Cross, Exaltation of The

Cross, Exaltation of the a festival in the Roman Catholic Church, instituted in commemoration of the exaltation of the supposed cross of Christ at Jerusalem, after its recovery from the Persians. The latter, when conquering Jerusalem in 614, carried off with them the relic which, since its "invention", SEE CROSS, CHRIST'S, by the empress Helena, had been venerated as the "Holy Cross." With a view to a heavy sum of ransom, they had it sealed up by the patriarch Zacharias with the patriarchal seal, and took it to a strong castle in Armenia. When, in 627, the emperor Heraclius conquered the Persians, he stipulated in the treaty of peace for the restoration of the Holy Cross, and took it with him to Constantinople. From there, in 629 (according to others in 680), he took it himself, accompanied by a large retinue, to Jerusalem, where it was again set up with great solemnities. It is this restoration of the cross to Jerusalem which is annually commemorated on Sept. 14 in the Church of Rome as the Exaltation of the Cross. — Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lex. 6:268.

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