The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Good Friday
Icon of the Crucifixion by Master Dionysii, ca. 1500. Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow.
Related post: Christ and the Bronze Serpent
©️2020 by Gloria M. Chang

Readings for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Reading I

With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!” In punishment the LORD sent among the people saraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of them died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and if any who have been bitten look at it, they will live.” Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

Numbers 21:4b-9

Reading II

Brothers and sisters:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:6-11


Jesus said to Nicodemus: “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. 

John 3:13-17

6 thoughts on “The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

  1. fdan

    Thank you for this inspiring icon of Jesus on the cross. I will print it and mount it and keep it to pray with. And your little snail there at the foot of the cross will remind me to say a prayer for you.


  2. GMC Post author

    Bless you, dear friend! Master Dionysii is an inspiring iconographer. Mahmoud Zibawi offers insight on his work in the book, The Icon: Its Meaning and History.


  3. fdan

    Thank you for the book citation. It led me to The Met where I found their Collection of icons for online visit. Holding sight of these icons for the first time was breathtaking. It felt like a virtual pilgrimage. Thank you for helping to make my journey less desert and more oasis and blessing…day by day!


  4. Harry Warren

    Gloria. You are doing such good work. Your art and inspiration begins my day. Thank you andGod Bless you. Harry Warren


  5. fdan

    Dear GMC, I said a prayer for you today, as always, in front of my favorite mounted “Icon of the Crucifixion.” Thank you again for introducing me to Master Dionysis’ Work. It’s changed the way I pray.


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