Today is the feast day of St Helena, or if you are Orthodox the ‘Feast of the Holy Great Sovereigns Constantine and Helen, Equal to the Apostles’. Helena is the patron saint of archeologists and new discoveries, amongst other things, so the fact we came across this embroidery of her while on holiday was, I felt, very apt.
She is usually portrayed holding a cross in her right hand signifying that in 327 when returning to Rome from Jerusalem she brought with her large portions of the true Cross including rope which it was claimed bound Christ to the Cross and some also say nails.
Some claim she is an Essex girl, Colchester, to be precise, but the truth is we don’t really know about her early background. What she is remembered most for is being the mother of Constantine renown for being the first Roman emperor to become Christian and that she was famed for her piety and founding churches including the Church of the Nativity.