Homily for the Sunday Before the Elevation of the Honorable Cross – The Thrice-Blessed Cross (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

Beloved brethren,The story of the bronze serpent is well-known, to which at this time’s Gospel studying refers. Because of the indignation of the ungrateful Jewish folks, God despatched snakes that unfold demise. However, God once more took pity on the folks and ordered Moses to make a bronze serpent, which when the Jews noticed it, they have been cured of the snake bites (Num. 8-9). This historic occasion is tailored in two methods to the case of Christ, in keeping with two ecclesiastical interpretations.

According to the primary established interpretation, the bronze serpent is a kind of the Crucified Christ. Just because the bronze serpent had the type of a snake however had no poison, so Christ had a human physique however had no sin. The Jews noticed the brazen serpent and have been by the bites of actual snakes. Christians see the Crucified Christ, obtain His Grace and are healed from the bites of invisible snakes, evil spirits. The Crucified One offers us non secular well being, purification of the soul, everlasting life, unspeakable peace.

According to the second interpretation, the bronze serpent is just not a kind of Christ, however His counterpart. This is how Saint Gregory the Theologian interprets this occasion in his Easter sermon. In different phrases, the bronze serpent is a kind of the demise of the invisible snake, the satan, which came about with Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. In different phrases, the Christian who believes that the satan was put to demise and misplaced his energy from the good energy of Christ, he’s saved and strikes ahead in his non secular life.

Both of those interpretations of the bronze serpent, a kind of the Crucified Christ or His counterpart, present that the Cross of Christ is a superb energy, it killed the satan’s dominion and thru its energy we defeat all of the forces of evil.

Many occasions of the Old Testament are prototypes of the Cross of Christ, such because the rod of Moses, which opened and closed the Red Sea, the wooden that sweetened the bitter waters of Marah, and many others. However, it should be famous that these occasions aren’t easy prototypes of the Cross, however they’re experiences of the thriller of the Cross. The Cross, in keeping with the holy Fathers, is the everlasting vitality of God, which saved folks earlier than the Law, after the Law, earlier than the incarnation, in the course of the incarnation and after it.

Saint Gregory Palamas in certainly one of his sermons develops the reality of the Church that the Cross is one, however its associates are many. There are associates of the Cross even earlier than it appeared. His thriller and His Grace have been additionally lively within the Forefathers. God’s command to Abraham to go away his homeland and his kinship, the voice that known as Moses to ascend Mount Sinai, is an expertise of the thriller of the Cross.

The vitality of the Cross is threefold. The first is our personal elimination from sin, the second is the elimination of sin from us and the third is the imaginative and prescient of the glory of God, by way of the thriller of the Cross. The historic occasion of the Crucifixion condemns man, as a result of the human nature by way of the hypostatic union with the divine nature grew to become by nature a supply of uncreated Grace. Therefore, it isn’t a easy prototype of the Cross within the Old Testament, however it’s an expertise of the thriller of the Cross.

All this exhibits that the signal of the Honorable Cross is just not a easy form, however that which transmits the energies of God. The nice energy of the Cross is just not because of the form itself, however to Christ who was Crucified on it. From Him it attracts energy and style.

Therefore, the Cross is just not a magical instrument, however “the life-giving energy of divine energies”. This is how we clarify that the sealing with the Cross is the mandatory attribute of all of the mysteries and the sacramental ceremonies of the Church. For instance, the water of the font is sanctified by the descent of the Holy Spirit by the formation of the Cross. The identical occurs within the thriller of the Eucharist. In “change these by your Holy Spirit” the priest seals the bread and wine and so they become the Body and Blood of Christ. In the Mystery of Marriage with the pronouncement “the servant of God is topped…” the priest kinds the Cross. That is why Saint Gregory Palamas emphasizes that “not solely the phrase of the cross and the thriller, but additionally the shape is divine and commemorated, as a result of it’s a seal of reverence and finality of all of the fantastic and inexpressible items that come from God.”

Many instances we make the signal of the Cross on ourselves. The causes for why that is performed are many. We might be content material with enumerating the primary ones. First, we categorical our gratitude to Christ, who liked us to the purpose of tolerating the Cross and saved us. Second, we ask for His Grace and blessing to defeat the passions and drive out the crafty enemy. Thirdly, we kind the Cross upon ourselves with the intention to crucify evil ideas, depraved needs and the unbridled and perverted will, which leads us away from the trail of God. Fourthly, with the form of the hand we confess the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the doctrine of the unconfused and indivisible union of the divine and human nature within the Person of Christ. That is, with the three fingers united we confess the Holy Trinity and with the opposite two the God-manhood of Christ. Fifth, we confess that we are going to stay a crucified life, we’ll love asceticism, we’ll sacrifice our lives if the Lord permits it because the holy Martyrs did, and generally as all of the saints lived. That is why, after we venerate their icons, we make the signal of the Cross.

Our energy, our glory and the hope of our salvation is the Honorable Cross of the Lord, who attracts energy from the Crucified Christ. Therefore, by signing our physique with the cross, allow us to pray with all of the energy of our soul: “Cross of Christ, save us by your energy.”

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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