Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Invention of the Holy Cross

Today, this year, the third Sunday after Easter, is the Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross. celebrated on May 3rd. The feast is a double of the second class. Today is also Sunday within the Octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church.

Again the church dons red vestments, as two days ago for the Apostles SS Philip and James. The Office of the feast began with first Vespers on Saturday afternoon. The Office is proper. At Vespers the magnificent hymn Vexilla regis is sung, last heard on Good Friday morning. However one stroph is changed so in the verse beginning O Crux ave spes unica instead of Hoc Passionis tempore there is sung Paschale quae fers gaudium. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Athanasius is sung and of the Sunday. As the feast is a double of the second class the Octave is not commemorated.

At Mattins the Office is proper. In the first nocturn the first lesson is from St. Paul to the Galatians with the poignant words:
"Christ have redeemed us from the curse law, being made a curse for us: for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith."

The second lesson is from the Epistle to the Philippians with the passage so familiar from the Triduum and the third lesson from the Epistle to the Colossians. The second nocturn lessons relate the work of St. Helena in fourth century Jerusalem finding three crosses buried in a cistern. Not knowing which cross the LORD had died on each was placed on a woman with a sickness by Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem. When touched by the True Cross the sick woman was instantly restored to health. The image below, illustrating this event, is from the Church of the Holy Cross in Florence by Gaddi found on this interesting site.

In the third nocturn the lessons are from a homily of St. Augustine on the Gospel of St. John. As the feast occurs on a Sunday the ninth lesson is the homily of the Sunday also from St. Augustine. If the feast had fallen on a weekday the ninth lesson would have been of SS Alexander, Eventius, Theodulus & Juvenal.

At Lauds and the Hours the antiphons from Vespers are sung. At Lauds a commemoration is sung of the Sunday and of SS Alexander etc. Prime is festal. At the Little Hours, of course, the paschaltide doxology is sung in the hymns.

Mass follows Terce. The Gloria and Creed are sung. The Sunday is commemorated in all Masses but SS Alexander etc only in private ones. The preface of the Cross is sung and the last Gospel is that of the Sunday.

The picture above shows Fr. Anthony Cekada reading the proper last Gospel for the third Sunday after Easter (note the missal has been moved to the Gospel side) captured from this afternoon's live (14:00 BST) webcast from St. Gertrude the Great Church. A rather pleasant polyphonic Vidi aquam was sung. Weekday sung liturgy from St. Gertude's can be watched 16:25 BST.

As today used to be the feast of the Solemnity of St. Joseph before the 1913 changes a decree of the Sacred Congregation for Rites (4308) allows all Masses except the Conventual Mass to be Votive Masses of St. Joseph. The Mass Adjutor of the feast is sung in white vestments. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Invention of the Holy Cross, the third collect of the Sunday. The Credo is sung, the preface is of St. Joseph and the last Gospel is that of the Invention of the Holy Cross.

Vespers are of the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross with a commemoration of the following Office of St. Monica and of the Sunday.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross has been abolished as its observance in the West only dated to the seventh century. Even if it had not been abolished it would not have been kept on the Sunday but merely commemorated. So the Sunday cut-down liturgy is celebrated: no commemortions at Vespers, Mattins reduced to one nocturn etc., essentialy the same as the 'ordinary form' of the 1962 rite. The Paschaltide Doxology (and tone) is not sung at the Horae Minorae. As for the feast and octave of the Solemnity of St. Joseph most 1962ists are oblivious or ignorant of its existence and history.

Art(Top): The Exaltation of the Cross from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry from Christus Rex.


AP said...

If it is any consolation to you, the parish with the daily TLM in the Diocese of Cubao had a real "Santacruzan" with rosary on this Sunday.

The Santacruzan is a Philippine religious tradition, a procession in honor of the Finding of the Holy Cross featuring young women and children costumed as allegorical figures or as the Blessed Virgin Mary under various titles or as saints. The central figure is "Reyna Elena" with her child Constantine, and -- of course -- the Holy Cross.

