SEPTEMBER 17, 2017 - “THE CROSS ON WHICH JESUS DIED”
It is not surprising that early Christians sought the Cross on which Christ died. This desire was thwarted for some 300 years because Christianity was a persecuted faith. But with the conversion of Constantine the Great and his victory at war, a new era was opened for the Gospel. It ws then that his mother, St. Helen, set out to find the sacred Wood on which th e Lord was crucified.
Since centuries had passed from the time of the crucifixion, finding the Cross was no simple task. Finally, an old Jewish man is said to have led the searchers to a site at Golgotha, and there the Cross was recovered. Christians rejoiced at the event, and the Patriarch hoisted the Wood for all to see and venerate.
In the early 7th century, Persians sacked Jerusalem and its environs, taking the Cross as a prize of war. But Christians could not forget the relic. After some 15 years, Heraklios led an army to victory over the Persians, and the Cross was recovered. Again it was lifted high for all to venerate and rejoice. It is from these two events that we have the Feastday of the Elevation of the Life-Giving Cross.
The Cross has become an emblem of victory – a symbol of triumph. Let us exalt it with joy, for it is the source of our life in Christ the Lord.