SAINTS CONSTANTINE AND HELEN, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES:

This great and renowned sovereign of the Christians was the son of Constantius Chlorus (the ruler of the westernmost
parts of the Roman empire), and of the blessed Helen. He was born in 272, in (according to some authorities) Naissus
of Dardania, a city on the Hellespont. In 306, when his father died, he was proclaimed successor to his throne. In 312,
on learning that Maxentius and Maximinus had joined forces against him, he marched into Italy, where, while at the
head of his troops, he saw in the sky after midday, beneath the sun, a radiant pillar in the form of a cross with the
words: "By this shalt thou conquer." The following night, our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in a dream and
declared to him the power of the Cross and its significance. When he arose in the morning, he immediately ordered that
a labarum be made (which is a banner or standard of victory over the enemy) in the form of a cross, and he inscribed on
it the Name of Jesus Christ. On the 28th Of October, he attacked and mightily conquered Maxentius, who drowned in
the Tiber River while fleeing. The following day, Constantine entered Rome in triumph and was proclaimed Emperor
of the West by the Senate, while Licinius, his brother-in-law, ruled in the East. But out of malice, Licinius later
persecuted the Christians. Constantine fought him once and again, and utterly destroyed him in 324, and in this manner
he became monarch over the West and the East. Under him and because of him all the persecutions against the Church
ceased. Christianity triumphed and idolatry was overthrown. In 325 he gathered the First Ecumenical Council in
Nicaea, which he himself personally addressed. In 324, in the ancient city of Byzantium, he laid the foundations of the
new capital of his realm, and solemnly inaugurated it on May 11, 330, naming it after himself, Constantinople. Since
the throne of the imperial rule was transferred thither from Rome, it was named New Rome, the inhabitants of its
domain were called Romans, and it was considered the continuation of the Roman Empire. Falling ill near Nicomedia,
he requested to receive divine Baptism, according to Eusebius (The Life of Constantine. Book IV, 61-62), and also
according to Socrates and Sozomen; and when he had been deemed worthy of the Holy Mysteries, he reposed in 337,
on May 21 or 22, the day of Pentecost, having lived sixty-five years, of which he ruled for thirty-one years. His
remains were transferred to Constantinople and were deposed in the Church of the Holy Apostles, which had been built
by him (see Homily XXVI on Second Corinthians by Saint John Chrysostom). As for his holy mother Helen, after her
son had made the Faith of Christ triumphant throughout the Roman Empire, she undertook a journey to Jerusalem and
found the Holy Cross on which our Lord was crucified (see Sept. 13 and 14). After this, Saint Helen, in her zeal to
glorify Christ, erected churches in Jerusalem at the sites of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, in Bethlehem at the cave
where our Savior was born, another on the Mount of Olives whence He ascended into Heaven, and many others
throughout the Holy Land, Cyprus, and elsewhere. She was proclaimed Augusta, her image was stamped upon golden
coins, and two cities were named Helenopolis after her in Bithynia and in Palestine. Having been thus glorified for her
piety, she departed to the Lord being about eighty years of age, according to some in the year 330, according to others,
in 336.

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