His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia during the services at St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill, NJ, celebrating the Elevation of the Holy Cross on September 14. Photo: Steve Lambrou
CHERRY HILL, NJ – On September 14, the parish of Saint Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill, NJ, celebrated the Divine Liturgy for the Elevation of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross with His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia presiding. Metropolis of New Jersey Chancellor Fr. Christoforos Oikonomidis, St. Thomas presiding priest Fr. Avgoustinos Psomas, Fr. Steve (Stavros) Vlahos, Father Floren, and Deacon Joseph also participated in the service.
One of the Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church, the Elevation of the Holy Cross is one of the two feast days which is held as a strict fast. The other is the commemoration of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist on August 29.
In 326 AD, Saint Helen went to Jerusalem to worship in the Holy Land and thank God for the triumphs of her son Constantine the Great. Saint Helen, prompted by her Christian faith, began investigations to find the Holy Cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.
During excavations on Golgotha, where a pagan temple to Aphrodite was torn down, three crosses were eventually found, but which of the three was the True Cross? Then Bishop Makarios of Jerusalem, with several priests, after prayers, touched the crosses to the body of a pious lady who had died. When the third cross touched her, which was truly the Lord’s, the woman immediately resurrected.
The news spread throughout Jerusalem and as crowds gathered, the Holy Cross was raised up so that all could see it. September 14 was then established by the Holy Fathers of the Church as the Feast of the Elevation of the Holy Cross.
NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, as a member of the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, participated in its deliberation, which was convened May 29-30 under the leadership of His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
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