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September 14 (Commemorated November 13) - Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 14 in the Holy Orthodox Church is the Feast of the Exaltation (Elevation) of the Holy Cross. On this day, we commemorate two events connected with the Precious Cross of Christ: the finding of the Cross on Golgotha, and the returning of the Cross to Jerusalem from Persia. While in the Holy Land, the Empress Helena learned that the Holy Cross was buried underneath the temple of the pagan goddess Venus built on Golgotha. She demanded it torn down and the Cross be excavated. The search turned up three crosses. Uncertain which was the true Cross, the Patriarch Marcarius ordered that each cross be placed on the corpse in a funeral procession passing by. The first two produced nothing, but the third brought the man back to life, thus determining that this was the very Cross on which our Savior brought life to the world. Later, King Chozroes conquered Jerusalem, took the people into slavery and carried off the Lord’s Cross to Persia. In 628, the Greek Emperor Heraclius defeated Chozroes, and brought the Cross back to Jerusalem with great ceremony. Heraclius was carrying the Cross on his back when, suddenly, he froze. The Patriarch Zacharias saw an angel directing the emperor to take off his robes and walk with the same extreme humility with which our Savior bore His Cross. The emperor complied, and was able to finish the procession to the Church of the Resurrection on Golgotha, where he restored the Holy Cross.

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