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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Feast of the Procession of the Cross

Photo from www.oca.org

Today, on the Julian Calendar, is the commemoration of the Feast of the Procession of the Life-Giving Cross.

This Feast is described in an 1897 Horologion as follows:

"...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 (July 31), it 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. This also is the Procession of the Venerable Cross."

The Prologue from Ohrid also describes the Feast as follows:

"This feast was established jointly by the Greeks and Russians in the time of the Greek Emperor Manuel and the Russian Prince Andrei, as a memorial of the simultaneous victories of the Russians over the Bulgars and the Greeks over the Saracens. In both battles, the soldiers carried crosses, from which a heavenly radiance shone forth, with the army. It was therefore instituted that, on August 1st, the Cross be carried from the Church of St Sophia, first around the interior of the church and then through the streets, to give the people the chance to venerate it, as a memorial of the miraculous help given by the Cross in earlier wars. This was not just any cross, but the true Precious Cross itself, which was kept in the church of the imperial court. On July 31st, the Precious Cross was taken from the imperial court to St Sophia's, and thence carried through the streets, to consecrate the earth and the air. Finally, on August 14th, it was taken back to the church in the imperial palace."


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