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September 6, 2012 newsletter: Fri. Sept. 14th at 7:00 am


I. Fri. 7:00 a.m. Sept. 14th; and Sept. 7, 8 & 9

II. September services schedule

III. Feast of the Elevation of the Cross

IV. decoration of the Cross

V. weekly announcements

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I. Next week on Friday morning at 7:00 a.m., September 14th, we will sing the Typica for the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, including the Hours' Prayers and the Festal Antiphons as well; the service will conclude by 8:00 a.m.

And as already announced, this present weekend from Friday the 7th through Sunday the 8th, Fr. Andrew will be here for the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Theotocos.

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II. Our September services schedule remains as follows, the same as published last week.

Sept. 7, FRIDAY, 8:00 p.m. Great Vespers (concluding by 9:00 p.m.) for the Nativity of the Theotocos, led by Fr. Andrew, and followed by opportunity for confession.

Sept. 8, SATURDAY, 8:40 a.m. Hours' Prayers and 9:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy (concluding about 10:30 a.m.), for the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Theotocos, served by Fr. Andrew.

Sept. 8, SATURDAY, 5:00 p.m. Great Vespers (concluding by 6:00 p.m.), led by Fr. Andrew, and followed by opportunity for confession.

Sept. 9, Sunday, 9:40 a.m. Hours' Prayers and 10:00 a.m. Divine Liturgy, served by Fr. Andrew, and followed by lunch.

Sept. 14, FRIDAY, 7:00 a.m. Hours' Prayers and Typica (concluding by 8:00 a.m.) for the Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

Sept. 16, Sunday, 10:00 a.m. Hours' Prayers and Typica with homily, followed by refreshments.

Sept. 23, Sunday, 10:00 a.m. Hours' Prayers and Typica with homily, followed by refreshments.

Sept. 30, Sunday, 10:00 a.m. Hours' Prayers and Typica with homily, followed by refreshments.

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III. The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates originally the finding of the Cross in the year 326, under the supervision of the Empress St. Helena with the help of the Patriarch Macarius of Jerusalem and of the local elderly Hebrew Jude (later St. Cyriacus), beneath the pagan Temple of Venus that had been built by the 2nd­-century Emperor Hadrian to obliterate the holy sites of Golgotha and the Sepulchre.

After the finding of the Cross and then of Christ's Tomb nearby, St. Helena's son, the Emperor St. Constantine I the Great, erected above Golgotha and the Tomb a vast rotunda, atrium, and basilica, known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the Latin name) or the Church of the Resurrection (the Greek name). Thereupon in the year 335 in a two­-day celebration, on September 13th the church was consecrated and on September 14th there was brought outside and lifted high the Cross so that all could pray in its presence and could come forward to venerate it.

Thus this Feast, known in Greek as the "Raising Aloft (or Elevation) of the Venerable Cross" and in Latin as the "Exaltation of the Holy Cross," has continued on September 14th to this day.

The (Eastern) Roman Empire's province of Palestine was plundered in 614 by the Persians who carried away the Cross, but in 628 both the province and the Cross were recovered by the Emperor Heraclius, who escorted the Cross in September of 629 to Constantinople and then on March 21st of 630 back to Jerusalem, where it was "elevated" at the Church again, as before.

Since then, September 14th has commemorated both the finding ("inventio" in Latin) of the Cross in 326 and its recovery from the Persians in 628, and the Feast became celebrated annually in all the churches of the Empire, thus receiving its (variously translated) present name: the Universal Elevation (or Exaltation) of the Venerable (or Precious) and Life­-giving (or Life­-creating) Cross—the day on which all bishops and priests would bless with the cross the four directions of the universe. (This last ritual continues to the present time, wherever a priest is present to celebrate the Matins of this Feast.)

From 630, the September 14th commemoration became moreover the annual national holiday of the Christian Empire; and the principal hymn (the "troparion") of the feast became in effect the national anthem, sung on all public occasions, of both of the (Orthodox) Christian Empires—first the (Eastern) Roman (or "Byzantine"), and second, the Russian Empire.

The hymn in present form is as follows: "O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance, granting victory unto the Orthodox Christians over their adversaries; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy habitation."

(When sung as the Imperial anthem, the wording varied: "O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance, granting victory unto the Emperor over the barbarians; and by the power of Thy Cross, preserve Thy commonwealth.")

The Trisagion ("Thrice Holy") hymn, normally sung at each Divine Liturgy or Typica, is replaced for September 14th with another special hymn, similarly three­-fold but accompanied by prostrations: "Before Thy Cross, we bow down in veneration, O Master; and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify."

With its one­-day Fore-Feast and its seven­-day After-Feast, besides the Saturday and Sunday Before the Elevation and the Saturday and Sunday After, the Church's observance of this Great Feast annually of the Holy Cross, of our Lord & God & Saviour Jesus Christ, spans a period ranging from ten days to fifteen days altogether.

As Fr. Thomas Hopko, Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir's Seminary, writes (citing Ephesians 2: 19, Hebrews 11: 10, and Revelation 21—22): When we elevate the Cross and bow down before it in veneration and worship to God, we proclaim that we belong to the Kingdom "not of this world," and that our only true and enduring citizenship is with the saints in the "city of God."

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IV. The cross that will remain nine days in the middle of the nave for veneration, by custom since the first millennium is decorated for the Feast, with carnations or other available flowers, or with freshly­-cut basil leaves, or with both.

(Both are anciently connected with this 4th­-century veneration of the Cross of Jesus Christ, "basil" being from the Greek word for "royal," and "carnation" from the Latin for "of the flesh.")

We'd be grateful to anyone who might volunteer thus to decorate the cross, on Thursday afternoon or evening the 13th, or early Friday morning the 14th before our service.

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V. Our regular Sunday services continue each week at 10:00 a.m. (or at 9:40 a.m. on September 9th, as related above), followed by refreshments.

All of our services are held in our church building, at 300 East King Street, on the corner of Oakum Street, in Edenton; and visitors are always invited and welcome.

A household willing to furnish a particular Sunday's refreshments or lunch may volunteer by e­-mail reply or by calling our office at 482–2006.

Our prayers are asked for Fr. Edward, for Mo. Katrina, for Biljana, for Jean, for Susan, and for their health; for Bro. William, as he pursues the monastic novitiate; and for Marcia, for James & Kate, for Joshua & his family, and for Kelly & her family.