Παρασκευή, 14 Σεπτεμβρίου 2018

The Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross

Commemorated on September 14

Troparion & Kontakion

Orthodox Church in America


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 (117-138) 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.

Pagans gathered at this place and offered sacrifice to idols there. Eventually after 300 years, by Divine Providence, the great Christian sacred remains, the Sepulchre of the Lord and the Life-Creating Cross were again discovered and opened for veneration. This took place under the Emperor Constantine the Great (306-337) after his victory in the year 312 over Maxentius, ruler of the Western part of the Roman empire, and over Licinius, ruler of its Eastern part. In the year 323 Constantine became the sole ruler of the vast Roman Empire.

In 313 he had issued the Edict of Milan, by which the Christian religion was legalized and the persecutions against Christians in the Western half of the empire were stopped. The ruler Licinius, although he had signed the Edict of Milan to oblige Constantine, still fanatically continued the persecutions against Christians. Only after his conclusive defeat did the 313 Edict of toleration extend also to the Eastern part of the empire. The Holy Equal of the Apostles Emperor Constantine, having gained victory over his enemies in three wars with God’s assistance, had seen in the heavens the Sign of the Cross, and written beneath: “By this you shall conquer.”

Ardently desiring to find the Cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, Saint Constantine sent his mother, the pious Empress Helen (May 21), to Jerusalem, providing her with a letter to Saint Macarius, Patriarch of Jerusalem.

Although the holy empress Helen was already in her declining years, she set about completing the task with enthusiasm. The empress gave orders to destroy the pagan temple and the statues in Jerusalem. Searching for the Life-Creating Cross, she made inquiry of Christians and Jews, but for a long time her search remained unsuccessful.

Finally, they directed her to a certain elderly Hebrew by the name of Jude who stated that the Cross was buried where the temple of Venus stood. They demolished the pagan temple and, after praying, they began to excavate the ground. Soon the Tomb of the Lord was uncovered. Not far from it were three crosses, a board with the inscription ordered by Pilate, and four nails which had pierced the Lord’s Body (March 6).

In order to discern on which of the three crosses the Savior was crucified, Patriarch Macarius alternately touched the crosses to a corpse. When the Cross of the Lord touched the dead one, he came to life. Having beheld the raising of the dead man, everyone was convinced that the Life-Creating Cross was found.

Christians came in a huge throng to venerate the Holy Cross, beseeching Saint Macarius to elevate the Cross, so that even those far off might reverently contemplate it. Then the Patriarch and other spiritual leaders raised up the Holy Cross, and the people, saying “Lord have mercy,” reverently prostrated before the Venerable Wood. This solemn event occurred in the year 326. 

 

 
 
During the discovery of the Life-Creating Cross another miracle took place: a grievously sick woman, beneath the shadow of the Holy Cross, was healed instantly. The elder Jude and other Jews there believed in Christ and accepted Holy Baptism. Jude received the name Cyriacus and afterwards was consecrated Bishop of Jerusalem.

During the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363) he accepted a martyr’s death for Christ (see October 28). The holy empress Helen journeyed to the holy places connected with the earthly life of the Savior, building more than 80 churches, at Bethlehem the birthplace of Christ, and on the Mount of Olives where the Lord ascended to Heaven, and at Gethsemane where the Savior prayed before His sufferings and where the Mother of God was buried after her death.

Saint Helen took part of the Life-Creating Wood and nails with her to Constantinople. The holy emperor Constantine gave orders to build at Jerusalem a majestic and spacious church in honor of the Resurrection of Christ, also including under its roof the Life-Giving Tomb of the Lord and Golgotha. The temple was constructed in about ten years. Saint Helen did not survive until the dedication of the temple, she died in the year 327. The church was consecrated on September 13, 335. On the following day, September 14, the festal celebration of the Exaltation of the Venerable and Life-Creating Cross was established.

