Javascript is currently disabled. This site requires Javascript to function correctly. Please enable Javascript in your browser!

Saint Helena

Saint Helena
  • Century: 4th Century
  • Patronage: Archaeologists
  • Feast Day: June 20th

St. Helena rose from humble beginnings as an innkeeper, to become the mother of the great Christian Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.  While she was born in modern day Turkey in 250, she met a Roman general while he was occupying her homeland.  They became the parents of Constantine who became the Emperor. 

Helena was not accepted in Roman society, so her husband divorced her and married a more socially suitable wife.  Her son was proclaimed emperor at York in 306, and Helena moved to Rome where she converted to Christianity – at the age of 56.  The Emperor honored his mother and Constantine bestowed the title of August on Helena.  That was the feminine form of the title Augustus and usually given to the wives or relatives of the Roman Emperors.  Helena went on her famous pilgrimage to the Holy Land where legend tells that she found three crosses buried under the earth where Christ had died in Jerusalem. Helena built a church on the site where the ‘Parts of the True Cross’ were found. Following her pilgrimage, Helena died in Trier in Germany at the age of eighty, in 328. 

There are two categories of saints: martyrs and confessors. A Christian martyr is regarded as one who is put to death for his Christian faith or convictions. Confessors are people who died natural deaths.  Saint Helena died in 328 of  “Natural Causes”.  Saint Helena is the patron of Archaeologists because according to legend Saint Helena found three crosses buried under the earth where Christ had died in Jerusalem - the “Parts of the True Cross”, where Rome still has them in possession today.  Many Churches were built in Western Europe by Helena after her conversion, as well as many sites in the holy land were discovered by her – that still remain today for pilgrims visiting the holy land to see. 

Practical Take Away

St. Helena shows by her life of late conversion to the faith, that one can still accomplish a lot.  Her influence in building up the church in Western Europe is still alive and well today.  Once she had her conversion and grew in the faith – she did all in her power over the next 24 years to build the faith up for others, influencing them in many ways.  You and I too, can influence others by the good works we do for others, things that God will share with the ages, just as St. Helena’s work has.