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A History Of The Church In Nine Books by Sozomen

THE emperor, amazed at the prophecies concerning Christ which were expounded to him by the priests, sent for some skilful artizans, and commanded them to remodel the standard called by the Romans Labarum, to convert it into a representation of the cross, and to adorn it with gold and precious stones. This warlike trophy was valued beyond all others, for it was always carried before the emperor, and was worshipped by the soldiery. I think that Constantine changed the most honoured symbol of the Roman power into the sign of Christ, chiefly that by the habit of having it always in view, and of worshipping it, the soldiers might be induced to abandon their ancient forms of superstition, and to recognise the true God whom the emperor worshipped, as their leader, and their help in battle: for this symbol was always borne in front of the household legions, and was, at the command of the emperor, carried among the phalanxes in the thickest of the fight, by an illustrious band of spearmen, of whom each one in turn took the standard upon his shoulders, and paraded it through the ranks. It is said that, on one occasion, on an unexpected movement of the hostile forces, the man who held the standard, placed it in the hands of another, and fled; when he got beyond the reach of the enemy’s weapons, he suddenly received a deadly wound and fell, while the man who had stood by the divine symbol remained unhurt, although many weapons were aimed at him; for the missiles of the enemy, directed by divine agency, lighted upon the standard, and the bearer thereof was preserved in the midst of danger. It is also asserted, that no soldier who bore this standard in battle was ever killed, wounded, or taken prisoner.








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