Another event connected to the Cross of the Lord is remembered also on this day: its return to Jerusalem from Persia after a fourteen year captivity. During the reign of the Byzantine emperor Phocas (602-610) the Persian emperor Khozroes II in a war against the Greeks defeated the Greek army, plundered Jerusalem and captured both the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord and the Holy Patriarch Zachariah (609-633).

The Cross remained in Persia for fourteen years and only under the emperor Heraclius (610-641), who with the help of God defeated Khozroes and concluded peace with his successor and son Syroes, was the Cross of the Lord returned to the Christians.

With great solemnity the Life-creating Cross was transferred to Jerusalem. Emperor Heraclius in imperial crown and royal purple carried the Cross of Christ into the temple of the Resurrection. With the emperor went Patriarch Zacharios. At the gates by which they ascended Golgotha, the emperor suddenly stopped and was not able to proceed farther. The holy Patriarch explained to the emperor that an angel of the Lord was blocking his way. The emperor was told to remove his royal trappings and to walk barefoot, since He Who bore the Cross for the salvation of the world from sin had made His way to Golgotha in all humility. Then Heraclius donned plain garb, and without further hindrance, carried the Cross of Christ into the church.

In a sermon on the Exaltation of the Cross, Saint Andrew of Crete (July 4) says: “The Cross is exalted, and everything true gathers together, the Cross is exalted, and the city makes solemn, and the people celebrate the feast”. 

 
See also
 
Giving Thanks for All Things – The Cruciform Life
Jesus Christ and Nicodemus - A little of the theology of the Cross: The Sunday before the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14): the crossroads of history and the Tree of Life...
Sunday after the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross: "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me"

Two miracles of the Holy Cross in Africa (Congo)
An Atonement of Shame – Orthodoxy and the Cross
Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy
Holy Cross Resource Page
Elevation of the Holy Cross
Kiss The Who's What?

Του Τιμίου Σταυρού & άγιοι + μνήμες (& ένα βιβλίο) γύρω απ' αυτόν!...

Σάββατο, 8 Σεπτεμβρίου 2018

Theotokos vs Nazi - The Miracle of the Theotokos in Orchomenos on September 10, 1943



ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΕΔΩ 
 
On 8 September 1943, the day of the feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, the Italians capitulated and in the beginning refused to surrender their weapons to their German allies. In Orchomenos of Boetia the regional organization E.A.M. felt they could capitalize on this and accept the Italian arms. The Italians refused this and went with their weapons to Livadia. On the way the Germans surrounded them and disarmed them, and the Italians betrayed the people of Orchomenos by stating their intentions. When the Germans learned of the intentions of the people of Orchomenos they sent against them the next day, September 9th, armored vehicles. When the people of Orchomenos heard this they left and arrived at the crossroads of Agios Andreas, unprepared and disorganized as they were, and scattered throughout the surrounding area to the most remote Dionysus (Tsamaliou). The Germans continued the chase, to retaliate against Orchomenos, as was their usual tactic.


When the Germans entered Orchomenos they took 600 hostages, left a section in the village, and sent three tanks against the rest to Dionysus. On the night of the 9th towards the 10th of September, at around midnight, about 550 meters away from the Byzantine Church of the Panagia Skripou (874 AD), the three German tanks were immobilized for no apparent reason. As the German commander known as Hoffman later recounted, the form of a woman had appeared in the night sky with her hand raised in a prohibitive stance. Commander Hoffman then requested a tractor to pull the tanks, and he beheld another miracle when the tractor was able to easily pull the heavy tanks like an empty matchbox. He then proclaimed "miracle! miracle!" and asked the residents to take him into the church. From the icon in the church the commander recognized the woman to be the Virgin Mary. He fell down on his knees and said: "This woman saved you! You must honor her and glorify her!"


 
Orchomenos was indeed saved by the Panagia and the 600 hostages were freed with a vow by the commander that the village would not be harmed. Following the war, Commander Hoffman returned to the Church of Panagia Skripou, donating an icon of the vision he saw along with an large oil lamp. Just about every year he returned on September 10th to commemorate the event and light a candle in the church. For this reason the Panagia Skripou celebrates a feast on September 10th every year. A procession takes place with the icon on this day to the spot where the tanks were immobilized.
 
