September 14, Feast of the Holy Cross
Each year on September 14 the Orthodox Church celebrates the feast of “The Elevation of the Honorable and Life-giving Cross.” This is one of the great feasts of the Church year.
his feast commemorates two events:
- The finding of the Cross by the Empress Helen (the mother of St. Constantine the Great) on Golgotha in 326 AD, the place where Christ was crucified.
- The recovery of the Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified from the Persians.
The ceremony of Elevation as performed in Church is actually a patriotic one, with prayers for the Rulers and their people, for Church and State, and for their establishment and preservation. The key to the observance is to be found in the Hymn for the Feast, the Troparion, which runs as follows:
“Oh Lord, save thy people and bless thine inheritance:
To our Rulers grant victories over the barbarians,
And by thy Cross protect thine own Estate.”