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  Sunday, June 16, 2019
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On Monday, Russia's Orthodox community is celebrating one of the Twelve Great Feasts, the Triumph of the Holy Cross, or the Exaltation of the Cross
The history of the holiday dates back to the 4th century. Constantine the Great, Equal-to-the-Apls., (the Roman emperor from 306 who founded the new capital of the empire, which was called after him, Constantinopole, in 324-330) made Christianity the empire's official religion. Saint Helen, Constantine's mother, soon departed for Jerusalem for one of the greatest Christian relics - the cross on which the Saviour was tortured and died. It took Saint Helen a long time to discover the crosses on which Jesus and two robbers were crucified. Crucifixion was considered to be great disgrace in those days and crosses were usually buried in the ground. Saint Helena found the three crosses that were absolutely alike. The Holy Cross was identified as it began working miracles. For example, a dead man rose during the burial ceremony when the Cross was put on him. So that a lot of people who gathered around the place where the Cross had been found could see it, Patriarch Macarius of Jerusalem and other church leaders began "to exalt" it. Hence, the name of the holiday.
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