|Saint Helena, circa
St. Helena was the mother of Constantine, the emperor who embraced Christianity and put an end to the persecutions. Her most famed exploit was the discovery in Jerusalem of what was taken to be the cross on which Jesus had been crucified. According to one legend she found all three of the crosses used at Calvary and tested them by touching each to a sick man. When the touch of one of the crosses healed the man (image), she knew it was the True Cross.
In portraits, St. Helena wears a crown and holds the famed cross.
Feast day: August 18
Feast of the Invention [Finding] of the Holy Cross: May 8
At left, Cima's late 15th-century painting
The Anglo-Saxon poem Elene (cached)
"Constantine the Great, the Empress Helena, and the Relics of the Holy Cross," Head, 77-95.