Faithful Catholics and Greek Orthodox join together in prayer and veneration of a relic of the Cross of Jesus

“Rejoice, O Wood most blessed!”

More than 100 people gathered together in prayer for the 18th annual Ecumenical service of Salutations to the Holy Cross, drawing Catholic and Greek Orthodox faithful from across counties.

The Akathis Hymn to the “Spiritual Ladder, the Precious and Life-Creating Cross” is a Greek Orthodox prayer including psalms and hymns of praise, thanksgiving, and supplication. 

The Salutations to the Holy Cross service was held at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross, a magnificently decorated Church with mosaics covering the walls and ceilings including biblical scenes, saints, angels, the Pantocrator (Christ, King of the Universe)at the top of the dome, and the Theotokos (Mary, mother of God) above the altar.

Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Gerasimos welcomed the faithful, noting that it was a gift of the Holy Spirit moving in both the Roman Catholic community and the Greek Orthodox community to have so many join the service.

In his homily, Archbishop Cordileone spoke on the three penitential aspects of Lent—prayer, fasting, and almsgiving—and how they help us to become better stewards of the gifts God has given to us, leading us to higher things.

“Our Lenten disciplines are all directed toward moving us to an ever more authentic spirituality of stewardship, in order to set our minds and hearts on the higher things,” said Archbishop Cordileone.  “As lovers of our Lord Jesus Christ, our minds and hearts must be always with Him, already longing for the life of heaven; and yet, we constantly feel the tug of attachment to the passing things of earth.”

Following the service, the members of the congregation venerated a relic of the true Cross positioned in the sanctuary of the Church.

A reception followed the service and included a delicious spread of Greek food and treats.