O Cross of Christ, rescue us from every harm by thy power

Today is the Feast of the Procession of the Precious and Life-Giving Cross (see OrthodoxWiki).

The Cross was borne through the streets of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), and brought amidst much pomp to the altar in the Church of the Holy Wisdom, Hagia Sophia.

As August was a time when the summer heat brought out disease, the Procession was intended to sanctify the people of the capital against both spiritual and bodily disease.

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AND the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

Numbers 21:8-9

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An icon of Jesus Christ in the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) in Constantinople (modern Istanbul)

An icon of Jesus Christ in the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia) in Constantinople (modern Istanbul)

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AS Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:14-15

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FORESHADOWING your passion, O Christ, Moses, your great servant, lifted up the serpent of bronze, rescuing mortals from the harm of the poisonous bite of serpents, and now when you were crucified, O Long-suffering, you redeemed the world from the harm of the serpent and raised it up from earth to things of heaven.

Therefore rejoicing we sing the praise of your might, Lover of mankind, and we honour and bow down to your Cross, through which all creation has found worth without toil and your great mercy.

Vespers on Thursday evening, Tone 5. Translation from Anastasis.

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AS the precious Cross comes forth, come, lovers of festivals, let us celebrate the feast, let us be radiant and cry aloud with unwavering faith: O Cross of Christ, sanctify us with the grace of the One who was lifted up on you, and rescue us from every harm by your power.

Verse: Exalt the Lord, our God; and worship at his footstool, for he is holy.

THE precious Cross prepares the paths to heaven for all who worship it with fear and love, and the One who was nailed upon it numbers with the choirs of the immaterial Powers those who with longing sing its praise.

Verse: God, who is our King before the ages, has wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.

AS we worship in faith the precious Cross, we worship the Master who was nailed upon it, by whose will we purify our lips and souls, by its spiritual illumination we are made radiant as we praise it.

Feast of the Procession of the Precious Cross, August 1. Translation from Anastasis.

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