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The Saints In Art - H

( Originally Published 1908 )

HELENA, ST. (See also ST. SYLVESTER.) (8th August. Invention of the Cross, 3rd May).

There is good authority for believing that St. Helena, was a British woman, though her parentage and place of birth are much disputed. She married Constantius Chlorus, and was the mother of Constantine. In her old age she became a Christian, and her great desire was to find the actual cross of CHRIST, which she had seen in a vision. She accordingly came to Jerusalem, with a great army, on pilgrimage, and diligently sought for the cross. Finally the three crosses of Calvary were found buried together at Golgotha. To distinguish the cross of CHRIST from the other two, they were all three placed in turn on the body of a dead man, and at the touch of the true cross he rose up. She instituted the annual celebration of the day commonly called " The Invention of the Cross." She divided the cross into three parts, and bringing one to Rome, built the Church of Santa Croce, where it was preserved as a relic.

She is represented crowned, and often in imperial robes, with a very large cross.

Picture by Paolo Veronese, in National Gallery. Frescoes in Santa Croce, Florence, by Agnolo Gaddi, and in San Francesco, Arezzo, by Piero dei Franceschi.

HENRY, ST. (of Bavaria). (15th July and 2nd Marck)

Born in 972, and elected Emperor in 1002. He founded the magnificent Cathedral of Bamberg, in Franconia, and waged war against the idolaters of Poland and Sclavonia. Legend relates that, in one of his battles, his three saintly protectors, St. Lawrence, St. George, and St. Adrian, were seen fighting by his side. In Southern Italy he expelled the Saracens from the territories which they had subdued. He also founded the Church of St. Miniato at Florence, and died at Rome, in 1024. His wife, St. Cunegunda, is also famous. To refute malicious reports she submitted to trial by ordeal, and walked unhurt over red-hot ploughshares. After her husband's death she took the Benedictine habit, and died in 1040.

He is represented in complete armour, with the Imperial crown, sword, and orb, and often bearing a model of the Cathedral of Bamberg.


HILARION, ST. (2lst October)

One of the early hermits. According to legend, a native of Gaza, in Palestine, and sent to Alexandria to study philosophy. He was converted by St. Anthony, the hermit, and founded the first monastery in Syria. He is said to have taught St. Basil, the Greek Father, and to have vanquished a dragon by the sign of the cross.

He is introduced into Fra Lippo Lippi's picture of " The Nativity," in the Accademia, Florence.

HILARY, ST. (I 4th January)

Bishop of Poitiers in the fourth century, is revered throughout North Italy as Sant' Ilario. His writings still survive, and he is the Patron of Parma.

HILDA, ST. (18th November)

Great - grand - daughter of Edwin, first Christian king of Northumbria. She is celebrated as the Abbess of Whitby, where she ruled with wisdom and prudence over large communities of both monks and nuns.


HUBERT, ST, (Patron of the Chase, and of Dogs). (3rd November)

A nobleman of Aquitaine, given up to the chase and other worldly pursuits. One day, according to the legend, as he was hunting in the Forest of the Ardennes, in Holy Week, he met a white stag with the crucifix between its horns. He at once renounced the world, and became a hermit. Under the teaching of St. Lambert he was ordained priest, and was finally Bishop of Liège, where he died, in 727. Thirteen years afterwards his body was disinterred, and it was found entire—even the episcopal robes being without spot or stain. A century later the body was removed from Liège to the Abbey Church of the Benedictines of the Ardennes.

He is represented as a bishop, with a hunting-horn, or a book. The stag with the crucifix is his attribute.

HUGO, ST. (Bishop of Grenoble). (See ST. BRUNO.)


The foundress of the Vallombrosan nuns was Rosana, the wife of Ugolotto Caccianemici of Faenza. She persuaded her husband to take the monastic habit, and was beatified as Sant 'Umiltà.

HYACINTH, ST. (16th August)

Was born in Silesia in the thirteenth century. When at Rome, he was influenced by the preaching of St. Dominic, and, taking the habit of his Order, gave up his life to missionary abours among Tartars and Russians, Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes. He under-went great privations, and finally returned to the monastery of his Order, which he had founded at Cracow, where he died, in 1257. He was not canonised till 1594. It is told of him that when his Convent of Kiov, in Russia, was attacked by the Tartars he escaped, carrying the Pyx and an image of the Virgin ; and on arriving with them on the banks of the Dniester he walked in safety over the surface of the river. He is also said to have resuscitated a youth who was drowned. These incidents are sometimes represented.

Picture by Francesco del Cossa, partly in the National Gallery, partly in the Vatican.

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