St. Constantine



  1. Students should identify Constantine as Emperor of Rome.
  2. Students should know “In Hoc Signo Vinces” and what it means.
  3. Students should know that with the Edict of Milan, Constantine made Christianity legal in the empire, ending persecutions.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Tell the story of Constantine as follows:

As the cruel Roman Emperor, Diocletian, grew old, he decided that when he died the Empire would be divided into four parts. The northern parts, France and England, were given to Constantius Chlorus. Constantius was a wise and just man; his wife, Helen, was a Christian. They had one son, Constantine. But, Constantius was saddened by the cruelty of the other kings, especially against Christians. He took his army against the wicked King Maxentius. In this battle, Constantius was killed and his son, Constantine, became king.

Constantine was not yet a Christian; he worshipped the gods of Rome.  Constantine was at war with the wicked Maxentius. As he was crossing the Moldavian bridge, he saw in the sky a flaming cross. Written beneath this cross were the words in Latin, “In Hoc Signo Vinces,” which means, in English, “In this sign you shall conquer.”  He knew that the cross was the sign of the Christians. He decided to give the Christian God a try. He had his soldiers carry a Christian cross into battle and they won! Constantine had defeated Maxentius! He now know that Jesus was the true God. When another of the kings, Galerius, died journeying to Rome, Constantine became ruler of the entire Western Roman Empire. The Arch of Constantine was built in Rome to commemorate his victory. His brother-in-law, Licinius, was ruler of the Eastern Empire. The first act of the two brothers was to issue a new law, the Edict of Milan, which said that Christians and all people could worship freely and build churches. But, soon, Licinius broke their agreement and began to kill Christians again. Constantine took his army and defeated Licinius in battle. Now Constantine was Emperor of the entire Roman Empire.

                  Constantine never forgot Who made him ruler of the Empire. He built many churches, including the first church of St. Peter in Rome. As a king, Constantine was known for his strong and wise leadership. He built a great army and navy. But, he was never fond of the city of Rome. He moved the capital of the Empire to the city of Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople. Constantine established the Christian Church with such strength in the Byzantine Empire that the Christian Byzantine Empire stood for hundreds of years after the fall of Rome and the Western Empire. Finally, Constantine died and left his great empire to his three sons. History books have given Constantine the title of “the Great” and the Church also remembers him and his mother Helen as great, saints “equal to the apostles.”


  1. Discuss for a bit the Roman Empire. Show pictures from a library or history book if possible. How did the people dress? How did they live? What gods did they worship? What kind of houses did they build? Monuments? Can the students name some other emperors? How much of the world did they rule? What is left today of Rome? Be sure the students can say “in hoc signo vinces” and “Edict of Milan”. Even today, in churches, we see “I””H””S” on various articles.


  1. Play a learning game: Truth or Consequences – Ask the students one by one to answer a question about today’s lesson. If they get the answer wrong, the class will impose a (reasonable) punishment – stand on one foot, do a somersault, quack like a duck, etc. – nothing dangerous, too hard, or that takes too long. Possible questions include:

Who was Constantine’s father?

Who was Constantine’s mother?

Where did Constantine have his vision?

What did he see in his vision?

What words did he receive with his vision in Latin?

What is the English translation of these words?

Who did Constantine defeat to become ruler of the Western Empire?

Who was Constantine’s brother-in-law?

With what law did Christianity become legal?

What city did Constantine make capital of his empire?


  1. Make Constantine’s crown: Use gold tinsel pipe cleaners and purple and white pony beads (glow-in-the-dark beads are even “cooler”). Twist the ends of two pipe cleaners together to make one long one (back and front of crown). On one pipe cleaner string the beads 1P, 5W, 1P, 5W to the end of the pipe cleaner with 1P. Stick a new pipe cleaner through the first purple bead in row one and twist with the other pipe cleaners neatly. String beads 4W, 1P, 4W, then go thru the next purple bead on the first row, repeating all the way down to the end. You’ll have to add another pipe cleaner about half way down to finish. Twist to the other pipe cleaners after going through the last purple bead. Fit to the head of the student by twisting back pipe cleaner to front on other side.


  1. Close with prayer: Lord, let me take my cross up every day to defeat all my enemies in your name.