The Peaceful Liberation of the Holy Places in the XIV Century

I - 3 The Constantinian and Byzantine Period (326-638)

After the freedom given by the Emperor Constantine to the Universal Church (313), sacred buildings for Christian worship were built throughout the Roman Empire. In honor of his mother St. Helena, Constantine built three Basilicas over the Sacred Sites in Palestine. These were constructed over the Holy Sepulchre, on the Mount of Olives, and over the Grotto of Bethlehem.
The custody of these sanctuaries was given to the local international clergy. At that time most of these clergy came from a Greek cultural background. They used a primitive oriental liturgy which was still developing. Thus Jerusalem became an early and most important liturgical center.(*3)
In 614 the Persians devastated and burned these Holy Sites. They also carried away the Relic of the True Cross. The churches were restored by Modestus, Abbot of the Monastery of St. Theodosius, near Bethlehem. In 629 the Emperor Heraclius defeated the Persians and restored the Relic of the True Cross to Jerusalem. The 634 the Moslem-Arabs began their incursion into the area and they occupied Palestine.

*3 - The diverse forms of the oriental liturgy (rites) developed a distinct character in the Seventh Century: they are called the Byzantine Rite, the Armenian Rite, the Syrian Rite, and the Coptic Rite.

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