The true story of our Lord and Savior Jesus being savagely beaten, scoured, and crucified as a result of the decree by the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate (in response to pressure from the Jewish hierarchy who refused to accept God in the living flesh and conspired against him) is a story well known to Christians and people of the Jewish faith (if not the entire World). The magnificence of Jesus, being wrongfully condemned yet knowing he was (literally) born to die for man’s sins, having been tortured beyond measure and painfully crucified looking to the heavens and proclaiming “IT IS FINISHED” (justifiably) resonates to ones very soul.
Jesus’ life story, and his resurrection, and his teachings (first and foremost) and those of his disciples began the spread of truth personified known as Christianity. What isn’t as well known is the story of the Roman Emperor Constantine’s mother Helena Augusta and her devotion to Jesus/Christianity.
Helena Augusta, who had been the consort of Emperor Constantius (i.e. The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period) and mother to the Emperor Constantine (who was known as the first Christian Emperor of ancient Rome) . was a devout Christian. Helena Augusta had the resources, and passion, to travel from Rome to the places in which Jesus was born – taught – was crucified – and even to the burial places of the (3) three Kings otherwise known as the “three wise men” who followed the guiding light of the star shining down on the manger in which the baby Jesus was born.
Helena Augusta was born (estimated) to be the year 246 A.D. (i.e. after Jesus’ death) and was a native of Drepanum, in the province of Bithynia. Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor.
Helena Augusta had unlimited access to the imperial treasury, compiled over decades by the Roman Emperors/Caesars, and inspired her to seek out the relics (i.e. tangible items that confirmed the birth/life of Jesus) and to (as in the case of the temple dedicated to Venus/Jupiter which was thought to be built over the burial tomb of Jesus) reclaim places/sites deemed Holy by Christians and those in the Jewish Faith.
Her endeavors, to seek out and study relics pertaining to Jesus, were highly successful and include (but are not limited to the following):
* The discovery at the tomb believed to be the burial tomb of Jesus of three crosses. Helena, who wanted to confirm the significance of each relic’s origin and “power”, ordered a woman dying to come and touch each of the tree crosses. Nothing occurred when she touched the first two but upon touching the third cross she recovered. Helena Augusta deemed the third cross to be the “True Cross”.
* On this site she ordered the “Church of the Holy Sepulchre” to be built.
* She found the nails of the crucifixion and used their miraculous power to aid her son. Helena allegedly had one placed within Constantine’s helmet and another in the bridle of his horse.
* As a proclamation of “peace” Helena Augusta was given the burial remains of the three wise men by the Persian King.
* Several of Saint Helena’s treasures are now in Cyprus (i.e. officially the Republic of Cyprus , which is a Eurasian island country in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island on the Mediterranean Sea and one of its most popular tourist destinations) where she spent some time. These treasures include a part of Jesus Christ’s tunic, pieces of the holy cross, and the world’s only pieces of the rope with which Jesus was tied on the Cross. The latter has been held at the Stavrovouni Monastery, which was also founded by Saint Helena.
* According to one tradition, Helena acquired the Holy Tunic on her trip to Jerusalem and sent it to Trier which is a city in Germany located on the banks of the River Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany founded on or about 16 BC (i.e. before Christ, before Jesus).
Throughout her travels Helena Augusta established Christian Churches and in 327 AD Helena left Jerusalem and returned to Rome bringing with her the large parts of the True Cross and other relics. These relics were stored in her palace’s private chapel, where they can be still seen today as they have been maintained by Cistercian monks in the monastery.
The story of Helena Augusta remains relevant to this day and I encourage everyone to do their own research on this fascinating individual and her accomplishments pertaining to her Christian Faith.
Take care and may God bless you.