Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Where Constantine the Great was Proclaimed Emperor

Constantine the Great, Roman Emperor and first Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, was proclaimed Emperor in 306 AD, in the Roman city of York, known then as Eboracum. He is a significant figure, not only for historical reasons but also for religious reasons, being the first Christian Emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

Constantine was born around 272 AD to Constantius and Helena. Constantine’s father re-married, taking Theodoras as his wife. In 305 her father, the Emperor Maximian, died and Constantius became Emperor. Nonetheless, he had a short reign. He went to York the following year, where he eventually died. Constantine was, therefore, proclaimed Emperor. Near York Minster, Constantine was proclaimed Roman Emperor in 306 AD. His recognition of the civil liberties of his Christian subjects, and his own conversion to the Christian faith, established the general acceptance of Christianity within the Empire.
In the Orthodox Church he is known as St Constantine the ‘Equal to the Apostles,’ whilst historically he is known as ‘the Great.’ In 306 AD, Constantine was initially acclaimed by the army at York city as Emperor of Gaul and Britain. His first act as Emperor was to grant freedom to practice Christianity in the lands subject to him. Both Maximian Galerius in the East and Maxentius in the West hated Constantine, wishing to overthrow him and finally kill him. However, Constantine, with the help of God, was able to defeat his enemies. God showed him a signed, an inscription stating: ‘In this Sign, conquer.’

In 313 AD, Emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, guaranteeing religious tolerance for Christians. After 300 years of persecution, by the Roman Empire, the newly established Byzantine Empire showed great tolerance, allowing the Christians to finally practice their faith without fear. Moving his capital to Constantinople, the Emperor was convinced that only Christianity could unite the Empire, which comprised of diverse peoples. He helped Christianity greatly, in many respects, finding with his mother the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ. He eventually became Christian himself. St Constantine died on the day of Pentecost in 337 AD, buried in the church of the Holy Apostles, in a crypt he himself had prepared. 

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