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Bulletin for Sunday, April 4, 2021

Sunday of the Holy Cross

Sunday of the Veneration of the Holy Cross


On the Third Sunday of Great and Holy Lent, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Precious and Life-Giving Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Services include a special veneration of the Cross, which prepares the faithful for the commemoration of the Crucifixion during Holy Week.

Historical Background

The commemoration and ceremonies of the Third Sunday of Lent are closely parallel to the feasts of the Veneration of the Cross (September 14) and the Procession of the Cross (August 1). Not only does the Sunday of the Holy Cross prepare us for commemoration of the Crucifixion, but it also reminds us that the whole of Lent is a period when we are crucified with Christ.

As we have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24), and will have mortified ourselves during these forty days of the Fast, the precious and life-giving Cross is now placed before us to refresh our souls and encourage us who may be filled with a sense of bitterness, resentment, and depression. The Cross reminds us of the Passion of our Lord, and by presenting to us His example, it encourages us to follow Him in struggle and sacrifice, being refreshed, assured, and comforted. In other words, we must experience what the Lord experienced during His Passion - being humiliated in a shameful manner. The Cross teaches us that through pain and suffering we shall see the fulfillment of our hopes: the heavenly inheritance and eternal glory.

As they who walk on a long and hard way and are bowed down by fatigue find great relief and strengthening under the cool shade of a leafy tree, so do we find comfort, refreshment, and rejuvenation under the Life-giving Cross, which our Fathers “planted” on this Sunday. Thus, we are fortified and enabled to continue our Lenten journey with a light step, rested and encouraged.

Or, as before the arrival of the king, his royal standards, trophies, and emblems of victory come in procession and then the king himself appears in a triumphant parade, jubilant and rejoicing in his victory and filling those under him with joy, so does the Feast of the Cross precede the coming of our King, Jesus Christ. It warns us that He is about to proclaim His victory over death and appear to us in the glory of the Resurrection. His Life-Giving Cross is His royal scepter, and by venerating it we are filled with joy, rendering Him glory. Therefore, we become ready to welcome our King, who shall manifestly triumph over the powers of darkness.

The present feast has been placed in the middle of Great Lent for another reason. The Fast can be likened to the spring of Marah whose waters the children of Israel encountered in the wilderness. This water was undrinkable due to its bitterness but became sweet when the Holy Prophet Moses dipped the wood into its depth. Likewise, the wood of the Cross sweetens the days of the Fast, which are bitter and often grievous because of our tears. Yet Christ comforts us during our course through the desert of the Fast, guiding and leading us by His hand to the spiritual Jerusalem on high by the power of His Resurrection.

Moreover, as the Holy Cross is called the Tree of Life, it is placed in the middle of the Fast, as the ancient tree of life was placed in the middle of the garden of Eden. By this, our Holy Fathers wished to remind us of Adam’s gluttony as well as the fact that through this Tree has condemnation been abolished. Therefore, if we bind ourselves to the Holy Cross, we shall never encounter death but shall inherit life eternal

Icon Of The Commemoration

The most common icon associated with the Veneration of the Cross is the same icon used on the Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, September 14. In the icon, Patriarch Macarius is standing in the pulpit elevating the Cross for all to see and venerate. On each side of the Patriarch are deacons holding candles. The elevated Cross is surrounded and venerated by many clergy and lay people, including Saint Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine.

In the background of the icon is a domed structure that represents the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem. This church was one of the churches constructed and dedicated by Emperor Constantine on the holy sites of Jerusalem.

Another icon related to this feast depicts the actual service of veneration that is conducted in the churches on the Third Sunday of Lent. In the center of the icon is the Cross. It is on a table surrounded by flowers. Above the Cross is the image of Christ in a partial mandorla representing His glory. He is blessing those who have gathered to venerate the Cross, the rulers, clergy, monastics, and laity.

As in the service of veneration, the icon shows the priest venerating the Cross as the people chant the hymn “We venerate Your Cross, O Christ, and Your holy Resurrection we glorify,” which is inscribed on the table holding he Cross.

Orthodox Christian Commemoration of the Sunday of the Holy Cross

The Sunday of the Holy Cross is commemorated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, which is preceded by the Matins service. A Great Vespers is conducted on Saturday evening. The hymns of the Triodion for this day are added to the usual prayers and hymns of the weekly commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ.

Scripture readings for the Sunday of Orthodoxy are: At the Orthros (Matins): The prescribed weekly Gospel reading. At the Divine Liturgy: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:1-6Mark 8:34-38; 9:1.

