Constantine The Great (306–337) was one of those rulers and statesmen who determined the destiny of Europe. He was a great reformer of both the Roman state and the military. He was the first emperor to adopt Christianity. Constantine the Great turned the world civilisation for the following thousand years to work together with the Church. As a founder of Constantinople, he set the foundations of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire). He was the first Christian emperor and a great protector and supporter of the Church.
Emperor Constantine was born and brought up in a Late Antiquity Roman commercial town of Naissus. The place was a fortified military camp, covering the area of present Niš. In the Roman times, it was a wealthy town where the rich population lived, but it was also an important border fortress. According to numerous imperial decrees issued here, the assumption is that Constantine visited his birthplace quite often.
Constantine the Great built the greatest city in the world – the New Rome, named after him. He renewed the sacred places in Jerusalem, bowing to them as the Roman August – an emperor relinquishing the divine glory he could have enjoyed. He built several churches in Constantinople and other cities, as well as other magnificent buildings.
RELIGION AND TRADITION
Holy Emperor Constantine is celebrated in the Church along with his mother, Holy Empress Helen, on 3 June (21 May).
In Mediana, a fancy Naissus suburb by the Nišаva, there is a large imperial villa standing. It used to be decorated with magnificent mosaics and frescoes. The bronze head of Emperor Constantine comes from Naissus.