Ukrainian Byzantine Rite
Saint Constantine the Great
Constantine was born in 272, the only child of Constantius I Chlorus and Helena. He was raised in Diocletian's court. When Constantius died, Constantine became Emperor of the West at the age of 34 years. The first act of the new emperor was to grant the freedom to practice Christianity in the lands subject to him.
In 312, Maxentius and Maximinus joined forces against him and Constantine marched into Italy. In the daylight before the battle, Constantine saw a flaming cross with the words: "In this Sign, thou shall conquer". That evening, Jesus appeared to him in a dream and told him the power of the Cross. The next morning, Constantine ordered his soldiers to paint a cross or the Chi-Rho on their banners with the form of a cross and inscribed with the name of Jesus and he defeated Maxentius and Maximinus.
In 324, Licinius tried usurp Constantine. Constantine defeated Licinius and became Emperor of the East and West. The Edict of Milan, issued in 313, guaranteed religious tolerance for Christians. It stopped Christian persecutions. Because of this, Constantine is considered the first Christian Emperor.
In 325, Constantine gathered the First Ecumenical Council in Nicea. The Council of Nicea condemned Arian heresy which said that Christ was man but not God. The Council also composed the Nicene Creed.
Constantine established Byzantium as his capital and renamed it Constantinople.
He was baptized on his deathbed on May 21, 337.