The Exaltation of the Holy Cross
September 14, 2023
An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 14 of September, repeating indefinitely
Originally this feast was celebrated solely to honor the anniversary of the discovery of the Holy Cross by St. Helena and the dedication of the Basilicas consecrated at Jerusalem on September 14, 335, on the very site of the Holy Sepulcher and of Calvary. But today’s feast is also the commemoration of another event—the return of the Holy Cross by the Persians in 629. It had been carried off fifteen years earlier on the occasion of a Persian victory and was brought back in triumph by the Emperor Heraclius who had defeated the Persian armies. The liturgy of the Cross is a triumphant liturgy; in it the Church celebrates the emblem of our Redemption. The bronze serpent lifted up by Moses over the people, was a foreshadowing of the salvation that was to come when Jesus was lifted up on the Cross. We should unite ourselves in spirit with the faithful who, in the basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem at Rome, today venerate the relics of the sacred wood on which was wrought the triumphant work of redemption of humanity.