Feast of the Holy Cross

Feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross 

On Sunday, October 23, the Armenian Church will observe the Feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross. The feast day marks the 4th-century “discovery” of the actual cross of the Crucifixion by Queen Helena, mother of the Roman emperor Constantine.

At the advanced age of 80, this pious Christian woman made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land to identify places where Christ had walked some 300 years earlier. There, after years of prayer and good works, Helena was witness to a miracle: at the foot of Golgotha—the hill where Christ was crucified—workers under her sponsorship unearthed three wooden crosses.

But which one was the true Cross of Christ? In an ingenious solution, the workers brought the body of a recently-deceased man to the site. Placing him on the first two crosses produced no result. But when he was placed on the third, the body stirred to life. This, Helena concluded, must be the True Cross—still surging with the miraculous, life-giving power of Christ’s Resurrection.

The cross is a source of great pride for Armenians as a khachagir—or “cross-bearing”—nation. Over the centuries, Armenians have borne Christ’s cross with faith, hope, and love. What was once an instrument of torture and death would become for Christians the symbol of salvation, and victory over death.

Click here to read more about the significance of the cross.

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