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Sleebo - Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Source: Syriac ms. dt. 1457

The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is in honor of the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Observed on September 14, it is also known as 'Holy Cross Day'. The liturgy of this feast in the Syrian Orthodox Church recalls the tradition which narrates the story of Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine, who went to Jerusalem to look for the Cross. On her way to Jerusalem, she left one of her servants on a mountain. Once the cross was discovered, she ordered her men to light a fire on top of a nearby mountain. Having seen the fire, the servant staying on the next mountain lit another fire, and in this manner the news of the discovery of the Holy Cross reached the capital, Constantinople.

On this day, during the Holy Qurbono, the order of Zuyoho is celebrated.

It was also on this day, our Patriarch, Moran Mor Ignatius Zakka I, was consecrated Patriarch of Antioch in 1980. Hence, September 14 is now celebrated as the 'Patriarchal Day'.

The following hymn, taken from the Beth Gazo, depicts the story of Helen discovering the Holy Cross:

Qolo: Quqoyo

This hymn is missing from the Patriarch Ya`qub III's recording of the Beth Gazo

Helen went down to Jerusalem,
from Rome, the city of the kings,
to bow down to the Cross.
She took hold of all the Jews and asked:
"Come and show me the place of the Cross."
They replied and said to her:
"We have a great man.
If you take hold of him
he will show you the place
In which the Wood of the Cross is placed."

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Last Update: September 7, 1998