This icon of St. Constantine the Great (a.d. 272-337) shows him standing in his imperial robes, holding a cross as his scepter of rulership. St. Constantine’s mother, St. Helen, was the consort of the Emperor Constantius (who ruled from a.d. 293 to 306). St. Constantine was a pagan Emperor of Rome, but set out to restore peace and order when his fellow pagan Emperor Maxentios was tyrannizing much of the western empire.
Just before his battle with Maxentios’ superior forces, Constantine beheld in broad daylight a shining cross on which were inscribed the words, “In this sign, conquer!” He ordered replicas of this cross to lead before his army, and Maxentios was defeated in a.d. 312, leaving Constantine as the sole Emperor of Rome united. St. Constantine signed the Edict of Milan in a.d. 313, which stopped the fierce persecution of Christians which was going on under Diocletian. He moved the seat of the Roman Empire to New Rome, or Constantinople, in a.d. 325 and chaired the First Ecumenical Council in the same year. He met and admired St. Nicholas of Myra in Lycia. St. Constantine died in a.d. 337.