Stanley's son, Andy, now senior pastor of North Point Community Church, left his job as his father's senior associate at the time, citing concerns about his father's leadership. Stanley" on February 16 on grounds that their marriage of 44 years was "irretrievably broken." Judge Michael Hancock signed the final decree May 11.

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Reprinted with permission from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

ATLANTA, May 23--The long-troubled marriage of the Rev.

Charles Stanley, senior pastor of Atlanta's First Baptist Church, ended quietly this month in De Kalb County Superior Court.

Stanley, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and whose In Touch television ministry spans the globe, stunned his congregation Sunday by telling them he and his wife, Anna, are divorced. Gerald Spicer, the church's administrative pastor, told the congregation that Stanley, 67, will stay on as the church's senior pastor, a position he has held since 1972. Stanley's estrangement from his wife caused strife in the church in the mid-1990s because of a traditional but unwritten policy that First Baptist does not allow divorced men to serve as deacons or ministers.

Sources are also unsure as to the exact nature of their relationship: some say it was a legal marriage, others a common-law marriage; some say she was his wife, others his concubine.

Whatever the specifics, the two were in a relationship that produced an heir, Constantine, around the year 272 CE.

They remained together for at least 15 years, but in 289 CE Constantius, who was Roman Emperor Caesar, divorced Helena to enter into a politically advantageous marriage with a younger woman, Theodora, who was the stepdaugher of Maximian, Roman Emperor Augustus at the time.

Helen has been linked to devotion to the Holy Cross.

Helen (249-329) found the True Cross in Jerusalem and, for many centuries, devotion to St.

But there is another, sadder facet of Helen’s life.

After 22 years of marriage, Helen’s husband, Constantius, divorced her.