The Empress St. Helen, the mother of St. Constantine the Great, went to Jerusalem to try to find the holy places sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. After close enquiries, she found the spot that was believed to be the place where Christ had died outside the city’s fortifications. Throwing gold coins down into the site, she encouraged the workers to keep working when they had become discouraged. Three crosses were discovered (as well as the Nails and the Title from the Cross), and by placing first one then the other and last the third on the bier of a dead man, the third one caused the young man to rise from the dead, and so they knew the True Cross.
When Patriarch Makarios of Jerusalem was told, he came and elevated the Cross, where all bowed down in veneration crying out, “Lord, have mercy!” We see in this icon the Patriarch elevating the Cross, with St. Helen standing below, and her son St. Constantine standing facing the Cross by the uplifted candlestand. The Cross is the Footstool of Christ as God from which He still reigns in Heaven. All those who love Him come to love His Cross, and then, in time, their own as the Path to Salvation.