After the Resurrection of Christ, the Christian Church stood under pagan persecutions, from Nero to Diocletian. Emperor Constantine is the first emperor to liberate Christianity.
“And here, some are always confused, those who do not know, or those who have not read, say that Orthodoxy is from the Emperor Constantine! No, it is from Christ itself, we speak of one holy, synodal and apostolic, created thru the sacrifice from Golgotha through the death and resurrection of Christ through the teaching of the 12 apostles who receive the power of the Holy Ghost at the mysterious foyer and then go out to preach, as they have received the mission of Christ “go, teach all nations, baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to keep all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19 ).” – Father Calistrat from Vlădiceni Monastery.
Constantine was born to Constantius Chlorus (the Caesar of the westernmost parts of the Roman empire), and of Empress Helena. Born in 272, in (according to some authorities) Naissus of Dardania, a city on the Hellespont, he was proclaimed successor to his father’s throne in 306, after his father died. After six years, 312, Maxentius and Maximinus had fight against him, and while being at the head of his troops, appeared in the sky under the sun, a pillar in the form of a cross with the words: “By this shalt thou conquer.”
The following night, Constantine saw Jesus Christ in a dream Who explained to him the power and the significance of the Cross. When he woke up, he ordered right away that a banner of victory over the enemy in the form of a cross, inscribed with the Name of Jesus Christ. On the 28th Of October, he conquered Maxentius, who drowned in the Tiber River while running away. The next day, after his triumphal return to Rome, Constantine was proclaimed Emperor of the West by the Senate, while Licinius, his brother-in-law, ruled in the East, and later persecuted the Christians. Constantine fought against Licinius and in 324 defeated him. Due to this fact he became monarch over the West and East.
Under Constantine all the persecutions against the Church ended and idolatry was removed. The First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea was taking place in 325, which he initiated, and soon after the ancient city of Byzantium, became the new capital of his realm, and inaugurated it on May 11, 330, naming it Constantinople. According to Eusebius in the “Life of Constantine” he became ill and requested to receive divine Baptism. After he was considered worthy of the Holy Mysteries, he passed away on the 21st or 22nd of May 337, the Pentecost day, after a 65 years life and 31 years of reign.
His remains were deposed in the Church of the Holy Apostles from Constantinople, built by him.
His mother Helen, took a journey to Jerusalem and found on 13th – 14th of September the Holy Cross, on which our Lord was crucified, date that remained celebrated up until today in Orthodox Christianity. Saint Helen also built churches in Jerusalem at the sites of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, in Bethlehem at the cave where The Saviour was born, on the Mount of Olives whence He ascended into Heaven, and many others throughout the Holy Land, Cyprus, and other places. Saint Helen was proclaimed Augusta – a title used for the Empresses of the Roman and Byzantine Empires, her portrait was stamped upon coins, and two cities were named Helenopolis. She departed to the Lord being around eighty years of age.