Orthodox Christians mark Feast of the Cross (Krastovden) on September 14

Photo: BGNES library

On September 14 the Orthodox Church marks the Feast of the Cross, also known as Krastovden. According to ancient Christian custom, water is sanctified in the temple on this day. The priests visit the homes of the laymen and sprinkle them with holy water for good health. According to the Church tradition, Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, was an ardent Christian. She went to the holy places in Palestine to look for the tomb of Christ, which was buried in soil by the persecutors of the Christians two centuries earlier. Her efforts yielded results. She found the cave where Jesus was buried and three crosses. The three crosses were immediately taken to the bedside of a distinguished lady who was seriously ill. As the bishop prayed for a revelation, the touch of the True Cross immediately cured her. Helena sent a piece of this life-giving cross to her son in Constantinople and the Holy Cross itself was placed in a magnificent basilica in Jerusalem which was built on the place the cross was found. The temple was solemnly consecrated on September 14, 335 AD. In Bulgaria thousands of pilgrims gather in Krastova Gora locality in the Rhodopes on the eve of the Feast of the Cross, where according to beliefs, a piece of the life-giving cross was buried. The legend has it that on the night before the Feast of Cross God descends down to Earth and fulfills every sincere desire and prayer. This day is also associated with the end of the summer and the beginning of the autumn farming season and the day and the night become equal.

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