Malankara World

Exaltation of the Cross- Sleebo Perunnal The cross is the door to mysteries. Through this door the intellect makes entrance in to the knowledge of heavenly mysteries. The knowledge of the cross is concealed in the sufferings of the cross. And the more our participation in its sufferings, the greater the perception we gain through the cross. For, as the Apostle says, 'As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.'
St. Isaac of Syria
But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14

Dying, you destroyed our death; rising you restored our life.
Save us by your cross, Christ our Redeemer.

(Antiphon for Afternoon prayer)

Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Festival of the Cross, September 14

On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (or Triumph of the Cross) we honor the Holy Cross by which Christ redeemed the world. The public veneration of the Cross of Christ originated in the fourth century, according to early accounts, beginning with the miraculous discovery of the cross on September 14, 326, by Saint Helen, mother of Constantine, while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem -- the same day that two churches built at the site of Calvary by Constantine were dedicated.

The observance of the Feast of the Exaltation (probably from a Greek word meaning "bringing to light") of the Cross has been celebrated by Christians on September 14 ever since. In the Western Church, the feast came into prominence in the seventh century, apparently inspired by the recovery of a portion of the Cross, said to have been taken from Jerusalem the Persians, by the Roman emperor Heraclius in 629.

Christians "exalt" the Cross of Christ as the instrument of our salvation. Adoration of the Cross is, thus, adoration of Jesus Christ, the God Man, who suffered and died on this Roman instrument of torture for our redemption from sin and death. The cross represents the One Sacrifice by which Jesus, obedient even unto death, accomplished our salvation. The cross is a symbolic summary of the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ -- all in one image.

The Cross -- because of what it represents -- is the most potent and universal symbol of the Christian faith. It has inspired both liturgical and private devotions: for example, the Sign of the Cross, which is an invocation of the Holy Trinity; the "little" Sign of the Cross on head, lips and heart at the reading of the Gospel; praying the Stations (or Way) of the Cross; and the Veneration of the Cross by the faithful on Good Friday by kissing the feet of the image of Our Savior crucified.

We remember Our Lord's words, "He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake shall find it." (Mt 10:38,39). Meditating on these words we unite ourselves -- our souls and bodies -- with His obedience and His sacrifice; and we rejoice in this inestimable gift through which we have the hope of salvation and the glory.

God our Father,
In obedience to you your only Son accepted death on the Cross for the salvation of mankind.
We acknowledge the mystery of the Cross on earth. May we receive the gift of redemption in heaven.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Most High glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart.
Give me right faith,
sure hope and perfect charity.
Fill me with understanding and knowledge
that I may fulfill your command.

St. Francis' Prayer Before the Crucifix

General Articles on the Sleebo Feast and the Power of the Cross

Feast of The Exaltation of The Holy Cross - Historic Background
The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is in honor of the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Observed on September 14, it is also known as 'Holy Cross Day'. The liturgy of this feast in the Syrian Orthodox Church recalls the tradition which narrates the story of Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine, who went to Jerusalem to look for the Cross.

Triumph of the Cross: Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross
This day is also called the Exaltation of the Cross, Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day, or Roodmas. This feast was observed in Rome before the end of the seventh century. It commemorates the recovery of the Holy Cross, which had been placed on Mt. Calvary by St. Helena and preserved in Jerusalem, but then had fallen into the hands of Chosroas, King of the Persians. The precious relic was recovered and returned to Jerusalem by Emperor Heralius in 629.

Orthodox Feast of The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, September 14
The Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Creating Cross of the Lord: The pagan Roman emperors tried to completely eradicate from human memory the holy places where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and was resurrected for mankind. The Emperor Hadrian (117-138) gave orders to cover over the ground of Golgotha and the Sepulchre of the Lord, and to build a temple of the pagan goddess Venus and a statue of Jupiter.

The Power of the Holy Cross - The Patriarchal Journal, 1991
How blessed are those who are saved by the cross of our Lord Jesus, for they have obtained a godly power to overcome Satan and sin. For them natural death has become a transition from a miserable, transitory life to a glorious, eternal life. How miserable are those who are perishing for they do not know the holy sacraments, they have lost their power, and the sacraments have become nonexistent to them.

Holy Cross Day from the Prologue from Ochrid of Bishop Nicholai Velimirovich
On this day are commemorated two events connected with the Precious Cross of Christ: the first, the finding of the Cross on Golgotha and the second the returning of the Cross to Jerusalem from Persia.

Saving Power of the Cross by Pope Benedict XVI
In the mirror of the Cross we have seen all the sufferings of today's humanity. But we have also seen stations of consolation. We have seen the Mother which goodness remains faithful on till death and beyond death. we have seen the bold women before her Lord without fear of proving her solidarity with the suffering.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross by Br. Adam Dunbar McCoy, OHC
We exalt the Cross because it is the symbol of victory. And in the opening of today’s Gospel reading Jesus tells us what this victory is: the ruling power of this world is put to flight. Christ on the Cross will reunite the human community.

