The tree of shame has become the tree of glory: Baghdad celebrates the Holy Cross

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On 13 September 2021 St George Baghdad kept the Eve of the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross in Iraqi fashion.

Canon Faiz Jerjes presided at the celebration, part of which involves kindling fire in a bowl and stepping across it. This reflects the tradition that, when in about the year 327 the Empress St Helena found the remains of the true cross on which Jesus died in Jerusalem, she ordered a series of bonfires to be lit in relay across the eastern empire to let her son Constantine, back in Constantinople, know that she had at last and with deep joy found the central symbol of the Christian faith: the instrument of execution that was nothing other than the place of the world’s healing and salvation.

In some key words from the liturgy for this feast of the Holy Cross: “The tree of shame has become the tree of glory; and, where life was lost, there life has been restored.”

Photo credit Sinan Kakarash/Majd Faris