See also:  

Saint Charalambos of Magnesia (vs Nazi) 

The Miracle of Saint Menas in El Alamein in 1942
Orthodox New Martyrs in France vs Nazi

Not often you see a Nazi serpent in an icon
Holy New Martyrs of Jasenovac Concentration Camp
Orthodox Holiness - The New Martyrs of Bosnia

Orthodox Pascha (Easter) in Dachau 

 

The Nativity of Theotokos (September 8), a day of universal joy

Icon from here
 
Click please:

  
A Homily by st John of Kronstadt for the Nativity of the Most Holy Mother of God
 

Σάββατο, 1 Σεπτεμβρίου 2018

Happy Spring [or Autumn] Day! Happy New Year!



Notes from underground (Orthodox Christians from South Africa)

 
Today, we are told, is officially the start of Spring*, and it is also New Year’s Day — welcome to the year 7519 (I think). *Note of our blog: The writer writes "spring" instead of autumn because he is in the southern hemisphere.

Of course to those on the old calendar, the new year won’t begin for another 13 days (14 September Gregorian), and for those who paid attention in geography lessons at school spring won’t begin until the equinox on 21 September, or thereabouts. But according to our mulberry trea, it’s already been spring for a couple of weeks. It seems to sprout its new leaves on about 19/20 August every year. And that’s just about when the jacarandas finish losing their leaves — they always seem to be the last.
It’s been a warm winter. It was cold for a couple of weeks during the world cup, but it’s felt like spring for well over a month now. Twenty-one years ago the Patriarch of Constantinople, Dimitrios, urged Orthodox Christians to make 1 September a day of prayer for God’s creation and for the environment. You can read his message here. His successor as Patriarch, Bartholomew, has continued to encourage the practice, and as a result has been named the first among the top 15 “green” religious leaders. The day has since been adopted by other Christian bodies as well, and the first day of spring seems like an appropriate time for it.
Wednesday 1st September 2010
 
* Tone 5 – Week after PENTECOST 14
 
CHURCH NEW YEAR – DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT

St. Simeon Stylites, the Elder
(459)
St. Martha the Mother of St Simeon Stylites (the Elder)
(c 428)
Martyr Aithalas of Persia
(380)
Holy Forty Women Martyrs and Martyr Ammon the Deacon their teacher, at Heraclea (4th) [icon]
Righteous Joshua the Son of Nun (16th BC)
St Fiacre, Hermit of Meaux (670)
St Giles the Greek, Hermit and Abbot (8th)
St Drithelm of Melrose, Monk (c 700)
 
  Revised Julian (New Style) Calendar
 
St. Meletius the New
from Cappadocia
Martyr Callista with her brothers at Nicomedia
Finding of the Icon of the Mother of God at the Miasena Monastery
Icon of the Mother of God “Chernigov-Gethsemane”
Icon of the Mother of God, the “All Blessed”
Venerable Evanthia
 
Church New Year 
The first day of the Church New Year is also called the beginning of the Indiction. The term Indiction comes from a Latin word meaning, “to impose.” It was originally applied to the imposition of taxes in Egypt. The first worldwide Indiction was in 312 when the Emperor Constantine (May 21) saw a miraculous vision of the Cross in the sky. Before the introduction of the Julian calendar, Rome began the New Year on September 1. According to Holy Tradition, Christ entered the synagogue [icon] on September 1 to announce His mission to mankind (Luke 4:16-22. Quoting Isaiah 61:1-2), the Savior proclaimed, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to proclaim release to captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord...” This scene is depicted in a Vatican manuscript (Vatican, Biblioteca. Cod. Gr. 1613, p.1). Tradition says that the Hebrews entered the Promised Land in September. 
 
See also