September 27, 2022 - Tout 17, 1739
Feast Day of the Appearance of the Honorable Cross
On this day the church celebrates the appearance of the Honorable Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was revealed by the lover of God, Queen Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, from under the pile of Golgotha, after she ordered its removal. As to the reason for how this great pile of dirt came into being, it was thus: the Jewish leaders when they saw all the signs and wonders which were made manifest from the sepulcher of our Savior, such as raising the dead and healing the sick, became angry, and they sent forth throughout Judea and Jerusalem ordering all the people to cast the sweepings of their houses and the dirt over the sepulcher of Jesus of Nazareth. And they continued to do so for more than two hundred years, until it became a very great heap.
When St. Helena came to Jerusalem, and asked the Jews about the whereabouts of the Cross, they did not inform her. Finally, some of them told her about an old Jew called Judas who knew the place. She called him, and he denied at first but when she urged him, he told her about the pile. She ordered its removal and the Holy Cross was found. she built a church for it and consecrated it and celebrated it on the seventeenth day of the month of Tute. All Christian people make pilgrimages to that place every year as they do in the feast of the Resurrection.
A certain Samaritan called Isaac, as he was traveling with his family among the people going to Jerusalem, reproved the people for taking such trouble in going to Jerusalem to worship a piece of wood. Among the people was a priest whose name was Okhidus. While traveling along the road, they became thirsty. They found no water and they came to a well where the water was foul and bitter. The people became dismayed. Isaac the Samaritan started mocking them saying, If I witness a power by the name of the Cross, I will become a believer of Christ. The priest Okhidus was moved with divine zeal and prayed over that foul water and made the sign of the Cross on it, and it became sweet. All the people and their animals drank, but when Isaac drank, the water was bitter and wormy. He regretted and cried and came to the saint, Father Okhidus, and he bowed down at his feet and believed in the Lord Christ. Then he drank from the water, and he found it sweet. That water had the power of becoming sweet for the believers and bitter for the others. A cross of light appeared in the well and a church was built there.
When Isaac the Samaritan arrived in Jerusalem, he went to its bishop who baptized him and his family. The appearance of the Honorable Cross at the hands of Queen Helena was on the tenth of Baramhat. And because this always comes during fasting, it was substituted by the fathers for the Seventeenth of Tute which is the day of consecration of its church. Glory and worship be to Jesus Christ our Lord forever and ever. Amen.
Departure of St. Theognosta
On this day also departed the blessed Theognosta. She lived in the days of the righteous Emperors Honorius and Arcadius. It happened one day that an envoy came with gifts from the King of India to the two emperors. On the way back, they found this Virgin Theognosta holding in her a hand a book which she was reading. They seized her and took her back with them to their country. She became the head of the King's attendants and his wives. One day, the son of the King fell sick with a grievous sickness. She laid him in her bosom and made over him the sign of the Cross, and he recovered immediately. This report spread throughout that land, and since that day she was set free.
When the King went to war, there came upon him thick clouds and fog, and knowing of the sign of the Cross that St. Theognosta used to make, the King made the sign of the Cross over the winds and it became clear again, and with the sign of the Cross, he vanquished his enemies. When the King returned home from the war, he bowed down at the feet of the Saint, and asked her for the holy baptism for him and for the people of his city. She told them that it was not for her to baptize. They sent to Emperor Honorius to inform him of their acceptance of the faith and asked him to send a priest to baptize them. He sent to them a priest who was a saintly anchorite, and he baptized them all and he gave them the Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Christ. The virgin rejoiced for his coming and they blessed each other. She built a monastery for herself and many virgins who desired to go into the monastic life.
When the priest returned to the Emperor and related to him how the people of the city entered into the faith of our Lord Christ, he rejoiced exceedingly. The Emperor agreed with the Archbishop to ordain the priest a bishop and to send him back to them, and they rejoiced greatly. They had built a big church and they need pillars. There was a large temple for idols which had pillars so they took them to build this church. The rest of the people of this city joined the faith of the Lord Christ. The virgin rejoiced for all that had happened then departed to that nunnery among the virgins. May her prayers and blessings be with us all, and Glory be to God forever. Amen.