St. Helena is one of the most important Christian historians in the Holy Land. Her name has come up again and again throughout our trip, and we have seen how her work has allowed pilgrims to experience Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection more fully.
The mother of Emperor Constantine, Helena was charged by her son to visit the Holy Land and locate Judeo Christian artifacts. Fascinatingly, she was in her seventies when she traveled from Rome to Jerusalem (among other locations). During this voyage, she’s said to have found Calvary and Jesus’s cross (a statue depicting this is located in the lower level of the Holy Sepulcher and is pictured here); visited Bethlehem and commissioned the Church of the Nativity atop of the cave where Jesus was born; and is believed to have located the spot where Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives.
While many of these sites (and others) have changed shape or ownership over the centuries, the ability to see the memorialization of such holy places helps us more fully paint the roadmap of Jesus’s life and ministry — and we have Queen Helena to thank for it!