May 21st - The Holy Feast of Saints Constantine and Helen

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My beloved spiritual children in Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!

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ON MAY 21st OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE HOLY EMPEROR CONSTANTINE THE GREAT AND THE EMPRESS HELEN

Great Vespers (Mega Esperinos)

Doxastikon (Glory)

Today the Church celebrates your reign, and she rejoices mystically, O King. As she rightly honors your all-venerable memory, she sings hymns of praise to you, and she salutes you and says "Rejoice! You zealously emulated Saint Paul, you took up the Cross of Christ, and you crushed the snares of the enemy. Rejoice! Most excellent of rulers, and equal in honor to Apostles. Rejoice! You were the support of the faithful and the rampart of emperors. O blessed Constantine, the adornment of Emperors, never cease interceding with the  Lord on our behalf, for you have great access to Him.

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Aposticha. For the Equals-to-the-Apostles. Mode 2.

You, O holy Constantine, were first of the Christian Emperors to receive the scepter from God. For the saving symbol that was hid beneath the earth did appear in the sky to you. By it you subjected all the nations, bringing them under the Roman rule, having as invincible armor the Life-Giving Cross of the Master, by which you were led to God, O blessed one.

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Truly blessed is your mother's womb, sanctified indeed is the belly of her that carried you; for you did become the Ruler who was loved by the world, crowned by God, O Saint Constantine, the glory of all Kings. You become for orphans and for widows wealth and defense; shelter of the poor and the lowly, truly the reversal of troubles, and the safe return of captive prisoners. Glory.

As a flash of lightning, as a comet from the Far West, your course was diverted from unbelief to faith in the True God, and you were led to sanctify your people and your City. And you saw the Sign of the Cross in the sky, and from there you heard, "Thus when you received the knowledge of the Spirit, and with oil were anointed as priest and King, you reinforced the Church of Christ our God. O father of Orthodox Emperors. Your coffin pours out healings. Constantine, the peer of the Apostles, earnestly intercede on behalf of our souls.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) hymn

Your Apostle among the Rulers, Saint Constantine, who once beheld in the sky the image of the Your Cross, and who like Paul received his calling, not from man. Once entrusted the Ruling City into Your hand. We entreat You to restore it in peace forever, at the intercession of the Theotokos, O Lord, who loves humanity.

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Saint Constantine's parents were the Emperor Constantius Chlorus and Empress Helen. Chlorus had further children by another wife, but by Helen, he had only the one, Constantine. Constantine fought two great battles when he came to the throne: one against Maxentius, a tyrant in Rome, and the other against Licinius not far from Byzantium. At the battle against Maxentius, when Constantine was in great anxiety and uncertainty about his chances of success, a shining Cross, surrounded by stars, appeared to him in the sky in full daylight. On the Cross were written words: 'En touto Nika' ('In this Sign, conquer!') The wondering Emperor ordered that a great cross be put together, like the one that had appeared, and be carried before the army. By the power of the Cross, he gained a glorious victory over enemies greatly superior in number. Maxentius drowned himself in the Tiber. Immediately after this, Saint Constantine issued the famous Edict of Milan, in 313 A.D., to put an end to the persecution of Christians. Conquering Byzantium, he built a beautiful capital city on the Bosphorus, which from that time was named Constantinople (or city of Constantine). Constantine fell ill with leprosy. The pagan priests and doctors advised him to bathe in the blood of slaughtered children, which he refused to do. Then the Apostles Peter and Paul appeared to him and told him to seek out a bishop, Sylvester, who would heal him of the disease. The bishop instructed him in the Christian faith and baptized him, and leprosy vanished from the Emperor's body.

When there was discord in the Church about the troublesome heretic Arius, the Emperor summoned the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, in 325 A.D., where the heresy was condemned and Orthodox Christianity confirmed.

Saint Helen, the Emperor's devout mother, was very zealous for the Christian faith. She visited Jerusalem and found the Precious and Holy Cross of the Lord, and built the Church of the Resurrection over Golgotha and many other churches in the Holy Land. This holy woman went to the Lord in 327 A.D., at the age of eighty. Emperor Constantine outlived his mother by ten years and entered into rest at the age of about sixty in 337 A.D., in the city of Nicomedia. His body was buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople. (Source: Prologue from Ochrid)

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DIVINE SERVICES FOR TUESDAY, MAY 21st:

Orthros (Matins) at 9:00 a.m.
Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" - Saint John Chrysostomos

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With sincere agape in His Holy Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George