On the Precious and Life-Giving Cross – 221 September 2013
g) Hail, Cross, the dwelling-place and residence of monastics; you who elevate to spiritual heights those who truly love you and make them citizens of heaven and angels on earth, banishers of demons and physicians of illnesses.
Hail, Cross, the liturgical and beloved “Gift” of Hierarchs, who, with you, complete every liturgical ceremony and act, so that they are the representatives of Christ on earth.
Hail the radiant office of the priesthood, through which the priests teach and illumine outsiders who are worthy of enlightenment, and bring them onto the path of completion by the grace of God.
Hail, the cleansing power of the deacons, because, drawing this energy from you, they impede every kind of disorder and keep it at bay from the God-fearing faithful, who are worthy of the Precious Body and Blood of Christ and whom they integrate into the Church.
h) Hail, the thick armour of the Holy Martyrs, in which they fought against the attacks and terrible stratagems of the Evil One, and proved to be victorious by meeting the enemy forces head on.
Hail crown wrought above who shine and radiate more than emeralds and precious stones and who have been set on the honourable heads (i.e. of martyrs) and lend them dignity and beauty.
Hail, prediction of the Prophets, the message and boast of the Apostles. Because it was you they foretold and forecast in the world, through the Grace of the Holy Spirit, teaching all nations through your power and bringing them all into one faith and unity.
Hail, the security and refuge of all. By your Grace, every devout believer escapes all harm and temptation.
i) Cross, thrice-blessed and much-desired. You give many sacred names to those who wish to praise you. Who can hymn you as is proper and as you deserve? Precious and most holy tree! Who can glorify and bless you in a fitting manner? Root and source of life! Who can feel in purity your holy gifts? Who can venerate your holiness with worthy lips? Who can seal themselves with your sacred sign “that they might flee from the bow”? Who will not seal themselves with your sign in order to acquire illumination and purification of the soul? Who will not protect the thresholds of their houses with your sign, to be delivered from all temptation. Who will not seal themselves with your sign before any act or step, so that their thoughts and actions will be in accordance with the will of God?
j) How great is your power. Your names are many and well-chosen. You’re called Cross and sceptre, “the rod of directness, the staff of the kingdom” “sign”, seal, hope, faith, weapon, shield, buckler, sword, knife, bow, wall, entry of the dwelling which leads to the City above and all the other names that could be given to you by those who are skilled with words and love you so much.
With you, Christ our God made known to people the great and hidden mystery of His dispensation. With you, we acquired knowledge of the Holy Trinity, that is we came to believe “in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. The Father; the Son without beginning or cause Who proceeds from the Father (and thus is not without beginning as regards the cause), but is without beginning in time; and the Holy Spirit, Who sits at the same throne and as an equal.
k) Let us, blessed Christians, celebrate the feast of the venerable Cross with a pure heart and with splendour. Let us always have in our hearts the sacred desire for it and its Grace and let us never let it depart from us. It is, indeed, cast out by carelessness and lack of concern, by indolence and sloth, with other unseemly actions which do not befit the feast of the Cross. If we celebrate and rejoice in this manner, then our assemblies will have the Grace of Christ, Whom we pray will save us, will keep us safe and prove us worthy to become partakers of His Life-Giving Passion. And that He will make us worthy of the illustrious Resurrection, both in this life and in the future, where there is “the dwelling-place of all who rejoice”. Because to Him is due all glory and worship, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
(Source: Τίμιος και Ζωοποιός Σταυρός, published by the Holy Monastery of Stavronikita, The Holy Mountain, pp. 69-83).