August Europe Saints

Saint Helena

Feast Day: August 18

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Today we are feasting with… Saint Helena.

Saint Helena

Saint Helena and the True Cross

Helena was born around 250 A.D. She married Constantius Chlorus and had one son, Constantine. Helena’s husband left her to marry princess Theodora, the daughter of Emperor Maximinianus Herculius, for political reasons.

Around 308, Constantine became Emperor. He tasked his mother with finding traditional Catholic relics. In 336, Helen took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with hopes of finding the True Cross. She came to a temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Venus. This pagan temple was built over the site where Jesus was crucified and buried.

Helena had the pagan temple torn down and began an excavation of the area. Buried under the temple she found three crosses. Helena had a sick woman brought to her from the city. Nothing happened when the woman touched the first two crosses. However, when she touched the third cross, the woman was cured of her ailment. Helena declared the third cross to be the True Cross and had the Chapel of the Holy Sepulcher built over the site.

During her pilgrimage, Helena also found the rope and nails that held Jesus to the cross. She also found various other relics in the area. Helena brought these holy items back to her palace before she died sometime near the end of the fourth century.

Saint Helena’s feast day is August 18. She is the patron of new discoveries.

Saint Helena, pray for us!

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