About St Helena Image

St Helena was Empress of the Roman Empire and the mother of Emperor Constantine. She discovered the True Cross of Christ in the 300s.

Read the full St Helena novena on the novena page. You can also learn more about novenas here.

Who Was St Helena?

Two histories exist for Saint Helena’s birth and origin. The first one says that St Helena (Saint Helen) was born to a peasant family in 246 AD in the Greek city of Drepanon, Bithynia, in Asia Minor, which was renamed Helenopolis in her honor.

The second historical tradition is that St Helena was a British princess born to an ancient Welsh king, Coel Hen, from whom the Old King Cole legend arose.

Either way, we know that Helena married Constantius Chlorus, who become Emperor of the Roman Empire.

St Helen had one son, Constantine. around the year 274 AD.

In 292 AD, Constantius divorced Helena for political reasons and married Theodora, the step-daughter of Emperor Maximinianus Herculius.

But Constantine, her son, was always faithful to his mother, and when his father Constantius died in 308 AD, Constantine became Emperor and restored his mother to the imperial court. She was given the title of Augusta.

After Constantine embraced the Christian Faith, St Helena began her own conversion to Christianity. In becoming Catholic, she excavated a former site of a temple dedicated to Venus, near the place in Jerusalem where Christ was crucified.

Three wooden crosses were discovered buried at this location, and Helena suspected one was the true Cross of Christ.

She brought a woman nearing death to the crosses and had her touch all three, and when she touched one of them she miraculously was healed.

It was then known that St Helena had found the True Cross of Christ.

Constantine had the Church of the Holy Sepulchre built on this site.

St. Helena died in 330 AD.