Today the Church celebrates the bringing forth of the honest trees of the Life-Giving Cross. This liturgical celebration has one day of pre-feast, which means that it is celebrated annually by the Church on 2 days, August 13–14. In Russian tradition, the consecration of a new harvest of honey takes place on this day.
In its immediate meaning, this is a historical holiday. It relates to the life of the Capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, Constantinople, in the Middle Ages. Then every year on this day in the City, as the capital was then called, a solemn procession with a particle of the Cross of the Lord was made.
In the August hot summer period, epidemics often raged in the city. The bringing forth of the Cross, by the power of grace and the prayer of the Church and the people of God, contributed to their actual cessation.
This summer celebration in honor of the Cross has another historical significance. So, according to several historians of the Russian Church, it was believed that it was on this day that the beginning of the Baptism of Russia was laid.
In our time, the historical significance of the Feast of Origin is either forgotten or relegated to the background.
The Baptism of Russia is celebrated by the Russian Church on the day of memory St. Vladimir. Whereas the City of Constantinople in 1930 was renamed Istanbul by the sole decision of the then Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk. The Orthodox population, the Romans, as the Orthodox Greeks of Asia Minor called themselves, were forcibly expelled from the peninsula, and the Orthodox left in the city were constantly persecuted, their number decreased and gradually disappeared.
However, by the fate of God, the Day of Origin acquired an ideological and theological significance. Now it is celebrated by the Church as a special, summer celebration in honor of the Cross of the Lord. The cross is our protection and help, it is our hope. The cross is a sign of Christ's Victory over hell and death.
“I am the Resurrection and the Life,” says the Lord in the Gospel (John 11:5). This means that the Resurrection is not just a historical and, at the same time, theological Event, but also one of the Names of the Lord Jesus.
“If Christ has not risen, our faith has no meaning,” writes Paul (1 Corinthians 15:4). The Cross of Christ is inseparable from the Resurrection. That is why in prayer we, and the Church, as a Society of Believers, “having no place to lay their head” (cf. Matt. 8:20) Wandering in History, the poor and persecuted Body of the Lord Jesus, not only mentions the Cross of Christ in its prayerful reflection, but also refers to the Cross as a Person. The cross is the name of the Lord Jesus. The cross is the Lord Himself.