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The Living Wood

Item Number: 61042

Catalog Code: LIVW-P

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Living Wood

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A novel of Saint Helena and the Emperor Constantine.


The renowned novelist De Wohl, with his usual crisp language and descriptive narrative, as well as irony and humor, presents the colorful and tumultuous times of the early Christian era in this story of intrigue, romance and power politics revolving around Helena, the devoted and saintly mother of Constantine, the first Christian emperor. This historical novel tells the story of the quest for the True Cross through fifty years of the most exciting events in Roman and Christian history.

The narrative begins when the Tribune Constantius, a Roman officer stationed in Britain, meets and wins Helena, only daughter of the mystical and oracular King Coel of Britain. Through the course of their early lives together, and during their ten-year separation when Constantius returns to Britian as a conquering Caesar and Helena has become a rejected wife, devoted mother, and militant Christian, there is a sure and convincing portrayal of character growth and personal conflict. Helena's fierce determination to raise Constantine as a warrior son and her gradual discovery and dramatic acceptance of Christianity prepare her for the final miracle of her life discovery of the True Cross, the Living Wood on Calvary.

The Living Wood is a chapter from the turbulent half-forgotten pages of early Christian history and legend in which the religious conflicts and problems are handled with moving simplicity. It is also an action-packed novel of those times—with a lesson for us today—that captures with equal skill and tumult and the shouting of the battlefield and the devious plots and counter-plots of the court.


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St. Helen

St. Helen Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 08/18
Tridentine Calendar - 08/18

Patron Of: Archeologists

    Converted to Christianity late in life. Married Constantius Chlorus, co-regent of the western Roman empire. Mother of Constantine the Great. Her husband put her aside for a second marriage with better political connections. On his death, her son ascended to the throne, brought her home, and treated her as royalty. She used her high position and wealth in the service of her religious enthusiasm, and helped build churches throughout the empire.

    At the age of 80 she led a group to the Holy Land to search for the True Cross. She and her group unearthed three crosses in 326. At the suggestion of Saint Macarius of Jerusalem, she took them to a woman afflicted with an incurable disease, and had her touch each one. One of them immediately cured her, and it was pronounced the True Cross. She built a church on the spot where the cross was found, and sent pieces to Rome and Constantinople; the Feast of the Holy Cross on 14 September celebrates the event. Thus in art, she is usually depicted holding a wooden cross.


    330 of natural causes


All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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