The Exaltation and Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Giving Cross (September 14)

My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ.

ON SEPTEMBER 14TH OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMMORATES THE EXALTATION AND ELEVATION OF THE VENERABLE AND LIFE-GIVING CROSS

Saint Helen the mother of Saint Constantine the Great, when she was already advanced in years, undertook, in her great piety, the hardships of a journey to Jerusalem in search of the Cross, about the year 325 A.D. A temple to Aphrodite the pagan goddess had been raised up by the emperor Hadrian upon Golgotha, to defile and cover with oblivion the place where the saving Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ had been suffered. The Venerable Saint Helen had the statue of the pagan goddess destroyed, and the earth removed, revealing the Tomb of Our Lord, and three crosses. Of these, it was believed that one must be that of Our Lord, the other two of the thieves crucified with Jesus; but Saint Helen was at a loss which one might be the Wood of Our salvation. At the inspiration of Saint Macarius, Archbishop of Jerusalem, who was already at the point of death from a certain disease, was brought to touch the crosses, and as soon as he came near to the Cross of Our Lord, he was made perfectly whole. Consequently, the precious Cross was lifted on high by Archbishop Macarius of Jerusalem; as he stood on the ambo, and when the Christians beheld it, they cried out, "Kyrie eleison" ("Lord have mercy."). It should be noted that after its discovery, a portion of the Venerable and Life-Giving Cross was taken to Constantinople as a blessing. The rest was left in Jerusalem in the magnificent Church built by Saint Helen, until the year 614 A.D. At that time, the Persians plundered Palestine and took the Holy Cross to their own country (see Jan. 22, Saint Anastasius the Persian). Late, in the year 628 A.D., Emperor Heraclius set out on a military campaign, retrieved the Holy Cross, and after bringing it to Constantinople, himself escorted it back to Jerusalem, where he stored it to its place. The Church is called the Church of the Resurrection and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn in First Mode

Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance, granting our rulers to prevail over adversaries, and protecting Your commonwealth by Your Cross.

Kontakion Hymn in Fourth Mode

Lifted up on the Cross by Your free will, Christ God, grant mercies to the new commonwealth that bears Your name. Gladden our faithful rulers by Your power, giving them victories over their adversaries. May Your alliance be for them a weapon for peace, an invincible standard.

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THE DIVINE SERVICE OF GREAT Vespers
For the Aposticha, the following Stichera:

Rejoice, Life-Giving Cross of the Lord, thou never-conquered battle-trophy of piety, support and staff of the faithful, the wall surrounding the Church, and the door that leadeth into Paradise. Through thee hath corruption been made to vanish and be no more; death's mighty power hath been vanquished and swallowed up, and we have been raised from the earth to celestial things. O truceless foe of demons, and our weapon invincible, thou art the glory of Martyrs and true adornment of all the Saints, calm port of salvation, that which granteth the great mercy of God unto the world.

Verse: Exalt ye the Lord Our God, and worship the footstool of His fee; for He is Holy.

Rejoice, O Holy Cross of the Lord, whereby the race of man was loosed from the ancient curse; thou ensign of joy and gladness, thou who dost dashs down the foes by thine Exaltation, O All-Venerable. Our succour and help are thou, and the might of all them that rule, strength of the righteous, and the beauty adorning priests; where thou art portrayed, thou dost rescue from every ill. Scepter of power, staff of strength, wherewith we are shepherded; weapon of peace round about which the Angels hover with fear and awe; Divine and True Glory of Christ God, Who doth bestow His great mercy on the world.

Verse: God is Our King before the ages, He hath wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.

Rejoice, thou faithful guide of the blind and skillful healer of the sick, O Most Precious Cross, who, when we fell to corruption, didst lift us up once again, O thou resurrection of all them that died. Through thee is corruption quelled, incorruption hath blossomed forth; we, who are mortals born of earth, have been deified; and in utter loss hath the devil been overthrown. Looking on thee exalted by the hands of high priests today, with faith and love we exalt Him Who was exalted on thee for us; and thee do we worship, richly drawing forth Divine and great mercy for our souls.

Glory. Second Tone. By Anatolius

As we celebrate the consecration of the All-Sacred Temple of Thy Resurrection, we glorify Thee, O Lord, Who hast sanctified and perfected it with Thine utterly perfect grace. For Thou takest delight in the mystic and sacred rites celebrated therein by the faithful, and receivest from the hands of Thy servants the unbloody and spotless Sacrifice, and dost recompense them that make offering rightly with the purging of their sins and Thy great mercy.

Both now. Of the Forefeast. Same Tone

The divine treasure hid in the earth, the Cross of the Giver of Life, was shown in the heavens to the godly king, revealing a spiritual pattern of victory over the enemy. Rejoicing with faith and love, by the inspiration of God he ran with great diligence, that he might raise it up to be seen, and he  brought it to light from the bowels of the earth, for the ransom of the world and the salvation of our souls.

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MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU

The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"-Saint John Chrysostom

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To those of you that celebrate your name day on this Holy Day of the Cross, Chronia Polla! Many blessed years and God's grace to you and your family. (Stavros, Stavroula, Stavriani.)

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George