The Apodosis of the Elevation of the Cross


Apodosis of the Elevation of the Venerable and Life-Giving Cross, is great holy day and used exclusively by the Greek Church. It corresponds to a feast in the Latin Church.

                    Reading from the Synaxarion

Saint Helen, the mother of Saint Constantine the Great (their name day is May 21st)  when she was already advanced in years, undertook, in her great piety, the hardships of a journey to Jerusalem in search of the cross, about the year 325. A temple to Aphrodite had been raised up by the Emperor Hadrian upon Golgotha, to defile and cover with oblivion the place where the saving Passion had been suffered.

The venerable Helen had the statue of Aphrodite destroyed, and the earth removed, revealing the Tomb of our Lord, and three crosses. Of these, it was believed that one must be that of our Lord, the other two of the thieves crucified with Him; but Saint Helen was at a loss which one might be the Wood of our salvation.ElevationOfCross.jpg

At the inspiration of Saint Macarius, Archbishop of Jerusalem, a lady of Jerusalem, who was already at the point of death from a certain disease, was brought to touch the crosses, and as soon as she came near to the Cross of our Lord, she was made perfectly whole.

Consequently, the precious Cross was lifted on high by Archbishop Macarius of Jerusalem; as he stood on the ambo, (an ambo is a raised speaking stand in a church that serves as a lectern or pulpit) and when the people beheld it, they cried out, “Lord have mercy.”

It should be noted that after its discovery, a portion of the venerable Cross was taken to Constantinople as a blessing. The rest was left in Jerusalem in the magnificent church built by Saint Helen, until the year 614. At that time, the Persians plundered Palestine and took the Cross to their own country (see Jan. 22, Saint Anastasius the Persian).

Late, in the year 628, Emperor Heraclius from 610 to 641 CE set out on a military campaign, to retrieve the Cross, and after bringing it to Constantinople, escorted it back to Jerusalem, where he restored it to its place. He returned the looted True Cross to Jerusalem, but the second half of his reign was beset by intrigues and ecclesiastical controversies which split the Christian church; worst of all, he could do nothing to halt the relentless march of the Arab Caliphate armies.

On this day, we rest from labour. A Fast is observed today, whatever day of the week it may be. An apodosis means that this holiday is a “consequence” of what was before. In the case, that last Wednesday was the exaltation of the Cross, this Wednesday is apodosis of that.

                                   Apolytikion of Apodosis of the Holy Cross in the First Tone

Lord, save Your people and bless Your inheritance, granting our rulers to prevail over adversaries, and protecting Your commonwealth by Your Cross.