In Hoc Signo Vinces

Into the life of the emperor who legitimated Christianity

2013: proclaimed “the Year of Faith” by the Vatican, was also the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, better known as the edict of Constantine, which marks the beginning of freedom of worship for Christians throughout the Roman Empire. Tradition has it that Constantine converted to Christianism in 312 AD, after having a vision of a cross in the sky, and a sign saying In hoc signo vinces (“under this sign you’ll win”), on the eve of the Milvian Bridge battle, in Rome, where he defeated rival Massentius and actually gained control over the whole of Italy as emperor. After 313 AD, the year of the Edict promulgation, Christianity knew a fresh season of expansion in the Roman Empire, and Christians all over the world still regard the Edict as the document that marked the second birth of their religion.