Rus Articles Journal

Rubens`s lane “Saint Elena and true cross“. Who bent a knee?

It is possible to be sure for 100% that acquaintances at least by hearsay with Napoleon (not with cognac, and with the emperor) know that Napoleon Bonaparte, the emperor of France, died on Saint Elena`s island.

It is much less knowing that a full name of Saint Elena - Saint Elena Konstantinopolskaya, is connected with her a find of a true cross (a true cross - that on which crucified Jesus Christ).

Saint Elena Konstantinopolskaya is mother of the emperor of the Sacred Roman Empire Constantine the Great (governed from 323 to 337 years). He lived 65 years and became famous for the fact that cancelled all oppressions of Christians, and before death was christened itself (before he was a pagan). Christians esteem Konstantin as the Saint.

History of his mother is absolutely uncharacteristic for customs of those times: Konstantin was distinguished from a top of the Roman governors not only toleration, but also commitment to family relations. It does not mean that it was ideal from today`s point of view - and it had acts with which he reproached himself. But will hardly be among the Roman nobility of people which up to the end the lives carried by love to mother.

Konstantin`s father for career reasons leaves a family (Konstantin, his sister to Constantius and his mother Elena) and marries the daughter of one of governors of Rome not to lose the power. Konstantin gets to the yard of Diokletian who governed east part of the Roman Empire, and there he is brought up as future soldier. At that time Christian sources write nothing about destiny of mother and sister. Possibly, family relations were not interrupted.

Konstantin in process of a growing proves to be both the strong-willed person, and the capable military leader. From the trustee, Diokletian, he runs to the father, the father moves it higher and higher while Konstantin does not become one of four governors of the Roman Empire. At this time its special qualities are shown: he won against all the opponents and became the emperor.

Soon he left Rome on the East, to present Turkey to be closer to those borders from where attack of Persians threatened. And on the bank of Bosphorus began to build the new capital of the empire which was called by “Constantinople“.

Further there are events which are described by the Christian author of Eusebius of Caesarea (Evsevy from Caesarea). Mother Konstantina, Elena, when she was torn off from the husband and the son, adopted Christianity: “After that Elena in a deep privacy spent fifteen years. The misfortune to be deprived of pleasures family and disposed her soul to Christoff`s acceptance of the doctrine, so pleasant for all burdened with a heavy grief“.

When her son becomes an emperor, it repeals all laws against Christians. Moreover, Konstantin, according to Evseviya, asks mother to go to Jerusalem and to find that cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified. Elena goes to Palestine and begins searches. Since execution there passed nearly three hundred years, nobody can specify where it was. But Elena`s persistence leads to the fact that there were three crosses: on two of them robbers, on the third - Christ were crucified.

But how to learn on what cross executed Jesus? Here that tell us church sources: “At this time, it happened, bore by one person on burial. The bishop Makari executed strong belief immediately ordered to stop and put a funeral procession a body of the dead about the found crosses. Then all being present, the queen and the bishop fell on knees.

Makari, having built eyes to the sky, said: “My God, made rescue of the human race through sufferings of the only-begotten Son Svoyego on a cross and inspired restrained the slave Tvoyey to look for a sacred tree, the tool of our rescue, - nowadays itself My God, specify to us that cross which served to eternal glory of your only-begotten Son: give, miloserdy My God, life to this slave Tvoyem when the sacred and saving tree concerns him!“ After that began to assign serially to the dead person crosses and as soon as assigned to him a true cross Christoff, the dead immediately got up“.

Elena returned to Constantinople and brought with herself a piece of a true cross and a nail which beat Jesus.

A lane the “Saint Elena and a true cross“ executed on Rubens`s cardboard - one of devoted Konstantina: the kneeling person in a purple cloak, before him - the woman showing on the shining cross near it - the priest of a high rank (a headdress and a cape - the certificate to that). And all this occurs before the temple on which balcony there are two men.

The woman is a Elena, near her - the bishop Makari. On a balcony - the emperor`s confidants. One of them - Evsevy, that writer, the bishop in Caesarea who informed us of events of those times. Who before Elena and Makari in a red cloak and with an imperial wreath on the head? It is natural to assume that it is Konstantin.

(Portraits remained: Konstantina in marble, Evseviya from Caesarea in drawing and Elena on a coin of the 4th century AD. Comparison with antique images confirms that on a lane - historic figures.)

But historians do not say that the emperor was in Jerusalem! Probably, Rubens decided to recede from a primary source letter to transfer the main thought: for the kneeling master of the world the true cross is a symbol of the higher authority.

(The lane of 5õ5 meters in size is weaved in France, on a royal manufactory of the Gobelin: a lily in the field of a lane - a sign of belonging to a crown. In the field of a lane there are initials of weavers. Field of a lane: Š - first letter of a surname of the chief weaver Francois de la Planche, royal lily, initials of weavers of FM (Philippe de Metkh) and HT. On a cartouche above - the nomogram HR: the first letters of words Christ (X) and Pantokrator (Pantokrator) - the Almighty.

Today the lane can be seen in the museum of arts in Philadelphia, the USA.