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Veneration of the Cross at Mid-Lent

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  • Fr. John-Brian
    In the Syrian and Malankara Orthodox Churches, we hold a special adoration of the cross at mid-lent - the cross is processed into the middle of the church
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 15, 2004
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      In the Syrian and Malankara Orthodox Churches, we hold a special adoration
      of the cross at mid-lent - the cross is processed into the middle of the
      church where it is given a red stole until the eve of Palm Sunday.

      On this day, Christ is seen as having come among the people. It is the
      healing power of the cross alluding to Moses lifted the serpent and healed
      the nation of Israel "and it shall come o pass that everyone that is bitten,
      when he looketh upon it, shall live." (Numbers 21:8) "Just as Moses listed
      up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of man is ready to be lifted
      up; so that every man who believes in Him should not perish, but have
      eternal life. (John 3:14-15)

      The priest prays in front of the curtain facing east at the end of the
      procession, holding the cross high:
      By Thee, O Christ our God, the mystery of the staff of Moses, the head of
      the prophets, was prefigured; for, when lifted up in the midst of the
      Israelites camp, it foreshadowed the sign of Thy redemptive Cross. And now,
      in Holy Mid-Lent, Thy Holy Church adores Thy life-giving Cross. For the
      preservation of her children, for the bless of the year; and for the
      abundance of fruits and their preservation from all kinds of injury and
      damage and for their protection from blight and sultry winds. To Thee we
      offer thanksgiving and praise with Thy Father and Thy Holy Spirit, now and
      forever. Amen

      Then he declares:
      Whoever looked at the bras serpent with faith was healed of all manner of
      sickness; and who=ever looks upon the Cross shall be healed for all his
      sickness.
      The people respond:
      On account of this, we beseech Thee, O Compassionate Lord, saying: Kyrie
      eleison, Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.

      Then the priest prays:
      Make us worthy, O Christ our God, as we become free from all manners of
      pride and arrogance, to perform virtuously the commemoration of your Holy
      Mysteries which were foreshadowed by the holy prophets. Imprint, we pray,
      the sign of Thy life-giving cross upon our hearts, so when our minds are
      seasoned with its sight and our thoughts sanctified by its adoration, the
      hosts of wickedness shall flee from us. By the same sign of the Cross make
      us, we beseech Thee, powerful and mighty against the spirits of falsehood.
      To Thee, O Lord, we offer praise and exaltation with Thy Father and Thy Holy
      Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

      Later, we lift up the cross, exalting it in the four directions. This has
      been a very moving service for me and the healing presence of the cross is a
      help for the rest of the Lenten fats. For the entire service, I encourage
      you to attend one of our churches. The service is usually conducted during
      the day on Wednesday, but at our local mission chapel, we will be having the
      Veneration of the Cross on Wednesday night (7pm) if you can make it, we will
      be honored to have your attendance.

      your servant,
      Fr. John-Brian Achen
      Holy Transfiguration Malankara Orthodox Syrian Mission
      6205 University Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin 53705 ~ (608) 236-9622
      www.madison.com/communities/holytransfig
      "Our lives must preach, spontaneously, not only our mouths." Mar Eusebios
      http://www.angelfire.com/wi/inroads/transfig.html
      "We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power
      may be of God, and not us." IICor4:7


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Bill Samsonoff [mailto:samsonw@...]
      Sent: Saturday, March 13, 2004 10:24 PM


      [I am keeping this attached for our edifictaion - The Eastern Byzantine
      Churches venerated the cross this past Sunday - the middle Sunday of Lent -
      this indicates that this time of the cross is of ancient common practice in
      Holy Orthodoxy - Fr. JB+]

      Let all the earth venerate the Cross,
      through which it has learned to worship Thee, the Word.

      On this third Sunday of the Great Fast we celebrate the Veneration of the
      precious and life-giving Cross. Since during the forty days of the Fast we
      are also in a way crucified, mortified to the passions, contrite, abased
      and despondent, the precious and life-giving Cross is offered to us as
      refreshment and confirmation, calling to mind the Passion of our Lord Jesus
      Christ and comforting us. If our God was crucified for our sake, how great
      should be our effort for His sake, since our afflictions have been assuaged
      through the Lord¹s tribulations, and by the commemoration and the hope of
      the Cross of glory. For as our Savior in ascending the Cross was glorified
      through dishonor and grief; so should we also endure our sorrows, in order
      to be glorified with Him. Also, as those who have traveled a long hard
      road, weighed down by the labors of their journey, in finding a shady tree,
      take their ease for a moment and continue their journey rejuvenated, so now
      in this time of the Fast, this sorrowful and laborious journey, the Holy
      Fathers have planted the life-giving Cross, for our relief and refreshment,
      to encourage and make easier the labors that lie ahead. Or as when there is
      a royal procession, the king¹s scepter and banners precede him, he then
      appears himself, radiant and joyous in his victory, causing his subjects to
      rejoice with him. So then our Lord Jesus Christ, desiring to show His sure
      victory over death and His glory on the day of the Resurrection, sends His
      scepter before Himself, the sign of His kingship, the life-giving Cross, to
      gladden and refresh us, as it greatly fortifies and enables us to be
      prepared to receive the King with all possible strength, and to praise Him
      in His radiant victory.

      This week lies at the middle of the holy Forty Day Fast. The Fast is like a
      bitter source because of our contrition and the sadness and sorrow for sin
      that it brings. And as Moses plunged the branch in the bitter waters of
      Marah, making them sweet, so God, who has led us through the spiritual Red
      Sea away from Pharaoh, through the life-giving wood of the precious and
      life-giving Cross sweetens the bitterness of the Forty Day Fast, and
      comforts us as those who were in the wilderness, up until the time when by
      His Resurrection He will lead us to the spiritual Jerusalem. And since the
      Cross is called, and indeed is, the Tree of Life, it is the very tree that
      was planted in the Garden of Eden. So it is fitting that the Holy Fathers
      have planted the Tree of the Cross in the middle of the Forty Day Fast to
      commemorate both Adam¹s tasting of its sweet fruit and of its being taken
      from us in favor of the Tree of the Cross, tasting of which we shall in no
      way die, but will have even greater life.

      Through the power of Thy Cross, O Christ our God,
      preserve us also from the temptations of the Evil One.
      And make us worthy to venerate
      Thy divine Passion and life-bearing Resurrection,
      having radiantly traversed the great length of the Fast,
      and have mercy on us, as Thou art good
      and lovest mankind.
      Amen.

      Translated from Triodion, siest' Tripesnets: Triod' Postnaya, Moscow, 1904,
      by Robert Parent.
      http://www.holy-trinity.org/liturgics/synaxarion/7-crossveneration.html
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