Saint Helena the Empress, Equal to the Apostles

Feast Day: May 21st


The Life of Saint Helena: Saint Helena began the search, and through the Will of God, the Life-Creating Cross was Miraculously discovered in 326…

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Prayers

Akathist Hymn

Kontakion: Today, Constantine with his mother Helena present the Cross, the most Precious Wood. It shames unbelievers. It is a weapon of faithful kings against their adversaries. A great sign has come forth for us which is awesome in battle.

Kathisma: The Maker of the sun and all creation was led once to the Cross. And now to himself He leads you, the shining star, by stars from Heaven. And to you first He bestowed imperial power. Therefore, O most pious Emperor Constantine, we extol you and your mother Helena the Godly‐Minded.

Hymn: Full of wisdom, Helena, praised by all, when you accepted the Lordʹs saving teachings, like chosen Earth you abundantly produced many fruits of your virtuous deeds. And by displaying a Holy way of life for imitation, you thereby feed our minds. Therefore we celebrate your Divine Memorial, O Royal Saint, festively observing it today with heightened joy.


Saint Helena’s earnest Prayers and way of life encouraged her son Saint Constantine to become a Christian. Saints Constantine and Helena were Emperor and Emperess, but they also have the title of Equal to the Apostles because Saint Constantine was the first Emperor to legalise Christianity and openly confess his Christian beliefs. He also aided his mother to search for the Most Holy Cross of Christ. When Saint Helena travelled to the Holy Land, she found the Cave where Our Most Precious Lord Jesus Christ was Born, His Tomb, Cross, Nails, Crown of Thorns and much more. She built 365 Churches in the Holy Land, all of which were later destroyed except for the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem which stands to this day. Saint Constantine and Helena also built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the Tomb of Christ.

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When Saint Helena found the three crosses, in order to identify which one was the Life-Giving Cross of Christ and which were the two crosses of the robbers, Patriarch Macarius and Saint Helena saw a dead person being carried to burial, so they laid this person on each cross and this person became alive again on the Cross of Christ. They then raised up the Cross for all to Venerate. We commemorate this Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross on September 14th.

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The Life-Giving Cross of Christ was eventually divided in thousands of pieces over time, to be shared all around the world. These are kept as a Most Holy Blessing in Monasteries, Churches, and even the homes of some faithful. The photo below is of the largest known piece of the Cross of Christ, treasured on Mount Athos. A hole from the nail that went through Our Saviour’s right hand is seen at the lower part of the Cross.

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Below is a photo of the Precious Nails used to Crucify Christ to the Cross, and the Crown of Thorns placed on the Precious Head of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


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