My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Helena of the Cross - My 59x Great Grandmother, Maybe

As usual... it is impossible for me to validate with complete certainty that this is truly one of my ancestors, especially going back this far in time, before accurate record keeping. So this is either just an interesting historical figure or an interesting historical figure that happens to be my ancestor. I'm including the information that was available on the site for this particular lady... and I'm including what I believe to be the lineage from her to me. 

Helena's birthplace is not known with certainty. The sixth-century historian Procopius is the earliest authority for the statement that Helena was a native of Drepanum, in the province of Bithynia in Asia Minor. Her son Constantine renamed the city "Helenopolis" after her death in 330, which supports the belief that the city was her birthplace.[2] Although he might have done so in her honor, Constantine probably had other reasons for doing so. The Byzantinist Cyril Mango has argued that Helenopolis was refounded to strengthen the communication network around his new capital in Constantinople, and was renamed simply to honor Helena, not to mark her birthplace.[3] There was also a Helenopolis in Palestine (modern Daburiyya)[4] and a Helenopolis in Lydia.[5] These cities, and the province of Helenopontus in the Diocese of Pontus, were probably both named after Constantine's mother.[2]
The bishop and historian Eusebius of Caesarea states that she was about 80 on her return from Palestine.[6] Since that journey has been dated to 326–28, Helena was probably born in 248 or 250. Little is known of her early life.[7] Fourth-century sources, following Eutropius' "Breviarium," record that she came from a low background. Saint Ambrose was the first to call her a stabularia, a term translated as "stable-maid" or "inn-keeper". He makes this fact a virtue, calling Helena a bona stabularia, a "good stable-maid".[8] Other sources, especially those written after Constantine's proclamation as emperor, gloss over or ignore her background.[7]
It is unknown where she first met Constantius.[9] The historian Timothy Barnes has suggested that Constantius, while serving under Emperor Aurelian, could have met her while stationed in Asia Minor for the campaign against Zenobia. Barnes calls attention to an epitaph at Nicomedia of one of Aurelian's protectors, which could indicate the emperor's presence in the Bithynian region soon after 270.[10] The precise legal nature of the relationship between Helena and Constantius is also unknown. The sources are equivocal on the point, sometimes calling Helena Constantius' "wife", and sometimes, following the dismissive propaganda of Constantine's rival Maxentius,[11] calling her his "concubine".[9] Jerome, perhaps confused by the vague terminology of his own sources, manages to do both.[12] Some scholars, such as the historian Jan Drijvers, assert that Constantius and Helena were joined in a common-law marriage, a cohabitation recognized in fact but not in law.[13] Others, like Timothy Barnes, assert that Constantius and Helena were joined in an official marriage, on the grounds that the sources claiming an official marriage are more reliable.[14]
Helena gave birth to the future emperor Constantine I on the 27th of February of an uncertain year soon after 270[15] (probably around 272).[16] At the time, she was in Naissus (Niš, Serbia).[17] In order to obtain a wife more consonant with his rising status, Constantius divorced Helena at some time before 289, when he married Theodora, Maximian's daughter.[18] (The narrative sources date the marriage to 293, but the Latin panegyric of 289 refers to the couple as already married).[19] Helena and her son were dispatched to the court of Diocletian at Nicomedia, where Constantine grew to be a member of the austus' inner circle. Helena never remarried and lived for a time in obscurity, though close to her only son, who had a deep regard and affection for her.
Constantine was proclaimed Augustus of the Roman Empire in 306 by Constantius' troops after the latter had died, and following his elevation his mother was brought back to the public life, in 312 and the imperial court. She appears in the Eagle Cameo portraying Constantine's family, probably commemorating the birth of Constantine's son Constantine II in the summer of 316.[20] She received the title of Augusta in 325 and died in 330 with her son at her side. She was buried in the Mausoleum of Helena, outside Rome on the Via Labicana. Her sarcophagus is on display in the Pio-Clementine Vatican Museum, although the connection is often questioned, next to her is the sarcophagus of her granddaughter Saint Constantina (Saint Constance). The elaborate reliefs contain hunting scenes. During her life, she gave many presents to the poor, released prisoners and mingled with the ordinary worshippers in modest attire.

