Helena Dragaš (Serbian: Јелена Драгаш, Jelena Dragaš,
Greek: Ἑλένη Δραγάση, Elenē Dragasē; c. 1372 – 23
March 1450) was the empress consort of
Byzantine emperor Manuel II
Palaiologos and mother of the last two emperors, John VIII Palaiologos
and Constantine XI Palaiologos. Later in life she became a nun. She is
venerated as a saint by the
Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church under her monastic
name, as Saint Hypomone (Ὑπομονὴ), translated in English as
3 Marriage and issue
4 Family tree
6 External links
Helena was the daughter of Serbian magnate Konstantin Dejanović, a
provincial lord during the fall of the Serbian Empire that held
Kyustendil. Her mother was Konstantin's unnamed first wife (not his
second wife, Helena's stepmother Eudokia of Trebizond) and Konstantin
was the grandson of Serbian king Stefan III Dečanski. Her stepmother
was a daughter of
Alexios III of Trebizond
Alexios III of Trebizond and Theodora Kantakouzene,
and the widow of Tadjeddin Pasha of Sinop,
Emir of Limnia. Her father
fell at the battle of Rovine (1395), while fighting for his overlord,
Bayezid I against the rebel Mircea I of Wallachia.
She was well known for her beauty, piety, wisdom, and justice. Her
husband (as a former emperor) became a monk with the name Matthew
(Ματθαῖος). After his death, on 21 July 1425, she became a
nun at the Monastery of Kyra Martha, taking her monastic name. She
helped to establish a home for old people, with the name "The Hope of
the Despaired". The home was located at the Monastery of St. John in
Petrion, where the relics of
St. Patapius of Thebes
St. Patapius of Thebes are also kept.
When her eldest son, John VIII, died in 1448, the succession was
disputed between Constantine, her eldest remaining son and John's
chosen heir, and his ambitious but inept younger brother, Demetrios.
As Empress Dowager, Helena backed Constantine, and assumed the regency
Constantinople while her sons competed for the throne. She
eventually persuaded Sultan
Murad II to intervene in Constantine's
favour, leading to his assumption of the throne in January 1449. When
Constantine became Emperor, he referred to himself as Constantine XI
Dragases Palaiologos, after Helena, to whom he was close.
Helena died on 23 March 1450 in Constantinople. She is venerated by
the Orthodox Church as a saint, and her memory is commemorated on 29
May, the day of the Fall of
Constantinople to the Ottomans and of the
death of her son Constantine XI. Her skull, as a holy relic, is
treasured in the Monastery of
Saint Patapios in Loutraki, Greece.
Marriage and issue
On 10 February 1392, Helena married Manuel II Palaiologos. They had
several children. The list follows the order of births given by George
A daughter. Mentioned as the eldest daughter but not named. Possibly
confused with Isabella Palaiologina, an illegitimate daughter of
Manuel II known to have married Ilario Doria.
Constantine Palaiologos. Died young.
John VIII Palaiologos
John VIII Palaiologos (18 December 1392 – 31 October 1448).
Byzantine emperor, 1425–1448.
Andronikos Palaiologos (d. 1429).
A second daughter. Also not named in the text.
Theodore II Palaiologos
Theodore II Palaiologos (d. 1448).
Michael Palaiologos. Died young.
Constantine XI Palaiologos
Constantine XI Palaiologos (8 February 1405 – 29 May 1453).
Despotēs in the Morea and subsequently the last Byzantine emperor,
Demetrios Palaiologos (c. 1407–1470). Despotēs in the Morea.
Thomas Palaiologos (c. 1409 – 12 May 1465). Despotēs in the Morea.
Ancestors of Helena Dragaš
4. Dejan Dragaš
2. Constantine Dragaš
20. Stefan Uroš II Milutin of Serbia
10. Stefan Uroš III Dečanski of Serbia
21. Anna Terter
5. Theodora Eudokia Nemanjić
22. Smilets of Bulgaria
11. Theodora Smilets
23. Smiltsena Palaiologina
1. Helena Dragaš
^ Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Serbia
"Life, akolouthia, paraklitikos kanonas and egomia of the holy mother
‘’Saint Hypomone" [Dr. Charalambos Busias, edition of Holy
Monastery of Saint Patapios,
"Saint Hipomoni: History and asmatiki akolouthia" [Archpriest
Makrystathis Sotirios, Athens, 1993]
"Kanon parakletikos & Hairetistirioi oikoi to the Blessed Mother's
Saint Hypomone" [Dr. Charalambos Busias, edition of the Holy Monastery
"The Holy Monastery of
Saint Patapios in Loutraki" [edition of the
Metropolis of Corinth, Sikyon, Zemenou, Tarsus and Polyfengous, 2012].
«The Greek Monasteries» [Ev. Lekkou, Ihnilatis, Athens, 1995].
"Agiologio of Orthodoxy," [Christos Tsolakidis, Athens, 2001 edition]
«O Megas Synaxaristis of the Orthodox Church" Saint Patapios, p.
(254) - (261) [m Victoras Mattheos, 3rd edition, Metamorfosi Sotiros
Monastery, Athens, 1968]
"Saint Patapios" [Stylianos Papadopoulos, professor of the University
of Athens, Holy Monastery of Saint Patapios, Loutraki, Greece, edition
"St. Patapios and his miracles," [Dr. Charalambos Busias, edition of
Holy Monastery of
"Deltos of Miracles of our miraculous father St. Patapios" [Dr.
Charalambos Busias, edition of Holy Monastery of
Saint Patapios 4th
Information about St Hypomone from the Church of Sparta
House of Dejanović
Born: c. 1372 Died: 1450
Byzantine Empress consort
Irene Gattilusio (1399–1408)
Anna of Moscow (1416–1417)
Sophia of Montferrat
ISNI: 0000 0003 7390 9314