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About Saint Helen

Feast Day August 18.

Sometimes referred to as St. Helena.

Helen was the Empress mother of Constantine the Great. She was a native of Bithynia, who married the then Roman general Constantius I Chlorus about 270. Constantine was born soon after, and in 293, Constantius was made Caesar, or junior emperor. He divorced Helen to marry co Emperor Maximianís stepdaughter.

Constantine became emperor in 312 after the fateful victory at Milvian Bridge, and Helen was named Augusta, or empress. She converted to Christianity and performed many acts of charity, including building churches in Rome and in the Holy Land. On a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Helen discovered the True Cross.

She is believed to have died in Nicomedia. Her porphyry sarcophagus is in the Vatican Museum.

Geoffrey of Monmouth, England, started the legend that Helen was the daughter of the king of Colchester, a tradition no longer upheld.

In liturgical art Helena is depicted as an empress, holding a cross.

Reference: www.catholic.org


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