This Sunday, September 30th 2018, we celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
This Feast is one of the five Tabernacle Feasts of the Armenian Orthodox Church.
Christian tradition tells us that the Apostle St. James, the Bishop of Jerusalem, erected a cross, blessed the congregation and sang, thus creating the tradition to revere the cross.
After the Holy Cross was found in 326 AD by St. Helena, the mother of St. Constantine the Great, it was elevated and worshiped by the gathered Christian faithful.
After the Persian army conquered Jerusalem around 614 AD. The Persians created havoc in the city, killing thousands of its inhabitants men, women and children, but also monks, priests, and nuns and imprisoned the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Buildings, churches, homes and even graves were destroyed and burnt. The Persians looted the Holy Cross from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and took it with them.
The Byzantine Emperor Heraclius (610-641 AD) waged war with the Persians, and won heavy battles. Heraclius held during two years campaigns in Armenia, and thus acquired strong Armenian soldiers in his army. With this army he brought the Persians on their knees, and demanded that they return him the Holy Cross. The Emperor Heraclius received the relic of the Holy Cross. The Holy Cross was victoriously displayed as it traveled over the Armenian land back to Jerusalem.