With the "suppression" of the feast, the Santacruzan degenerated into just another folk tradition, and in most places it has become an excuse for the local beauties or for children to dress up and process around their neighborhoods. There are even Santacruzan processions with gays / transvestites! Also, the vast majority of processions are no longer on May 3.

However, for this Sunday, the Parish of the Lord of Divine Mercy had a real Santacruzan: ladies and children dressed in elaborate finery under canopies decorated with flowers, and with a band, but also with the recitation of the rosary, some Spanish hymns and the holy cross.

Rubricarius said...

Esteemed Mr. Palad,

A great consolation indeed. What a wonderful tradition. Please send some photographs if you have any.

Any of the 'local beauties' looking for an English husband would be most welcome to contact me!

Anonymous said...

I live in a small Catholic pocket of a non-Christian country in Asia. I was wondering why the crosses at many of the wayside chapels were decorated with flowers these past several days. The local Church obviously allows these pre-1955 customs to flourish.

Rubricarius said...

May your small Catholic pocket be blessed for following the practice.
BTW the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross was jettisoned in 1960 not 1955.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rubricarius for the whole post on The Invention of the Holy Cross and also for clarifying for me the actual year of the destruction of this feast.
This has made me look even closer at our wayside shrines, almost all of which seemed to be named "Holy Cross Chapel". The floral decorations are still there, and some are very elaborate. One shrine was draped in lace curtains. Others had buntings hung for several metres on either side. Unfortunately, Asia's catholics are contracepting themselves into extinction. I believe that this is the case for South Asia, Indonesia and Vietnam. I'm not sure about the position in the Philippines. Can the Latin Mass and old traditions ever be restored in such an environment?

Please forgive this long post. A few months ago, among several locations in India, Catholic churches and wayside shrines were desecrated by Hindu fundamentalists in the south Indian cities of Mangalore and Bangalore. The Commission of Enquiry (composed of Hindus) looking into this matter now seemingly seeks to justify these desecrations. Here is a questionnaire they have circulated to the Catholic victims:

[By the way, much of the finance of the Hindu fundamentalists is alleged to come from the USA and the UK. Here is a link of a very ong article on the subject:


SUB: Inquiry into the attack on places of worship in Karnataka in September 2008.

Memorialists: Praveen Reddy and others. The above Memorialists submit the following questionnaire.


I bring down punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. [Genesis 20-5] Condemn to death anyone who offers sacrifices to any God except to me, the Lord. [Exodus 22-20]

If you still continue to resist me and refuse to obey me, I will again increase your punishment seven times. I will send dangerous animals among you, and they will kill your children, destroy your livestock, and leave so few of you that your roads will be deserted. If after all this punishment you still do not listen to me, but continue to defy me, then I will turn on you and punish you seven times harder than before. I will bring war on you to punish you for breaking our covenant, and if you gather in your cities for safety, I will send incurable diseases among you, and you will be forced to surrender to your enemies. I will cut off your food supply so that ten women will need only one oven to bake all the bread they have.

They will ration it out, and when you have eaten it all, you will still be hungry. If after all this you still continue to defy me and refuse to obey me then in my anger I will turn on you and again make your punishment seven times worse than before. Your hunger will be so great that you eat your own children. I will destroy your places of worship on the hills, tear down your incense altars and throw your dead bodies on your fallen idols. In utter disgust I will turn your cities into ruins, destroy your places of worship and refuse to accept your sacrifices. I will destroy your land so completely that the enemies who occupy it will be shocked at the destruction. I will bring war on you and scatter you in foreign lands. Your land will be deserted and your cities left in ruins. [Leviticus 27: 21 to 33]

Hindus offer sacrifices to Gods other than God of Bible. Hence Biblical God condemns to death Hindus who offer sacrifices to other Gods. Are not Christians threatening Hindus to embrace Christianity by using the Verse as contained in Exodus 22-20

