My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
EXAPOSTELARION HYMN--SEPTEMBER 14TH--UNIVERSAL EXALTATION OF THE HONORED AND LIFE-GIVING CROSS
"The Cross is the guardian of the whole world; the Cross is the support and staff of the faithful; the Cross is the beauty of the Church of Christ; the Cross is the mighty strength of kings; the Cross is the glory of Angels; it is the wounding demons."
Today the Cross lifted up, and all the world is sanctified. For Thou, while throned with the Father and with the All-Holy Spirit, by stretching out Thy hands thereon, hast dawn the whole world to Thyself, that it might know Thee, O my Christ. Therefore, vouchsafe divine glory to them that trust in Thy goodness.
THE PATH OF THE CHRISTIAN: THE CROSS OF CHRIST: THE PATH, THE POWER, AND THE BANNER OF THE CHURCH (Part II)
by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
The Cross finally, is the banner of the Church. From the day when the Savior bore the Cross on His shoulders to Golgotha and was crucified on the material Cross, the Cross became the visible sign and banner of Christianity, of the Church, of everyone who believes in Christ.
Not everyone who belongs to Christianity "in general" has such an understanding of the Gospel. Certain large Christian societies deny the Cross as a visible banner, considering that it has remained what it was, an instrument of reproach. The Holy Apostle Paul already warned against such an "offense of the Cross" (Galatians 5:11), "Lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:17-18). He exhorted men not to be ashamed of the Cross as a sign of reproach: "Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach, he teaches (Hebrews 13:13-14). For the reproach on the Cross led to the Resurrection in glory, and the Cross became the implement of salvation and the path to glory.
Having always before oneself the image of the Cross, making on oneself the sign of the Cross, the Christian first of all brings to his mind that he is called to follow the steps of Christ, bearing in the name of Christ sorrows and deprivations for his faith. Secondly, he is strengthened by the power of the Cross of Christ for battle against the evil in himself and in the world. And thirdly, he confesses that he awaits the manifestation of the glory of Christ, the Second Coming of the Lord, which itself will be preceded by the manifestation in Heaven of the sign of the Son of Man, according to the divine words of the Lord Himself (St. Matthew 24:30). This sign, according to the unanimous understanding of the Holy Fathers of the Church, will be a magnificent manifestation of the Cross in the sky.
The sign of the Cross that we place upon ourselves or depict on ourselves by the movement of the hand is made in silence, but at the same time it is said loudly, because it is an open confession of faith.
Thus, with the Cross is bound up the whole grandeur of our redemption, which reminds us of the necessity of personal struggle for the Christian. In the representation of the Cross, even in its name, is summed up the whole history of the Gospel, as also the history of martyrdom and the confession of Christianity in all ages.
Reflecting deeply on the wealth of thoughts bound up with the Cross, the Church hymns the power of the Cross: "O invincible and incomprehensible and Divine power of the precious and life-giving Cross, forsake not us sinners."
In explaining why Christians venerate the Cross, Saint John Damascene sums up what has been accomplished through the Cross, which, as he says, is a term denoting the death of Christ: "Every action of Christ and all His working of miracles were truly very great and Divine and wonderful, but of all things the most wonderful is His honorable Cross. For by nothing except the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ has death been brought low, the sin of our first parent destroyed, hell plundered, resurrection bestowed, the power given to us to despise the things of this world and even death itself, the road back to former blessedness made smooth, the gates of paradise opened, our nature seated at the right hand of God, and we made children and heirs of God. By the Cross all things have been set aright. For "as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ", says the Holy Apostle, "were baptized into His death" (Romans 6:3); moreover, "Christ is the power and wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:24). See how the death of Christ, the Cross, that is to say, has clothed us with the subsistent wisdom and power of God!" (Source: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology)
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God