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Elevation of the Holy Cross

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This feast commemorates two events:
* The finding of the [[Cross]] by the Empress [[Helen]] (the mother of St. [[Constantine the Great]]) on [[Golgotha]] in 326 AD, the place where [[Jesus Christ|Christ]] was crucified. When the true Cross was identified, it was lifted on high for all the people to see, who then continually sang ''Kyrie eleison'', a practice which is still enacted at current celebrations of this [[feast]].
:On the spot where the Cross was discovered, St. Helen had found a hitherto unknown flower of rare beauty and fragrance, which has been named "Vasiliko", or [[w:List of basil cultivars|Basil]], meaning the flower of royalty. Note that the word “Vasiliko” means “of the King,” since the word “Basileus” in Greek means "King"; so, the plant Vasiliko, Basil, is tied to the Precious Cross of the King of Glory, our Lord Jesus Christ. :Underneath the Basil, the Cross of Christ was found, but with it were the other two crosses, those used to crucify the two thieves on either side of Christ. The sign with the inscription, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews", also lay among the three crosses. In order to determine which one was the true cross, a sick woman was told to kiss each of the three crosses. The woman kissed the first cross with no result. She kissed the second cross and again nothing happened. However, when the ailing woman kissed the True Cross, she was immediately made well. It so happened that a funeral procession was passing that way, and so the body of the dead man was placed on each of the crosses, and when it was placed on the True Cross, the dead man came to life — thus the name the “Life-Giving” Cross, which gives life not only to that man, but to each person who believes in the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and His all-glorious three day Resurrection.  :When the true Cross was identified, it was lifted on high for all the people to see, who then continually sang ''Kyrie eleison'', a practice which is still enacted at current celebrations of this [[feast]]. * The recovery of the [[Cross]] on which [[Jesus Christ]] was crucified from the Persians. The Persians had captured it the [[Cross|True Cross]] as a prize of war when they sacked Jerusalem in Jerusalem, and it 614 AD. It was recovered by the forces of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire ("Byzantine Empire"). This took place ) in 627 AD, when Emperor [[Heraclius ]] decisively defeated the Sassanid Persians at The Battle of Nineveh, surrounding their capital Ctesiphon, recovering the [[Cross|True Cross]], and breaking the power of the Sassanid dynasty. Then The Elevation took place on [[March 21]], 630 AD, when Emperor Heraclius entered Jerusalem amidst great rejoicing, and together with Patriarch [[Zacharias of Jerusalem|Zacharios ]] (609-633632), transferred the Cross of Christ with great solemnity into the [[Church of the Holy Sepulchre (Jerusalem)|temple of the Resurrection]], joyously held up for veneration by the Christian faithful.
This is one of the two feast days which is held as a strict [[fast]]. The other is the commemoration of the [[Beheading of St. John the Forerunner]] on [[August 29]].
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 [[Proverbs]] 3:11-18, which reminds us that the Lord chastens and corrects those whom he loves and that [[Holy Wisdom|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 [[prostration|prostrate]] themselves 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 [[antiphon]]s are replaced by special verses from the [[psalms]] [[osource:Psalm 21|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 [[I 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 John 19:6-11, 13-20, 25-28, and 30-35 together. This long reading is the passion account.
==In Ethiopia==
==See also==
*[[Sunday of the Holy Cross]]
*[[Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord]]
*[[Zacharias of Jerusalem]]
==External links==
*[ The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross] - ([[GOARCH]] web site)
*[ The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross] - [[OCA]] web site
*[ Elevation of the Cross] - ''The Orthodox Faith'', by the V. Rev. [[Thomas Hopko]]
[[Category:Great Feasts]]
[[mk:Воздвижение на Чесниот Крст]]
[[ro:Înălţarea Sfintei Cruci]]

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