Saint Helen

St. Helen, also known as St. Helena (d. 327 A.D.), was a woman of humble means from Asia Minor. She married the future Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus, and their son Constantine was born c. 272. Constantius divorced Helen in c. 293 to marry Emperor Maximian's daughter for the sake of political gain. When her son Constantine became the Roman Emperor, St. Helen was given the imperial title “Augusta” and was treated like royalty. After Constantine legalized Christianity across the Roman Empire, St. Helen, a Christian convert, went to the Holy Land in search of the actual cross on which Christ was crucified, despite being in her 80s. She questioned local Christians and Jews and learned that the cross was buried under the Temple of Venus. Helen had the temple demolished and excavated. There she discovered the Holy Sepulcher, three crosses, the board with Pilate's inscription, and the nails which pierced Jesus' Sacred Body. In order to determine which cross was the Lord's, the Bishop of Jerusalem touched them to a corpse, causing the man to come back to life. A second miraculous healing of a sick woman confirmed the discovery of the True Cross. Christians flocked to Jerusalem to venerate the Holy Cross. St. Helen then visited all the holy places of Jesus' life and built many churches over their locations, including Bethlehem, the Mount of Olives, and the Garden of Gethsemane. St. Helen is the patron of divorced people, empresses, difficult marriages, converts, and archeologists. Her feast day is August 18th.
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