‘The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is hidden in the Holy Cross,’ Patriarch Daniel said Thursday in his homily delivered at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest, explaining the unalterable tie between Christ, His Cross and His Resurrection.
On the Feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of Romania, celebrated the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest, having Bishop Timotei of Prahova as concelebrant.
The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross shows us that Christ’s Cross is the sign of a love that conquers sin and death, the patriarch said Sept. 14.
His Beatitude started his homily by evoking the history of how the Holy cross was found and what is the significance of the solemnity celebrated on Sept. 14.
The patriarch recalled that the Cross was found by Saint Helen in Jerusalem in 328, after demolishing the temple of the pagan goddess Venus and the statue of Jupiter deliberately built in 119 by the order of Emperor Adrian to cover the ground of Golgotha and the Sepulchre of the Lord.
The holy Emperor Constantine gave orders to build at Jerusalem a majestic and spacious church in honour 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.
The feast was reconfirmed in 629, when Patriarch Zacharias of Jerusalem presented the faithful with the precious wood of the Holy Cross, after recovering it from the Persians.
Reflecting on the day’s gospel reading from John that refers to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the patriarch went on to explain the close tie between the cross and the resurrection.
Today’s feast reveals the sacrificial, humble and merciful love of Christ that overcomes Adam’s sin of disobedience by a perfect obedience to God, the patriarch said.
He added that this sacrificial, humble and patient love was made manifest in its glory through Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
Referring to the Holy Cross, Patriarch Daniel cautioned that the cross could not be transformed into a magical sign because the gracious power of the Cross gushes forth from its direct connection to the person of Christ.
He recalled that when we bow down before the Holy Cross, we do not venerate a piece of wood separated from Christ, but we worship Christ who was crucified on the Cross and who conquered death through his resurrection.
The patriarch ended his festal speech by urging everyone to honour the Holy Cross and to refer to it in order to receive help in any difficulty.
When passing through suffering, tribulations, or sickness, if we sign ourselves with the sign of the holy Cross, meditating on our Saviour Jesus Christ, and ask for his help, then He will change our physical suffering into spiritual triumph and will grant us the power to bear the cross of our life.
What does the cross of life mean? The cross of trials, the cross of labours, the cross of self-offering in order to help our fellows, the cross parents bear to bring their children up and to instruct them in the faith, the cross spouses bear when helping one another and work the deeds of faith, the cross monastics bear when struggling in fast and prayer, in repentance and spiritual feats, in their desire to sanctify their life, the cross of those who are sick, alone, orphans, poor or homeless, and the cross of those who do not receive consolation from no one except God, the patriarch said.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy, Patriarch Daniel ordained hieromonk Maxim Culic a protosyncellus and presented him with a pectoral cross and an epigonation.
Credit: Robert Nicolae / Basilica.ro