On this day is celebrated the festival of the Honorable Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom be praise, for this is the day on which the holy woman, the Empress Helena, beloved of God, mother of the righteous Emperor Constantine, revealed the Cross, for having cleared away the hill of Golgotha she found [there] the Honorable Cross.
And why did this great hill come into being? It was because of the many signs and wonders, which were made manifest at the holy tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ; for the dead were raised, and the paralytics were healed, and the sick were made whole. And because of these things the Jews were furiously angry, and they sent forth a decree throughout all the country of Judea and Jerusalem ordering that every man should cast the sweepings of his house, and the ashes, and offal of every kind on the grave of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the Jews did this for more than two hundred years, and the ashes and the offal formed a very great heap, and they did so until the Empress Helena came to Jerusalem.
Helena seized certain Jews and shut them up in prison until they told her where the grave of our Lord Jesus Christ was, and she forced them to remove that hill, and the Honorable Cross was discovered. And she built a beautiful church for it, and she consecrated it, and she made a great festival in honor thereof on the seventeenth day of Mesekerem, which is this day. And all the Christian people came from all their countries to Jerusalem, and they made a great festival in honor of the Honorable Cross, similar to the festival of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now as certain Christians were journeying along the road, there was with them a certain man, a Samaritan, whose name was Isaac, and there were many Samaritans with him. And that Isaac the Samaritan was jibing at the Christians and reviling them and saying unto them, “Why do ye trouble yourselves in vain? Why do ye go and bow down before a mere log of wood?” And among the Christians was a certain righteous man, a priest whose name was ‘Odokis (Eudoxius), and as they were traveling along the road some of the Christians became thirsty, and they could not find water to drink.
They arrived at a certain well, and they found in it foul and bitter water, and they were suffering greatly from thirst. And Isaac the Samaritan began to laugh at them, and he said unto them, “If your faith was the True Faith this foul and bitter water would change itself and would become sweet water.” And when ‘Okokis (Eudoxius) the priest heard these words from him, he became moved with a divine zeal, and he debated with Isaac the Samaritan. And Isaac the Samaritan said unto him, “If I saw any power in the Name of the Cross then I myself would believe in Christ.” Then the holy man ‘Odokis (Eudoxius) prayed over that foul water, and it became sweet immediately, and all the people and their animals drank there from. When Isaac the Samaritan was athirst and wished to drink of the water which was in his own water-skin, he found that it was stinking and that there were worms in it. And he wept very bitterly, and he came to Saint ‘Odokis (Eudoxius) the priest, and he bowed down at his feet, and he believed on the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And he drank of that water which had become sweet, through the prayer of the holy man ‘Odokis (Eudoxius). Now there was in that water such great power that it became sweet to those who were believers and bitter to the infidels and pagan folk. And there appeared in that water a cross of light, and they built over that water a beautiful church. When Isaac the Samaritan came to the city of Jerusalem, he went to the bishop, who baptized him with Christian baptism, him and all the men of his house, and they entered the Christian faith and became believers.
Now the Honorable Cross appeared unto them on the tenth day of Megabit, but as they were unable to celebrate a festival in its honor during a fast, they celebrated its festival on the day of the consecration of the church, which was the seventeenth day of Mesekerem, the day of its appearance in the holy tomb.
Glory be to God, And to His Virgin Mother And to the Glorious Cross
- The Book of Synaxarium: September 17.