By Bishop Gregory of Mesaoria
Today we celebrate the Universal Exaltation of the Holy and Life-bearing Cross.
In 326 AD, St. Helen, equal to the Apostles, went to the Holy Land to worship and thank the Lord for the triumphs of her son, Constantine the Great, who was aware that the victory was due to the revelation of the sign of the Holy Cross, which he saw in heaven.
Arriving in Calvary, she ordered them to dig in a place where three crosses were drawn. Not knowing who the Holy Cross is, the Bishop of Jerusalem, Macarius, touched the body of a revered dead woman in succession of the three crosses. As soon as the woman’s dead body touched the Holy Cross, she was resurrected.
Then, with great reverence and faith, St. Helen worshiped the life-bearing Cross. The Council of the Lords followed. Then the Bishop of Jerusalem, Macarius, went up to the pulpit and raised the Holy Cross with both hands, revealing it to all Christians, who shouted “Lord Mercy” with one mouth. From then on, the Holy Fathers set out to celebrate all over the world the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in order to glorify the Christ who was crucified there.
It is also reminiscent of what happened on September 14, 628 AD, when Emperor Heraclitus delivered the Holy Cross to the church of the Resurrection, after a liturgy in which he participated in an impassioned and humble clothing. The Holy Cross was received by Patriarch Zacharias.
The honor of the two historical events spread from Jerusalem, to Constantinople and Cyprus, as well as throughout the Church, East and West.
The Cross of the Lord, from an instrument of condemnation, curse, and shame, became, through the death of our Lord, a symbol of resurrection, glory, triumph and honor.
It should be noted that today the Church commands strict fasting to the faithful.
Source: Church of Cyprus