Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Belated Blessed Holy Cross Day

Wednesday after Pentecost 16
September 15, 2010

The Lord be with you

Yesterday was “Holy Cross Day.” I was so busy that I didn’t have the time to post something about it. Though largely past over today by most Protestants, this is actually one of the earliest annual celebrations of the Church. It commemorates the traditional date of the discovery of the original cross of Jesus by Helena, the mother of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (September 14, 320). In conjunction with the dedication of a basilica at the site of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the festival day was made official by order of Constantine in 335 AD. Helena was a devout Christian. She helped locate and authenticate many sites related to the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus throughout the biblical lands. Most of the sites she helped identify continue to be held as authentic by scholars to this very day. Holy Cross Day has remained popular in both Eastern and Western Christianity. Many Lutheran parishes have chosen to use “Holy Cross” as the name of their congregation. I was a member of one before I became a pastor, and was the pastor of another one in Midland Texas.

A quick word about Constantine: Many mistakenly believe Constantine made Christianity the State Religion or the Roman Empire. He did not. He did legalize it and patronize the Christian Faith, but no one was required to become a Christian while he ruled Rome.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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