Pope Shenouda III series




Translated from the Arabic 2nd edition September 1999
Available from: http://www.copticchurch.net


Name of the book: The Feast of the Cross
Author: His Holiness Pope Shenouda III

Editor: Orthodox Coptic Clerical College, Cairo
Second Edition: September 1999
Press: Amba Rueiss, (Offset)
Deposition number at "The Library": 10664/1997
I.S.B.N. 977 - 5345 - 44 - 8

All rights reserved to the author
His Holiness Pope Shenouda III
Pope and Patriarch of the See of Alexandria and of all the
Predication of the Evangelist St. Mark


In the Name of
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
the One God,

In this pamphlet, you read about:
The importance and the spiritual significance
of the Cross.
The Cross in the life of Christ.
The Cross in the lives of the apostles
and all the saints
and in the lives of the fathers monks.
The glories of the Cross.
The spiritual meanings of the Cross.
The theological and doctrinal meanings.
How to bear a cross in practical life.
Saint Helen who discovered the Cross.

Pope Shenouda III


The Church celebrates the feast of the Cross on the 17th of Tot,

(27th or 28th of September), the day of the apparition of the Cross to
the Emperor Constantin, and on the 10th of Baramhat (19th of March),
the day when the Empress Helen found the wood of the Holy Cross.
We want to -day to speak about the spiritual meaning of the Cross,
and about the importance and benediction of the Cross, in our lives.
The Cross is every difficulty which we suffer in view of our love for
God, or for our love for people, for the K ingdom of God in general.

The Lord invited to bear the Cross and said: "If anyone desires to
come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow
Me" (Matt. 16:24) (Mark 8:34). And He said to the rich young man: "Go
your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, ....... and come,
take up the cross, and follow Me" (Mark 10:21).
He made the bearing of the Cross a condition for the discipleship
to Him.
He said: "And whoever does n ot bear his cross and come after Me
cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27).
He Himself, during all the period of His Incarnation on earth,
lived bearing the Cross.
Since His Nativity, Herod wanted to kill Him, and He run away with
His mother to Egypt. When He began his mission, he suffered the fatigue
of the service, and had "nowhere to lay His head" (Luke 9: 58). He lived
a life of pain, so that Isaiah said about Him that He is: "A Man of sorrow
and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). He was bitterly persecuted by
the Jews. Once they "took up stones again to stone Him" (John 10:31).
Another time they wanted to "throw Him down over the cliff"
(Luke 4:29). As for their insults and their accusation of Him, they are
very numerous. All these are crosses which are other than the Cross on
which He was crucified........

The disciples of Christ also placed the Cross before their eyes.
They preached continually....... and said about that: "but w e preach
Christ crucified" although He is "to the Jews a stumbling block and to the
Greeks foolishness" (1 Cor. 1:23). The apostle saint Paul said: "For I
determined not to know anyting among you except Jesus Christ and Him
crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). He rather boasted in the Cross saying: "But God

forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by
whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14).
Even the angel who announced the Resurrection, used this
expression " Jesus who was crucified". He said to the two Mariam: "I
know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. he is not here; for He is
risen, as He said" (Matt. 28:5). Thus he called Him "Jesus who was
crucified" although He was already risen. The expression " who was
crucified" remained attached to him, and our fathers the apostles used it
and concentrated their predication on it. As saint Peter said to the Jews
"know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both
Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).
The Cross is the narrow gate in which the Lord invited us to enter
He said to us:
"In the world you will have tribulation" (John 16:33);
"And you will be hated by all for my name's sake" (Matt. 10:22);
"yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he
offers God service" (John 16:2);
"If you were of the world, the world would love its own.Yet because
you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the
world hates you" (John 15:19).
Thus the apostle saint Paul taught: "We must through many
tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).
The life of the Cross is evident in the lives of the martyrs, the
abbots, and the ascetics.
In view of the faith, the martyrs and the confessors suffered
unbearable torments and agonies. The majority of the early apostles and
bishops marched in the way of martyrdom.
When the Lord called Saul of Tarsus to become an apostle for the
gentiles, He said about him "For I will show him how many things he
must suffer for My name's sake" (Acts 9:16). We can mention as an
example, the apostolic saint Athanassius of the abbots and the cross
which they carried. He was exiled three times and he was exposed to bad
accusations; and saint John Chrysostom who was also exiled...... and the
incarceration and ostracisation to which the fathers were exposed.
As for the fathers monks, the Church surnames them "the cross
They have borne the cross of solitude and aloofness from every
human consolation, and the cross of ascetism in which they were denuded
from every corporal desire. They suffered the pains of hunger, thirst,
cold, heat, poverty, and penury, in view of the greatness of their love the
King Christ. They also suffered the afflictions and the warfare of the

devils in various ways and kinds, as in the life of saint Antonios, and the
lives of the the wandering anchorites.

