Helena, Empress, Augustine—Helena, divorced, disgraced arrives in Caesarea on a mission from God. She is to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. However, first she is to deliver a message from her son, Constantine, and Licinus, the general who ruled the eastern armies, to the governor of Judea, Fermilian, to be sent to the ruler of Damascus, Caesar Maximinus. The orders read that Christians are no longer to be persecuted, that all confiscated property is to be returned, that all their Roman rights of citizenship are restored, that all destroyed churches are to be rebuilt at the government’s expense. All Christians in prison are to be immediately released. This is the Edict of Milan.
Maximinus and Fermilian were two of the worst enemies of Christianity, sworn to wipe Christians from the face of the earth. Fermilian scoffs at the edict saying the Senate is far away. He says he will see Helena’s bones baking beneath the desert sun. Their assassin, Severus, is charged to follow and destroy her small band.
Helena, in gray pilgrim garb, is accompanied by Cratus, the grizzled soldier who had originally brought her the news of her divorce but who has come to honor the lady, who led him to Jesus. Anthony, a soldier tasked by Constantine to see his mother safely on her quest, follows as well although he is not certain of anything except he hopes to die in this land. The wife of a priest who died on the voyage serves Helena as her maid. Four people, walking to Jerusalem, mules to carry their supplies, and horses for the men, are joined by the injured, disfigured Bishop of Jerusalem—a man without a church as his was destroyed in the downfall of the city.
They are all changed on this pilgrimage—as you will be as you read this story. God is amazing and uses the oddest assortment of people to work His will. Seldom have I read a story that has gripped my attention so swiftly and held it to the end of the book, which I read in one sitting.
Davis Bunn makes the characters of Helena, Anthony, Cratus, and Macarius come alive. You will be enraptured, enthralled, and amazed at what God did with this very small group who were faithful to the vision He gave them. I’m left filled with awe and hope—that God will do once again what He did all those years ago—restore His city fully to Himself. Five Stars!
To share Helena’s journey, click the link: The Pilgrim
Davis Bunn is a multiple-award winning author with over seven million books sold. He’s been on multiple best seller lists. His titles have been Main or Featured selections with every major US book club. In 2014, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Christy board of judges.