Holy Cross Day
Today the church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Cross. Many churches will hold services on this feast day which commemorates the legend of the finding of the “true cross” of Christ by Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great nearly 300 years after our Lord’s ascension.
“One of the earliest annual celebrations of the Church, Holy Cross Day traditionally commemorated the discovery of the original cross of Jesus on September 14, 320, in Jerusalem. The cross was found by Helena, mother of Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great. In conjunction with the dedication of a basilica at the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the festival day was made official by order of Constantine in AD 335. A devout Christian, Helena had helped locate and authenticate many sites related to the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus throughout biblical lands. Holy Cross Day has remained popular in both Eastern and Western Christianity. Many Lutheran parishes have chosen to use “Holy Cross” as the name of their congregation.” The Treasury of Daily Prayer, CPH, pp. 721-722.
Whether the story of Helena’s discovery is fact or fiction, or fact mixed with fiction, the fact does remain that our lives are lived under the cross of Christ. And while no fragment of the true cross on which Christ was crucified remains today, the Cross is a reality in the life of every believer as we live our lives under the Cross.