Constantine may have moved the Sabbath to Sunday as a result of antisemitism and sun worship on his part, this is not the reason Mass was initially celebrated on a Sunday. To my knowledge Mass was celebrated on Sunday way before Constantine. The reason was Jews attended the synagogue on Saturday. When Gentiles became Christian they did not attend the synagogue, but celebrated Mass with Jews who had accepted Christ on Sunday.

I also have some vague recollection of the Jews celebrating the Sabbath on a Sunday whilst in Babylonian captivity - but I could be wrong on that one.

The original post is from Wikipedia which provides the reference:
Given the 7th day of March, Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time. Codex Justinianus, lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3 (1902), p. 380, note.)

St. Justin Martyr – Dialogue with Trypho (Between 138A.D. and 161 A.D.)

We too, would observe your circumcision of the flesh, your Sabbath days, and in a word, all you festivals, if we were not aware of the reason why they were imposed upon you, namely, because of your sins and the hardness of heart. The custom of circumcising the flesh, handed down from Abraham, was given to you as a distinguishing mark, to set you off from other nations and from us Christians. The purpose of this was that you and only you might suffer the afflictions that are now justly yours; that only your land be desolated, and you cities ruined by fire, that the fruits of you land be eaten by strangers before your very eyes; that not one of you be permitted to enter your city of Jerusalem. Your circumcision of the flesh is the only mark by which you can certainly be distinguished from other men…as I stated before it was by reason of your sins and the sins of your fathers that, among other precepts, God imposed upon you the observance of the sabbath as a mark.

(Edited version at

St. John Chrysostom (344-407 A.D.) – From Homily I of his “Eight Homilies Against the Jews”

Many, I know, respect the Jews and think that their present way of life is a venerable one. This is why I hasten to uproot and tear out this deadly opinion. I said that the synagogue is no better than a theater and I bring forward a prophet as my witness. Surely the Jews are not more deserving of belief than their prophets. “You had a harlot’s brow; you became shameless before all”. Where a harlot has set herself up, that place is a brothel. But the synagogue is not only a brothel and a theater; it also is a den of robbers and a lodging for wild beasts. Jeremiah said: “Your house has become for me the den of a hyena”. He does not simply say “of wild beast”, but “of a filthy wild beast”, and again: “I have abandoned my house, I have cast off my inheritance”. But when God forsakes a people, what hope of salvation is left? When God forsakes a place, that place becomes the dwelling of demons. (2) But at any rate the Jews say that they, too, adore God. God forbid that I say that. No Jew adores God! Who says so? The Son of God says so. For he said: “If you were to know my Father, you would also know me. But you neither know me nor do you know my Father”. Could I produce a witness more trustworthy than the Son of God? (3) If, then, the Jews fail to know the Father, if they crucified the Son, if they thrust off the help of the Spirit, who should not make bold to declare plainly that the synagogue is a dwelling of demons? God is not worshipped there. Heaven forbid! From now on it remains a place of idolatry. But still some people pay it honor as a holy place.

St. Augustine (c. 354-430 A.D.), Confessions, 12.14

How hateful to me are the enemies of your Scripture! How I wish that you would slay them (the Jews) with your two-edged sword, so that there should be none to oppose your word! Gladly would I have them die to themselves and live to you!


“Well, now, I should like to be told what there is in these ten commandments, except the observance of the Sabbath, which ought not to be kept by a Christian. . . . Which of these commandments would anyone say that the Christian ought not to keep? It is possible to contend that it is not the law which was written on those two tables that the apostle [Paul] describes as ‘the letter that kills’ [2 Cor. 3:6], but the law of circumcision and the other sacred rites which are now abolished” (The Spirit and the Letter 24 [A.D. 412]).

Pope Gregory I

“It has come to my ears that certain men of perverse spirit have sown among you some things that are wrong and opposed to the holy faith, so as to forbid any work being done on the Sabbath day. What else can I call these [men] but preachers of Antichrist, who when he comes will cause the Sabbath day as well as the Lord’s day to be kept free from all work. For because he [the Antichrist] pretends to die and rise again, he wishes the Lord’s day to be held in reverence; and because he compels the people to Judaize that he may bring back the outward rite of the law, and subject the perfidy of the Jews to himself, he wishes the Sabbath to be observed. For this which is said by the prophet, ‘You shall bring in no burden through your gates on the Sabbath day’ [Jer. 17:24] could be held to as long as it was lawful for the law to be observed according to the letter. But after that the grace of almighty God, our Lord Jesus Christ, has appeared, the commandments of the law which were spoken figuratively cannot be kept according to the letter. For if anyone says that this about the Sabbath is to be kept, he must needs say that carnal sacrifices are to be offered. He must say too that the commandment about the circumcision of the body is still to be retained. But let him hear the apostle Paul saying in opposition to him: ‘If you be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing’ [Gal. 5:2]” (Letters 13:1 [A.D. 597]).

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004

IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004

+1 You are being misled. Don’t fall for it. The Catholic Church has had the deposit of faith and is the Church Christ Himself founded. It’s been examined and found to be true by countless learned theologians, for centuries. Many are praying for you. Don’t read nonsense, just because you are angry. Go to Adoration and speak to the Lord directly. Open your heart, your mind, He will supply all your answers. Peace.

I’m being misled by quotes from the Saints and Church Fathers from a Catholic Answers tract with an imprimatur by the Bishop?

St. John Chrysostom (344-407 A.D.)

The synagogue is worse than a brothel…it is the den of scoundrels and the repair of wild beasts…the temple of demons devoted to idolatrous cults…the refuge of brigands and dabauchees, and the cavern of devils. It is a criminal assembly of Jews…a place of meeting for the assassins of Christ… a house worse than a drinking shop…a den of thieves, a house of ill fame, a dwelling of iniquity, the refuge of devils, a gulf and a abyss of perdition."…"I would say the same things about their souls… As for me, I hate the synagogue…I hate the Jews for the same reason.

Just following this to see where it heads…(I’m sorry, JPUSC, but I think you’re outmatched by both Scripture and Church Tradition)

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