Christ was elevated over the level of the earth in His Crucifixion.
He was also elevated over the level of the tomb in His Resurrection.
He was elevated over the level of all the world in His Ascension to
heaven and in His sitting at the right side of the Father. He was rather
elevated over the level of this heaven.
These are degrees of elevation, all of which He had begun by the
Rather before that, He was elevated over the level of self-
preoccupation in His Nativity. He "made Himself of no reputation, taking
the form of a bondservant" (Philippians 2:7).
The Cross of the Lord preceded His Resurrection; and His making
Himself of no reputation preceded His glory.
Pain always precedes the crowns. Thus the apostle saint Paul said:
"if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified
together" (Rom. 8:17).
Thus he showed us the value and the results of pain. He rather
considered pain as a gift in life to us from God. He said:
"For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to
believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Philippians 1:29). Pain

is considered to be a gift because of its crowns.
Our Lord established the bearing of the cross as a condition to
discipleship to Him. He said: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him
deny himself, and take up the cross, and follow Me" (Matt. 16:24). He
said more than that: "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after
Me cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:27).
Such as the bearing of the cross is a condition for life with God, so
also it is a test of seriousness and steadfastness in His way.
The tribulations to which the faithful man is exposed during his life,
are a test of the extent of his steadfastness in faith. Thus the Lord said: "in
the world you will have tribulation" (John 16:33). While He was on his
way to the Cross, He permitted that his disciples should encounter the
bearing of the cross, so that the extent of their steafastness should appear.
He said: "Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat"
(Luke 22:31).
For this reason, the Holy Church has placed the martyrs in the
highest order of saints

because they were those who have suffered the cross more than all
the others, in view of their constancy in the faith. The Church places also
with them the confessors who confessed the faith and suffered many
torments, although they did not obtain the crown of martyrdom.
If you bear a cross, accept that joyfully because of the crowns
which you will obtain, if you do not complain and do not doubt.
It was said about the sufferings of Christ our Lord that He "for the
joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and
has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2). Here we
find the Cross with joy in enduring it, and glory resulting from it.......
You will encounter many kinds of crosses. Among them, there are
exertion, toleration, patience, fatigue in service and in repentance, and
also discipline from God and from the fathers.......
Do not grumble then, whenever you bear a cross; and do not think
that spiritual life must be easy, and its way covered with flowers.
Otherwise, on what account will you be rewarded in eternity? And
also, what is the meaning of the words of the Lord concerning the narrow
gate (Matt. 7:13)?

In fact, christian life is practically a journey to Golgotha; and
chrisianity without a cross is really not christianity.
Those who have received their good things on earth, will have no
share in the Kingdom, as the story of the rich man and Lazarus explains
to us (Luke 16:25). We say that, as regards individuals, just as we say it
as regards groups and churches also. For christianity is a participation in
the sufferings of Christ, as the apostle saint Paul said: "that I may know
Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His
sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Philippians 3:10). He said also
about this participation in the sufferings:
"I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but
Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).
So that if you want to live with Christ, you must be crucified with
Christ, or you must be crucified for Him, and suffer for Him, even if that
would lead to die for Him also.

In christianity, you suffer, you find pleasure in suffering, and you
obtain crowns for your suffering which is transformed into glory.
Christianity is not a cross which you carry, and grumble and protest
in your complaint! No, but it is the love of the cross, the love of suffering
and sacrifice and fatigue for the Lord and for the expansion of His