Enemies of The Cross of Christ by Martin Luther
Paul admonishes Philippians to follow him and to mark those ministers who walk as he does; also to shape their belief and conduct by the pattern they have received from him. Not only of himself does he make an example, but introduces them who similarly walk, several of whom he mentions in this letter to the Philippians.

O Crux, ave spes unica! Hail, O Cross, our only hope!
Excerpts from homily by Pope John Paul II given on September 14, 2003

Elevation of the Cross: Orthodox Perspective
The Elevation of the Cross, celebrated on the fourteenth of September, commemorates the finding of Christ's Cross by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century; and, after it was taken by the Persians, of its recovery by the Emperor Heraclius in the seventh century at which time it was "elevated" in the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem.

The Triumph and Exaltation of the Holy Cross
We are celebrating the feast of the cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above.

Triumph of the Cross
Early in the fourth century St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ's life. She razed the Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior's tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the tomb. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

Homilies/Sermons

Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, Homily of Pope John Paul II, 1988
In the Gospel of this feast we are witnesses of an unusual conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. The conversation takes place at night because Nicodemus, a prominent Jew, went to talk with Christ under the cover of darkness.

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, Homily of HH Pope John Paul II, 1987
Today the Church makes special reference to these words of Christ as she celebrates the feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Beyond the particular historical circumstances that contributed to the introduction of this feast in the liturgical calendar, there remain these words that Christ spoke to Nicodemus during that conversation which took place at night: "The Son of Man must be lifted up".

Pope Benedict XVl's Homily at Lourdes - 2008
The sign of the Cross is a kind of synthesis of our faith, for it tells how much God loves us; it tells us that there is a love in this world that is stronger than death, stronger than our weaknesses and sins.

The Exaltation of the Cross, Orthodox
The Cross is the central fact of the Faith, it is not only where Christ was crucified, as we have heard in today's Gospel, but it is also where Christ is risen from the dead. It is also written elsewhere in the Gospels that by losing our life through the Cross, we save our life.

Homily on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross By Priest Seraphim Holland
The way of the Cross is also taking on the yoke of our Lord Jesus Christ. But He said, it's easy and light. The way of the Cross is not easy and light. This is where the mystery comes in. This is where the Christian begins to understand, in living his life, what the Lord means by 'the way of the Cross' and by His promises that in the world we will have tribulation and then also promising that His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Homily - The Exaltation of the Holy Cross by Fr. Daren J. Zehnle
For the ancient peoples the cross was the ultimate sign of terror and dread and in this very sign that the world sees as the greatest humiliation and degradation we see the sign of victory that has saved us! We come today to venerate and praise that instrument of our salvation, the cross of Christ.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross by Most Reverend Michael Fr. Burbidge of Raleigh
All of us, without exception, share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. We all know what it means to carry the cross of Christ: the cross of physical or emotional suffering (either our own or that of someone we love); the cross of grieving the death of someone dear to us; the cross of being betrayed or rejected by someone we love, etc.

Exaltation of the Cross - Holy Apostles Orthodox Church - Vancouver, WA, 2009
This is our joy today because by the Cross we are spiritually renewed! Yes, spiritually renewed! Isn't it ironic and foolish sounding that we are renewed by the Cross – something so painful. Yet, truly we are renewed by the Cross for it is saving power to us.

Pope's Preacher on the Exaltation of the Cross By Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap
The suffering of the cross, its hard necessity in life, its reality as a way of following Christ is not presented to the faithful on Sunday, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Instead the glory of the cross, the cross as a reason for boasting and not for weeping is given pride of place.

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross September 14, 2011 by Fr. Eugene Lobo S.J. Rome
Today the sign of the cross has become a universal Christian symbol. When people sneeze and cross themselves or athletes make a sign of the cross before or during play, we recognize them immediately as Christians. Ornamental crosses are fashionable today in the form of necklaces, broaches, earrings, and the like.

Lift High the Cross, Homily for the Exaltation of the Cross, by Fr Munachi E. Ezeogu, cssp
We celebrate this important feast for two reasons: (1) to recall an historic event that proved to be extremely important in the life of the Christian church, and (2) to underline the importance of the symbol and reality of the cross in the daily life of every Christian man or woman.

Homily: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross by Fr. Todd Reitmeyer
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Once again we see in the scriptures how God unfolds his plan of salvation over thousands of years. The Gospel clearly shows us that when Moses raised the Serpent (the seraph) on a pole to save the people from their sins how this foretold that Christ would be lifted high on the cross to save us from our sins.

Homily on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, by Hermitage
Even today, when Orthodox Christians behold the elevation of the Precious Cross, we rejoice and cry out to the Cross as if it were alive, saying, 'Rejoice, precious Cross. Help us, O life-giving Cross.'

