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Chapter II.—Concerning Helena, the Mother of the Emperor; she visited Jerusalem, built Temples in that City, and performed other Godly Works: Her Death.

About this period, the emperor, having determined upon erecting a temple in honor of God, charged the governors to see that the work was executed in the most magnificent and costly manner possible. His mother Helena also erected two temples,11431143    Eus. V. C. iii. 41, 47; Soc. i. 17. the one at Bethlehem near the cave where Christ was born, the other on ridges of the Mount of Olives, whence He was taken up to heaven. Many other acts show her piety and religiousness, among which the following is not the least remarkable: During her residence at Jerusalem, it is related that she assembled the sacred virgins at a feast, ministered to them at supper, presented them with food, poured water on their hands, and performed other similar services customary to those who wait upon guests. When she visited the cities of the East, she bestowed befitting gifts on the churches in every town, enriched those individuals who had been deprived of their possessions, supplied ungrudgingly the necessities of the poor, and restored to liberty those who had been long imprisoned, or condemned to exile or the mines. It seems to me that so many holy actions demanded a recompense; and indeed, even in this life, she was raised to the summit of magnificence and splendor; she was proclaimed Augusta; her image was stamped on golden coins, and she was invested by her son with authority over the imperial treasury to give it according to her judgment. Her death, too, was glorious; for when, at the age of eighty, she quitted this life, she left her son and her descendants (like her of the race of Cæsar), masters of the Roman world. And if there be any advantage in such fame—forgetfulness did not conceal her though she was dead—the coming age has the pledge of her perpetual memory; for two cities are named after her, the one in Bithynia, and the other in Palestine.11441144    Helenopolis in Palestine not mentioned by Soc. i. 17, 18. Was the site of this city at the convent of Mt. Carmel or at St. Helena’s towers, near the Scala Tyriorum? For the Bithynian city, cf. Procopius, de Ædificiis v. 2; cf. also Philost. ii. 12; Eus. Chronicon (Hieron.), under a.d. 331. Such is the history of Helena.


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