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Constantine the Great

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Controversies surrounding Constantine's faith
One aspect of Constantine's life that secular historians use to indicate Constantine's incomplete acceptance of Christianity (from a modern view) was his notorious cruelty: he executed his own wife and eldest son in 326. He also had [[Licinius]], the East Roman emperor, strangled after his defeat, something he had publicly promised not to do. It should be noted, however, that Constantine's wife attempted to seduce Constantine's son (her step-son) and when he refused her advances, she accused him of raping her. The penalty for doing this to an Empress was death, as was any act considered to be treason. Later, St. Constantine discovered the truth and had his wife executed. Licinius, in his bitter hatred of Constantine and of Christianity, began to persecute the Church in the Eastern half of the Empire. Constantine eventually could not stand Licinius' cruelty and relieved him of his co-rulership of the Empire.
The controversy that has surrounded Constantine's [[baptism]] is based upon the legend arising from the discredited documents of the ''[[w:Donation of Constantine|Donation of Constantine]]'', forged documents that date from about the mid eighth century. The story in the ''Donation of Constantine'' was built on a legend that arose during the fourth century within the Western Church which thought it inappropriate that Constantine could be baptized on his death bed by a bishop whose orthodoxy was in question and thus was an act that was a snub to the authority of [[Pope]]. The legend presents a story that earlier in Constantine's career Bishop [[Sylvester I of Rome]] had baptized Constantine after curing him of leprosy. Eusebius of Caesarea recorded that the bishops "performed the sacred ceremonies according to custom" <ref>Eusebius, Vita Constantini 4.62.4.</ref> of baptizing Constantine in May 337 by the Arian [[bishop]] [[Eusebius of Nicomedia]] before Constantine's death on [[May 22]], 337 at age of 65.
===Historiography Over the Ages===
During his life and those of his sons, Constantine was presented as a paragon of virtue. Even pagans like [[w:Praxagoras of Athens|Praxagoras of Athens]] and [[w:Libanius|Libanius]] showered him with praise. When the last of his sons died in 361, however, his nephew [[Julian the Apostate]] wrote the satire ''Symposium, or the Saturnalia'', which denigrated Constantine, calling him inferior to the great pagan emperors, and given over to luxury and greed.<ref>Barnes, ''Constantine and Eusebius'', 272–23.</ref> Following Julian, [[w:Eunapius|Eunapius]] began—and [[w:Zosimus|Zosimus]] continued—a historiographic tradition that blamed Constantine for weakening the Empire through his indulgence to the Christians.<ref>Barnes, ''Constantine and Eusebius'', 273.</ref>
*[http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsLife.asp?FSID=101452 OCA: Equal of the Apostles Emperor Constantine]
*[http://www.goarch.org/chapel/saints/62 Constantine & Helen, Equal to the Apostles GOARCH: Constantine & Helen]
* Robert Arakaki. [http://www.antiochian.org/1110388342 Constantine The Great: Roman Emperor, Christian Saint, History's Turning Point]. Antiochian Orthodox Christian *[http://www.prayer-bracelet.com/2012/05/saint-constantine-the-great-part1/ Saint Constantine the Great]. Two part article on 33Knots Blog.Archdiocese of North America.
* [http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/symbols/ Christian Symbolism on bronze coins of Constantine the Great].
* [http://www.servinghistory.com/topics/Constantine_the_Great Constantine the Great] article on ServingHistory.com.
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[[ro:Constantin cel Mare]]
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