This is a holy day of fasting and repentance. On this day the faithful make dedication to the crucified Lord and pledge their faithfulness to him by making prostrations at the Lords feet on the life creating Cross. For the feast, the Cross is placed on a tray surrounded by flowers or branches of basil, and placed in the center of the Church for veneration.
On the eve of the feast, [[Vespers]] is served and contains three [[Old Testament]] readings. The first from [[Exodus]]
15:22-16:1, tells of the "tree" which made the bitter waters sweet, the symbol of the Tree of the Cross. The second reading is from [[Book of Proverbs|Proverbs]] 3:11-18, reminds us that the Lord chastens and corrects those whom he loves and that Divine Wisdom is "a Tree of life to those who lay hold upon her and trust in her, as in the Lord" . The third reading is from the [[Book of Isaiah|Prophecy of Isaiah]] 60:11-16 , it tells of the "city of the Lord" where both Jews and Gentiles will live together and shall prostrate at the place of God's feet and "shall know that I, the Lord, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob"
Sometimes [[Matins]] is served on the morning of the feast. The four directions of the universe are blessed with the Cross, while the faithful repeat
the chant "Lord have mercy." The Matins Gospel reading is from [[Gospel of John |John ]] 12:28-36. In it Christ says that when he is elevated on the Cross he will draw all men to himself.
[[Divine Liturgy]] is served on the day on the feast. The normal [[
antiphons]] are replaced by special verses from the [[psalms]] 22, 74, and 99, which have direct reference to Christ's crucifixion on the Cross. A special hymn replaces the [[Trisagion]] hymn, as it is sung, the faithful prostrate. The [[Apostolos|epistle reading]] is from [[ First Corinthians]] 1:18-24, and says that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” The [[Gospels|gospel reading]] is taken from [[Gospel of John |John]] 19:6-11, 13-20, 25-28, and 30-35 together. This long reading is the passion account.