Helena, Protector of the Holy Places
21 May -- Commemoration
The Empress Helena only achieved power in the Roman Empire
when her son Constantine became Emperor, in the year 306.
Although she had previously been abandoned by her husband,
her son raised her to a position of great honour. As Helena
was a Christian she gave her support to their cause and, in
the year 326, she made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. There
she provided the wherewithal to found the building of a
basilica on the Mount of Olives and another at Bethlehem.
According to a much later tradition, she discovered the
cross on which Christ was crucified. In the Eastern Church,
she is commemorated on this day, together with her son
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival,
Common of any Saint, page 523