Saint Helena (also known as Saint Helen) was a historical figure who lived in the 4th century AD. She is venerated as a saint by the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican Churches. She is the patron saint of new discoveries and is credited with finding the True Cross, on which Jesus was crucified. She is also the patron saint of archaeologists, converts, difficult marriages, and divorced people.
Saint Helena was born in the year 248 AD in Drepanum, Asia Minor. Her father was an innkeeper and her mother was of humble origins. She married the Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus, and bore him a son named Constantine. After her husband, Constantius died in 306 AD, Helena became the sole ruler of the Roman Empire.
Helena is remembered for her devotion to the Christian faith. She traveled to the Holy Land about 326 AD. During this journey, she is said to have discovered the True Cross and other relics of Christ's Passion. These discoveries helped to establish the site of the crucifixion and the location of the tomb of Jesus. The discovery of the True Cross, and Helena's dedication to Christianity, helped spread the faith throughout the Roman Empire.
In addition to her religious pursuits, Helena was also known for her charitable works. She is said to have provided assistance to the poor and established a church and a hospital in Jerusalem, as well as several other Christian shrines throughout the Roman Empire.
Saint Helena was canonized by the Catholic Church in the 6th century AD. Her feast day is celebrated on August 18th.
Some interesting facts about Saint Helena:
- Her son, Constantine the Great, who she is said to have had a big influence on, issued the Edict of Milan, which granted religious tolerance to Christians and helped to establish Christianity as the dominant religion in the Roman Empire.
- According to tradition, Helena also found the nails used in the crucifixion of Jesus and the Holy Sepulchre, the tomb where Jesus was buried and rose from the dead.
- The island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean is named after her, where Napoleon was exiled and died.
In summary, Saint Helena is remembered for her role in the spread of Christianity, as the mother of Constantine the Great, her pilgrimage to the Holy Land and her discovery of the True Cross. She is also known for her charitable works.