The Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated on September 14th each year, is a Christian feast that commemorates three significant events related to the Cross of Christ. The feast is a celebration of the Cross as a symbol of salvation and the triumph of Christ over death.
The first event recalled is the finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great. According to tradition, she discovered the Cross in Jerusalem during her pilgrimage in the 4th century.
The second event commemorated is the dedication of churches built by Emperor Constantine on the sites of the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Calvary in Jerusalem. These churches marked the locations of Christ’s crucifixion and burial.
The third event remembered is the restoration of the True Cross to Jerusalem in AD 629 by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. The Cross had been taken by the Persian Emperor Chosroes II during the Sasanian conquest of Jerusalem in AD 614. Heraclius successfully recaptured the Cross and returned it to Jerusalem.
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated with liturgical services, prayers, and veneration of the Cross. It is a day of reflection on the significance of the Cross in Christianity, emphasizing its role in the redemption of humanity and the victory of Christ’s sacrifice over sin and death.