The Feast of the Appearance of the Sign of the Cross in Heaven at the Patriarchate

On Friday, May 20, 2022, the Patriarchate celebrated the feast of the appearance of the sign of the Precious Cross in heaven.

On this feast the Church, and in particular the Church of Jerusalem celebrates the event which took place in the year 351, at the third hour, which is at nine o’clock in the morning, a cross more brilliant than the rays sun appeared and was visible from Golgotha ​​to the Mount of Olives. The cross was seen by many inhabitants of Jerusalem who, in fear, glorified God, according to the description written by Cyril the Archbishop of Jerusalem to the Emperor Constantius, son of Saint Constantine the Great.

For this event, the Divine Liturgy was celebrated at the Horrible Golgotha, by His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios of Kapitolias, with the co-celebration of the Hagiotaphite Hieromonks, Priests and Priests of other Orthodox Churches and Deacons, under the song of Hierodeacon Simeon and M. Gotsopoulos. . The service was attended by religious nuns and devout Christians.

After the Divine Liturgy there was a procession with the Hagiotaphite High Priests and Hieromonks from the Slate of Deposition to the Holy Sepulchre, marching three times around the Sacred Aedicule.

After the procession, the officiating Metropolitan stood in front of the Sacred Aedicule and read the Gospel account of Easter Sunday and the letter of Saint Cyril, with the description of the celebrated event in Greek, and His Eminence Archbishop Theodosios de Sebastia read the translation of this letter. in Arabic. There was a plea at the end of the readings.

Finally, the bells ringing, the Episcopal entourage returned to the seat of the Patriarchate and paid homage to His Beatitude our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilus. His Eminence Metropolitan Isychios addressed His Beatitude as follows:

“Your Beatitude, Father and Master,

Twenty centuries ago, the cross was an instrument of shameful punishment and horrible death. The Romans condemned the greatest criminals to death by crucifixion.

Today, the cross dominates the whole life of the Christian faithful, the whole life of our Church, as an instrument of sacrifice, salvation, joy, sanctification and grace. As Saint Chrysostom writes, “this accursed and abominable symbol of the worst punishment has now become coveted and lovable”. You see it everywhere: “In the Holy Table, in the ordinations of priests, in the divine liturgy, in homes. This marvelous gift has become so necessary for all, this inexpressible grace. ”

The Lord himself, with supernatural facts and wondrous revelations, has repeatedly vividly revealed how the sign of the cross is his symbol and the invincible trophy of the faithful.

The well-known ecclesiastical historian Eusebius of Caesarea (+340), a contemporary of Saint Constantine the Great, vividly and unequivocally describes the well-known incident of the appearance of the luminous cross on Constantine the Great with the inscription “ be victorious with this,” and indeed in broad daylight, with witnesses all the men of his army.

In addition to the above supernatural revelation of the sign of the cross, there was another, again before countless eyewitnesses, when the king was Constantius, son of St. Constantine, and St. Cyril was the Archbishop of Jerusalem. The miracle is told by Saint Cyril himself to the king in a letter, in which he states that on that day (May 7, 346 AD, Pentecost period), around the third hour (9 a.m.), the sign of the Holy Cross appeared in the sky, huge, luminous, stretching from Saint Golgotha ​​to the Mount of Olives. Not one or two saw it, but all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

And she did not appear just for a moment, but for many hours she clung to the firmament. And it was so bright that it exceeded the sun’s rays in the Flash, so they could see it clearly in daylight at noon. Seeing this miracle, the townspeople ran to the Church of the Resurrection.

If September 14 is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-giving Cross, a feast in which human hands, patriarchal and royal, raised the Holy Cross, projecting it as the symbol of the Christian faith and the “lock of Paradise” because this is the point of our reference to Him who shed his sacred blood there, May 7 is another celebration of his exaltation, not by human hands this time, but by the “hands” of God himself. Because He willed, when the Christian faith was already accepted and expanded, to reveal the Cross in Heaven, as an extension, shall we say, of His revelation on Constantine the Great, with the well-known “In this be victorious “.

Our Church’s hymnology sheds light on the event and imbues it with all its parameters: “Today the divine multitude of the faithful rejoice. Because the Cross appeared in Heaven in large part. The air shines with an uncreated light. The air lights up and the face of the earth becomes beautiful. The Church of Christ sings divine songs. The Church shows her respect, honoring the divine and miraculous Cross which protects her from Heaven” (free translation of a sticheron from Vespers).

The Venerable Patriarchate of Jerusalem, following the order and practice of the Orthodox Church, honors and celebrates the feasts, among which is the present feast, “of the appearance of the sign of the Precious Cross in heaven”, which , although a local holiday, has an effect on Orthodoxy worldwide.

Pray to Your Beatitude that Our Venerable Fraternity will continue this tradition for centuries to come”.

Source: Patriarchate of Jerusalem

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