Finding the Cross with St. Helen

(Christian Media Center) What once was synonymous with humiliation, it has now become symbol of the Christian redemption. Christianity was born from the Cross, thanks to the obedience of the One who accepted it to the ultimate consequences, bringing it up to Calvary.

In addition to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated by the Church throughout the world in September and in Jerusalem during the month of May, the Franciscans also remember another significant moment: the discovery of the cross.

Superior Franciscan Monastery – Holy Sepulcher

“This Easter celebration in Jerusalem has a beautiful meaning. After celebrating the death of Christ and His suffering on the Calvary, we return to speak of the cross on Easter, this time as an instrument of victory. On the Cross, Christ has victory over the devil and over our sins. As Jesus says in the Gospel of John: ‘When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me’, so we can say that this is the feast of the glory of the cross”.

The celebration, full of significance and liturgical aspects, began Friday, May 6, with the solemn entry into the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher of the Vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land, Fr. Dobromir Jasztal.

According to Christian tradition, the discovery of the cross on which Jesus was crucified was in the fourth century, thanks to the Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helen, a woman who played a crucial role in the holy places.

Superior Franciscan Monastery – Holy Sepulcher

“St. Helen is the one who, by her own initiative, built three churches on the three mystical caves, that is, the Holy Sepulcher, the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem and also the Basilica Eleona, on the Mount of Olives, which no longer exists: there are only the remains. These are the three Basilicas that she built. St. Helen’s role in the holy places is important: she restored the most important holy places of Christianity.”

As part of the rite, the vicar of the Custody made a brief visit to worship the tomb of Christ and continued in procession to the Franciscan chapel, reminiscent of Jesus’ encounter with Mary.

The solemn procession then continued inside the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher to the Chapel of St. Helen, location of the cave where, according to tradition, the cross of Christ was found.

After the veneration of the relic, the blessing with the small piece of the cross was imparted. On Saturday, in the same place, the Franciscans celebrated the Eucharist and, holding the relic, made then three laps around the sanctuary at the tomb of Christ. Together with the local Latino community, there were believers and pilgrims, who, following the cross, venerated the symbol of salvation.

Croatian Pilgrim

“I believe this is one of the most profound and significant events that a Christian can experience to strengthen one’s faith. “

Spanish Pilgrim

“I was thinking about all the moments that Jesus spent in Jerusalem…I was thinking about his Passion, His death……. is very moving.”