May 21 - Saints Constantine and Helen 👑☦️


On the 21st of May, we celebrate the feast of the Emperor St Constantine the Great and his mother St Helen. For their momental contributions to the spread of Christianity across the Roman Empire, they are honored with the title “Equal to the Apostles”.

St Constantine was born in 272 Niš, modern day Serbia, and was the son of Constantius I Chlorus, who became emperor of the Western Roman Empire in 305. Unlike most emperors of the time including Diocletian, Maximian and Galerius, Constantius I Chlorus didn’t persecute Christians under his jurisdiction. Constantine was well educated, and had been raised by his mother Helen to honor the Christian faith.

Upon the death of his father in 306, Constantine assumed the throne, and was embroiled in civil wars between emperors in the west and east contending for power. In 313, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, making him the first emperor to legalise Christianity. This was a groundbreaking shift in policy, as the Roman Empire had persecuted Christians since the 1st century for not adhering to the traditional pagan customs.

In 324, Constantine became the sole emperor after defeating the Eastern Roman Emperor Licinius, a persecutor of Christians. Under the rule of Constantine, all persecution against the church ceased, and Christianity flourished. Believing that only Christianity could unify such a vast and diverse Empire, Constantine supported the Church in every way; recalling Christian confessors from banishment, funding the construction of churches, and listening to the concerns of the clergy.

He convened the First Council of Nicaea in 325 which established the Nicene Creed and condemned Arian heresy. He also sent his mother St Helen to Jerusalem in 326 where she miraculously discovered the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. She also ordered the demolition of pagan temples in the Holy Land, replacing them with Churches. St Helen returned to Constantinople, and reposed in 327. After the Council of Nicaea, St Constantine continued his active role in the welfare of the Church, and was baptized on his deathbed before reposing in 337.☦️

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