The Triumph of the Cross: September 14

Holy sepul

Pilgims enteing the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem

This ancient ecumenical feast,  celebrated by Christian churches throughout the world, commemorates the dedication of a great church in Jerusalem at the place where Jesus died and rose again. Called the Anastasis ( Resurrection) or the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, it was built by the Emperor Constantine and was dedicated on September 13, 325 AD, It’s one of Christianity’s holiest places.

Liturgies celebrated in this church, especially its Holy Week liturgy, influenced churches throughout the world. Devotional practices like the Stations of the Cross grew up around this church. Christian pilgrims brought relics and memories from here to every part of the world. Christian mystics were drawn to this church and this feast.

Holy Sepulcher - 28

Tomb of Jesus



Pilgrims still visit the church and the tomb of Jesus, recently renovated , after sixteen centuries of wars, earthquakes, fires and natural disasters. They venerate the rock of Calvary where Jesus died on a cross. The building today is smaller and shabbier than the resplendent church Constantine built, because the original structure was largely destroyed in the 1009 by the mad Moslem caliph al-Hakim. Half of the church was hastily rebuilt by the Crusaders; the present building still bears the scars of time.

Scars of a divided Christendom can also be seen here. Various Christian groups, representing churches of the east and the west, claim age-old rights and warily guard their separate responsibilities. One understands here why Jesus prayed that ” All may be one.”

Holy Sepulcher - 04

Egyptian Coptic Christians

Seventeenth century Enlightenment scholars  expressed doubts about the authenticity of Jesus’ tomb and the place where he died, Calvary. Is this really it? Alternative spots were proposed, but scientific opinion today favors this site as the place where Jesus suffered, died and was buried.

For more on its history, see here.

And a video here.

Readings for the Triumph of the Cross

Via Dolorosa - 17

“Do not forget the works of the Lord!” (Psalm 78, Responsorial Psalm) We remember his great works here. How can we forget them.

5 thoughts on “The Triumph of the Cross: September 14

  1. Orlando Hernandez

    Last night my wife’s blood pressure went berserk again. Strangely enough, when earnest prayer was required, my heart grew cold and angry against God. It was a rough night. This morning I just didn’t know how to begin to shake off these vipers that were crawling all over my soul. You blog got me off to a good start. Thank you, Father Victor. Thank you, Beloved, High One. Your Cross is always the way out of despair.


  2. fdan

    Dear Father Victor, Thank you for your homily. As we lift high the mystery of the cross, I’m reminded of what the priest said today at morning Mass: “When we unite our crosses with the Cross of Jesus, they become not only bearable but salvific.”


  3. cenaclemary12

    As I stumble and grumble along on our Way of the Cross, may I unite our steps with Christ on the way to Calvary.

    “Our crosses do not seem very holy in the way we carry them. They hurt, we stumble, we grumble, because we do not believe they are leading us anywhere, especially not to exaltation. It does take doubt to free us to live with faith. We pray with these comforting words:
    “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself, says the Lord.” John 12, 32

    From: Creighton U. Daily Reflection


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