The celebrated Crucifix that is venerated in St George’s basilica is in the spotlight, today, September 14, liturgical feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. Devotion to it has been constant since the 1840s, when it replaced an earlier one, and every Friday the votive candles that burn before it multiply tenfold and more. Today’s feast, which is kept by the universal Church, is particularly felt in our Basilica.
On the feast of the Exaltation (or Triumph) of the Cross, the Church honours the Holy Cross by which Christ redeemed the world. The public veneration of the Cross of Christ originated in the fourth century, according to early accounts, beginning with the miraculous discovery of the cross – according to tradition – on September 14, 326, by Helen, the saintly mother of Constantine, while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The observance of the “bringing to light” of the Cross has been celebrated by Christians on this day ever since.
Christians venerate the Cross of Christ as the instrument of our salvation. Adoration of the Cross is, thus, adoration of Jesus Christ who suffered and died on this Roman instrument of torture for our redemption from sin and death. The cross is a symbolic summary of the passion, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
Today’s main Eucharistic celebration takes place, as usual, at 5.30pm. when a Holy Mass that leads subsequent adoration with the participation of the members of the Confraternity of the Holy Cross is celebrated. Ave Crux Spes Unica.