Feast of the elevation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross, Axion Estin Holy Monastery
The two timbers on which the Messiah died to save the world, priceless beyond measure, form the most familiar and beloved symbol in a world full of symbols and emblems. For nearly three hundred years after his death the Cross was buried in obscurity, eventually to be salvaged through the efforts of a devout Byzantine emperor and his mother.

St John Maximovitch on The Exaltation of the Precious Cross
Before the time of Christ, the cross was an instrument of punishment; it evoked fear and aversion. But after Christ's death on the Cross it became the instrument of our salvation. Through the Cross, Christ destroyed the devil; from the Cross He descended into Hades and, having liberated those languishing there, led them into the Kingdom of Heaven.

More Sermons

Finding of the Holy Cross by Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil
September 14, is the day when Christian churches celebrate the Feast of the finding of the cross on which Christ was nailed and on which he died. The story of the unearthing of the Holy Cross is well established in historical records and ecclesiastical writings.

Self-Denial by John Wesley
I shall, First, endeavor to show, what it is for a man to "deny himself, and take up his cross daily." This is a point which is, of all others, most necessary to be considered and thoroughly understood, even on this account, that it is, of all others, most opposed by numerous and powerful enemies.

Worthless Wisdom or Foolish Faith by Jeremy Lundgren, AZ
Sermon based on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. As we look into our text in 1 Corinthians, a question that it brings out is whether or not it is a worthwhile endeavor for us to search for knowledge of God through the wisdom, philosophies, and religions of the world. Will such a search help you narrow down your options? How would you know when to stop?

The Power of The Cross by Keith Smith
The cross, or the death of Jesus Christ, is the most significant event that this world has ever witnessed. It is the magna carta of Christianity. It is the Oscar of the religious world. It is the central theme of the Bible. ...

Conversations on Calvary: The Unrepentant Man on the Cross by Marvin A. McMickle
This scene on Calvary points to the fundamental challenge that faces everyone as they make up their minds about a relationship with Jesus. Some people are persuaded already. They believe it is possible to "take their burdens to the Lord and leave them there." They accept what Jesus says in John 15:17, "Ask whatever you will and it shall be done unto you." But not everybody is in this group. Some people are still unconvinced. They do not have enough faith even to raise a prayer, much less to believe that prayers can be answered. ...

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross by Fr. Daren J. Zehnle
For the ancient peoples the cross was the ultimate sign of terror and dread and in this very sign that the world sees as the greatest humiliation and degradation we see the sign of victory that has saved us! We come today to venerate and praise that instrument of our salvation, the cross of Christ. ...

Homily for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross by Fr. Andrew
What is the meaning of the cross? The sign of the cross is often reduced to a good-luck charm- around our necks or over our body when we begin a test. The Cross of Jesus Christ does not promise us success, health, or pleasure. The Cross only promises us that Jesus will be with us, no matter how badly we suffer, no matter how badly we fail, and no matter how horribly we feel. Jesus said, "Behold I am with you always until the end of the age." It is through His Cross that Jesus is with us- that is the meaning of the Cross and that is the meaning of our Christian faith. ...


Sermons and Bible Commentaries on Lectionary Reading

Gospel Reading: Luke 21:5-28

Sermons on Luke 21:5-28 (Lectionary)

Futurologists and their vision for the future
by Edward Markquart

Lectionary Blogging on Luke 21: 5-9
by John Petty

An Opportunity for Your Testimony
by Jerry Goebel

A View From The Future
by John Jewell

So What's Happening? - Sermon on Luke 21:5-19
by Walter W. Harms

Reading the Signs - Sermon on Luke 21:5-19
by Dr. Luke Bouman

Promise And Paradise
by The Rev. Dr. George Hermanson

Blessed and Persecuted
by L. Gregory Bloomquist

Appearance Over Content?
by Larry Broding

Exegetical Notes on Luke 21.5-19
by Brian Stoffregen

Bible Commentaries on Luke 21:5-28

Gospel Passage on Luke 21:5-28 (KJV)

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Luke 21:5-28

Geneva Notes/ Commentary on Luke 21:5-28

Wesley's Notes/ Commentary on Luke 21:5-28

Jamieson Commentary on Luke 21:5-28


Scripture Readings, Commentary

Gospel: John 3:13-17

Scripture: Philippians 2:6-11

Scripture: Acts 13:26-39

Scripture: Galatians 2:17-3:14

Prayers and Hymns

Anima Christi - Prayer

Prayer: Intercession on Cross - Intercession adapted from the Liturgy of the Hours

At The Foot of Your Cross - Meditation

When I survey the wondrous cross

Hymn - Beneath the Cross of Jesus

'Onward, Christian Soldiers' hymn by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1834-1924

Malankara World Journal Special Supplements for Sleebo Feast

Issue 169: September 12, 2013

Issue 97: September 12, 2012

Issue 29: September 14, 2011

Lectionary Sermons | General Essays | Articles | eBooks | Our Faith | Church Fathers | Prayers | Library - Home

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