Helena, Protector of the Holy Places

21 May -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of any Saint, page 523

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 Constantine.