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Helena was the mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century and died around the year 330.  She was born into a humble family but rose to great power and wealth when she married the Roman Emperor, Constantius Chlorus.  Helena made extra effort to help the poor and hopeless the most. She visited churches everywhere, bringing her religious devotion and very large donations to help those who needed it most.  


Helena was very successful in promoting the spread of Christianity with her political influence and wealth.  She is largely responsible for the building of Christian churches in the cities of the Roman Empire, such as Rome and Trier.  Helena and her son Constantine worked very hard to end the persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire.  


Helena even built churches in what the Romans called Palestine, known today as Israel.  Despite her old age she traveled to Israel when her son Constantine had become emperor of Rome.  While traveling in Israel she did many good deeds and helped many people.  She had two churches built - one in Bethlehem and another on the Mount of the Ascension, near Jerusalem.  A legend says that her arrival in Jerusalem was the beginning of the discovery of the Cross of Christ.  


In 327, Constantine ordered Helena's hometown, Drepanum, to be renamed Helenopolis.  Constantine was with her when she died, at the age of eighty.  Her body was brought to the Eastern capital of the Roman Empire, Constantinople (known today as Istanbul) and laid to rest in the imperial vault of the church of the Apostles.  She was recognized as a saint early in the ninth century as stories of her life spread throughout Europe.


Source material:


Transcribed by Michael C. Tinkler

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII

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