14 September 2010

Holy Cross Day

Today we celebrate Holy Cross Day.  The Divine Service will be at 6 p.m.  Join us if you can!

From the Treasury:

One of the earliest annual celebrations of the Church, Holy Cross Day traditionally commemorated the discovery of the original cross of Jesus on September 14, 320, in Jerusalem.  The cross was found by Helena, mother of Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great.  In conjunction with the dedication of a basilica at the site of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, the festival day was made official by order of Constantine in AD 335.  A devout Christian, Helena had helped locate and authenticate many sites related to the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus throughout biblical lands.  Holy Cross Day has remained popular in both Eastern and Western Christianity.  Many Lutheran parishes chosen to use "Holy Cross" as the name of their congregation.  (p. 721,722)

Faithful cross, true sign of triumph,
Be for all the noblest tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit your equal be.
Symbol of the world's redemption
For your Burden sets us free!

14 comments:

Past Elder said...

It being one of the earliest celebrations is because you get to do stuff like that when your son is Emperor and funds you with unlimited state money.

The choice of the "true cross" is pure Benny Hinn type stuff, no less so for being old Benny Hinn type stuff.

The cross from among the three found was the one supposedly producing a miraculous cure when touched to a dying woman, whereas the other two did not.

It gets swept under the rug now that she's a "saint" and all, but Helena was actually a concubine, which was not as bad as it sounds now, it's a wife but one you cannot legally marry due to social class differences. But it made her easier to dump when hubby Constantius dumped her for Theodora, Maximian's daughter, in a power broking deal. But her son, long derided by enemies as the son of a whore, made her Augusta and rehabilitated her reputation, not to mention funds.

Like father like son though; Constantine dumped his wife for the daughter Fausta in another power broking deal. But it didn't work. Trumped up charges of rape were used to try to get his son by his first wife out of the way of Fausta's sons, and this "Equal to the Apostles" had her and the son killed, but you ain't gonna find that in no Treasury.

I think a true reverence for the cross of Jesus Christ and its significance has nothing whatever to do with Roman Imperial politics and the decrees of long dead emperors of long gone empires, and all the dirty linen that goes along with it.

orrologion said...

The problem with such dismissive critiques is that they so easily rebound onto other ancient texts such as Scripture.

If the cross truly raised someone from the dead, I'd say that's proof - regardless of the sanctity (or not) of an imperial catechumen (Constantine was baptized long after these events). The true cross also has better provenance in the East (from St. Helena's find) than the forest's worth of splinters brought back by Crusaders.

Lvka said...

Join us if you can!


Sorry, father.. :-(

Lvka said...

Actually, he had Crispus and Fausta executed for basically complotting against his life. (That's why sons slept with their father's wives or concubines [Genesis 35:22]).

As for more Benny Hinn stuff, see here.

William Weedon said...

I'd suggest this reading:

http://incarnatusest.blogspot.com/2010/09/in-this-manner-then-was-genuine-cross.html

Lvka said...

Here's something more appealing to PE's taste.. :-)

Becky said...

Pastor,

I was hoping to see your homily posted here this evening. May I get a copy to send to a friend of mine?

Past Elder said...

I have not found a reverential attitude toward ancient texts necessary toward Scripture, but acceptance of Scripture as inspired by God, as distinct from all other texts, ancient or otherwise.

There was no plot against his life, but rather his designs to cement his own revision of the Tetrachy, as, btw, the link suggests. Fausta wanted her sons of course to get the nod, and sought to discredit the son of the wife he dumped her for to seal his position in the first place, hence the rape charge, which, when found to be false, well, hence her being boiled like a lobster. The only other explanation is the charges were true and both were executed for it.

Regardless, I am happy to live in a place and time where a mother who pushed the killing of her son's wife and and son by his first wife lands in jail, not sainthood.

As far as Constantine's baptism, that happened after he called and held a worldwide, which is to say, empire wide, church council too, so if his being unbaptised is grounds for overlooking something, I guess there goes Nicaea too.

I'm glad I live in a place and time where church councils are not called by unbaptised secular rulers. Judas H Priest, you can't even say that about Vatican II!

And when he was baptised, after Nicaea, he choose the local Arian bishop to do it!

As to legends and stories, the Word of God does not need their support. We have Moses and the Prophets, and now the Gospels too. Like he said, if one does not believe them, one will not believe even if one were to come back from the dead and say so.

That we are healed by the Cross of Christ is true because God has said so in Scripture, which is God's revelation, rather than in legends, which are not.

Past Elder said...

PS -- so as not to get old PTM too riled up, I'll mention here that

1. Neither Pange lingua is for Holy Cross Day. The earlier one is for Matins and Lauds in Passiontide and then during the veneration of the cross in the ah, er, "chief service" of Good Friday. The later, inspired by the first and by my man Aquinas, who as everybody knows is really a Benedictine at heart and not a damn Dominican, the family had abbot of Monte Cassino bought and paid for, as these things are properly done, for him, is for Corpus Christ.

2. 4 September is actually the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, commemorating getting it back from the king of Persia. The feast of the FINDING of the Holy Cross was split off from it in the Ninth Century and celebrated on 3 May since then, and is such on the Sanctoral Calendar given on lexorandi.org, which I think is Loehe's, which is damn well good enough for me.

That's the way it is.

Lucian said...

..you do understand that the only way to get his father's throne was by getting rid of his father in the first place, and that C-tine was simply defending his own life -- don't you? There were no "velvet conspiracies" in antiquity, and to my knowledge self-defense is not a sin.. (Had this have happened to me, my otherwise-very-pious mother would've probably killed them both with her own bare hands.. very un-apologetically).

Lucian said...

St C-tine, along with other famous fourth century saints & hierarchs, was baptized very late in life, due to the then-widespread opinion that sins sommited after baptism could not be forgiven, ever.

(Baptists usually point out to this, without also mentioning the reason or the context: St Basil and his brother Gregory are "true saints", because "they believed in believer's baptism"; but St C-tine is "evil", because "he accepted baptism only late in life, so he could sin").

Lucian said...

Sorry for crucifying you like this, P.E., but I just can't let you get away with it. :-)

Past Elder said...

cWell, Lucian, what is Past Elder? The facts are not mine, nor have I been crucified for anybody. Just sayin.

The conspiracy was not against Constantine per se, but succession to him. The Caesar/Augustus Tetrarchy system put in place by Diocletian didn't contain the hereditary provisions Constantine wanted to introduce, IOW it was Constantine and not the conspirators who were out to "get" the system.

None of the hopefuls would have a thing to gain without the power making the change that gave them something to gain that wasn't there before.

As to the baptised late in life thing, if you note the objection was not to that practice, though such a ridiculous misunderstand and abuse of Baptism should be objected to, but two two things:

1. The fact that an unbaptised secular ruler calls a church council.
2. When he finally was baptised it was by a bishop of the losing side of the council, not his winning side.

There'e an odour to all this stuff, and sanctity ain't got nuttin to do with it.

Mimi said...

Happy Feast Day.