Questions about the Sunday of the Cross


How was the cross foreshadowed in the Old Testament? Give 3 examples







IN THE prophet Ezekiel (9:6) it is said that when the Angel of the Lord was sent to punish and destroy the sinning people, it was told him not to strike those on whom the "mark" had been made. In the original text this mark is called "tau," the Hebrew letter corresponding to the letter "T.", which is how in ancient times the cross was made, which then was an instrument of punishment.

Moses, who held his arms raised in the form of a cross during the battle, gave victory to the Israelites over the Amalekites. He also, dividing the Red Sea by a blow of his rod and by a transverse blow uniting the waters again, saved Israel from Pharaoh, who drowned in the water, while Israel crossed over on the dry bottom (Exodus, chs. 14, 17).

Elisha brought a child back to life again by stretching upon him in the form of a cross:

And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. {33} He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. {34} And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. {35} Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. (2 Ki 4:32-35)



How did Jesus prophesy His death on a cross. Who did He tell he would die on a cross?







And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. {24} Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. {25} He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. {26} If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor. {27} Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. {28} Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. {29} The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. {30} Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. {31} Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. {32} And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. {33} This he said, signifying what death he should die. (John 12:23-33)

Jesus said to Peter, after his three-fold restoration:

P Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. {19} This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. (John 21:18-19)



When was crucifixion used as a punishment?







the Romans used crucifixion as a punishment for slaves and the worst criminals. It was a punishment designed to invoke terror, because of it's extreme pain, and the way it displayed the dying man for all to see in his death agonies. No Roman citizen was ever crucified.



Who remained near the cross from among His followers?







Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. {26} When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! {27} Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. (John 19:25-27)



Normally Christians do not prostrate themselves on Sunday. Why? What is a prostration? On the Sunday of the Holy Cross we do prostrate. Why and when?







Christians do not prostrate on Sunday because this is the day we always celebrate the Resurrection, and we recall how God is able to make us stand. Our standing reminds us of the resurrection. There are one or two Sundays a year when we do prostrate (the Third Sunday of Great Lent, and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, if it falls on a Sunday. On this day, the hymn "Before Thy cross", which we sing while prostration, teaches us what our prostrations mean:

Before Thy Cross, / we fall down in worship, O Master, / and Thy holy Resurrection / we glorify.

When we prostrate, it is in worship of the Risen Lord, and when we raise ourselves up, we recall the resurrection.

A Christian prostrates when he makes the sign of the cross, and falls to his hands and knees (it is usually easier to have the hands touch the floor a moment before the knees), and bows his head to the ground, then gets back up.



Why do Christians make the sign of the cross? How is it made?







The cross is the sign of victory. The mind of the church also knows this symbol as an effective prayer for all circumstances, if it is made with faith. There are innumerable examples of the deliverance from Christians from every kind of danger, merely when they made the sign of the cross with faith.

The sign of the cross is made by placing the thumb and first 2 fingers of the right hand together in a point, which symbolizes the Holy Trinity, with the other two fingers against the palm, which symbolizes the two natures of Christ, and touching the forehead, then the breast, then the right and left shoulders. The is another Orthodox rite, called "Old Believer", or "Old Rite", where the fingers are held differently, but the meaning is the same.



Where, when, how and by whom was the true cross discovered?







St Helen, mother of St Constantine, discovered the Holy and Precious cross during excavations in Jerusalem, in the 4th century. The cross was found lying with the other crosses, form the thieves that had been crucified on each side of Christ. The true cross was identified when a dead man was raised back to life again after the cross was touched to him.



How and when is the cross commemorated in the average week?







WE sing the troparion of the cross every Wednesday and Friday. On Wednesday, Christ was betrayed (sold), and on Friday He was crucified.

Most Sunday matins services, among the canons we sing is the "Canon to the Cross and Resurrection".

On Friday's, instead of a Theotokion in some places of the services, we sing a "StavroTheotokion", which is a hymn about the Theotokos and the Holy Cross.

We make the sign of the cross innumerable times, during our daily life, for every circumstance.



What major commemorations of the cross occur throughout the year?







3rd Sunday of Great Lent
Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving cross (Sep 14)
Procession of the Holy cross (Aug 1)



How does one venerate the cross at the matins service? How would one person venerate the cross. How should two people venerate the cross (this is done to save a little time, when there is a large amount of the faithful).







In general, whenever one venerates an icon, or the Holy Gospel, or the Holy Cross in the center of the church, he makes two bows or prostrations, while making the sign of the cross. He then kisses the holy object on the icon stand, turns to the priest and receives a blessing, and returns back in front of the icon stand and does another bow or prostration.
2 bows, get a blessing, another bow

When two people venerate, they do everything together. The eldest gets a blessing first, and returns to the front of the icon stand, and waits for his partner. When they both are back in from of the icon stand, they do their final bow or prostration together.

On the Sunday of the Holy cross, prostrations are done in front of the Cross.


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