How Saint Helen found the True Cross in Jerusalem

In order to squash Christian devotion to Christ in Jerusalem, the pagan Romanserected shrines over the Christian holy sites (in about AD 146). This is well documented both historically and archeologically.

Saint Helen and True Cross

Saint Helen and the True Cross of Christ

Saint Helen came to Jerusalem in 326 after she had a dream about the true cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. She felt that she had been divinely appointed to find our Lord’s life-giving cross.

When she arrived in Jerusalem, the Catholic bishop of Jerusalem, Macarius, told her that the holy sites had been covered by pagan Roman shrines for the previous 180 years. Christians did not visit the sites since they had become the shrines of idols.

Here is what she found:

  • Over the cave in Bethlehem where Christ was born was an idol of Adonis.
  • Over Calvary where Christ had been crucified was a large marble idol of Venus, the goddess of carnal lust.
  • Over the Holy Sepulchre from which Christ had risen from the dead was an idol of Jupiter, king of the false gods.

Saint Helen, in the name of her son the Emperor Constantine, had these pagan monuments torn down and the ground cleared and made ready for Catholic churches. The Christians in Jerusalem rejoiced.

How did Saint Helen find the true cross?

Here’s the official tradition:

Then she had thus cleansed the place {from the idol of Venus} where the Cross had stood, Helen caused deep excavations to be made, which resulted in the discovery of three crosses, and, apart from them, the writing which had been nailed on that of the Lord. But which of the crosses had been His was unknown, and was only manifested by a miracle. Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem, after offering solemn prayers to God, touched with each of the three a woman who was afflicted with a grievous disease. The two first had no effect, but at the touch of the third she was immediately healed.

Since the third cross worked miracles, it became manifest that this cross was the true cross of Christ. And this is how Saint Helen found the true cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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