The date also marked the finding of the True Cross of Our Lord by the Empress Helena, Mother of the Emperor. As if these events were not enough to make this feast one of the greatest of the calendar, it also recalls the return of the True Cross to Jerusalem in 629 by the Emperor Heraclius.
Fifteen years prior It had been taken as war booty by Chosroes, the King of Persia. Defeated in war, Chosroes was forced to return the Cross. The Emperor decided to carry the Holy Cross into Jerusalem upon his own shoulders. Dressed in finery, however, he was held back by a miraculous power and could not enter the city.
Bishop Zacharias told the Emperor that, dressed in gold and fine clothing, haughty and arrogant, he was “far from imitating the poverty of Jesus Christ and His humility in bearing His Cross.” Taking off his fine ornaments and preparing himself by prayer, he walked in rags and barefooted to Calvary where he returned the Cross.
Pray on this feast that we can imitate the lesson of this day long ago and bring back the knowledge of Our Lord and His Suffering and Cross to the ignorant masses and restore Jesus to His proper place!