The Crucifixion; the Romans Destroy Jerusalem. Then the Empress Helena of Rome Builds Churches All Over, 300 Years Later
What an Empress on a Spending Spree can do!
According to Eusebius of Caesarea (260/265 – 339/340), who records the details of her pilgrimage to Palestine and other eastern provinces, she was responsible for the construction or beautification of two churches, the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, and the Church of Eleona on the Mount of Olives, sites of Christ's birth and ascension, respectively. Local founding legend attributes to Helena's orders the construction of a church in Egypt to identify the Burning Bush of Sinai.
Empress Helena Opened her Purse for God. Marie Antoinette Just Lost Her Head.
To Tell the Story of The Empress in Jerusalem, You Must Begin with Jesus' Crucifixtion and the Utter Destruction.
The Story about Jerusalem contains thousands of years, but this story must begin with Christianity. You must have the Crucifixion of Christ; and Christ's Prophecy about the Destruction "not one stone being left upon another", just 40 years later.
Since Jesus' prophecy was not only "precognitive", but short and vivid, I must not sicken the reader with paragraphs about fire, tearing buildings down, stealing treasures, and butchering the populace. Suffice it to say, "if you escaped through a lifetime of slavery" you had a life.
Amazingly, Christianity Kept Growing
Again, its hard to pass over centuries of history, but we are headed to Constantine and his Mother Helena. After every treasure was sent to Rome, Jerusalem was a dry, dusty desert place for Bedouins and foxes.
The amazing thing about Christianity was that it kept growing! In 300 years, it went from the devout and ardent prophets who from being burned at the stake and hung upside down to "converting" the Emperor of Rome, because a great deal of the populace had been converting.
It was clear to many of the Elite that Roman paganism was not speaking to an individuals need. Christianity was speaking about the Soul and Personal Salvation. The Persona of Jesus was non-militaristic. It truly was growing.
The Crucifixtion and Destruction Precipitated Many Trends
You know the Destruction of Jerusalem was an earth-shaking event. Not only did it fulfill a prophecy of Christ's, but it sent Judaism on its way (Diaspora) from Edifices and the PLACE of Jerusalem. Judaism became intellectualized. It made young Christianity a Child of the Roman Road. The Epistles of Paul, Peter and James attest to the spread, even by the First Century.
"When a Rich Mother Who Loves Travel and Big Events Gets Religion"
THEN Constantine's Mother, converted, fell in love with the Lord and began the Urban Renewal Project of the Century. Constantine appointed his mother Helena as Augusta Imperatrix, and gave her unlimited access to the imperial treasury in order to locate the relics of the Christian tradition. The chapel at Saint Catherine's Monastery—often referred to as the Chapel of Saint Helen—is dated to the year AD 330.
History Is Understood Looking Back Because Much of History Results in "Opposite Effects:
Herodian, one of a party of influential Jewish supporters of the Herodian dynasty (c. 55 BC–c. AD 93), which ruled in all or parts of Palestine and neighboring areas. Noted in the New Testament as opponents of Jesus, they probably were not a political party or a religious sect. It seems likely that they rejected the messianic hopes of the people and thus united with the Pharisees in attempts to entrap Jesus into making anti-Roman statements.
Those who "Say They Are Jews and Are Not" - The Herodians Assist the Romans. Whenever the Romans came to a village or town or city, they sought local mayors and leaders who would maintain control. There were several criteria they used, and the Herodians fit them.
A couple hundred years BC, after Edom (Idumia) through conquest by Judea blended in with the Jews and "pretended to convert". and the Herodians allied with the Romans, their actual aggression and ambition got them tremendous wealth for a time. They could say "Yes we are Jews, but we keep the rebels DOWN and we control the Jewish Community. Then in 79 AD came the utter and complete destruction of Jerusalem, and Idomia dissolved as a political entity.
The Big Backdrop
We now know World Religious History and that Monolith called Western Civilization, based upon Greek Democracy and Super Technology and that thing called the Market- based Economy and Freedom and that Global State of Being called MODERNISM, we can take a look back at a 300 year period that was extremely significant.
From 33 CE to 79 CE to Empress Helena coming to town and making Jerusalem a Christian Town in 330 CE,
But if we take a look back through "Historic Sun Glasses" we get to envision an idea that had its naissance during that time.
© 2009 Christofer French