Saint Constantine the Great, Equal to the Apostles

Feast Day: May 21st


The Life of Saint Constantine: He prayed to God to give him a sign which would inspire his army to fight valiantly, and the Lord showed him a radiant Sign of the Cross in the Heavens with the inscription “In this Sign, conquer.”…

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Prayers

Akathist Hymn

Apolytikion: He beheld the image of Your Cross in the Heavens and, as Paul, he too did not receive the call from men. Your Apostle among Kings placed the care of the Royal City in Your hands. Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, O only Loving Lord, keep it ever in peace.

Kontakion: Today, Constantine with his mother Helena present the Cross, the most Precious Wood. It shames unbelievers. It is a weapon of faithful kings against their adversaries. A great sign has come forth for us which is awesome in battle.

Kathisma: The Maker of the sun and all creation was led once to the Cross. And now to Himself He leads you, the shining star, by stars from Heaven. And to you first He bestowed imperial power. Therefore, O most pious Emperor Constantine, we extol you and your mother Helena the Godly‐Minded.

Hymn: He who rules over creation all, O all‐wise Ruler, foresaw the obedience of your heart, and through reason captured you when unreason was ruling you; and He illumined your thoughts and reasoning with certain knowledge of Orthodox belief; Glorious Constantine, to the world He showed you as a shining sun, radiating brilliant beams of Godly words and deeds.


Saint Constantine became a Christian through the earnest Prayers of his Holy mother Saint Helena. Further confirming his faith he had a vision one day of the Precious Cross of Christ in the sky with the inscription “In This Sign Conquer”. Saint Constantine then arranged for all his soldiers to put the Sign of the Cross onto their shields, he made a banner with Christ’s initials on it, and was then victorious in battle.

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Saints Constantine and Helena were Emperor and Emperess, but they also have the title of Equal to the Apostles because Saint Constantine was the first Emperor to legalise Christianity and openly confess his Christian beliefs. He also aided his mother to search for the Most Holy Cross of Christ. When Saint Helena travelled to the Holy Land, she found the Cave where Our Most Precious Lord Jesus Christ was Born, His Tomb, Cross, Nails, Crown of Thorns and much more. She built 365 Churches in the Holy Land, all of which were later destroyed except for the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem which stands to this day. Saint Constantine and Helena also built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the Tomb of Christ.

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When Saint Helena found the three crosses, in order to identify which one was the Life-Giving Cross of Christ and which were the two crosses of the robbers, Patriarch Macarius and Saint Helena saw a dead person being carried to burial, so they laid this person on each cross and this person became alive again on the Cross of Christ. They then raised up the Cross for all to Venerate. We commemorate this Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross on September 14th.

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Saint Constantine was present at the Ecumenical Councils. He was the Emperor and also a great defender of the True Orthodox Faith.

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