Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity: The Early Church to the Reformation. Revised and Updated ed. Vol. 1. New York: HarperCollins, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Ch. 12, “The Great Persecution and the Final Victory” Loc. 2286-2441.
“After the persecutions of Decius and Valerian, the church enjoyed a long period of relative peace. Early in the fourth century, however, the last and worst persecution broke out” (Gonzalez 2010, Loc. 2291). The emperor Diocletian organized his reign in a more efficient manner, meanwhile consolidating his power. About 295 some Christians refused military service and some attempted to leave the army (Ibid., Loc. 2307). This resulted in an expulsion of Christians from the army then a growth of prejudice against Christians. Finally the Christians in the imperial households were ordered to offer sacrifice. Some refused and the situation escalated (Ibid., Loc. 2327). Diocletian finally fell ill and went into retirement, leaving some level of political chaos (Ibid., Loc. 2352). Eventually Galerius, who had urged Diocletian on in opposition to Christians, was struck ill and finally asked Christians to pray for him in exchange for tolerance (Ibid., Loc. 2362). He died days later and out of the ensuing chaos Constantine became emperor. He allegedly had a dream that he would conquer based on the sign of the cross (Ibid., Loc. 2387), and eventually, though not immediately, converted to Christianity.