Malankara World

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

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.

Constantine of Rome (272-337 AD) was reported to have had a vision in his sleep showing him the sign of the cross, telling him to conquer Rome and assured him victory over Maxetiius, the Roman Emperor. Constantine then placed the sign of the cross on the shields of his soldiers and won the battle in Rome. This victory is reported to have made Constantine the emperor of the Roman Empire. He surprised everyone by openly supporting Christianity ever since.

According to historical records, Empress Helena, mother of Constantine, the first Christian emperor in Rome, later traveled to Jerusalem and claimed that she discovered the hiding place of the three crosses that were believed to have been used at the crucifixion of Jesus and the two thieves with him.

According to Bishop Eusebius of Caesaria, (AD263-339), a Roman historian, in his work, "Life of Constantine", describes how the site of the cross had been located with the help of archaeological findings. The location was covered with earth and a pagan temple was already been built there.

Empress Helene ordered the temple destroyed, the place excavated, and the three crosses were then uncovered. In Eusebius' version of the story, His Holiness Maccarius, the patriarch of Jerusalem, had the three crosses touch a deathly sick woman. The woman was recovered at the touch of the third cross, which was taken as a sign that this was the true cross of Christ. The cross became the new Christian symbol.

A new church, known as "The Church of the Holy Sepulchre" was built at that site by the patriarch of Jerusalem.

Eastern Orthodox Church, along with Roman Catholic Church and a number of protestant denominations, celebrate the feast of the discovery of the cross on September 14, the anniversary of the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The cross on which Jesus had been nailed, and on which he died, became the object of special respect and worship sign for Christian believers everywhere in the world since then.

See Also:

Sermons and Bible Commentaries for Sleebo Feast

Malankara World Supplement on Sleebo Feast

Feast of The Exaltation of The Holy Cross - Historic Background

Triumph of the Cross: Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

The Power of the Holy Cross - The Patriarchal Journal, 1991

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