Helena, Heraclius and the True Cross
By Hans A. Pohlsander
Quidditas, Vol.25 (2004)
Introduction: More than three hundred years stand between the empress Helena, or St. Helena, and the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. This chronological distance has not been a hindrance to a very close association of the two personalities with each other. The link is not dynastic but thematic; it is provided by the Holy Cross, or the True Cross, i. e. the very cross of Christ’s passion. It is the purpose of this article to show the manifestation of this link in the religious literature and ecclesiastical art of the Middle Ages and in the liturgy to this day.