Is Biblical God an intolerant God, narrow minded God and why is he so averse to his rivals and particular that human beings do not bow their head to his rivals?
Is Biblical god imbibed with the mediocre human quality of ego?
Clarify whether propagating the above verses are in conformity with Article 25 and Article 51[e] A of the Constitution of India?
Clarify whether these verses can be edited to suit secular spirit of Indian Constitution and the Secular principles propounded by it?
Clarify whether you are prepared to propagate Christianity without referring to this particular concept in Bible?
Clarify whether these portions of Bible can be deemed irrelevant today?
Clarify whether Bible was edited any time in the past by any one?
Clarify who has the rights to edit Bible?
Clarify whether you personally agree with the above verses?
Clarify whether are you willing to recommend editing the verses considered by Hindus as offensive and not acceptable to the modern society in the overall interest of maintaining communal harmony, unity and integrity of India and to suit the secular spirit of the Indian Constitution and tolerance and equality of all religious to be followed in India. It is the complaint of Hindus that Christians preachers while preaching Christianity use the above verses to instill fear in Hindus and ask them to convert. What do you say? Hindus do not believe in Biblical God. Are not the above verses offensive to them, a direct instigation to Christians to kill Hindus? Do not the above verses curtail the natural human right of human beings in general and Christians in particular to worship, believe a God of their choice?

Clarify whether Bible is applicable to entire humanity or only to Christians? If applicable only to Christians, why is Bible being doled out freely to Hindus in large quantities, sold at subsidized rates, Bible classes are held to Hindu students in Christian institutions? What are your stand and the stand of the Church insofar as the above verses vis a vis Hindus?

Please clarify is there such a grave peril to humanity if Gods other than Biblical Gods are worshipped? Why is the Biblical God so particular that people worship only him and why he gives no freedom to people in choosing other Gods? If the above verses are only history, are not there ample chances for its misinterpretation and are they not irrelevant? Do not the above verses project Biblical God as a God bereft of mercy, broad mindedness, tolerance and as a God of ordinary human values and not Godly values? It is not contrary to the popular notion that God is full of mercy and compassion? Does not the propagation of the above verses go against the secular and scientific temper enshrined in our constitution? Do not the above verses project God as a thing to be feared at and not loved at?


Put to death any woman who practices magic. [Exodus 22-18.] But if the charge is true and there is no proof that the girl was a virgin, then they are to take her out to the entrance of her father’s house, where the men of her city are to stone her to death. She has done a shameful thing among our people by having intercourse before she was married, while she was still living in her father’s houses. In this way you will get rid of this evil. [Deuteronomy 22-20] Women are not to wear men’s clothing and men are not to wear women’s clothing: the Lord your God hates people who do such things. [Deuteronomy 22-5] Clarify whether or not these verses are in direct confrontation with the Article 51-A (e) of the Constitution of India which required renouncement of practices derogatory to the dignity of women? If you are not able to edit Bible to suit the present times, is there a need to propagate Bible in accordance with the injunctions contained in Bible? Are these verses relevant today and deserve to exist in Bible? Bible is dear to Christians. How do Christian ladies and girls wear boys dresses and thereby violate the sacred tenets of Bible? What is the stand of your Church in this regard? Is Bible to be followed selectively or according to convenience or hypocritically or in toto? Clarify did not the above practice lead to the notorious witch hunting, burning of women in large numbers in places where Christianity was predominant? Clarify whether practicing magic is such a grave vice that it deserves death penalty? Clarify why death penalty is not prescribed for men who practices magic? Please clarify what peril will befall on humanity if the above tenets are violated?