kingdom. It was said about the Lord Christ: "who for the joy that was set
before Him endured the cross, despising the shame"(Heb.12:2).
The apostle saint Paul said: "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities,
in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake"
(2 Cor. 12:10).... And after having been scourged, the fathers apostles
"departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were
counted worthy to suffer shame for His name" (Acts 5:41)....... But about
the glories of sufferings, the apostle says:
"if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified
together" (Rom. 8:17).
Therefore he said after that: "For I consider that the sufferings of
this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which
shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18). And thus the apostle saint Peter
said: "But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are
blessed" (1 Peter 3:14).
Hence sufferings are accompanied by blessings. The Lord Christ
has mentionned them saying: "Blessed are you when they revile and
persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for
so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matt. 5: 11-12).
Here we find that the sufferings for the Lord are associated with joy
and jubilation and with the celestial reward.
Truly: because after the cross, there is resurrection and
ascension, and also sitting at the right side of the Father.
If christianisty were only a cross, without glories, people would
have been tired, and as the apostle said: "If in this life only we have hope
in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable" (1 Cor. 15:19). But
christians in their bearing of the cross, look at the eternal glories "while
we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are
not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things
which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18).
Therefore, with the external fatigue, there is peace and

Saint Stephan at the time of his lapidation, saw the heavens opened,
"and saw the glory of God" (Acts 7: 55,56). What joy had he at that
There is another joy which the martyrs felt; it is that they had
completed the days of their expatriation on earth and the moment of their
encounter with the Lord approached......Some of them saw the crowns
and the glories....... and some others had holy visions that consoled
We do not separate the cross from its rejoicing and its glories: also
we do not separate it from the assistance and grace of God.

The christian might carry a cross, but he does not carry it alone, and
God does not leave him alone. There is a divine assistance that supports
and upholds. It is that assistance which stood with the martyrs till they
supported the sufferings, and which stands with the faithful in every
tribulation. There is the encouraging expression of the Lord: "Do no be
afraid ....... for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you"
(Acts 18: 9,10); "Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be
dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go"
(Joshua 1:9).
"They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you.
For I am with you", says the Lord, "to deliver you" (Jer. 1:19).

The cross is an emblem to which every christian clings because of
its spiritual and doctrinal meanings.
We suspend it on the churches, we include it in all our sculptures,
we suspend it on our breasts, we make its sign on ourselves, we begin our
prayers with it, we sign it on our food, we sanctify with it all that we
possess. The men of the clegy carry it in their hands, and they bless the
people with it. The cross is used in all the ecclesiastical sacraments, and
in all the signings and the consecrations, in the belief that all the blessings
of the New Testament came as a result of the Cross. The clothes of the
clerical men are adorned with the cross, not just for ornamentation, but
for its benediction and its power. We celebrate two feasts for the Cross,
and we carry the cross during the processions and the celebrations.
We see that there is a power in the signing of the Cross, which the
devils dread.
All the pains of the devil to ruin human beings, has been lost by
means of the deliverance which was realised on the Cross. Therefore
Satan dreads the sign of the cross..... on condition that the signing of the
cross is done with faith and reverence. The apostle saint Paul said: "For
the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to
us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18).
That is why a christian fortifies himself with the signing of the


The cross is a sign of love, bestowal, sacrifice, and redemption,
which you carry each time you are tired in view of the practice of these
Try to get tired for the rest of another, and for his deliverance and
his service; and be confident that God does never forget the fatigue of
charity, "and each one will receive his own reward according to his own
labor" (1 Cor. 3:8).... Train yourself to give: whatever you bestow and
support and sacrifice..... and train yourself to give from your necessities,
as the blessed widow had done (Luke 21:4)........ Get tired in your service,
because it is as much as you get tired, so much your love will appear, and
therefore your sacrifice.
2. The Cross is also a sign of sufferings and endurance:
The sufferings which the Lord endured for us, whether the
sufferings of the body, of which He said: "They pierced My hands and
My feet; I can count all My bones" (Ps. 22: 16-17) ....... or the sufferings
of shame which He joyfullly endured for us, that is He was rejoicing for
our salvation.
Therfore the apostle said about Him: "who for the joy that was set
before Him endured the cross, despising the shame" (Heb: 12:2). How
great is the endurance when it is joyfully done. That is a lesson for us.
While you suffer a cross, if you endure the tribulation of the cross
for the Lord, or if you encounter persecution because of your justice, or if
you are hit with disease or weakness for that...... likewise if you endure
the wearisome deeds of people without taking revenge for yourself, but
rather you turn the other cheek, and you walk the second mile, and do not
resist an evil person (Matt. 5:39), but rather you act with patience, ... and
patience is a cross, ... whether your endurance is within the circle of the
family, or in the field of service, or in relation to your work.
3. You will bear a cross, if you crucify the flesh with its passions
(Gal. 5:24).
You make efforts to crucify a craving or a guilty desire, and you
conquer yourself. You crucify your thoughts each time they want to make
you wandering. Likewise you restrain your senses, you bridle your
tongue, you constrain yourself, and forbid your body to take food,
enduring hunger, keeping away from every appetising food, and from
every corporal pleasure and fro m the love of money.
4. You bear your cross in your self-denial, by taking the last place,
by not seeking dignity, by your giving up your rights, by not
taking your reward on earth, by preferring others to yourself in everything
with love that "does not seek its own" (1 Cor. 13:5), by humility and
renouncement, and by keeping away from praise and dignity.
5. You bear your cross by bearing the sins of others, because our
Lord the Christ has done so.

