Past Lives: The emperor’s new law

In AD529 Emperor Justinian closed the University of Athens, a major stronghold of reincarnation studies. The scholars fled for their lives. Many of them found refuge in Sufi centres further east. Then, in 553, Justinian made reincarnation a heresy. From that time on, anyone who said they believed in it would be executed.

Pope Virgilius and most of the Bishops were strongly against banning the belief in reincarnation. But the Emperor pushed it through anyway. He did this by calling a Council consisting only of the Bishops who would support him. The Pope was potentially more of a problem. So Justinian had him arrested and put into prison. While there, the Pope desperately tried to issue a document protesting against the new rule, but it didn’t work. The Emperor freed him only after he’d reluctantly signed his name to the anti-reincarnation orders. On his way home, the Pope died in Syracuse – probably murdered by Justinian’s henchmen.

These events were the start of the true Dark Ages. The centuries that followed were stained by the blood and charred by the fires of the Holy Inquisition. Belief in rebirth had to go underground to survive. During the Renaissance it popped back up for a while through the influence of Cosimo de Medici, Duke of Florence. But within a few years the Church had stamped it down again. Thoughts of past lives were once more erased from the people’s minds.