Saint Constantine the Great was born in Naissus around 0274 AD. He became sovereign of the entire Roman Empire after the defeat of Maxentius and Licinius. According to the testimonies of Eusebius and Lactantius, on the eve of the battle with Maxentius, Constantine saw in the daytime sky, at high noon, a bright cross above the sun with the inscription: in hoc signo vices.
Constantine’s most outstanding achievement was the Edict of Milan 0313 AD, which gave Christianity state recognition. However, it would become a state religion under Theodosius the Great 0379-0395 AD. After the Edict of 313, the Emperor exempted the Church from taxes, granted it the right to receive donations, and gave bishops the right to judge those who did not wish to be considered according to state laws. He removes the punishments of the penal law contrary to the spirit of Christianity, such as crucifixion, crushing of legs, and stigmatization.
Constantine became a saint because he convened the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in AD 0325. After long debates, the teaching of Arian was condemned, and the formula was adopted that the Son of God is one being with the Father and, therefore, eternally with Him.
Saint Constantine is reminiscent of various spiritual episodes. At night, in his sleep, Christ revealed himself to him, asking him to put the sign of the Holy Cross on the soldiers’ flags. He obeys the command received in his dream and is victorious in the battle with Maxentius.
Who is St. Constantine?
Most objective scholars, and historians, have enormously appreciated and maintained that Emperor Constantine the Great was indeed a man of religious conviction, a servant of God, of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Saint Constantine the Great was an Emperor baptized on his deathbed by Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia. Christians celebrate on 21 May Saint Emperor Constantine the Great with his mother Helena, known as the liberators of Christianity.
The Church celebrates him as a Holy Emperor, just like the Apostles, for his entire missionary work compared to the disciples of the Saviour. At the same time, non-Orthodox circles and a few secular scholars have seen him as a political figure driven by personal and state interests who served the Church only to use it later. However, most historians, among the most objective ones, have enormously appreciated and sustained that Emperor Constantine the Great was a man of religious conviction, a servant of God, of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Read also: Saint Cyprian. Bishop and Martyr of Carthage
Biography of Saint Constantine
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Biblical places from the times of Constantine
Who is Constantine in the Bible?
The emperor manifests himself as an outsider bishop by enacting the laws necessary for the Church to live in freedom. The Edict of Milan in 313 AD, the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 3255, and the establishment of the empire’s new capital at Constantinople in 330 illustrated the victory of Christianity over pagan beliefs and the place the Church was to occupy in the kingdom. By granting freedom, aid, and privileges to Christianity,
His full name was Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus, and he was born in 0272 – 0337 AD. He is known as Saint Constantine the Great, and in the Bible, Constantine was Roman Emperor, proclaimed Augustus by his troops on 25 July 0306 AD.
For 25 years, Saint Constantine the Great was the instrument of the victory of light over darkness, the holy initiator of the Christian world, and the fulfiller of the heroic deeds of the early centuries’ musicians.
What is Constantine the Great famous for?
In 0321 AD, Emperor Constantine the Great declared Sunday, the weekly feast of Christians, as a day of rest in the empire, a day on which soldiers also attended mass.
The most famous event was in January 0313 AD, when Emperor Constantine the Great issued the Edict of Milan, making Christianity a permitted religion, along with others in the empire. He also took measures in favor of the Christian Church, removed punishments contrary to Christianity from criminal laws, improved prison treatment, and facilitated the release of enslaved people by granting bishops and priests the right to declare them free in churches. It protects the poor, orphans, and widows by law, amends marriage laws, makes divorce more complex, and punishes adultery.
The Christian Church entered a divine century in which places of worship, liturgical worship, and patristic literature flourished. Like a bishop who sees that the places of worship in his diocese are as beautiful as possible, Emperor Constantine and his family supported the Church, even using some of the empire’s wealth to repair places of worship and to build larger and more beautiful ones.
Key Verse related to Constantine the Great
“Thinking is the great enemy of perfection. The habit of profound reflection. I am compelled to say it is the most pernicious of all the habits formed by civilized man.”
How did Constantine become a saint?
The emperor and his family supported the repair of churches and helped build larger and more beautiful ones in Jerusalem, Rome, Antioch, Nicomedia, and Tyre. At the same time, Emperor Constantine the Great built a new capital – inaugurated on 11 May 0330 AD, transforming the city of Byzantium into the city of Constantinople, which for a thousand years would be the Christian capital of the Roman Empire. He built numerous places of worship here, including the Church of the Holy Apostles.
Constantine the Great was called to service and sanctification by God without human mediation. This was on the eve of the battle with Emperor Maxentius at the Eagle Bridge. God called him a saint in a vision. Then Constantine the Great saw in the sky at high noon that day a cross shining above the sun with the inscription in hoc signo vices. Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, Constantine the Great’s contemporary and biographer, portrays him as an emperor chosen by God to show the world the power of the Holy Cross.
Constantine the Great considered himself a servant of God, which was difficult for the people of his time to understand, who were used to worshiping the emperor as a god.
What is Constantine the saint of?
He was a leader who fought for the people to return to faith in God. They considered themselves a collaborator with the bishops of the Church because together, they pursued the same goal: the spread of Christianity in the world, not its destruction by any means.
Constantine the Great is the patron saint of young Christianity. He was the first Christian emperor, a fact shown in his personal life. At his palace, he had a chapel where he retired every day, even at night, to pray. A Defender of the Faith, he convened the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in AD 0325, calling on all the Roman Empire’s bishops to guard the faith’s truths together, standing up against the heresy of Arian.
Emperor Constantine the Great was a faithful man who, in all that he did, showed wisdom and courage, faith and love for the Church of Christ in a difficult period when paganism was still strong and dominated the minds and interests of many men of high rank.
- Constantine the Great was also a diplomat who strove to be placed in significant political and administrative positions with people with faith and fear of God.
- He was a good Christian who decided that Sunday would be a day of rest, starting in 0321 AD. This provision gave Christians the right to attend Mass without being disturbed by their public duties. Christians had long celebrated this day, with St Constantine the Great recognizing and confirming a state of affairs.
- St Constantine the Great died on Pentecost Sunday, 22 May 0337 AD, and was buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, his foundation.
Saint Constantine the Great was an Elder who chose as his counselor true representatives of the Church of Christ: Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea Pontus, Bishop Miltiades of Rome, and Bishop Eusebius of Nicomedia. Who baptized him, or the famous Bishop Osius of Cordoba, a close collaborator and counselor of Constantine.
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- Burckhardt, J. (1983). The age of Constantine the Great. Univ of California Press.
- Coleman, C. B. (1968). Constantine the Great and Christianity. Columbia University Press.
- Grigg, R. (1977). Constantine the Great and the Cult without Images. Viator, 8, 1-32.
- Schaff, P. (Ed.). (2007). Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Second Series-Eusebius Church History: Life of Constantine the Great, Oration in Praise of Constantine. Cosimo, Inc.
- Wright, D. H. (1987). The true face of Constantine the Great. Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 41, 493-507.