Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

Nika Kravchuk
31.03.2016

Holy Week, or Why did Jesus Christ die on the cross?

The third week (Sunday) of Great Lent is called Cross-worshiping. On this day, at the divine service, the Cross is carried out in the center of the temple, to which worshipers worship. How did this tradition?

Cross Week

Why is the third Sunday of Great Lent - Crusader?

Three weeks is already half the Holy Fourties. But believers have to go all the way, to experience the events of Holy Week and to meet the Bright Resurrection of Christ.

This is not an easy road, full of temptations and spiritual exploits. In order to somehow cheer the fasting ones, to give them strength, they put the Life-giving Cross in the center of the temple.

Rev. John of Damascus uses an interesting image. Fasting is travelers. And if ordinary travelers, when they get tired, are looking for a sprawling tree under which you can rest, then the Orthodox on the way to Heavenly Jerusalem - Easter - are found halfway through the "tree of the cross." It just gives strength to move on.This is the meaning of the Cross Week.

The Orthodox bow with reverence and sing:

Worship Thy Cross, O Lord, and glorify Your Holy Resurrection

Why did Christ accept the most shameful death?

But many unbelievers, or only those who come to faith, are perplexed: does a crucifix really have such power? After all, it reminds of the saddest events in the history of Christianity - the death of Christ.

Paradoxically: in Rome, the cross as an instrument of execution was considered a symbol of shame. To die crucified meant not just to die, but to die low and shamefully. Therefore, such a death befell the most despised criminals in society.

And it is for such a death that Heavenly Father sends His only Son. And it is precisely to such a demise that Christ agrees.

Crucifixion of Christ

Jesus, to whom by nature was completely alien, is sinful and unnatural any sin, is crucified on the cross.

The incarnate God diminishes himself so much that he does not just die, but is attached to the lowest and most painful end.

What for? To free man from the power of original sin. Toredeem all mankind, give him hope of eternal life.

Believers remember this on Holy Cross Week and sing about it in the Easter troparion:

... death overcame death ...

They have been fond of the tree and are saving the tree

In theological sense, death means the separation of man from God.

When Adam and Eve tasted the forbidden fruit, they fell away from the Lord, the Source of Life. Another paradox: in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve became mortal, having tasted the fruit ofTree of knowledgegood and evil. Christ reunites the bond between man and God through the tree too. That's just this time -Godfather.

That is why the skull is depicted at the bottom of the crucifix. According to legend, Christ was crucified on Calvary exactly at the place where Adam was buried. The blood of Jesus washed Adam's skull, which symbolized the restoration of the bond between man and God. Death is overcome.

Death on the cross

With a reed of a cross, having dipped it in the red ink of Your blood, You, O Lord, royally signed the remission of sins to us, - so says in one of the verses of the Cross-worshiping week.

Immortal God had to make a very huge sacrifice for the salvation of man. He died the most shameful death and descended into hell so that a person would have the opportunity to achieve holiness and forever dwell in paradise.

That is why the Cross is a symbol of our salvation.A reminder of the sacrifice that Christ has made for us.

And when a man exhausted by daily bustle lives for 20 days of Great Lent, the Church supports him spiritually and establishes the Holy Week of the Cross. A crucifix in the middle of a temple reminds us of God's love, mercy and the meaning of human life.

Holy Week - a reminder of the Resurrection of Christ and the condemnation of the devil

When we look at the crucifixion of Christ, handed down to the center of the temple, at the tribulation of the Virgin and the beloved disciple of Jesus - John the Divine, we understand that the history of Christianity does not end with this tragic event. If there is a crucifix, then there will be a resurrection.

Nun with a cross

John of Damascusdescribes the depth of this celebration:

Every act and miracle of Christ is very great and divine, and surprising, but most of all, His Cross is surprising. For death is overthrown, ancestral sin is destroyed, hell is robbed, resurrection is granted, power is given to us to despise present and even death itself, initial bliss is returned, the gates of heaven are opened, our nature is at God's right hand, we are not children of God and heirs are not other things thatbut through the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ

That is why the instrument of the death of Christ and the salvation of man are so revered among Christians and so hateful to the devil.

For the Orthodox, the cross is a reminder of eternity and immortality, for the evil one it means that he lost. As stated in the Gospel of John:the prince of this world condemned.

Of course, within the limits of mortal life, demons still tempt a person, especially in fasting, when a believer tries to free himself from the burden of sins. But we have protection - the Lord’s Cross, solemnly handed down on the Cross Day in the center of the temple, a cross on the chest and a sign of the cross, combined with prayer.

On the worship of the Cross and the meaning of the third resurrection of fastingBishop Dionysius:


Take it to yourself, tell your friends!
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  • Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

    Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

    Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

    Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

    Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

    Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

    Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

    Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

    Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

    Holy Cross Week, or Why Jesus Christ Dies on the Cross

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