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Zatvori Otvori

QUEEN JELENA (HELEN)

( ? – 976.)

Queen of Croatia, wife of King Mihajlo Krešimir II, she was born into the most powerful aristocratic family of Zadar, the Madijevaces.

Much loved among the Croatian people and known as Jelena the Famous, after her husband’s death in 969 she ruled as regent for her underage son Stjepan Držislav.

After successfully bringing to a close her period of rule, under the guidance of the Benedictines she dedicated herself to meditation, prayer, fasting and the performance of good deeds, particularly the distribution of alms.

She had two churches built in Solin: the Church of St Stephen, which served as tomb of kings, and the Church of St Mary on Gospin otok, the coronation basilica.

Queen Jelena was buried in the Church of St Mary in 976. On her tombstone are the words: “In this grave lies the famous Jelena who was the wife of King Mihajlo, and mother of Stephen the King. She renounced royal glory… Behold, this is she, who during her lifetime was the mother of the kingdom, and then became the mother of orphans and the protectress of widows. Regard her, oh man, and say: God have mercy on her soul!”

This epitaph is extremely important for Croatian history, for it confirms the accuracy of a second historical written source (by Thomas the Archdeacon of the 13th century) concerning the royal tombs in Solin and also witnesses to the time of the building of the queen’s foundation on the site of the now-revealed Church of St Stephen.