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Elevation of the Holy Cross

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* 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.
: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” "Vasiliko" means “of "of the King," since the word “Basileus” "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 the [[Cross|True Cross]] as a prize of war when they sacked Jerusalem in 614 AD. It was recovered by the forces of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire)) 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. 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]].
==Celebration of the feast==
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.
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==
 In the [[Church of Ethiopia|Ethiopian Orthodox Church]], this feast (called [[Mesqel]]) is the most significant feast-day after [[Pascha]] and [[Christmas]]. The faithful light bonfires to commemorate St. Helen's bonfire that revealed the Holy Cross, and burn daisies to symbolize the incense that descended upon the location of the Cross.<ref>[ Celebration of 'Maskal' – Finding of the True Cross]</ref>
*[[Sunday of the Holy Cross]]
*[[Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord]]
*[[Zacharias of Jerusalem]]
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==External links==

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