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Archiepiscopal Encyclical for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Prot. No. 217/2021

Archiepiscopal Encyclical for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 14, 2021

Unto the Most Reverend and Right Reverend Hierarchs, Pious Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, Presidents and Members of Parish Councils, Honorable Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Members of Leadership 100, the Day and Afternoon Schools, Philoptochos Societies, the Youth, Greek Orthodox Organizations, and the entirety of the Christ-named Plenitude of the Holy Archdiocese of America,

Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at the footstool of His feet, for He is holy. (Introit)

My Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross is a milestone in every liturgical year of the Church, a marker where we can measure our journey of faith. The Ὕψωσις is a moment when we recall that our Lord Jesus Christ was raised up high upon a cross of death and shame, so that He could transform our sinfulness that leads to death, into the perfection of love and sacrifice that leads to eternal life.

As Orthodox Christians, we observe this feast of the Cross with both joy and with fasting. With joy, because we recall the miraculous discovery of the True Cross by Saint Helen. We fill our churches with fragrant basil herbs, to remind us of the life-giving power of the Cross, which was marked by this royal plant, and the sweet savor of our Lord’s love for us.

This love of God for all people is why our Theological School and Seminary is named in honor of the Holy Cross. For our sacred Σχολή in Brookline is the place where we instill the tradition of love and service that flows from the Cross on Golgotha, much as the Lord’s Holy Blood ran down the rugged wood to make a river of compassion and mercy for the entire world.

Therefore, I exhort all the families of the Archdiocese to support our beloved School with prayer and every manner of sustenance. For we are all the beneficiaries of the training and education with which HCHC equips our clergy, so that they may preach and teach the great lesson of love that the Universal Exaltation embodies. May we always be so blessed to worship at the footstool of His feet, for He is holy!

With Paternal Blessings and Love in Christ,

† ELPIDOPHOROS