Holy Cross Day Celebration in the Holy Lands
Holy Cross Day celebrates the return of the Holy Cross to the city of Jerusalem. The Cross, originally captured by the Persians, could be recovered only in A.D. 628. The church celebrates this day on September 14 every year. Holy Cross Day commemorates the ultimate sacrifice made by Lord Jesus Christ by dying on the Cross so that we can attain salvation.
Holy Cross Day- Background
September 14 is celebrated as the Holy Cross Day as it was on the same day when the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was assigned on the site of the Lord’s crucifixion in Jerusalem. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, had come across some broken pieces of Holy Cross. She discovered these pieces in 326 CE while on a pilgrimage.
It is believed that the Jews had concealed the Holy Cross in a well or a ditch. They had hidden the Cross with stones over it so that the believers would not chance upon it and revere it. However, very few Jews knew about its exact location. Judas, one of these Jews, was influenced by Divine inspiration and revealed the location to a group of excavators.
St. Helena was full of praises for Judas. Later on, Judas went on to become a famous Christian Saint and was referred to as Cyriacus. Emperor Constantine and St. Helena built a stunning basilica after this stunning revelation.
Holy Cross Day- Celebration
A liturgical feast is celebrated on September 14 every year to show reverence to the Cross on which Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. The Eastern Church calls it “The Exaltation of the Holy Cross”. The Roman Catholic Church embraced the celebration in the 7th century. The Church refers to the feast as “The Triumph of the Cross”. Today, the day is also observed in different Protestant traditions such as Anglicanism and Lutheranism.
According to Eastern Orthodox practice, the day is observed as a fast day. Followers are expected to observe a strict fast. Although it is alright to eat oil, consumption of fish, dairy products, and meat is prohibited. Fasting is not part of any form of legalistic requirements. Rather, we fast for reducing our consumption so that there is something that can be shared with others. We also fast to make space for the presence of God through our prayers and for simplifying our lives.
On this day, the Church holds a special service. The Cross is surrounded by basil branches and put on a tray. The tray is then taken in a grand procession through the Church. Hymns are chanted when the procession is on.
Holy Cross Day- Significance
The Holy Cross is a symbol of the victory of Lord Jesus Christ over death. The day is also a celebration of the transformation of a heinous instrument of torture into a seraphic “tree of life”. The celebration of Holy Cross Day brings rays of hope to mankind. It is also a representation of the sacrifices made by Christ for the salvation of humankind.
As mentioned earlier, the day also celebrates the discovery of the True Cross by St. Helena in the holy world.
You can enjoy direct access to the sites of the Holy Land through The Salvation Garden. Send your prayers and we will be pleased to direct them to your chosen site(s) in the Holy Land. We only urge donations so that we can make all necessary arrangements such as security and travel.
Please write your special prayer request here.