Metropolitan Tikhon of Pskov and Porkhov celebrated the Liturgy and give this homily in the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross, Pskov diocese
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The most beautiful thing that a person can see on this earth is the Cross of Christ and the Lord God ascended upon it—the Son of God, Who ascended it Himself, according to His own desire, not coerced by anyone or anything, in order to taste of death by the cross—the only medicine that can deliver us people from death.
The Church glorifies the Cross of Christ several times a year. It glorifies and gazes upon it admiringly, through the understanding of the whole tragedy, through the understand of all our sins, the sins of mankind—which nevertheless could not exceed the Lord’s love for us. We gaze upon the Father’s love, the infinite mercy of Christ our Savior.
In the life of a nation there are people who give their lives for their friends, and the Lord Jesus Christ spoke of this. He understood these people very well, and they were close to Him. There is no love greater than when one lays down his life for those close to him, for his friends. Such people are unique in human history, but they performed that ascetic feat, about which the incarnate God Himself spoke, in a special way, with particular warmth and understanding. He performed such a feat, only infinitely greater, for He had to experience not only His own suffering as the God-Man, but also the sufferings of every person who lived before His incarnation, of His contemporaries, and of those who would live after His life, in order to redeem them all—each person who agrees to walk the path of faith, and even those who reject this path. The Lord gave everyone the opportunity to enter into the inheritance of His great Kingdom. And today [the feast of the Exultation of the Cross] is one of those great days when we strive to comprehend and give thanks to God, the incarnate Lord Jesus Christ, for this truly priceless, awesome, and beautiful gift, which grants us both the strength and ability to live in this world that lies in the evil of the prince of this age. To live with hope and steadfast faith that the Lord will conquer all evil, and even death itself…
Every time the enemy, or our own weakness and faintheartedness troubles us, remember the Cross of the Lord, its strength, its significance and meaning, which are contained only in the Lord Jesus Christ—Who chose precisely it as His Divine Throne, His sacrificial altar, upon which He Himself ascended for the sake of the salvation of each one of us…
May the Lord save you all!