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Elevation of the Cross

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#21 Paul Cowan

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:25 AM

I was reading the life of this holy saint tonight and read something I had not heard before. It was my understanding the tree Christ was cruciifed on was the Tree of Life. Ok, this is probably poetic symbolism, but is the following a true occurrence about the Holy Cross?

Saint Prokhore the Georgian, a descendant of the noble Shavteli family, was born at the end of the 10th century and grew up in a monastery. When he reached manhood he was ordained a hieromonk and labored for one year at the Lavra of St. Sabbas in Jerusalem. Then, with the blessing of his spiritual father Ekvtime Grdzeli, he began the reconstruction of the Holy Cross Georgian Monastery near Jerusalem.

According to tradition, at this spot Abraham’s nephew Lot planted three trees—a cypress, a pine, and a cedar. Eventually these three trees miraculously grew into one large tree. When the Temple of Solomon was being built, this tree was cut down but left unused. It is said that the Cross on which Christ our Savior was crucified was constructed from the wood of this tree.

In the 4th century, the land on which the miraculous tree had grown was presented to Holy King Mirian, the first Christian king of Georgia. Then in the 5th century, during the reign of Holy King Vakhtang Gorgasali, the Holy Cross Monastery was founded on that land. The monastery was destroyed several times between the 7th and 9th centuries. [...]

And if this tradition is accurate, what kind of tri-mingled tree did these three trees turn into? Must have been a rather tall conifer type tree. I have seen a mass of trees mingle their root systems to form a "single" tree, but to look at them they appear to be several unique trees with a common base.


#22 Olga



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Posted 20 October 2009 - 11:44 PM

Too far back for me to remember the source of this, but memory tells me that the cross on which Christ was crucified was made of olivewood. Even if not "factually" true, still loaded with symbolism.

As far as any clues through the liturgical tradition goes, be it for feasts of the Cross, or Holy Week, I do not recall any reference as to what variety of tree (or trees) were used for the Cross.

#23 Jeremy Phillips

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 08:31 PM


I was wondering if someone from the Russian Tradition could explain why during the elevation of the cross in the service for the feast water is poured over the cross as it is elevated. I've seen it done in a number of photographs and was curious about the significance.

The Byzantine tradition, of which I am apart, does not do this... as far as I know.


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