There is no objection that you would bear the guilt of another one
and be punished for that instead of him; or that you bear the
responsibilities of another one, and to carry them on instead of him. And
as saint Paul said to Philemon about Onesimus: "But if he has wronged
you or owes anything, put that on my account. I, Paul, an writing with my
own hand, I will repay" (Philemon 18-19)...... As much as you can,
participate in the sufferings of others, and carry them in their place. Be a
cyrenian bearing the cross of another.

When we make the sign of the cross, we remember many of the
theological and spiritual meanings which are connected to it.
1. We remember the love of God for us, who accepted death instead
of us, in view of our salvation. "All we like sheep have gone astray, we
have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him
the iniquity of us all" (Is. 53:6).
When we make the sign of the cross, we
remember "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"
(John 1:29). "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for
ours only but also for the whole world" (1 John 2:2).
2. And in the Cross, we remember our sins.
Our sins which He has borne on the Cross, and for which He
Incarnated and was crucified.......
With this remembrance, we become humiliated, our souls become
contrite, and we thank for the price which He paid for us "For you were
bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit,
which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:20).
3. And in the Cross, we remember the divine justice:
How forgiveness was not on account of justice. But the divine
justice took his right on the Cross. We do not then consider sin as a slight
matter, the sin whose price is such as that.
4. In our signing of the Cross, we declare our discipleship to this
crucified One.
Those who take the cross simply by its spiritual meaning, inside
the heart, without any apparent sign, do not openly manifest this
discipleship which we declare by signing the cross, by carrying the cross
on our breasts, by kissing the cross in front of everybody, by drawing it
on our hands, and by raising it above the places in which we worship.
With all this, we openly declare our faith, and we are not ashamed of
the Cross of Christ in front of people, but rather we boast of it, we hold
fast to it, we celebrate feasts for it ....... Even without speaking, our plain
aspect manifests our faith......

5. We do not make the sign of the cross on ourselves in a silent
manner, but we say with that: In the Name of the Father, the Son, and
the Holy Spirit.
Thus each time we declare our faith in the Holy Trinity who is One
God for ever to eternity, amen. Thus the Holy Trinity is continually in
our thoughts, and that is not available to those who do not make the sign
of the cross as we do.
6. In making the sign of the cross, we also declare our belief in
Incarnation and Redemption:
When we make the sign of the cross from upward to downward,
and from the left side to the right side, we remember that God has come
down from heaven downward to our earth, and transported people from
the left side to the right side, from obscurity to light, and from death to
life; and how many are the meditations which come to our hearts and
minds from the signing of the cross!
7. We remember forgiveness in the Cross,
how our sins were forgiven on the Cross, and how our Lord
addressed the heavenly Father saying (while He was on the Cross):
"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do"
(Luc 23:34)....
8. In the signing of the cross, there is a religious instruction for
our sons and for others:
Whoever makes the sign of the cross, when he prays, when he
enters the church, when he eats, when he sleeps, and at every moment, he
remembers the Cross. This remembrance is spiritually useful and
scripturally desirable. In it there is also an instruction for people, that
Christ was crucified, and an instruction specially for our small children
who grow from their childhood being used to the cross.
9. By making the sign of the cross we preach the death of the Lord
for us, conforming to his commandment.
This is the commandment of the Lord who has redeemed us, to
preach His "death till He comes" (1 Cor. 11:26)....... In making the sign
the cross we remember His death at all times, and we keep remembering
Him till He comes.
We also remember Him in the sacrament of Eucharist. But this
sacrament is not done every moment, while we can make the sign of the
cross at every moment, remembering the death of Christ for our sake.....
10. In making the sign of the cross, we remember that the
retribution of sin is death:
because otherwise Christ would not have died; "we were dead in
trespasses" (Eph. 2:5). But Christ died instead us upon the Cross and gave
us life. Having paid the price on the Cross, He said to the Father: "Father,
forgive them" (Luke 23:34).