Worship no God but me. [Ten Commandments] Do not bow to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals. [Genesis 20:4] Condemn to death anyone who offers sacrifices to any God except to me, the Lord.[Exodus 22-20] God is like a flaming fire; he tolerates no rivals[Deuteronomy 4-24] Do not marry any of them, and do not let your children marry any of them because then they would lead your children away from the Lord to worship other Gods. If that happens, the Lord will be angry with you and destroy you at once.[Deuteronomy 7-2-4] Jesus answered him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me. [John 14-6] The Lord God tolerates no rivals; he punishes those who oppose him. [Nahum 1-2]
a. Please clarify whether the above commandments do not violate article 25 and Article 51-A [e] of Constitution of India?
b. Please clarify whether the above verses are applicable to Hindus, if not clarify whether Bible is suitable/appropriat e to be propagated among non Christians in its present form?
c. If Bible is applicable to only Christians then is it a communal/sectarian book not applicable to entire human kind?
d. Are the above verses conducive for maintaining communal harmony especially in a country like India whether majority of Hindus believe in plurality of Gods?
e. As per Bible there is only one God- [of the several verses, refer verses Deuteronomy 4-24]. Are the Hindu Gods and Muslim God Allah rivals of Biblical God?
f. Can you point out the similarities between Hindu religions and Christianity?

g. If there is only one God then what about the personalities whom Hindus believe as Gods such as Rama, Shiva, Krishna, Buddha, Parvathi, Lakshmi, Allah, Prophet Mohammed etc? Are they not Gods?
h. Is it right to propagate Christianity in this form in our country where the majority of Hindus believe in plurality of Gods? Hindus believe forces and forms of nature as Gods such as Sun, Moon, Stars, earth, oceans, mountains, trees, plants, animals etc. When Hindus worship the above said forces of nature are they not on par with Israelites under the verse Deuteronomy 17-1 to 7? Are not the above verses a direct instigation to Christians to attack Hindus? Do not these verses violate Sections 153-A and 295-A of the Indian Penal Code? Do not the above verses outrage the feelings of other citizens of India especially Hindus? IV Jesus answered him, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one goes to the Father except by me. [John 14-6] 2. For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and mankind together, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself to redeem all mankind. [1 Timothy 3] The Lord God tolerates no rivals, he punishes those who oppose him. [Nahum 1-2]

a. Please enlighten the Hon’ble Commission whether salvation can be obtained through non Christian religions also?
b. There are millions of Hindus and Muslims who do not believe in Christianity. Please enlighten whether these persons are eligible to get salvation?
c. Please enlighten the Hon’ble Commission as to whether the persons born prior to Jesus Christ have obtained salvation?
d. As Hindus and Muslims worship other Gods are hey going to be punished by Biblical God?
e. Does not the propagation of the above verses go against the secular and scientific temper enshrined in our Constitution?
f. Do these verses deserve to be propagated especially in India which has a large population of Hindus?


Jesus drew near and said to them, I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Go, then, to the all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them, to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to end of the age. [Mathew 28-18] Last of all, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples, as they were eating. He scolded them, because they did not have faith and because they were too stubborn to believe those who had seen him alive. He said to them, Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to all mankind. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. Believers will be given the power to perform miracles: they will drive out demons in my name; they will speak in strange tongues; if they pick up snakes or drink any poison, they will not be harmed; they will place their hands on sick people, who will get well. [Mark 15- 143] Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, : This is what is written: the Messiah must suffer and must rise from death three days later, and in his name the message about repentance and the forgiveness of sins must be preached to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. [Luke 24-45] I will give them authority over the nations, to rule them with an iron rod and break them to pieces like clay pots. I will also give them the morning star.[Revelations 2-24] It does not matter! I am happy about it “so long as Christ is preached in every way possible, whether from wrong or right motives. And I will continue to be happy, because I know that by means of your prayers and the help which from the Spirit of Jesus Christ I shall be set free. [Philippians 2] It is not the verse contained in Philippians 2 a direct inspiration for Christians to indulge in fraudulent conversions? Has not fraudulent conversion been legitimized and also mandated by the above verse? Is not propagation and conversion the central theme of Christianity? Has not Pope John Paul-II and Pope Benedict given a call to the Christians to harvest souls in India? Is not harvesting souls conversion? Has not conversion resulted in friction, disharmony between Hindus and Christians in India? Do not these verses direct the Christians to convert the entire world into one religion i.e. Christianity which is directly against the law of land, violate Article 141 of the Constitution of India and violate the Supreme court judgment laid down in AIR 1977 SC 908, as per which one has no right to convert others? Clarify whether is it the intention of Christians to convert the entire Indian population to Christianity as directed by Jesus in the Bible? Can you categorically say on oath that there is no backing for conversion from foreign countries and that large amount of money is being sent for that purposes? Clarify whether for the Catholic Christians, the Pope is the supreme head and the mandates issued by the Pope are binding on the Roman Catholics? Clarify whether the law of the land will supersede over the mandates issued by the pope or the mandates issued by the Pope regarding all the matters are binding on Catholic Church even if it violates the Constitution of India?


Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. Do not bow to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring down punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. [Genesis 20 €“4] and [Deuteronomy 5-8 to 10] The Lord said, €œDo not make idols or set up statues, stone pillars or carved stones to worship. [Leviticus 26-1] For your own good then, make certain that you do not sin by making for yourselves an idol in any form at all- whether man or woman, animal or bird, reptile or fish. Do not be tempted to worship and serve what you see in the sky-the Lord your God has given these to all other peoples for them to worship.[Deuteronom y 4-15] Obey his command not to make yourselves any kind of idol because the Lord your God is like a flaming fire; he tolerates no rivals [Deuteronomy 4-24]. Now, all this is an example for us, to warn us not to desire evil things, as they did, nor to worship idols, as some of them did. [I Corinthians 10-6] So then, my dear friends keep away from the worship of idols. [I Corinthians 10-14] Majority of Hindus are idol worshippers. Bible strictly prohibits and even advocates destruction of idols. Are these verses conducive for maintaining communal harmony? Are these verses not violating Section 153-A, 295-A of IPC and Article 25 and 51 A of the Indian Constitution? What is the position of Christian Church vis-à -vis Hindus who are all idol worshippers? Does Bible allow worship of idols by non Christians in areas where Christianity is predominant? Is not the erection of statues or idols of Jesus, Mary and other Christian pontiffs in Churches, seminaries, hospitals a direct violation of the principles laid down by Moses and other prophets of Christianity? Can you point any verse in Bible which permits such installation of idols in Churches, seminaries, hospitals? Whether you in personal capacity, in capacity of a religious figure and on behalf of your church, are ready to declare that idol worship is no heinous practice and idol worshippers have a right to live, worship idols and do not deserve to be killed for the mere act of worshipping idols? Is the Christian clergy ready to delete those portions of Bible pertaining to idol worship and which are considered offensive [as the above verses]?


