On Sunday, September 30, our Parish held celebration of the great Lord’s holy day of the Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross.
Before the reading of the Hours the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov placed the cross in the middle of the church and venerated it.
At the Divine Liturgy, after the Gospel lesson the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He explained the origin of the celebration of that Lord’s holy day which is dedicated to the Precious Cross of Christ but is also a commemoration of a historical event of discovering the Cross by holy and devout Empress Helen in the 4th century. At that time the sacred places of Christ Passion and Resurrection became desecrated by setting pagan temples and by different debris and rubbish which covered those sites. St. Helen ordered to clean up the rubbish and to destroy pagan temples, then to start excavations. After the finding of the Cross on Golgotha it had been exalted by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Macarius and the multitudes fell on their knees and exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy!” many times.
We have to follow the example of St. Helen and find the Cross in our hearts. In a spiritual sense, symbolically, we need to clean up the rubbish to discover the Cross: we need to set aside our earthly cares and to focus on the spiritual life. We also need to repent. The Cross of Christ has to be cleaned by our repentance, washed by the tears of compunction and exalted by the acts of piety. Our symbolic pagan temples are our serving the sins and passions. They also have to be destroyed in our souls. Being Christians, we have to follow Christ bearing the Cross and exalting it in our life.
The choir beautifully performed hymns dedicated to the Holy Cross during preparation for Holy Communion.
Following the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in English addressing the ideas of his Russian homily. Then he and the altar server performed the rite of Glorification before the Cross and the icon of the feast singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the Exaltation. After that the Rector and parishioners venerated the Cross.
Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious food and a nice company.