St. Helena: the roots of Jesus' relics in Rome

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August 18th marks the Feast Day of St. Helena, who began as an innkeeper and later became the mother of Roman Emperor Constantine. 

St. Helena is known as the patron saint of broken marriages as her husband of 20 years divorced her for a woman from one of Rome's imperial families. She is also known as the patron saint of archaeologists. 

At the age of 56, St. Helena moved to Rome and converted to Christianity. She then took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where she discovered many of the main sites that Christians visit today. 

According to tradition, St. Helena uncovered the True Cross in Jerusalem as well as the nails from Jesus' crucifixion. She brought fragments of them with her to Rome that now, over 1,500 years later, can still be visited in the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. 

But St. Helena's contribution to Rome does not stop there. She also is believed to have brought the Holy Stairs that Jesus walked on his way to the trail for his crucifixion. 

Today, St. Helena's tomb can be found in Rome at an archaeological site built by her son Constantine. Other relics of her can be found in the Vatican Museums. 


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