The Finding of the True Cross ~ Feast Day May 3rd

The Vision of Saint Helena by Paolo Veronese

Helena, the holy empress, who had the same ardent wish, was admonished by God in a dream, to go to Jerusalem and there search for the Cross of Christ. She undertook the journey and endeavored to ascertain what the wicked Jews had done with it. These, instigated by Satan, had buried the Cross of the Saviour, and the crosses of the two malefactors in a deep pit, not far from the Holy Sepulchre of Christ, and had covered them with stones and rubbish.

But when they perceived that many Christians went there to pray, they persuaded the heathens to erect on the holy place a shrine of the unchaste Venus, in order that the Christians, in abhorrence of the idol, should no longer visit it. This was accordingly done, and the memory of the Holy Cross which was concealed there slowly faded away. Helena, nevertheless, succeeded in inducing some Jews to show her the places where they had heard from their forefathers that Christ had been crucified and buried. She forthwith ordered the idol which stood there to be demolished, and after having removed the stones and rubbish, she directed them to dig until they had reached the sepulchre of Christ. Not far from it they found three crosses of the same form and size, with the inscription which Pilate had written and placed above the Saviour’s Cross, but they were unable to recognize upon which of the crosses the Redeemer had died. St. Macarius, at that time Bishop of Jerusalem, inspired by God, advised that a sick person should be brought in contact with the three crosses, as he did not doubt that God would make known by a miracle which of them had borne the Saviour. His counsel was followed, and a dangerously sick woman was brought. The touch of the first two crosses had no effect, but no sooner had the invalid come in contact with the third, than she instantly arose in perfect health, in presence of the Empress, the bishop and numberless other persons. MORE