3.5.1 “Victor Constantinus Maximus Augustus, to Bishop Macarius of Jerusalem. The grace of our Savior, it seems to me, is so great that no words are adequate for the present wonder. The fact that the monument of his holy tomb was able to remain hidden beneath the earth from long ago through so many years truly surpasses every other object of admiration. Now the grace of God our Savior has done away with the tyranny of the common enemy of us all and Christ, the absolute monarch, has granted freedom to the servants of that tyranny and brought knowledge of that holy place to light.

3.5.2 If all the wise men throughout the whole world gathered in one place and tried to adequately express it, they could not attain to even its least part. This miracle surpasses human reason’s entire natural capacity for faith as much as heavenly things prove mightier than human things.

3.5.3 Therefore my one and only aim is that just as faith in the truth daily displays itself through fresh miracles, so the minds of us all may become more earnestly devoted to the holy law, with self-control and like-minded eagerness.

3.5.4 Because I believe that this goal of mine is generally known, I above all want to assure you that my chief concern is to adorn with beautiful edifices that sacred place, from which, at God’s command, I gave the order to remove the disgraceful deceit of idolatry hanging over it like a burden. Though it was holy from of old by God’s determination, God rendered it even more holy when he brought proof of the Savior’s suffering to light.

3.5.5 It befits your prudence, therefore, to make arrangements and all necessary preparations not only so that the basilica of the holy place should transcend those everywhere else, but also that the rest of this bright building should win out over all the most beautiful buildings in every city.

3.5.6 Know that we have appointed our friend Dracilianus (who performs the duties of the illustrious prefects), the governor of the province, to oversee construction and decoration of the walls. He has received orders from my piety to immediately dispatch craftsmen, workers, and every necessity you anticipate for the building, of which your prudence should inform him.

3.5.7 When you have inspected the work, quickly write to inform us what sort of columns or marblework you would consider most excellent and suitable so that when we learn from your letter how much and what sorts of materials are necessary, we may have them conveyed from all quarters of the world to that brilliant house. For it is proper that the most wonderful place in the world be adorned according to its dignity.

3.5.8 I wish to learn from you whether you think that the vaulted roof of that building’s basilica should be coffered or adorned through some other style of ornate workmanship. If it ought to be coffered, it could be embellished with gold. Furthermore, concerning these things your holiness should inform the aforementioned officials as soon as possible what workers, craftsmen, and expenses are needed. Be sure to promptly report to me not only concerning the marblework and columns but also whether you consider the coffered ceiling the more beautiful style. May God preserve you, dear brother.”


Next Chapter – 3.6 The blessed Helen’s journey to Jerusalem

Previous Chapter – 3.4 The emperor’s letter concerning the construction of holy books

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Created by RR 1-16-22

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