Dear Beloved in Christ,
God is with us!
Please listen to today’s homily.
Today we have reached the midpoint of the Great Fast. This day, the 3rd Sunday of Lent, is the Veneration of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross. Below are an archpastoral message from His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos, and also a description of this feast.
It is VERY important that we all continue to celebrate the Lord’s Day by participating in the Divine Liturgy. You may follow the services through live broadcast at St. John the Baptist in Las Vegas. Or you can watch live broadcasts at a number of other churches along the West Coast.
After you have participated in the Divine Liturgy, sing together the Hymn of the Holy Cross:
Save, O Lord, Your people and bless Your inheritance. Grant victory to the faithful against the adversaries of the Faith; and protect Your people by the power of Your Cross.
Soson, Kyrie, ton laon su, ke evlogison tin klironomian su. Nikas tis vasilevsi kata varvaron dthorumenos, ke to son filaton dthia tu Stavru su politevma.
May the power of the precious and life-giving Cross of Christ strengthen us all through these trying times!
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ARCHPASTORAL MESSAGE FROM HIS EMINENCE METROPOLITAN GERASIMOS ON THE SUNDAY OF THE HOLY CROSS
SUNDAY OF THE VENERATION OF THE HOLY CROSS
On the third Sunday of Great Lent, the Church commemorates the precious and life-giving Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Sunday prepares us for commemoration of the Crucifixion, and also reminds us that the whole of Lent is a period when we are crucified with Christ. As we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24), and have mortified ourselves during these days of the Fast, the precious and life-giving Cross is now placed before us to refresh our souls and encourage us. The Cross reminds us of the Passion of our Lord, and by presenting to us His example, it encourages us to follow Him in struggle and sacrifice, being refreshed, assured, and comforted. In other words, we must experience what the Lord experienced during His Passion—being humiliated in a shameful manner.
The Cross teaches us that through pain and suffering we shall see the fulfillment of our hopes: the heavenly inheritance and eternal glory. Just as people who walk on a long and hard journey, bowed down by fatigue, find relief and strengthening under the cool shade of a tree; so do we find comfort and rejuvenation under the life-giving Cross, which the Church has “planted” on this Sunday. And just as, before the arrival of a king, his royal trophies and emblems of victory come in procession and then the king himself appears in a triumphant parade; so does the Feast of the Cross precede the coming of our King, Jesus Christ. It warns us that He is about to proclaim His victory over death and appear to us in the glory of the Resurrection. His life-giving Cross is His royal scepter, and by venerating it we are filled with joy, rendering Him glory. Therefore we become ready to welcome our King, who shall triumph over the powers of darkness.
The present feast has been placed in the middle of Great Lent for another reason. The Fast can be likened to the spring of Marah whose undrinkable waters the children of Israel encountered in the wilderness. But when the Holy Prophet Moses dipped the wood into its depth it became sweet. Likewise, the wood of the Cross sweetens the days of the Fast, which are bitter and often grievous. Moreover, as the Holy Cross is called the Tree of Life, it is placed in the middle of the Fast, as the ancient tree of life was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden. By this our Holy Fathers wished to remind us of Adam’s sin, as well as the fact that through this Tree condemnation has been abolished. Therefore, if we bind ourselves to the Holy Cross, we shall never encounter death but shall inherit life eternal.