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Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross

On Sunday, May 18, the Armenian Church will celebrate the Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross. The Apparition of the Holy Cross is the third feast of the Holy Cross and is celebrated on the fifth Sunday after Easter. At noon on May 19, 351 AD, a bright, luminous cross appeared over the skies of Jerusalem, centered over an area spanning from the Mount of Olives (where Christ was betrayed and arrested) to Golgotha (where Christ was crucified). Awestruck, the faithful of Jerusalem rushed to church to give thanks and glorify the Lord.

Bishop Cyril (later St. Cyril of Jerusalem) subsequently wrote a letter to Emperor Constantine of Byzantium wherein he described the miraculous and amazing scene. In his letter, St. Cyril wrote that the apparition is a true testimony of the Orthodox faith of Christianity. The Armenian translation of this encyclical is read on this feast.

Further, St. Cyril exhorts the Emperor to that the appearance is a sign for him to remain steadfast in his faith and to stop defending the heretical movement of Arianism and its followers. The Armenian translation of the Bishop’s letter has been preserved by the Church, and is read each year on the Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Cross. 


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