Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Holy Cross Day

Why does Holy Cross Day come in September, not Good Friday? It goes back to the 4th century. Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, after her son and his empire had adopted Christianity, went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem to find and preserve sites associated with Jesus. 

Legend has it that Helena discovered part of the cross of Jesus and believed she’d discovered the site of Calvary and the resurrection tomb nearby. Here she built a chapel, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which was dedicated on 14th September 335. So 14th September became a day for recognizing the Cross and celebrating what it symbolizes, a symbol of triumph, a sign of Christ's victory over death, and a reminder of His promise,
"When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself." (John 12:32)
The gospel reading for Holy Communion today says it all:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, god did not send the son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." (John 3: 16-17)


2 comments:

  1. Cool! She sounds like a remarkable woman, and I am glad she preserved those sites! I had no idea the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was that old. Roy and I visited it and Israel 21 years ago,when we were just married.

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  2. Anita - yes I think she was a remarkable woman and in her 80s at the time! I believe she became a Christian first and then her son could see the advantages of Christianity as a means of keeping peace across his empire. The 4th century small chapel has been built, enlarged, rebuilt and fought over many times since then. I've visited it in 1988 and then last year. Both times I hated it! Ownership of the building is hotly disputed between different Christian churches. Apparently the only person therefore who can be entrusted with the key is a Muslim!

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