In September we are at the ‘Sleeba Perunnal’, the feast of Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the instrument of salvation, on the 14th. This feast marks the discovery of the Holy Cross on which our Lord was crucified. In Greek and Latin this feast is called the ‘Exaltation of the Holy Cross of our Lord’. All Oriental Orthodox Christians, especially the Armenians and the Ethiopians observe this festival with utmost devotion, although the Ethiopians celebrate this feast on Meskel (the Holy Cross) day as per their Julian calendar tradition.
Queen Helene, Mother of Roman Emperor Constantine, was the one, who ventured a pilgrimage to Palestine to discover the Holy Cross in the year c.326-328, though she was nearly eighty years of age at that time. She was able to find the Holy Cross and the ‘Church of the Holy Sepulcher’ was built, where the Holy Cross of our Lord was found out. Tradition says that a dead person was made to touch the three crosses that were found in a pit down the outskirts of Jerusalem and at the touch of the real and holy Cross of our Lord the dead person came back to life. We get a notion of this legend in the song ‘Sleebaye vandippanaay Helene Rajnji…’ as well.
Holy Cross is the means of salvation that drives away all evil spirits because the Lord carried it upon His shoulders to Mount Calvary during His ultimate fight with evil. There beyond He ornamented it with His very own human body. Holy Cross is the symbol of peace and the flag of victory. It is in the Holy Cross that our glory confides. It is the fortress for all, who take their refuge in, including churches and monasteries. That is why we all ornament ourselves with a Holy Cross, mostly gold though!
Let us sing once again with optimistic and positive trust in the symbol of peace, the Holy Cross that ‘sleeba pallikal dayaraakal kkellaamaakatte kotta’!