Helena, Saint


Helena, Saint

biographical name

(born c. 248, Drepanon?, Bithynia, Asia Minor—died c. 328, Nicomedia; Western feast day Aug. 18; Eastern feast day [with Constantine] May 21) Roman empress and mother of Constantine I. She was the wife of Constantius I (Constantius Chlorus) before he became caesar (subemperor), and she bore Constantine before she was renounced for political reasons. She became a Christian under her son's influence. Implicated in the execution of her daughter-in-law (326), she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and had churches built in Jerusalem and Bethlehem on the sites of the Ascension and the Nativity. By the late 4th century she was reputed to have found Christ's cross.

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