Synexariam Accounts of the Cross
Synexariam Account of the discovery of the Holy Cross by Queen Helen 17th Tout
On this day the church celebrates the appearance of the Honorable Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was revealed by the lover of God, Queen Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, from under the pile of Golgotha, after she ordered its removal. As to the reason for how this great pile of dirt came into being, it was thus: the Jewish leaders when they saw all the signs and wonders which were made manifest from the sepulchre of the Savior, such as raising the dead and healing the sick, became angry, and they sent forth throughout Judea and Jerusalem ordering all the people to cast the sweepings of their houses and the dirts over the sepulchre of Jesus of Nazareth. They continued to do so for more than 200 years, until it became a very great heap.
When St. Helena came to Jerusalem, and asked the Jews about the whereabouts of the Cross, they did not inform her. Finally, some of them told her about an old Jew called Judas who knew the place. She called him, and he denied it at first, but when she urged him, he told her about that pile. She ordered its removal and the Holy Cross was found. She built a church for it, consecrated it and celebrated for the Honorable Cross on the seventeenth day of the month of Tute. Christians make pilgrimages to that place every year as they do on the feast of the Resurrection.
A certain Samaritan called Isaac, as he was travelling with his family among the people going to Jerusalem, reproved the people for taking such trouble in going to Jerusalem to worship a piece of wood. Among the people was a priest whose name was Okhidus. While travelling along the road, they became thirsty. They found no water and they came to a well where the water was foul and bitter. The people became dismayed. Isaac the Samaritan started mocking them, saying, "If I witness a power by the name of the Cross, I will become a believer of Christ." The priest Okhidus was moved with divine zeal and prayed over that foul water and made the sign of the Cross on it, and it became sweet. All the people and their animals drank, but when Isaac drank, the water was bitter and wormy. He regretted and cried and came to the saint, Father Okhidus, bowed down at his feet and believed in the Lord Christ. Then he drank from the water, and he found it sweet. The water of that well possessed the power of becoming sweet for the believers and bitter for the others. A cross of light appeared in the well and a church was built there. When Isaac the Samaritan arrived in Jerusalem, he went to its bishop who baptized him and his family.
Because the feast of the appearance of the Honorable Cross, which is on the tenth of Baramhat, always comes during fasting, it was substituted by the fathers for the Seventeenth of Tute, which is the day of consecration of its church.
Glory and worship be to Jesus Christ our Lord forever and ever. Amen
The Second celebration that the church commemorates the Cross is on the Tenth day of the month of Baramhat by the hands of Emperor Heraclius, in 627 A.D.
When the Persians were defeated by Heraclius they retreated from Egypt to their country. On their way back they passed through Jerusalem, a persian prince entered the church of the Cross which was built by Empress Helen. He saw a great light shinning from a piece of wood located on a place decorated with gold. He thrust his hand to it and there went forth from it fire which burned his fingers. The Christians told him that this is the base of the Holy Cross and they told him how it was discovered and no one was able to touch it except a Christian. He deceived the two deacons who were standing to guard it and gave them much money so they would carry this piece and go with it with him to his country. They took it and put it in a box and went with him to his country along with those who were captured from the city of Jerusalem.
When Emperor Heraclius heard that, he went with his army to Persia, fought with them and slew many of them. He traveled about this country searching for this piece of the Holy Cross but he could not find it, for the Persian prince had dug a hole in his garden and ordered the two deacons to put the box in it and buried it and then he killed them.
One of the captives of that Persian prince which was the daughter of one of the priests, was looking out of the window by chance and saw what happened. She went to Heraclius the Emperor and told him what she saw. He went with the bishops, priests and the soldiers to the place. They dug there and found the box, they took the piece of the Holy Cross out, in 628 A.D., wrapped it in magnificent apparel and Heraclius took it to the city of Constantinople and kept it there.
May the blessings of the Holy Cross be with us and Glory be to God forever. Amen.