Resurrection and took the True Cross back with them to Persia. Fourteen years later Emperor Heraclius concluded a peace with the Persians, and the Holy Cross was brought to the imperial capital of Constantinople. The Emperor, taking off his shoes and his imperial robes, carried the Cross into the Church of Holy Wisdom (Agia Sophia) where it was once again triumphantly exalted. It was then resolved that the Feast be celebrated by the Church in all parts of the world, for which reason it is called the Universal Exaltation.
The Exaltation of the Lord’s Cross has arrived. Then the Cross was erected on a high place, so that the people could see it and render honor to it. Now, the cross is raised in the churches and monasteries. But this is all external. There is a spiritual exaltation of the cross in the heart.
The Feast is an opportunity outside of the observances of Holy Week to celebrate the full significance of the victory of the Cross over the powers of the world, and the triumph of the wisdom of God through the Cross over the wisdom of this world.
The Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Creating Cross of the Lord: The pagan Roman emperors tried to completely eradicate from human memory the holy places where our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and was resurrected for mankind. The Emperor Hadrian gave orders to cover over the ground of Golgotha and the Sepulchre of the Lord, and to build a temple of the pagan goddess Venus and a statue of Jupiter.
All that Christ wrought, He did that He might share His glory with us. This is the beginning, middle, and end of the spiritual life. This is our goal. In Orthodoxy, we can say that our standard is nothing less than the glory, the perfection of Christ.
The texts for this feast are filled with numerous symbols that glorify the instrument of Christ’s victory over death, revealing the soteriological aspects of theology and speaking of the priceless gifts that believers have acquired through the salvific death of Jesus.
Made a little lower than the angels (cf. Ps. 8:6), the king to whom were subject all the earthly animals, man in paradise did not consider himself pleased with his state. Man desired what was not according to his organic, created nature, and thus was the first great sin committed.
Today on the occasion of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious and Life Giving Holy Cross, I am asking you to follow our Lord Jesus Christ, and live according to the Way of the Cross. When we give ourselves to following our Christ by living a life of love, we will able to know His peace.
There is a passage in the Gospel in which the Lord says to us, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (Jn. 15:13). These words resolve the antinomy between the horror of the Cross and the glory of it, between death and the Resurrection.
At the very heart of the Gospel is the Cross of the Lord, and this is what Saint Paul is not ashamed of. Thus, whenever we commemorate the Cross, we are reminded of this and of the profound words we hear at every Liturgy after we commune with the Lord: “...for through the Cross, joy has come into the world.”
The cross is the heart and soul of the Christian faith. It has been the source of devotion in life and comfort in death. The sign of the cross has been, since the earliest times, the act that has preceded, attended and closed the actions and thoughts of faithful Christians.
Live selfishly, and you will lose everything, your life will be lost in lonely boredom and you will die selfishly. On the other hand, the history of the Church teaches us that the saints, who lived for Christ, were neither lonely nor bored, neither futile nor lost. By living for the Cross of Christ, not only do they not taste of death at the Last Judgement, but even more, they do not taste of the spiritual death and loss of lonely and selfish pride.
The power of the Cross is given to each and every Christian. But just as a soldier must learn to properly wield his weapons in battle, so a warrior of Christ must learn how correctly to make the sign of the cross. A shield has no effect if carelessly waved about in the air. Likewise, there are many who receive no benefit from the sign of the Cross because they make it mechanically or haphazardly.