My beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
ON 21st OF MAY OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHURCH
COMMEMORATES THE HOLY GREAT SOVEREIGNS
AND EQUALS TO THE HOLY APOSTLES, CONSTANTINE
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Plagal of Fourth Tone
HAVING seen the image of Thy Cross in Heaven, and like Paul,
having received the call not from men, Thine apostle among kings
entrusted the commonwealth to Thy hand, O Lord. Keep us always
in peace, by the intercessions of the Theotokos, O only friend of man.
Kontakion Hymn. Third Tone
ON this day Saint Constantine and blessed Helen, his mother,
have revealed the Cross, the Wood worthy of all veneration. For
the Jews, it is dishonor; but faithful rulers have it as a weapon
vanquishing their opponents. For our sakes hath it been shown
fourth as a great ensign, dread and most awesome in war.
This great and renouwned sovereign of the Christians was the son of Constantine Chlorus (the ruler of hte westernmost parts of the Roman Empire), and of the blessed Helen. He was born in 272 A.D., in (according to some authorities Naissus of Dardania, a city on the Hellespont. In 306 A.D., when his father died, he was proclaimed successor to his throne. In 312 A.D., on learning that Maxentius and Maximinus had joined forces against him, he marched into Italy, where, while at hte head of his troups, he saw in the sky after didday, beneath the sun, a radiant pillar in the form of a cross with the words: "En touto Nika" ("By this shalt thou conquer.") The following night, Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in a dream and declared to him the powr of the Cross and its significance. When he arose in the morning, he immediately ordered that a lavaron (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 dasy, 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 onces and again, and utterly destroyed him in 324 A.D. and in this manner he became monarch over the West and the East. Under him and becaue of him ALL THE PERSECUTIONS AGAINST THE CHURCH CEASED. Christianity TRIUMPHED AND IDOLATERY WAS OVERTHROWN. In 325 A.D. he gathered the First Ecumenical Synod (Council) in Nicaea, which he himself personally addressed. In 324 A.D., in the ancient cit of Byzantium, he laid the foundation of the new Capital of his realm, and solemnly inaugurated it on May 11th 330 A.D., naming it after himself, CONSTANTINOPLE (CITY OF CONSTANTINE).
At this time, according to another source, Constantine fell ill with leprosy. The pagan priests and doctors advised him to bathe in the blood of slaughtered children, which he refused to do. Then the Apostles Peter and Paul appeared to him and told him to seek out a bishop, Sylvester, who would heal him of hte disease. The Bishop instructed him in the Christian fait and baptized him and the leprosy vanished from the Empror’s body.
When there was discord in the Church about the troublesome heretic Arius the Emperor summoned the First Ecumenical Synod in Nicaea, in 325 A.D. where the heresy was condemned and Orthodoxy confirmed.
Since the throne of the Imperial rule WAS TRANSFERRED thitherd from Rome, it was NAMED New Rome, the inhabitants of this domain were called Romans or ROMAIOI, and it was considered the continuation of the Roman Empire. Falling ill near Nicomedia, he requested to receive divine Baptism, according to Efsevius (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 (Sacraments) he reposed in 337 A.D., on May 21 or 22, the day of Pentecost, having lived 65 years, of which he ruled for 31 years. His remains were transferred in Constantinople and were deposed in the Church of the Holy Apostles, which has been built by him.
As for his holy mother Helen (Eleni), 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. Afer 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 Mouont of Olives and elsewhere. She was proclaimed Augusta, her image was stamped upon golden coins, and two ciies were named Helenopolis after her in Bithynia and in Palestine. Having been thus glorified for her piety, she departed to the Lord being about 80 years of age, according to some in the year 330 A.D., according to others, in 336 A.D.
Furthermore, according to Dr. Ernst Benz, one of the most distinguished contemporary German theologians, the Byzantines themselves understood their historical role, Byzantium was the direct continuation, decreed in God’s plan for the universe, of Roman history. In calling themselves Romaioi (Romans) the Byzantines uderlined their Emperor’s legal claim to Rome’s onetime universal dominion. Rome they implied both the continuity and the difference. New Rome was entitled to all the powers of old Rome, but at the ssame time she was Christian Rome and exercised the might of the Roman Empire according to the law of Christ. [Source: The Great Horologion and The Prologue from Ochrid]
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Holy and Glorious Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George