Emperor Constantine’s mother, Saint Helena, went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the year 324 AD. She searched in Jerusalem for two years trying to find the actually burial site of the True Cross of Jesus. She was 74 years old at that time. Despite her very advanced age of 74, when the life span of the average person was under 50 years old, she kept searching all over without success for two years.
Jerusalem was extremely rugged mountainous country. A Jewish man took pity on seeing this elderly woman search fruitlessly for the True Cross for two years. This man was one of the few men still alive, who knew the exact location where the True Cross was originally secretly buried. It was buried in a cave for almost 300 years! Everyone who knew where it was buried had died, except for a few men. The cave was completely hidden by bushes and trees.
Through the Grace of God, the man took pity on this elderly woman searching in vain for two years. He decided through the Grace of God to show her where the relics of the Crucifixion were hidden. He guided her to the cave. They took away the trees and brush that hid the entrance to the cave. Once inside, to Saint Helena’s great delight were: three crosses, a bundle of thorns, three nails, the veil of Mary and the title INRI (which means “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews) which Pilate put on the cross to the dismay of the high priests. Also in the cave was the actual tabletop made by Jesus in Saint Joseph’s workshop, that Saint Luke painted the Icon of Mary on, in Ephesus at Saint John’s house, when Saint Luke was asking about the early life of the Holy Family. The image is in Saint Mary Major Papal Basilica in it’s own Chapel, the finest chapel in the world. It has been there for 1,600 years.
Everything was separated. The Title was in one corner of the cave, the nails in another corner and the bundle of thorns in a different area and three crosses, one taller than the other two.
To discover which of the three crosses was the one on which Jesus was crucified, a very sick dying woman was brought to the site. She was laid on each of the crosses one by one. When she was laid on the third cross, the tallest of the three which Jesus was crucified on, she was miraculously instantly cured! They knew by that, that this was the True Cross of Jesus, this was the first of thousands of miracles that came from the actual True Cross.
Saint John Paul the Great said of the “True Cross of Jesus” in his Papal Letter entitled, Pastores Gregis (which means “Shepherds of the Flock”) – “Ave Crux, spes unica! (which means “Hail Cross, our only hope) May this acclamation….remain ever on our lips, for the Cross is a mystery of life and death. The Cross has become for the Church a ”tree of life”. For this reason we proclaim that life has triumphed over death.“