The Procession of the Life-Creating Cross
The Procession of the Venerable Wood of the Life-Creating Cross of the Lord is a feast of the Church that has it’s roots in Constantinople, because of the illnesses that occur in August. It was customary, in former times, to carry the Venerable Wood of the Cross through the streets and squares of Constantinople for the sanctification of the city, and for relief from sickness. On the eve of the feast, the wood of the cross was taken out of the imperial treasury, and laid upon the altar of the Great Church of Hagia Sophia (the Wisdom of God). From this Feast until the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos, they carried the Cross throughout the city in procession, offering it to the people to venerate.
There is a false belief among certain Evangelical Protestants that the Orthodox Church neglects the Cross because of our emphasis on the Resurrection. They see our Orthodox view of the redemptive significance of the Cross as overwhelmed by the Resurrection, and somehow reduced to a glorified appendix to the salvific meaning of the Cross. The Protestant redemptionist theology, with their placing all the emphasis on the passion, seems to we Orthodox to take no interest in the triumph of Christ over death.
The “triumph of Christ over death” is so integral to the very existence of the Church, our paschal proclamation, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death!” confirms the Orthodox Church will never concentrate on a “theology of the Cross” at the expense of the Resurrection. We Orthodox view the paschal mystery as always embracing both Cross and Resurrection.
With love in Christ,
Photos: Day two of the Diocesan Pastoral Conference of Archbishop David’s clergy. The invitation to present the clergy retreat has truly been a great blessing for me.
Wednesday August 14, 2019 / August 1, 2019
9th Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Dormition (Theotokos) Fast. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Beginning of the Dormition Fast.
Procession of the Precious Wood of the Life-giving Cross of the Lord (1164) (First of the three “Feasts of the Saviour” in August).
The Feast to the All-Merciful Saviour and the Most Holy Mother of God.
Holy Seven Maccabees, Martyrs Abimus, Antonius, Gurias, Eleazar, Eusebonus, Alimus, and Marcellus, their mother Solomonia, and their teacher Eleazar (166 B.C.).
New Hieromartyr Basil, archbishop of Chernigov (1918).
New Hieromartyr Demetrius priest (1937).
Uncovering of the relics of Venerable Sophia of Suzdal (1995).
Nine Martyrs of Perge in Pamphylia: Leontius, Attius, Alexander, Cindeus, Minsitheus (Mnesitheus), Cyriacus, Mineon (Menaeus), Catanus, and Eucleus (3rd c.).
St. Nicholas (Kassatkin), enlightener of Japan (1912).
Martyrs Menas, Menais, and others of England (Greek).
Martyr Elessa of Cythera (Greek).
St. Timothy the Wonderworker, archbishop of Priconissus of Peloponnesus (Greek).
Martyr Papas the New (Greek).
Martyr Eleazar (Greek).
Martyr Cyricus (Greek).
Martyrs Theodore and Polyeuctus (Greek).
St. Ethelwold, bishop of Winchester (984) (Celtic & British).
Virgin-martyr Sidwell of Exeter (or 7/31 or 8/2).
The Scripture Readings
1 Corinthians 1:18-24
Christ the Power and Wisdom of God
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”
7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”
8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called ThePavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?”
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”
16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus [a]and led Him away.
The King on a Cross
17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. 19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:
Behold Your Mother
25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
It Is Finished
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!”
30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Jesus’ Side Is Pierced
31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.