Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross

English Language Study for Russian Orthodox Learners

Exaltation of the Life-Giving Crossaudio button
(September 14/27)

Exaltation of the Life-Giving CrossAlmost three centuries passed since the crucifixion of our Saviour.  For many years Christians suffered under pagan rulers.  Roman emperors were especially ruthless.  They killed thousands of people who did not worship their gods.

Things started to change in the fourth century.  Emperor Constantine allowed Christians to build churches and worship openly.  He wanted to find the Cross on which Jesus died and erect a cathedral on Golgotha.

Constantine’s mother, Helen, was an old woman at that time.  Her heart was full of devout feelings, and she made a trip to Jerusalem in the year 326 A.D.  Helen found a man who knew where the Cross was buried.  A temple for worshiping idols stood on that place.  The Holy Empress gave an order to pull it down and dig deep below.  Three crosses, nails and a board with an inscription in three languages were found.  But how could they know which one was the Cross of our Saviour?

Empress Helen believed that the Lord would show her His Cross.  A funeral procession was passing by, and a priest suggested placing the crosses on the body of the dead man.  The first two crosses did nothing.  As they placed the third Cross on the man, he came back to life.  The Cross also healed a sick woman and performed other miracles.  A large crowd of people gathered.  Everybody wanted to see the Holy Cross, and the Patriarch of Jerusalem raised it high above.  All the people knelt before the Cross and exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy on us!”

A church was built on the place where the Cross was found.  It was blessed in the year 335 A.D. and named the Cathedral of the Resurrection.  The Holy Empress did not live to see it.  She died a year after making her trip.

The tradition of raising the cross on the feast of Exaltation is observed in Orthodox churches to this day.


Christians  [ˈkrɪstɪəns]
Jerusalem  [dʒəˈruːsləm]
Jesus  [ˈdʒɪːzəs]
Patriarch  [ˈpeɪtrɪaːk]

Словарь и пояснения к тексту

Exaltation  [ˎikzǝl ′teɪʃn]  Воздвижение
crucifixion, n.  [ˎkru: sǝ ′fɪk ʃn]  распятие на кресте
pagan, adj.  [′peɪ gǝn]  языческий; n. язычник
ruthless, adj.  [′ru:θ lǝs]   безжалостный
worship, v.  [′wǝ: ʃip]   поклоняться
erect, v.  [ɪˈrekt]  воздвигать
devout, adj.  [dɪ ′vaut]  благочестивый
pull down  снести, снять
inscription, n.  [ɪnˈskrɪpʃən]  надпись
funeral, adj.  [ˈfjuːnərəl]  похоронный
heal, v.  [hɪ:l ]  излечить
Resurrection  [ˎre zǝ ′rek ʃn]  Воскресение
A.D. (читается Anno Domini) – перевод с латинского: «от года рождения Господа нашего», т.е. от Рождества Христова
B.C.  (Before Christ) – до Рождества Христова