Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 17 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Hildegard of Bingen
home iconTravel
line break icon

Visit the spot where St. Helena found the true Cross


Zelda Caldwell

Zelda Caldwell - published on 08/25/21

In the deepest part of the Holy Sepulchre is a Franciscan chapel that marks the place where, tradition tells us, Empress Helena found the cross of Christ.

In the year 312 the emperor of Rome, Constantine the Great, converted to Christianity, signed the Edict of Milan legalizing the practice of his faith, and soon set off for the Holy Land in the company of his mother, the 80-year-old Empress Helena .

On a mission to find relics from Jesus’ tomb to bring back to Rome, the pair found a rock-cut tomb that had been paved over with a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter or Venus. After removing this temple, Helena found the most sought-after relic of all, the True Cross of Jesus.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built over this holy site. Visitors walk down 22 steep steps to the Franciscan Chapel of the Finding of the Cross, located within the deepest part of the Church, beneath the Armenian Chapel of St. Helena.

The chapel was built in the 12th century, and marks the place where, tradition tells us, St. Helena found the cross of Christ, together with the nails and the titulus, the title panel on the cross that bore the inscription, “Jesus the Nazarene King of the Jews,” in three languages.

Visitors to the chapel can see the remains of 12th-century frescoes, made faint from centuries of candle smoke and water damage.

Catholic historyHoly LandRelics

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Our favorite stories of celebrities who inspire us in daily life
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
As irmãs biológicas que se tornaram freiras no instituto Iesu Communio
Francisco Veneto
The 5 biological sisters who joined the religious life in just tw...
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.