Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Notes on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is, as I've noted before, one of my favorite feast days. I also like to think of the Exaltation of the Cross as the patronal feast of this blog, insofar as I began blogging on this date six years ago (admittedly, the blog that I started then is not the same blog you're reading now, but I tend to think of the two as part of a continuous enterprise, even though I now cringe at some of the posts I composed as a novice). To commemorate this feast as well as the start of another year of blogging, I'd like to share a couple of videos (something I could not have done a year ago, as I only recently figured out how to post videos here).

The Byzantine Divine Liturgy for today's feast includes a particularly beautiful hymn which is sung in place of the Trisagion, the "thrice-holy hymn" normally chanted before the Prokeimenon and the Epistle. In the video featured above, you may hear the choir of St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Barberton, Ohio sing this hymn in Church Slavonic as the clergy and servers reverence the cross displayed on a tetrapod in the center of the church.

In this second video, you may hear the same hymn in English, courtesy of Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. You will also see the clergy and faithful complete the cycle of three prostrations that traditionally accompanies the singing of this hymn; what moves me most as I watch this video is the devotion of the older priest on the left who cannot make a full prostration and so instead kneels and briefly rests his head on the corner of the tetrapod bearing the cross.

On this Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, let us make this prayer our own: Before thy Cross, we bow down in worship, O Master, and thy holy Resurrection we glorify. AMDG.


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