The Departure of the righteous Emperor Constantine the Great
On this day of the year 53 A.M. (337 A.D.) the righteous Emperor Constantine the great departed. His father's name was Constantius I Chlorus which means (Green), and his mother's name was Helena. Constantius reigned over Byzantium, Maximianus reigned over Rome, and Diocletian reigned over Antioch and Egypt. Constantius was pagan, but he was honorable, loved to do good, compassionate and merciful. He went to the city of El-Ruha (Urfa - Gr. Edessa) and there he saw Helena, liked her and he married her. She was a Christian, and she conceived Constantine. Constantius left her in El-Ruha and returned to Byzantium. She brought forth Constantine and raised him up very piously, taught him every kind of learning, sowed in his heart mercy and compassion for the Christians, but she did not dare to have him baptized.
Constantine grew up, and he was a bold and skilful horseman. He went to his father who rejoiced in him when he saw that he was full of wisdom, knowledge, and he was a skilful horseman. After his father's death he received the kingdom and he reigned with justice and integrity, and stopped all unfair practices. All the people were subject to him and they loved him and his righteous judgement spread throughout the Empire. The nobles of Rome sent asking him to come and save them from the injustice of Maximianus. Constantine marched with his army toward Rome to save them. During the war he saw in the heaven, in the middle of the day, a Cross made of stars, and on it was written in Greek words which being interpreted as "With this you shall conquer." The light of the Cross was more shinning than the sun, and he shewed it to his ministers and the nobles of his kingdom. They read what was written, marvelled and they did not know for what reason that cross had appeared. That night the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a vision and told him: "Make a sign for yourself like that sign which you had seen, and with it you shall conquer your enemies." The next morning, he prepared a large flag with the sign of the cross on it, and made the sign of the cross on all the armaments. He engaged with Maximianus in a battle and fought. Constantine overcame Maximianus who withdrew with his army, and while crossing the bridge over the Tiber river, the bridge broke and he and most of his men perished. Constantine entered Rome and its people welcomed him with joy and gladness, and its learned men praised the Honorable Cross and called it the Savior of their city. Then they celebrated for the Cross seven days and Constantine became the Emperor of the East and the West.
When Constantine established himself in Rome, he and most of his soldiers were baptized by the Pope of Rome, in the eleventh year of his reign, which is the fourth year after the appearance of the Honorable Cross. He sent throughout the kingdom and commanded to set free all those who were imprisoned for the sake of faith, and that they should not work during the Passion week as the Apostles commanded.
Then he sent his mother Helena to Jerusalem where she discovered the Holy Cross of Our Lord Christ. In the seventeenth year of his reign the Holy Council of the Three Hundred and Eighteen bishops assembled at Nicea in the year 325 A.D. which arranged the affairs of the Christians and put down the cannons of the church. He rebuilt the city of Byzantium and called it after his name "Constantinia" and he brought to it many of the bodies of the apostles and holy martyrs. He departed in the city of Nicomedia, they laid him in a gold sarcophagus, carried him and brought him to Constantinia. The Patriarch, bishops, priests, and all the people received him with prayers, psalms, and spiritual hymns, and laid him in the sanctuary of the holy apostles. All the days of his life were seventy five years.
To Our God is the glory, might, and dominion and may His mercy and grace be upon us forever. Amen.
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