Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross of Our Lord God And Savior, Jesus Christ
“We bow before Your Cross and we glorify Your Holy Resurrection”
(September 14, 27)
On the Gregorian calendar, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross is celebrated on September 14th. The Feast is celebrated on the Julian calendar thirteen (13) days later, on September 27th. This Feast is of ancient origin and was already established in the fourth century. St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great of Byzantium, went to the Holy Land in search of the true Cross of Christ. Having found the three crosses, one of Christ and the other two of the criminals on each side of Christ, the authentic Cross was determined by healings (miracles) when the individuals were touched by the Cross and prayers invoked in the Name of the Lord.
The Archbishop of Jerusalem at that time had then taken the Cross of Our Lord and Savior and raised it, elevated it, for all the faithful present to see, bow and give praise and worship to the Lord God. The elevation of the Holy Cross gave them and gives us today the opportunity to reflect upon the saving Death and Resurrection of Our Lord. The Cross is a sign of victory and assured protection against the powers of evil. To the non-believer the Cross appears to them to be “foolishness”, but to the true believer, it is the Power and Wisdom of God. To the authentic Christian, the Cross is an integral part of their daily lives. For just as the Lord carried His Cross patiently and lovingly, so too are we to carry our own personal crosses in like manner.
The Cross of Christ, an act of self-sacrificial Love, is to motivate us also to have an attitude of true humility and self-giving. Having the Love of Christ within us, we are to put into practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. We are to deal with others whom we meet with love, mercy, humility, patience, meekness, forgiveness and compassion. Our Faith in Christ is to put into Action. Our Faith is to be vibrant, alive and ever-ready to help our less-fortunate neighbor in need. By the Power of the Cross we shall overcome evil and make present already here and now the Kingdom of God in our midst. The prayer “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” will take fruition. Then, the presence of God will truly be in our midst.
Helping one another carry our crosses daily in a Christ-like manner will help a spirit of fraternity and trust among all peoples. The Cross of Christ was followed by His triumphant Resurrection. His Resurrection is a promise and pledge of our own resurrection, if we remain faithful to Christ to the end. The Cross of Christ thereby is understood as a joyful sign of deliverance.
May our constant prayer be that of the Troparion designated for the Wednesdays and Fridays of each week: “Save Your people, O Lord, and bless Your inheritance. Grant victory to Your faithful people against enemies, and protect Your community by Your Cross.”
Rev. D. George Worschak