She is considered by the Eastern OrthodoxOriental OrthodoxEastern and Roman Catholicchurches, as well as by the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Churches as a saint, famed for her piety. Her feast day as a saint of the Orthodox Christian Church is celebrated with her son on 21 May, the "Feast of the Holy Great Sovereigns Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles."[21] Likewise, Anglican churches and some Lutheran churches, keep the Eastern date. Her feast day in the Roman Catholic Church falls on 18 August. Her feast day in the Coptic Orthodox Church is on 9 Pashons.Eusebius records the details of her pilgrimage to Palestine and other eastern provinces (though not her discovery of the True Cross). She is the patron saint of new discoveries

Constantine appointed his mother Helen as Augusta Imperatrix, and gave her unlimited access to the imperial treasury in order to locate the relics of Judeo-Christian tradition. In 326-28 Helena undertook a trip to the Holy Places in Palestine. According to Eusebius of Caesarea she was responsible for the construction or beautification of two churches, the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, and the Church on the Mount of Olives, sites of Christ's birth and ascension. Local founding legend attributes to Helena's orders the construction of a church in Egypt to identify the Burning Bush of Sinai. The chapel at St. Catherine's Monastery--often referred to as the Chapel of Saint Helen—is dated to the year AD 330.
Jerusalem was still rebuilding from the destruction of Emperor Hadrian, who had built a temple dedicated, according to conflicting accounts, to Venus or Jupiter[22] over the site of Jesus's tomb near Calvary and renamed the city Aelia Capitolina. According to tradition, Helena ordered the temple torn down and, according to the legend that arose at the end of the fourth century, in Ambrose, On the Death of Theodosius (died 395) and at length in Rufinus' chapters appended to his translation into Latin of Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, which does not mention the event,[23] chose a site to begin excavating, which led to the recovery of three different crosses. Then, Rufinus relates, refusing to be swayed by anything but solid proof, the empress (perhaps through Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem) had a woman who was already at the point of death brought from Jerusalem. When the woman touched the first and second crosses, her condition did not change, but when she touched the third and final cross she suddenly recovered,[24] and Helena declared the cross with which the woman had been touched to be the True Cross. On the site of discovery, Constantine ordered built the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as well as those on other sites detected by Helena.
She also found the nails of the crucifixion. To use their miraculous power to aid her son, Helena allegedly had one placed in Constantine's helmet, and another in the bridle of his horse. Helena left Jerusalem and the eastern provinces in 327 to return to Rome, bringing with her large parts of the True Cross and other relics, which were then stored in her palace's private chapel, where they can be still seen today. Her palace was later converted into the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. This has been maintained by Cistercian monks in the monastery which has been attached to the church for centuries.
Tradition says that the site of the Vatican Gardens was spread with earth brought from Golgotha by Helena[25][ 26] to symbolically unite the blood of Christ with that shed by thousands of early Christians, who died in the persecutions of Nero.[25]
According to one tradition, Helena acquired the Holy Tunic on her trip to Jerusalem and sent it to Trier.
Several of Saint Helena's treasures are now in Cyprus, where she spent some time. Some of them are a part of Jesus Christ's tunic, pieces of the holy cross, and the world's only pieces of the rope with which Jesus was tied on the Cross. The latter has been held at the Stavrovouni Monastery, which was also founded by Saint Helena.

Flavia Julia Helena 'Saint Helena DeLa Crox' Empress of The Holy Roman Empire (248 - 328)
is your 59th great grandmother
Daughter of Flavia Julia Helena 'Saint Helena DeLa Crox' Empress of
Son of Flavia Julia Constantina, Empress of
Daughter of Licinianus Vettus Justus
Daughter of Flavia Justinia
Son of Aelia Flacilla of
Son of Arcadius I Emperor of the Eastern
Daughter of Flavius Valerius Marcian Byzantine
Daughter of Aelia Marcia
Daughter of Alypia
Daughter of Aggripina Caratena of
Daughter of Agilofinginne
Son of Dode Deuteria RHEIMS COLOGNE
Daughter of Ansbertus Gallo The Senator of
Daughter of Gertrudis de
Daughter of Gerberga
Daughter of Sigrada (Nun) De Soissons
Daughter of Innachilde Hymneglide of
Son of Berswinde of the Franks
Son of Comte Adalric II "Eticho" de Basse
Son of Alberich of
Son of Eberhard I
Son of Meginhard I
Son of Eberhard II Count de
Son of Eberhard, Count
Son of Hugo Count
Son of Eberhard IV Count
Son of Hugh V "Count" of
Daughter of Hugo VI
Daughter of Gertrud Countess
Daughter of Agatha Von
Daughter of Saint Margaret Atheling Consort
Daughter of Matilda Edith "Princess of Scotland"
Son of Matilda Princess
Son of Henry II Of
Daughter of William
Daughter of Ida
Daughter of Beatrice
Daughter of Maud
Daughter of Ada de
Daughter of Maud
Daughter of Maud
Son of Maud
Son of Sir Humphrey
Son of Sir Humphrey
Son of Humphrey
Daughter of HUMPHREY V
Son of ELEANOR Ellen
Daughter of Johnis Stafford
Son of Audrey
Daughter of Christopher
Daughter of ELIZABETH
Daughter of Elizabeth Catherine Almay
Son of Rebecca
Son of Cornelius
Daughter of John
Son of Deborah Ann
Son of Elias M
Son of Theodore Stogden
Son of Bruce Bronson
Daughter of James Edward