Sunday May 26 we celebrate the Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross.
This feast is one of the Holy Cross Feasts of the Armenian Church, and is celebrated 28 days after Easter.
In May 351, a bright light in the shape of a cross was seen over Jerusalem.
The luminous cross was so large, that it stretched from Golgotha to the Mount of Olives. The cross, lighting brighter than the sun, was seen during several hours by the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Many believers recognized the sign of the luminous cross as a sign of God. Some fell on their knees, confessed their sins and went speedily to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
The Theologian Bishop Cyril was then Patriarch of the Holy City, and one of the strongest opponents of the Arian heresy. He later became known as St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386).
St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote a letter to Emperor Constantine the Great about this luminous cross that appeared in the sky:
“On the ninth of May, around the third hour, a large illuminated Cross appeared in the sky on top of Golgotha that extended to the Mount of Olives: it was not seen by only one or two people, but rather was very evident and was clearly seen by all the city. This was not, as one might believe, a fantasy nor a momentary apparition, but remained visible to our eyes for several hours and was brighter than the sun. The entire city was filled with fear and delight at the same time before such a wonder, running immediately to the Church and praising Jesus Christ the only Son of God.”
St. Cyril understood the apparition of the Cross as a sign and admonition to stay steadfast in orthodox Christian faith.
In Sunday’s liturgy this letter of St. Cyril of Jerusalem will be read.