Saturday, September 17, 2011

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

On Thursday we celebrated the Exaltation of the Holy Cross with a delicious cross shaped fruitcocktail cake for breakfast and a leather cross craft in the afternoon.  Our fruit cocktail cake recipe come from Granny and is superb- Casey usually has his mother make it each year on his birthday. 

This summer I bought a neat little leather tool and stamp set and have several different leather crafts I'll be bringing out for the girls to work on throughout the year.  They loved stamping and coloring their crosses and proudly wore them the whole weekend.

Here is a little background about this feast day from

Early in the fourth century St. Helena, mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine, went to Jerusalem in search of the holy places of Christ's life. She razed the Temple of Aphrodite, which tradition held was built over the Savior's tomb, and her son built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher over the tomb. During the excavation, workers found three crosses. Legend has it that the one on which Jesus died was identified when its touch healed a dying woman.

To this day the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica's dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim.