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Helena (empress)

Helena, or Saint Helena (Greek: Ἁγία Ἑλένη, Hagía Helénē, Latin: Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta; c. 250 – c. 330), was an Empress of the Roman Empire, and mother of Emperor Constantine the Great. Born in Drepana, Bithynia in Asia Minor, she became the consort of the future Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus (reigned 293–306) and the mother of the future Emperor Constantine the Great (reigned 306–337). She ranks as an important figure in the history of Christianity and of the world due to her major influence on her son. In her final years, she made a religious tour of Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem, during which she allegedly discovered the True Cross. Pious beliefs also associate her to the foundation of the Vatican Gardens. MORE
Book
The Pilgrim Kings: A Story of the Magi

In this novel, the story of the legendary Magi comes to us in a surprising conjunction of fantasy and historical events. The likes of Herod the Great and Herod Antipas, John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate, and Herodias and Salome spring to life again to confront creatures of the imagination such as Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, Leah, Purim, Deborah, Eliachim, and many others.

With the arrival of the Magi in Jerusalem, innumerable connections emerge among characters and events - progressively generating the plot of the novel.

There were rumors and prophecies circulating at that time in Jerusalem regarding a forthcoming king of the Jews, and King Herod - the fake Jew - is frantic with fears. At that same time a comet is sighted in the night sky. It is a visible light: the counterpart of the invisible angelic lights guiding each one of the Magi in search of the new-born king of the Jews.

After the encounter, the Magi are transformed into ordinary faithful men and proceed to return to the East, while the rabid king fooled by the Magi orders a mass murder of little children. The story progresses all the way to the spreading news of resurrection and further on to include Empress Helena, the relics of the Magi, and their seizure by Frederick Barbarossa.

In 1904, a part of the relics are returned from Cologne to Milan. In a brief prologue, the author narrates how she casually learned that the relics of the Magi are to be found in the city of Milan in the ancient basilica of Saint Eustorgius.

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