The Lord your God will destroy the nations as you invade their land and you will occupy it and settle there. After the Lord destroys those nations, make sure that you do not follow their religious practices, because that would be fatal. Do not try to find out how they worship their gods, so that you can worship in the same way. Do not worship the Lord your God in the way they worship their gods, for in the worship of their gods they do all the disgusting things that the Lord hates. They even sacrifice their children in the fires on their altars. [Deuteronomy 12-29 to 32] Even your brother or your son or your daughter or the wife you love or your closest friend may secretly encourage you to worship other gods, gods that you and your ancestors have never worshipped. One of them may encourage you to worship the gods of the people who live near you or the gods of those who live far away. But do not let him persuade you, do not even listen to him. Show him no mercy or pity, and do not protect him. Kill him! Be the first to stone him and then let everyone else stone him too. Stone him to death! He tried to lead you away from the Lord your God, who rescued you from Egypt, where you were slaves. Then all the people of Israel will hear what happened, they will be afraid and no one will ever again do such an evil thing. When you are living in the towns that the Lord your God gives you, you may hear that some worthless men of your nation have misled the people of their town to worship gods that you have never worshipped before. If you hear such a rumor, investigate it thoroughly and if it is true that this evil thing did happen, then kill all the people in that town and all their livestock too. Destroy that town completely. Bring together all the possessions of the people who live there and pile them up in the town square. Then burn the town and everything in it as an offering to the Lord your God. It must be left in ruins for ever and never again be rebuilt. [Deuteronomy 13-6 to 17] You are the people of the Lord your God. So when you mourn for the dead don’t gash yourselves or shave the front of your head, as other people do. [Deuteronomy 14] Suppose you hear that in one of your towns some man or woman has sinned against the Lord and broken his covenant by worshipping and serving other gods or the sun or moon or the stars, contrary to the Lord’s command. If you hear such a report, then investigate it thoroughly. If it is true that this evil thing has happened in Israel, then take that person outside the town and stone him to death.[Deuteronomy 17 : 1 to 17] Kill them, so that they will not make you sin against the Lord by teaching you to do all the disgusting things that they do in the worship of their gods. [Deuteronomy 20-10 to 18] Are not Hindus vis a vis the above verses on par with the people of Egypt and Israel? Does not Bible mandate killing of people for worshipping other Gods? Are not the laws enunciated by Moses upheld by Jesus [Mathews 5-17]? Are these verses conducive for maintaining communal harmony? Are these verses not violating Section 153- A, 295-A of IPC and Article 25 and 51A of the Indian Constitution and violate Human rights? What is the position of Christian Church vis-Ã -vis Hindus who are worshippers of Gods other than Biblical Gods? Whether you, in personal capacity, in capacity of a religious figure and on behalf of your church, are ready to declare that these verses deserve to be deleted and not relevant to the present Indian scenario and that Hindus who are idol worshipers and worship non Biblical Gods do not follow a heinous practice have a right to do so, right to live, worship idols and do not deserve to be killed for the mere act of worshipping idols and worshipping non Biblical Gods? Do not these verses show that Bible is against scientific temper and secularism enshrined in our Constitution? Clarify whether Bible enjoins the Christians to live harmoniously with followers of other religions?


Do everything that I have commanded you; do not add anything to it or take anything from it. [Deuteronomy 7-32] As per the above verse, Bible is beyond human correction and has to be followed in letter and its spirit and implemented in toto for everlasting peace. Under these circumstances is it possible to amend Bible as demanded by a section of Hindus?


Is not the Bible unscientific and irrational which propagates that earth is the centre of the Universe and sun revolves round earth thereby violating the principle of scientific temper enshrined in our Constitution. Please clarify who are Pagans and Heathens? Do they exist even today? If they exist who are they and where do they live? Are Hindus on par with Pagans and Heathens? Are the verses applicable to Pagans and Heathens applicable to Hindus also? If Pagans and Heathens are only history then can’t the verses with reference to Pagans and Heathens be deleted? Isn’t there scope for misinterpretation of Verses pertaining to Pagans and Heathens and applied to Hindus?

Advocate for Memorialists

Rubricarius said...

I am saddened to learn of such treatment and you have my sympathy and prayers.

I have posted your (very long) comment but must ask that comments focus on liturgical matters. ~Not that other matters are not important but the focus here is the liturgy.

AP said...

"Unfortunately, Asia's catholics are contracepting themselves into extinction. I believe that this is the case for South Asia, Indonesia and Vietnam. I'm not sure about the position in the Philippines."

The Philippines is now below replacement as well, with population growth at 1.95 % (rather than the 2.1% needed to sustain a population).

When it comes to sexual mores the Philippines is very Western.

By the way, that long post about the situation in India is of interest to me. If "Anonymous" could send me an update as to what has happened to that Memorial and how the Church in India has reacted, I'm willing to post about it on RC.

Sakshi Team said...

Dear Friend,

We have answered with pleasure those questions from Praveen Reddy and others. You may read those here:



SAN Team