Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Exaltation Of The Holy Cross. Feast Day, Today, 14 September.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

The Exaltation of The Holy Cross.
Feast Day 14 September.


Red Vestments.

The Exaltation of The Holy Cross.

On 14 September 335 A.D., there took place the Dedication of Constantine's Basilica, which enclosed both Calvary and The Holy Sepulchre. "At this date," says Etheria, "The Cross was discovered. And the anniversary is celebrated with as much Solemnity as Easter or The Epiphany."

Such was the origin of The Feast of The Exaltation of The Cross. "When I shall be raised on high, I shall draw everything unto Me" (Gospel), Jesus had said.

It is because The Saviour humbled Himself, being obedient even to the Death of The Cross, that God exalted Him and gave Him a name above all other names (Epistle). Wherefore, we must glory in the Cross of Jesus, for He is our Life and our Salvation (Introit) and He protects His servants against the wiles of their enemies (Offertory, Communion, Postcommunion).

Towards the end of the reign of Phocas [Editor: Byzantine Emperor, 602 A.D. - 610 A.D.], Chosroes, King of Persia, says the legend of The Breviary, took Jerusalem, where he put to death several thousand Christians and carried off to Persia The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which Saint Helen had placed on Mount Calvary.

Heraclius, the successor of Phocas, had recourse to many Fasts and Prayers, imploring with great fervour the help of God. He assembled an army and defeated Chosroes. He then insisted on the restitution of The Cross of The Lord.

Thus, the precious Relic was recovered after an interval of fourteen years. On his return to Jerusalem, Heraclius carried it on his shoulders, in great pomp, to the Mount where the Saviour, Himself, had borne it (629 A.D.).

An extraordinary Miracle marked the occasion. Heraclius, who was loaded with ornaments of gold and precious stones, was held back by an invisible force at the entrance gate of Mount Calvary, and vain were his efforts to enter.

As the Emperor and all those who witnessed the scene were astonished, Zacharias, Bishop of Jerusalem, said to him: "Consider, O Emperor, that, with these triumphal ornaments, you are far from imitating the poverty of Jesus Christ and His humility in bearing His Cross."

Heraclius, thereupon, doffed his splendid garb and walked barefoot with a common cloak on his shoulders to Calvary, where he again deposited The Cross. The Feast of the Exaltation of The Holy Cross on the original spot, the anniversary of which was celebrated on this day, became of great importance.

Let us join, in spirit, the Faithful, who, in the Church of The Holy Cross, at Rome, Venerate on this day the Relics of The Sacred Wood, exposed for the occasion, so that, having been privileged to adore it on this Feast, when we rejoice for its Exaltation, we may, likewise, possess for all Eternity the Salvation and Glory that The Cross has won for us (Collect, Secret).

Mass: Nos autem gloriari oportet in Cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi. (But it behoves us to glory in The Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ).

St Andrew Daily Missal (Traditional Mass)

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