St. Helen Orthodox Saint History and Name Day Information
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It’s true that the saints are an important part of the Orthodox faith. The saints are remembered throughout the year on their feast days and both churches and people are named after them. Those who are named after the saints will celebrate their name day on their feast day. For some, the name day is even more important to them than their own birthdays!
Helen is one of these saints, and she is often remembered with her son, Saint Constantine. They are both referred to as “Equal to the Apostles. Their feast days are celebrated together on May 21st of each year, and her individual feast day is on August 1st of each year. Here’s more information about Saint Helen:
About Saint Helen
Saint Helen, also referred to as the Holy and Right Believing Empress Helen, Equal to the Apostles, was one of the saints of the Orthodox Christian Church. Constantine the Great, who is also recognized with her as also being Equal to the Apostles, was her son. She was born in 248 AD and she died in 329 AD.
Not much is known about her early life, but it is commonly believed that she was born in a place called Drepanum, which was later renamed as Helenopolis. At the time of her birth, she was the daughter of a simple innkeeper. There is also not much known about how she came to be the mother of an emperor, but legend states that she was raised as if she were a queen and then married off to Briton to prevent war.
Besides that, she is known for her absolute faith and piety. Around 290 AD she the emperor, her husband, divorced her to marry another. It is Helen’s son who eventually became emperor and he had a close relationship with his mother. She raised in him in the Orthodox faith. It is largely held that she made many pilgrimages to holy and religious sites in Palestine and other places to the east. She is also credited with finding the cross that Christ was crucified on.
Hymns of Saint Helen
Saint Helen, along with Saint Constantine the Great, share a series of hymns that are sung on their feast day, which is on May 21st. The hymns are sung in many languages and here is the version that is translated from the original Greek:
Hymn of Saints Constantine and Helen – Apolytikion: Plagal Fourth Tone
He beheld the image of Your Cross in the Heavens and, as Paul, he too did not receive the call from men. Your Apostle among Kings placed the care of the Royal City in Your hands. Through the intercessions of the Theotokos, O only Loving Lord, keep it ever in peace.
Hymn of Saints Constantine and Helen – Kontakion: Third Tone
Today, Constantine with his mother Helen present the Cross, the most precious wood. It shames unbelievers. It is a weapon of faithful kings against their adversaries. A great sign has come forth for us which is awesome in battle.
As you can see, Saint Helen is important to the church. She was the mother of Saint Constantine the Great and she also was considered a devote and holy woman. Their feast day is on May 21st and Helen’s individual feast day is on August 1st. Check the Name Day page for more information about other Orthodox Christian name days.
Categorized in: Greek Orthodox Religious Information
This post was written by Greek Boston