12 January 2011

Orthodox Church Celebrates 358th Anniversary of Bent Cross Oath

Orthodox Church Celebrates 358th Anniversary of Bent Cross Oath

Written By: on Jan 11th, 2011

MATTANCHERY: Orthodox Church celebrated the 358th anniversary of historical Bent Cross (Coonan Cross) Oath on Monday January 3, 2010 at the Mattanchery Church.

Metropolitan of Kochi Diocese Dr. Yakob Mar Irenaeus inaugurated the meeting. Fr. Geevarghese Kochuparambil Ramban delivered the keynote address. Fr. P.I. Varghese, Fr. Sunil Jacob, and Fr. Simon Joseph spoke on the occasion.

Special Holy Qurbana and prayers were conducted earlier to mark the remembrance of those fathers, who pledged 358 years back holding on to the rope tied upon the stone cross as a symbol of their renunciation of foreign dominance in faith.

The procession with 358 lighted candles donned a new experience of history to the faithful.

Fr. Geevarghese Thomas Panickasseril welcomed the gathering. Number of faithful from all neighboring parishes participated in the event.


03 January 2011

The Finding of the True Cross

+ The Finding of the True Cross +

According to Ethiopian Orthodoxy, after the ascension of Jesus, the
cross on which he was crucified began performing extraordinary
miracles. This raised the ire of the people who crucified Jesus, who
then ordered the cross to be removed and buried in the outskirts of
town. Residents living in the surrounding areas were commanded to dump
their garbage on the site, and for the next three centuries the area
turned into wasteland.

Three hundred years later, in the early fourth century, the Roman
Empire was being ruled by Constantine the Great. His mother, St.
Elleni (Helena), concerned about the plight of Christians, beseeched
her son to allow the free practice of Christendom in her son's empire.

The Emperor consented, and St. Elleni traveled from Constantinople to
Jerusalem to look for the buried Cross. Once in Jerusalem, however, no
one could tell her the exact spot where it lay. It is said that she
went into seclusion and prayed for God's guidance.

As a result of her prayer, St. Michael the Archangel appeared unto her
and gave her certain instructions. She ordered her soldiers and the
local residents to gather a pile of firewood. After a prayer, a fire
was set ablaze the wood. Clergymen doused incense on the flame and the
smoke of the incense rose up towards the sky then arched down to the
earth, pointing out the exact spot where the Holy Cross was buried.

Following this miraculous sign, digging began and commenced for six
months until the True Cross was discovered.

This has been the premise of the celebration of "Mesqel" in the
Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Since then, clergy and parishioners have
dressed in traditional, colorful clothing to sing ancient hymnals
dating back to the sixth century. A bonfire is lit up to memorialize
the finding of the True Cross.