Stephen Beale tells the fascinating story here.
From the time of Constantine to the French Revolution, he is the only Christian monarch ever to openly reject the faith, according to Catholic historian Warren Carroll. For reasons both personal and intellectual, Julian launched the last great attempt to revive ancient Roman paganism. Animal sacrifices resumed in the reopened pagan temples while the Church was stripped of the imperial funds and lands that had been granted under past emperors.
Julian so despised the Christian faith that he even attempted to reverse his baptism by bathing in a bull’s blood. One ecclesiastical historian describes him as a man “who had made his soul a home of destroying demons.”
For Julian, persecution, oppression, and financial extortion of Christians weren’t enough. In the second year of his reign, in 362, he conceived an extraordinary plan to undermine the credibility of Jesus Christ by annulling one of his prophecies.
Julian hired workers, but there was an amazing series of events that stopped the temple from being built–terrible storms, great fireballs bursting from the earth and awful signs and portents.
Signs of trouble immediately appeared: after the first day, the workers awoke to find the soil they had removed had shifted back into place. Undaunted, they resumed work when “of a sudden a violent gale blew, and storms, tempests and whirlwinds scattered everything far and wide,” according to the account of the ecclesiastical historian Theodoret.
Then calamity struck: an earthquake rocked the site, followed by fireballs that burst out of the unfinished foundations for the temple, burning some men, and sending the rest in flight. Some rushed into the church that had been built by Constantine’s mother, St. Helena, only to have its doors shut in front of them by “an unseen and invisible power,” according to one account.
Read at the whole article here