Sacrilegium, which originally meant merely the theft of sacred things, although already in Cicero's time it had grown to include in popular speech any insult or injury to them.
Sacrilegium was narrowly construed as the theft of sacred things from a sacred place.
According to Ulpian the punishment for sacrilegium varied according to the position and standing of the culprit and the circumstances under which the crime was committed.
During classical times the law kept to the narrow meaning of sacrilegium, but in popular usage it had grown to mean about the same as the English word.
In Ambrose, Augustine and Leo I., sacrilegium means sacrilege.
Mommsen was of the opinion that sacrilegium had no settled meaning in the laws of the 4th century.
A somewhat distorted, but well-substantiated use of the word sacrilegium in medieval Latin was its application to the fine paid by one guilty of sacrilege to the bishop.