And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha (John 19:17)
With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, Archbishop of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, the parishioners of Saint Sergius of Radonezh Orthodox Church in Sargodha Pakistan participated in the Divine Liturgy and venerated the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The solemn celebration opened with the procession of the Holy Cross followed by the festive Divine Liturgy. The special prayers were offered for the health and blessed good years of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia, Shepherd of the Russian Orthodox Church, and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.
We also offered prayed for the peace and harmony for the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine and for the health and protection of His Eminence Metropolitan Onufry of Kiev. We humbly said prayers for the Orthodox clergy and faithful, peace, unity, brotherhood and solidarity throughout the world.
In the homily, we talked about the historical and theological background of the commemoration of the “The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross of our Lord and Saviour, and the Veneration of the Holy Cross in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Orthodox Christians all over the world venerate the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with true zeal for their salvation and to defeat the evil forces of the world.
In Pakistan and all over the world, Orthodox Christians are proud of their faith and the Holy Cross of Jesus is strengthening their faith and giving them courage to face the challenges of life with vim and vigor in all circumstances. Further, he emphasized that in our sufferings and persecutions, St. Paul helps us to understand the love of God, which is manifested through the Holy Cross of Jesus.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Homily by St. John Chrysostom, Concerning the Cross and the Thief
We are able to see Christ's inexpressible love for man not only from the cross itself but also from the words which He spoke whilst upon the cross. At the very time when He was nailed and they were mocking Him, deriding Him and spitting upon Him, He said: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).
“O most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, help us together with our Holy Lady Virgin Theotokos, and with all the saints throughout the ages.” Amen!