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Der Samuel's Sermon - May 7, 2023

Today the Armenian apostolic church is celebrating one of the four feasts of the Holy Cross which is the apparition of the Holy Cross. And here I want to read the story of the apparition of the Holy Cross. - “On May 7 in the year 351, those living in Jerusalem witnessed an intensely illumined cross appear in the sky extending from Golgotha to the Mount of Olives; a span of almost two miles. As it remained visible for several hours, the population of Jerusalem assembled in the church to praise Jesus Christ for the miraculous sign, but this apparition not only affected the locals. St. Cyril the Bishop of Jerusalem wrote about the miracle in a letter to the Emperor Constantius of Constantinople who at the time, believed in the Arian heresy which denies Jesus is God, and claims He was a created being, subordinate to God the Father. St. Cyril used this occasion to remind Emperor Constantius of Byzantium of his father’s (Constantine the Great) orthodox faith. Upon reading the letter, Emperor Constantius was deeply moved and returned to the orthodox teaching of the Church that Jesus is God, equal in nature to the Father”.

This was not a coincidence or a fairy tale. This was not a made-up story nor a lie to convince the people to believe in someone who is dead as some pagans believe. But this was a truth that shows us the almightiness of our Lord. This was also proof that our Lord was not dead, but He was alive and nourishing His people. He was strengthening the church and the faith of the people, and He was making the Christian beliefs more durable against all the heresies.

Dear brothers and sisters, the sign of the Holy Cross is the sign of Christianity for a reason. And the reason is that our Salvation was brought to us by that instrument. In other words, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was sacrificed and shed His blood on that instrument to grant us the ability to repent for our sins and accept God as our father. That very instrument became the light that guides our steps into righteousness, generosity, integrity, humility, and kindness. Also, the Holy Cross became the only way that leads us to eternal life.

Each and single one of us must determine the power of the cross hidden in us, because unfortunately, our daily worries are somehow denying our ears to hearing the divine call, also they are denying our souls to feel and enjoy the protection of the sign of the Holy Cross because they made us think that we can solve our problems single-handedly. But the truth is we must be aware of these problems because these problems could turn into tribulations, in which we can lose our Hope, Faith, and Love about and towards everything. Thereby we should be aware and ready to face these problems, and in order to be ready we have to read the Bible and understand what God wants from us because we would be able to face all the problems and tribulations, only by opening our hearts, minds and souls to Him and accept Him to guide our steps.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us search for our own Crosses in our minds, hearts, and souls. let us enlighten our minds with the truth of our faith by reading the Bible, let us strengthen our hearts by the promises given us by Jesus Christ, and finally let us fill our souls with the hope of resurrection given us by our Lord. and May God bless us abundantly now and always and forever more amen.

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