September 27, 2023 - Tout 16, 1740
Commemoration of the Consecration of the Sanctuaries of the Resurrection
Today we celebrate the consecration of the sanctuaries of the Resurrection in Jerusalem in the year 326 A.D. In the twentieth year of the reign of Emperor Constantine and after the meeting of the Holy Council at Nicea, Quee Helena told her son Constantine that she had vowed to go to Jerusalem to get the blessings of the holy places and to search for the wood of the life giving Cross. He rejoiced at this and gave her much money, and he sent with her a large number of soldiers. When she arrived there and received the blessings of the holy places, she searched for the wood of the Cross and found it after much toil. She praised it with great praises and paid to it much reverance and honor. She commanded the building of the sanctuaries of the Resurrection - the Golgotha, Bethlehem and the manger, the fortress of Zion, Gethsemane and the sanctuaries, and other holy places - and that they be inlaid with pearl and covered with gold and silver.
There was in Jerusalem a saintly bishop who advised her not to do that saying, For after a while foreign people will come and seize this place and destroy it and take the precious stones and the silver and the gold. But is preferable to build good and strong buildings and the remainder of the money be given to the poor and the needy. She accepted his words and gave him the money and set him in charge of the work. When she returned back to her son and told him what she had done, he rejoiced, and sent large sums of money and commanded to pay the workers their wages in full so they would not complain. When the building of the holy places was finished in the thirtieth year of the reign of Emperor Constantine, he sent vessels and precious vestments for the altars. He sent word to the Archbishop of Constantinople and to St.Athanasius, the Pope of Alexandria to take their bishops and to go to Jerusalem where they would meet the Archbishop of Antioch and the Bishop of Jerusalem.
They tarried there until the sixteenth of the month of Tute, when they consecrated all the altars that had been built. On the seventeenth day they marched with the Honorable Cross around all the holy places and they worshipped God therein, and gave offerings, and they glorified the Cross and honored it. Then they returned to their chairs. May their prayers be with us all. Amen.