Ode to the Cross

In honor of the Feast of the Procession of the Wood of the Holy Cross (1 Aug), here is an excerpt from the Sermon on the Precious and Life-Giving Cross, and on the Second Coming, and on Love and Almsgiving, attributed to St. Ephrem the Syrian.

Procession of the Cross (Aug 1)The Cross is the resurrection of the dead.

The cross is the hope of Christians.

The Cross is the staff of the lame.

The Cross is the consolation of the poor.

The Cross is the restraint of the rich and the humbling of the proud.

The Cross is the trophy of victory over the demons and a tutor for the young.

The Cross is the commerce of them that sell, the hope of the despairing, the rudder of them that sail.

The Cross is the harbor of the tempest-tossed and the shelter of the beseiged.

The Cross is the father of orphans, the counselor of the righteous, the comfort of the afflicted, the guardian of children, the head of men, and the crown of the aged.

The Cross is the light of those who sat in darkness.

The Cross is the majesty of kings and the philosophy of the barbarians.

The Cross is the freedom of slaves and the wisdom of the unlearned.

The Cross is the preaching of prophets, the companion of the apostles, and the boast of martyrs.

The Cross is the chastity of virgins and the joy of priests.

The Cross is the foundation of the Church and the steadfastness of the whole world.

The Cross is the purification of idols’ temples and a scandal to the Jews (1 Cor 1:23).

The Cross is the power of the impotent and a physician for the diseased.

The Cross is the purification of lepers and the healing of paralytics.

The Cross is bread for the hungry and a fountain for the them that thirst.

The Cross is the courage of monks and a covering for the naked.

From the Sermo in pretiosam et vivificam crucem, et in secundum adventum, et de caritate et eleemosyna (ed. K.G. Phrantzoles, Ὁσίου Ἐφραίμ τοῦ Σύρου ἔργα, vol. 4 [Thessalonica:  Perivoli tis Panagias, 1992], 134-135).

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