The Feast of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Seventeenth Day of the Blessed Coptic Month of Thoout, may God make it always received, year after year, with reassurance and tranquility, while our sins are forgiven by the tender mercies of our God, my fathers, and brothers; amen.

Appearance of the Cross of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ

On this day, the church celebrates the appearance of the Honorable Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was revealed by the lover of God, Queen Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, from under the Golgotha pile after she ordered its removal.

As to the reason for how this great pile of dirt came into being, it was thus: the Jewish leaders when they saw all the signs and wonders which were made manifest from the tomb of our Savior, such as raising the dead and healing the sick, became angry, and they sent forth throughout Judea and Jerusalem ordering all the people to cast the sweepings of their houses and the dirt over the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. And they continued doing so for over two hundred years until it became a great heap.

When St. Helena came to Jerusalem and asked the Jews about the whereabouts of the Cross, they did not inform her. Finally, some of them told her about an old Jew called Judas, who knew the place. She called him, and he denied it initially, but he told her about the pile when she urged him.

She ordered its removal, and the Holy Cross was found. She built a church for it, consecrated it, and celebrated it on the seventeenth day of Tute. All Christian people make pilgrimages to that place every year as they do in the feast of the Resurrection.

A certain Samaritan named Isaac, traveling with his family to Jerusalem, reproved the people for taking such trouble to worship a piece of wood. Among the people was a priest whose name was Okhidus.

While traveling along the road, they became thirsty. They found no water, but they came to a well where the water was foul and bitter. The people became dismayed. Isaac the Samaritan started mocking them, saying, ‘If I witness a power by the name of the Cross, I will become a believer of Christ.’ The priest Okhidus was moved with divine zeal, prayed over that foul water, and made the sign of the Cross on it, which became sweet.

All the people and their animals drank, but the water was bitter and wormy when Isaac drank. He regretted and cried and came to the saint, Father Okhidus, and he bowed down at his feet and believed in the Lord Christ.

Then he drank from the water, and he found it sweet. That water had the power of becoming sweet for the believers and bitter for the others. A cross of light appeared in the well, and a church was built there.

When Isaac the Samaritan arrived in Jerusalem, he went to its bishop, who baptized him and his family. The appearance of the Honorable Cross at the hands of Queen Helena was on the tenth of Baramhat.

Because this always comes during fasting, the fathers substituted it for the Seventeenth of Tute, which is the day of the consecration of its church.

Glory and worship be to Jesus Christ our Lord forever and ever. Amen.