Sts. Constantine and Helen



  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 knew 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. 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.”


Add St. Constantine to your timeline. 

  1. Feed the Elephant True/False Questions:

True                                                     False

                  Helen was Constantine’s mother.             Mary was Constantine’s mother.

                  Constantine saw a cross in the sky.          Constantine saw a rainbow in the sky.

                  The words in the sky were “In this           The words in the sky were “In Rome

                        sign, you shall conquer.”                                 you shall die”

                  The Edict of Milan gave Christians          The Arch of Constantine gave Christians

                        freedom to worship.                                        freedom to worship.


  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. Can you wear a toga to class?


  1. Make Constantine’s soldier’s shield: Take a piece of posterboard. On the back, use duct tape to make a strap for the arm of the child. On the front, paint or color or make with red tape a giant cross. Write the words “In Hoc Signo Vinces”. March around the room shouting the words or singing them to the tune of " When the Saints Go Marching In."

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