Veneration of the Precious Cross - April 7, 2013
The Sunday of the Veneration of the Precious Cross is the Third Sunday of Great Lent. On this Sunday, services includes a special veneration of the Cross, which prepares the faithful for the commemoration of the Crucifixion during Holy Week and the holy Resurrection.
Each of the Sundays of Great Lent has its own special theme. This Sunday's theme is that in the cross of Christ crucified lies both "the power of God and the wisdom of God" for those being saved (1 Corinthians 1:24). On this Sunday in the middle of the Lenten season, the cross stands in the middle of the church, not merely to remind the faithful of Christ's redemption and for them to keep the goal of their Lenten efforts, but also as a reminder: "He who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:38).
The historical theme, as seen in the hymnology, is the victory and joy of the cross, not the suffering. The Church fathers equate the life-giving cross with the tree of life and plant it in the middle of the Lenten pilgrimage. It was the tree that was planted in Paradise; it is to remind the faithful of both Adam's bliss and how he was deprived from it.