The Departure of St. Helena, The Empress
On this day of 327 A.D., St. Helena the Empress, departed. She was born in the city of Raha (Edessa) for Christian parents about the year 247 A.D. They brought her up in a Christian manner, taught her the doctrine of the church and the religious ethics. She was very beautiful. When Emperor Constantius the First, Emperor of Byzantium, came to the city of Raha, and heard about this Saint, he sought her out and married her. She gave birth to Constantine who became the first Christian Emperor. She raised him up well, and taught him philosophy, wisdom and knighthood. During the reign of her son, she saw a vision at night as if one said to her: "Go to Jerusalem and search carefully for the Honorable Cross and the Holy places." When she informed her son about this, he sent her with many soldiers to Jerusalem.
She searched for the wood of the Honorable Cross until she found it along with the other two crosses whereon the two thieves were crucified. She wanted to know which was the cross of the Lord Christ. St. Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem, told her that it was the cross that was written on the top of it: "This is Jesus, king of the Jews." She asked him that she wished to see a miracle to make sure that it was the cross of the Lord. By the Will of God, a procession of a dead man was passing by at that time. She placed the other two crosses on the body of the dead man, but he did not rise. When she placed the third cross, straightway the dead rose up. Her faith increased and her joy multiplied. She built many churches as it is written under the 17th. day of the month of Tute. She gave the needed money to build the churches to St. Macarius, she took the honorable Cross and the nails and returned to her righteous son Emperor Constantine. He kissed the Cross and placed it in a case made of gold and decorated with precious stones, and placed some of the nails in his helmet.
St. Helena led a righteous life, and she endowed many endowments for the churches, monasteries and the poor. She departed at age of eighty.
May her prayers be with us. Amen.
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