The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was celebrated at the Church of Saints Constantine and Helene, Perth, WA, with a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy officiated by Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea and in the presence of the Greek Consul in Perth, Georgia Karasiotou.
The Feast commemorated the finding of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Saint Helene, the mother of Emperor Constantine, in the fourth century.
The faithful were given the opportunity to venerate the Holy Cross, outside of the Lenten Period, and to recall how an instrument of shame was used to overcome death and bring salvation and eternal life to the entire world.
Following the Divine Liturgy, a special service was held in which the Holy Cross was placed on a tray surrounded by branches of basil and fresh flowers and taken in solemn procession as the church bells tolled in commemoration of Christ’s crucifixion. The tray was then placed on a table in front of a large decorated wooden cross, and then various petitions were offered from each side of the table (North, South, East, and West) as the Cross was raised and lowered, symbolizing its finding and exaltation.
At the conclusion of the service, Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea reminded everyone that the feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is a strict day of fast and is seen as being like that of Great and Holy Friday.
The faithful came and venerated the Holy Cross and received a piece of basil in commemoration of the plant that was found in the area where the crucifixion took place. The basil is also used in the Orthodox Church during the Feast of Epiphany on January the 6th at the Great Blessing of the Waters.
Bishop Elpidios of Kyanea will be attending the Church of Saints Constantine and Helene on the forthcoming Sunday followed by the annual parish luncheon for the Feast of the Exaltation which will be taking place at the Alexander the Great Centre in Inglewood.