A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
The Exaltation of the Holy Cross (The Triumph of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, Holy Rood Day). One of several Christian Feasts of the Cross, all commemorating the Cross used in the Crucifixion of Jesus. Good Friday is dedicated to the Passion of Christ and the Crucifixion, but these feast days celebrate the Cross itself as the instrument of salvation and this is the Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Commemoration. St Helena (Ἁγία Ἑλένη, Hagía Heléne, Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta, Santa Elena de la Cruz, bona stabularia), mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, in her final years made a religious tour of Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem, during which ancient tradition claims that she discovered the True Cross, which quickly became an object of veneration. The Eastern and Oriental Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches and the Anglican Communion revere her as a saint and the Lutheran Church commemorates her. This Feast celebrates the finding of the True Cross with those of the Two Thieves, the dedication of churches built by Constantine on the site of the Holy Sepulchre and Mount Calvary and the restoration of the True Cross to Jerusalem in 629 by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius, after it was taken by the Persian Emperor Chosroes II in the 614 Sasanian Jerusalem conquest. In ancient times, three Ember Days were set apart for fasting, abstinence and prayer during each of the four seasons of the year, including ones from 14 September, but these and their length are now discretionary. Image: catholicnewsagency.com.
Prayer Lord Almighty, into Your hands I give my soul and my body. Oh Lord Jesus! grant me strength to seek and bear the Cross as You did Yourself. Teach me to bear it with great humility, so that the Blessed Virgin may fill me with the Holy Spirit to gladly suffer in patience the labours of this life. Amen
St Albert of Jerusalem (Albertus Hierosolymitanus, Blessed Albert, Albert of Vercelli, Alberto Avogadro) (d1214). Roman Catholic Feast Day commemorating the death of the Italian canon lawyer who entered the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara and was elected Prior in 1180. He became Bishop of Bobbio in 1184, and a year later was appointed Bishop of Vercelli. He served the Papacy as a diplomat and mediator between Pope Clement III and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Albert served as papal legate in 1199 and helped end the war between Parma and Piacenza. In 1205, he was made Patriarch of Jerusalem by Pope Innocent III, whom he also served as papal legate in the Holy Land. As Patriarch and Law-giver of Carmel, he helped found the Carmelite Order around 1209, in particular by his composition of what came to be called the Carmelite Rule of St Albert. This order was based on Mount Carmel, across the Bay of Haifa from Acre where he resided as Patriarch. Additionally, he mediated in disputes between the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Cyprus and between the Knights Templar and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. In 1214, he had been invited to the Fourth Lateran Council, but the Master of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit, whom he had rebuked and deposed for immorality, stabbed him to death on 14 September whilst taking part in a procession on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Acre. Venerated in the Roman Catholic Church and commemorated by the Carmelites on 17 September. Image: ocdfriarsvocation.org.
Our Lady of Einsiedeln. Feast Day for Our Lady of Hermits at Einsiedeln. In this village 40 km south of Zurich, St Meinrad built a woodland cell to meditate and pray, away from noise and distraction. It became a place of pilgrimage and the clear woodland spring from which he drank became a fountain of miraculous power. Meinrad was murdered in Einsiedeln on 21 January 861 and in 934 Eberhard of Strasbourg founded a Benedictine Abbey and church on the site of his ruined cell. On 14 September 948, there was a miraculous consecration of Eberhard’s Basilica there and on 13 October 1039 St Meinrad’s relics were translated to the Basilica. In 1466, a simple wooden statue of the Holy Virgin and her Child was enthroned in a little chapel within the great Abbey and, over the centuries, the Madonna of Hermits of Einsiedeln turned black and her miraculous powers healed the sick and crippled. The Abbey became the residence of the highest princes of the Church, and the repository of all that was rare and beautiful in illuminated manuscripts, gold and silver church plate, painting and embroidery. The doorway and pillars near the chapel are today hung with crutches, canes and braces of all kinds, discarded by happy pilgrims who have been cured by Our Lady of Hermits. Every year, thousands of pilgrims visit the village from all over the world and miracles are still wrought by Our Lady of Hermits at Einsiedeln. Image: frick.org.