At the conclusion of the Matins (the traditional practice in association with a vigil) or of the Divine Liturgy, a special service is held. The Cross is placed on a tray surrounded by basil or daffodils and is taken in solemn procession through the church to the chanting of the Thrice Holy Hymn. The tray is placed on a table before the people, and the hymn of the Feast of the Cross is chanted. As the priest venerates the Cross, the priest then the people chant, “We venerate Your Cross, O Christ, and Your holy Resurrection we glorify.” At the conclusion of the service, the people come and venerate the cross and receive the flowers or basil from the priest. 

Hymns for the Day

Apolytikion of the Feast. Mode 1.

Save, O Lord, Your people and bless Your inheritance, granting victory to the faithful over the enemy, and by Your Cross protecting Your commonwealth. 

Resurrectional Apolytikion. Mode 2. 

When You descended unto death, O Lord who yourself are immortal Life, then did You mortify Hades by the lightning flash of Your Divinity. Also when You raised the dead from the netherworld, all the Powers of the heavens were crying out: O Giver of life, Christ our God, glory to You. 

Apolytikion for the Church, St. John Chrysostom, Mode pl. 4

The grace that from your mouth shone forth like a torch illumined the universe. It deposited in the world the treasures of the absence of avarice. It showed us the height that is attained by humility. Now you instruct us by your words, Father John Chrysostom. Intercede with Christ God, the Word Himself, entreating Him to save our souls.

Seasonal Kontakion. Mode pl. 4. 

O Champion General, I your City now inscribe to you. Triumphant anthems as the tokens of my gratitude, Being rescued from the terrors, O Theotokos. Inasmuch as you have power unassailable,

From all kinds of perils free me, so that unto you I may cry aloud: Rejoice, O unwedded Bride.

Gospel and Epistle Readings

Epistle Reading

The reading is from Paul's Letter to the Hebrews.

Brethren, since we have a high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, "Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee"; as he says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek."


Gospel Reading

The reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Mark.

The Lord said: "If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power."

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Saint John's Prayer Circle 

PLEASE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING NAMES OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN OUR PARISH AND BEYOND WHO ARE IN NEED OF OUR PRAYERS. If you have or know of someone who needs to be included in our regular prayers, PLEASE LET US KNOW>>>SUBMIT their names to us, please.


Fr. Constantine and Presvytera Mary, Nick and Carol, Mary P., Phyllis, Peter, Joel, Bill and Diana M., Leona, Joanna and Aristides, Kate, Roger SCHalip, Gena (Wilshire) Mildner, Mary (Maharares) Garcia


Services and Meetings during and up until April 24th

  • April 2nd Friday, 3rd Salutations to Virgin Mary, (Heretismi) 6PM
  • April 4th Sunday,     Sunday of The Holy Cross, Orthros & Div. Liturgy, 9AM
  • 40 day Memorial for Joanna Laskaris
  • April 7Th Wednesday, Divine Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts, 10AM
  • April 8th Thursday, PARISH COUNCIL Meeting, 4PM
  • April 9th Friday,     4th Salutations to Virgin Mary, (Heretismi) 6PM
  • April 10th Saturday, PHILOPTOCHOS Meeting, 10AM
  • April 11th Sunday,     St. John Climacus (of the Ladder), Orth & Lit. 10AM
  • April 14th Wednesday,    Divine Liturgy of Presantified Gifts, 6PM
  • April 16th Friday,     AKATHIST HYMN, 6PM
  • April 18th Sunday,     Saint Mary of Egypt, Orthros and Div. Liturgy, 10AM
  • 40 day memorial for Eleni Deslis
  • April 21st Wednestday, Div. Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts, (Last One) 10AM
  • April 24th Saturday, Sunday of Lazarus, Orthros and Divine Liturgy, 9-11:15AM
  • Preparation of the Palms and Decorating for Palm 
  • Sunday and Holy Week.

If you wish to make donations for Icon decorations during Holy Week and For Easter, 

please contact Connie Monsma.

Daffodils for Holy Cross Sunday, April 4th

Icon decoration for Saturday of Lazarus

Icon decoration for Palm Sunday (morning) and  Palms for Palm Sunday 

Icon decoration for Palm Sunday Evening 

Olive Oil for Holy Wednesday Unction and Altar oil lamp.

Icon decoration for Holy Thursday Evening

Icon decoration for Holy Saturday morning and evening


Baskets will be made available during services or see Connie Monsma.

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