11. In making the sign of the cross, we remember the love of God
for us:
We remember that the cross is a sacrifice of love. "For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"
(John 3:16).......
and we remember that "God demonstrated His own love
toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.......... and
we were reconciled toGod through the death of His Son" (Rom. 5: 8,10).
In the Cross, we remember the love of God for us, because "Greater
love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends"
(John: 15:13).
12. We make the sign of the cross because it gives us power.
The apostle saint Paul felt that power of the Cross, and said: "by
whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14).
And he also said: "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those
who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God"
(1 Cor. 1:18).
Note that he did not say that the crucifixion is the power of God, but
he said that the simple word of the cross is the power of God.
Therfore when we make the sign of the cross, and when we
mention the cross, we are filled with power; because we remember that
the Lord trampled death by the cross, and He granted life to everybody,
and forced and defeated Satan. Therefore....
we make the sign of the cross, because Satan dreads it:
All the labour of Satan since he fighted Adam until the end of time,
has been lost on the Cross, because the Lord has paid the price, and
erased all the sins of people with His blood, for those who believe and
obey. Therefore Satan whenever he sees the cross, he is terrified and
remembers his greatest defeat and the loss of his labour, and so he is
ashamed and runs away.
Thus all the sons of God constantly use the sign of the cross,
considering that it is the sign of conquest and victory, that it is the power
of God. As for our part, we are filled with power inside. But the enemy
outside is scared.
And as in ancient times the bronze serpent was lifted up, as a healing
for people and salvation from death, even so the Lord of glory was lifted
up on the Cross. (John 3:14). Thus is the sign of the cross in its effect.
14. We make the sign of the cross, and take its blessing:
In ancient times, the cross was the sign of malediction and death
because of sin....... But on the Cross, the Lord bore all our maledictions,
in order to grant us the benediction of the reconciliation with God
(Rom. 5:10), and the benediction of the new life. Therefore all the
gracious things of the New Testament come from the Cross.

Therefore the clergy men use this cross in the giving of benediction,
as an indication that the benediction is not issued from them personally,
but from the cross of the Lord who has entrusted them to use it for
granting benediction, and because they take their ministry from the
ministry of Him who was crucified. All the blessings of the New
Testament follow the cross of the Lord and its effect.
15. Therefore we use the cross in all the holy sacraments of
because they all have their source in the merits of the blood of
Christ on the cross.
Without the cross, we could not deserve to come near to God as
sons in Baptism; and we could not deserve the communion of his body
and blood in the mystery of Eucharist (1 Cor. 11:26), and we could not
enjoy the blessings of any mystery from the mysteries of the Church.
16. We pay attention to the Cross in order to remember our
participation in it.
We remember the word of the apostle saint Paul: "I have been
crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me"

(Gal. 2:20). And also his word: "that I may know Him and the power of
His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformet
to His death" (Philippians 3:10).
Here we ask ourselves when shall we
enter into participation with the sufferings of the Lord and shall be
crucified with Him.
And here we remember the thief who was crucified with Him, and
deserved to be with Him in paradise. Probably he is in paradise singing
with the song that saint Paul said later "I have been crucified with
All our wishes are that we ascend on the cross with Christ, and to
boast about this cross which we remember now whenever we touch it
with our senses.
17. We honor the cross, because it is a subject of joy for the
The Father who has accepted Christ on the cross with all joy, as
a sin sacrifice and also as "a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a
sweet aroma to the Lord" (Lev.1: 5,13,17).
The Lord Christ has satisfied the Father with the perfection of His
life on earth, but He entered into the fullness of this satisfaction on the
Cross, where He "became obedient to the point of death, even the death
of the cross" (Philippians 2:8).
Each time we look at the cross, we remember the perfection of
obedience, and the perfection of subjection, in order to imitate the Lord
Christ in his obedie nce, to the point of death.

