There are many places in Rome rich of mystical and religious atmosphere, where mainly a Christian man could find the right location where pray and get in touch with the real sense of the religion. But the Chapel of St’Helen, the Costantino’s Mother, represents a special place for its relics and fot its history.
First of all, I shortly speak about Helen, a woman who strongly embraced the Christian religion. According to the tradition, she decided to go in the Holy Land, in Palestine, in order to find one of the central relic of the Christianity: the Truth Cross, where Jesus Christ died. She was a clever and proud woman, and when she met a man who knew the exact place of the Cross, she asked him where it is. But the poor and old man didn’t want to answer to that foreign person. This is the reason why she inflicted pain to him, until he decided to count everything. In this way St’Helen found the famous “Golgota”, the hill where Jesus Christ and the two thiefs were murdered. But the story doesn’t end here, because she founds three crosses! What could be the real One? Helen imagined a ploy and ordered to bring there a dead body. It was touched by pieces of the three cross, and when it got in touch with a wooden splinter of the Real and Truth Cross, it resuscitated. So, Helen decided to bring in Rome that piece of Cross…and this is the reason why the basilica that contains it, built during the first period of the IV century, is named “Basilica di Santa Croce in Gerusalemme” (The Basilica of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem).
Today we could admire that relics close to other important proofs of the sanctity of the Chstianity: inside the Chapel of St’Helen there’s also the ground of the Golgota that was brought in Rome from Helen.
But what we could see inside the chapel i salso its fantastic mosaic decoration. Try to take a glance just above you, and you will look something incredible and fine gilded background, where coloured tiles form the holy face of Jesus Christ, surrounded and surmounted by angels. It was realized during the XVI century, when the basilica was totally restored. Imagine how it is special for the Christianity! Of course, there are other pieces of the Holy Cross in Rome and in the world. They usually belonged to a period, the Middle Ages, where were created false relics in order to gain something, especially money.
But that wooden splinter symbolizes St Helen’s, the mother of the man who change the history allowing to the Christian people to come out from the shadows to speak the language of Jesus.