Who was Saint Constantine?

Constantine the Great

A gold coin from the year 313 AD. It shows Constantine with the god Sol Invictus. That was a god who was popular with the soldiers at the time. Only after a certain battle did Constantine support Jesus Christ.

Constantine the Great was an emperor in ancient Rome. He lived at a time when the Roman Empire was slowly ending and the eastern part of it was becoming the Byzantine Empire. He made the city of Byzantium in the east of the empire the new capital and named it after himself: Constantinople. Today we know it as Istanbul. Constantine is especially important because he helped Christianity to break through.

Its actual Roman name was Flavius ​​Valerius Constantinus. He was born around the year 280 AD, the exact year is not known. Like his father, Constantine was successful in the army. He also received a good education.

At that time the Roman Empire had four emperors. This was to prevent a single ruler from gaining too much power. Constantine's father was one of the four. When he died, his soldiers found: The son Constantine should now be emperor, for the whole empire. Constantine succeeded in defeating the remaining emperors.

Before such a battle, Constantine allegedly ordered his soldiers to paint a certain mark on their shields. That is the Labarum or Chi-Rho symbol. It stands for Jesus Christ. After the victory, Constantine is said to have believed that the victory was due to the Christ sign.

Constantine and the other emperor, who briefly existed, announced in the year 312 AD: The religions in the empire should be free. This meant that Christians should no longer be persecuted. So Constantine did not yet make Christianity the sole religion of the empire; that only happened much later. But Constantine himself was baptized shortly before his death in AD 337. The change in religion that he initiated is called the “Constantinian Turn”.

His mother Helena also became a Christian. As an old woman, she is said to have made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. According to legend, there she found the tomb and even the cross of Jesus. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem dates from this time. Helena is considered a saint by Catholics and Orthodox.

  • A statue with the head of Constantine from that time

  • These remains belong to a statue of Constantine that was 12 meters high.

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