September 21 Leavetaking of the Exaltation of the Cross

In Orthodox tradition, feasts that celebrate the Holy and Lifegiving Cross always contain the singing of the hymn “Before Thy Cross, we bow down in worship…” while making full on-the-floor prostrations.  In my pre-Orthodox life, I had never bowed down before anything – literally and figuratively.   Now, the feasts of the Cross are one of my favorite worship experiences.  There is something so profound about the act of dropping to your knees and bowing your head to the ground.  It is an act that leaves you with a feeling of total submission and love for Christ through the Holy and Lifegiving Cross.  And why not venerate the instrument of God’s love?  It is his instrument of love and eternal life, not pain and death.

The Cross, is wood which lifts us up and makes us great … The Cross uprooted us from the depths of evil and elevated us to the summit of virtue”.  St John Chrysostom

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