As the cross was a subject of joy for the Father, so also it was a
subject of joy as regards the Son who was crucified, of whom it was said:
"who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the
shame" (Heb. 12:2).
Thus was the fullness of Christ's joy in His crucifixion. May we be
like that.
18. In the cross, "we go forth to Him outside the camp, bearing
His reproach" (Heb. 13:12)
with the same feelings which we have in the holy
week.......and in that, we remember what was said about the prophet
Moses: "esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures
in Egypt" (Heb. 11:26). The reproach of Christ is His crucifixion and His
19. On the cross, we remember the salvation which the thief who
was crucified with the Lord obtained:
That gives us a wonderful hope. How could a man be saved in
the last hours of his life on earth, and get a promise to enter the paradise.
How the Lord with His spiritual influence on this thief, had been able
to draw him to Himself, and remember his faith and his confession,
without remembering any of his previous sins.
How great is that hope which was realised on the cross.
20. We bear the cross which reminds us of His second coming:
As it has been mentionned in the gospel about the end of the
world and the coming of the Lord: "Then the sign of the Son of Man will
appear in heaven" (that is the cross).........and they will see the Son of
Man coming on the clouds....." (Matt. 24:30).
Let us remember the sign of the Son of Man on earth, so long as we
expect this sign of His in heaven in His majestic coming.



We remember her on the occasion of
the Feast of the Cross


The Orthodox Coptic Church celebrates her feast on the 9th of
Bashans, (the 17th of May), the day of her death in the year 327 AD, and
we also remember her on the 17th of Tot, (the 27th or the 28th of
September), the day of the feast of the Cross.
The Church also remembers her in the assembly of saints in the
prayers of the "Psalmodia", asking for her prayers and the prayers of her
son the Emperor Constantin...... Our brothers the Orthodox Greeks build
churches on her name, and they celebrate her feast and the feast of her
son on the 21st of Ayar. The Latin Church celebrates her feast on the 18th
of Aab (August).
Her son Emperor Constantin honored her. He gave her the surname
"Augusta", meaning queen. He gave her the power over the Imperial
treasures. She spent generously and liberally on the construction of
churches. She gave to the poor and the needy persons and cities.
The historian Eusebius of Cesarea said about her, that during her
wandering in the Eastern States, she presented numerous proofs of her
magnanimity as an Empress, and of her imperial generosity upon the
inhabitants of the various cities as communities and upon the individuals,
as well as she offered many aids with the utmost lavishness. She gave
money to some, and big quantities of clothes to others. She liberated
some from prisons, or from the slavery of service in the mines. She
delivered others from the violence of persecution, and brought back some
others from exile (K3 F44).
She was very religious. She went to church, with simple modest
clothes, although she was an empress, and she stood with all veneration
among the masses. She was constant in her prayers, and she attended the
religious celebrations, and lived as a worshipper more than she lived as a
queen. She visited the holy places, bearing the fatigues of travel in her old
The Lord suggested to her in a vision, to go to Jerusalem, and to
search exactly for the place of the glorious Cross.
She went there, and inquired, and discovered three crosses. Saint
Macarius, the Bishop of Jerusalem, accompanied her. God manifested the
holy cross with a miracle, as it appears in the synaxaire of the 17th of Tot.
She placed the cross in a golden box, and gave it to the bishop, and
she kept a part of it for her son Constantin who placed some of the holy
nails in his protective covering.

Saint Helen constructed a church in Behtlehem, at the cave where our
Lord was born, and she built another one on the Mount of Olives, at the
place of the Ascension of the Saviour.
She began the construction of the church of the Resurrection......
Her son the emperor Constantin presented to her all that was
necessary for her holy work. He sent letters in relation to that, to the
governors and to the bishops.
This saint specified numerous unalienable properties for the churches
and the monasteries, and for spending on the poor. She celebrated a feast
in Jerusalem for the sacred virgins, and she herself served them.
She built a church on the name of the martyr saint Lucianos in the
town where she was born, which her son called Helenopolis on her name
Helen, in her honor.
This saint died in 327 AD at the age of 84 years. She wrote her
testament to her son the Emperor, and to her grandsons the ceasars,
inciting them to be firm in the life of faith and justice.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but
Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).
"And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its
passions and desires" (Gal. 5:24).
"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord
Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the
world" (Gal. 6:14).
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are
perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God"
(1 Cor. 1:18).
".......having made peace through te blood of His cross" (Col. 1:20).
"For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus-
Christ and Him crucified" (1Cor. 2:2).
"And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be
My disciple" (Luke 14:27).
"knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him" (Rom. 6:6).
"for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of
glory" (1 Cor. 2:8).