Helena is well known in Christendom as the restless tracker of Christian relics in the Early Church. She had a great faith too, inspired by her only son.
Mother of the Emperor
It is believed that Helena was born into a poor family, but she ended up marrying a rising young man, Constantius Chlorus. They had one son together, Constantine, before Constantius got caught up in the possibility of power and divorced Helena to marry the emperor’s daughter (that is just rough!). However, Constantine remained faithful to his mother whom he loved so much.
When Constantius died, Constantine became emperor and Helena became a bigger part of his life and his inner circle. After Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, Helena was also convinced to become a Christian and she became very devout and committed to the poor. She was put in charge of tracking down the relics of Christianity (what a legit job!).
Helena went to the Middle East and found the Christ’s birthplace. She built a church there and in many other places, like the place of His ascension.
In Jerusalem, it is believed she found the three crosses. She brought a sick woman near the crosses and when she touched one of them, she was miraculously healed. Constantine had the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built at the site. Helena took a piece of the True Cross back to Rome and kept a piece in Jerusalem, which can still be seen today (seriously awesome).
It is also said that Helena found the nails used in the crucifixion, a piece of Jesus’ cloak, and the rope used to tie Him to the cross. She died in the year 330, her feast is August 18, and she is the patron of archaeologists, divorced people, converts, and difficult marriages. Read more about her here and read more about the True Cross here.
Why a crown with a cross?
Helena was Emperor Constantine’s mother, and he was very close to his mother, eventually influencing her to embrace Christianity. She was asked to track down Christian relics and it is said she found the place where Christ was born, the nails used in His crucifixion, and the true cross, which pieces of can be seen in both Rome and Jerusalem.
Who would be friends with St. Helena?
- Divorced people
- Mothers with an only child
- People in difficult marriages
- Truth Seekers (she definitely was one!)
I plead that you give me God’s grace to suffer in patience the labors of this life, so that through them and through your intercession and protection, I will be able to seek and carry the Cross, which God has placed upon me…Excerpt from the Prayer to St. Helena
You can check out this discoverer of the True Cross’s collection in our shop and keep seeking like she did.