The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

In the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, pilgrims can gather around not only the sepulchre of the Risen Christ but, not far from there, higher up, also on the site of the crucifixion at Golgotha, where the Cross of the Lord is represented. And so a single place of worship unifies these two sacred sites, under the same roof, as Golgotha and the Sepulchre are inseparable.

In the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, pilgrims can gather around not only the sepulchre of the Risen Christ but, not far from there, higher up, also on the site of the crucifixion at Golgotha, where the Cross of the Lord is represented. And so a single place of worship unifies these two sacred sites, under the same roof, as Golgotha and the Sepulchre are inseparable.

 
 

On 14 September, The Catholic and the Orthodox Churchs celebrate the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

“We are celebrating the Feast of the Cross which drove away darkness and brought in the light. As we keep this Feast, we are lifted up with the crucified Christ, leaving behind us earth and sin so that we may gain the things above”. (From the “Discourses” of Saint Andrew of Crete, Bishop – Discourse 10 on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross).

The Bishop of Jerusalem, Macarius, was ordered by the Emperor Constantine and his mother Saint Helena to build two basilicas in Jerusalem, one on Golgotha and the other on the Holy Sepulchre. The mother of the Emperor had ordered excavations on Golgotha and it was there they found the cross that was identified to be the true cross of Christ. On 14 September therefore, it is not the commemoration of the dedication of the two basilicas, which took place in the year 335, which we celebrate, but rather the triumph of the Cross, sign and instrument of salvation.