ALYPY OF CHICAGO AND DETROIT
the Cross, the Lord Showed the Highest Degree of Selflessness, Meekness
(Sermon on the Elevation of the Cross of the Lord)
From the Editors: In connection with the continuing observance
of the Elevation of the Cross of the Lord and the approaching celebration
of the 50th anniversary of the clerical service and 30th anniversary
of the Episcopal ordination of His Eminence Archbishop Alypy, we
offer a transcription of the following sermon given by His Eminence
in 1994. The upcoming celebrations will be held at Holy Virgin Protection
Cathedral in Chicago (Des Plaines, IL), in the middle of October.
His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus, His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland,
the clergy and flock of his diocese will participate. The schedule
will be posted soon.
On September 14/27, we observe the holiday of the Elevation of the
Cross of the Lord. Bringing the cross out for our prostration and
veneration, we also venerate the sufferings of Christ, which He
enduring for the sake of the salvation of mankind. For this reason,
the cross is a sign and symbol of Christianity. In the kondakion
of this holiday, the cross is called "the weapon of peace"
and "the invincible trophy."
The cross is called the "weapon of peace" because Christ
slain enmity upon it (Eph. 2:16), which was introduced with the
fall of mankind into sin, and this enmity grew alongside the increase
of sin. In order to mitigate the growth of sin, law was given, but
in the words of Apostle Paul, it could not eliminate sin, but only
showed the weakness of mankind which was corrupted by sin. Sacrifices
and immolation could not atone for mankind before God, for the blood
of lambs and goats could not expiate sin. The Old Testament sacrifices
were only prototypes of the great Sacrifice of Christ. In suffering
upon the cross, the Lord made peace between mankind and God, "blotting
out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us" (Col.
2:14 and also the Sixth Hour).
The cross is also an expression of "the invincible trophy"
of Christ. How did this victory come? Death upon the cross is the
epitome of the suffering and humiliation of the Lord, in which was
His main victory, with which the pride of the devil was crushed.
The basis of sin is pride. In his pride, the devil rose up against
God, in pride was mankind tempted: "Ye shall be as gods, knowing
good and evil." The foundation of good works is humility, which
in the end destroys makes pride obsolete as its negative opposite,
just as light disperses darkness, and so the devil fears it most
In the life of St Macarius of Egypt it is recounted how the devil
once met the holy man and sought to strike him with a scythe, and
could not. Then he said: "Macarius! You are causing me great
grief, because I am unable to vanquish you. Here I am, doing everything
that you are doing. You are keeping fast - and I am not eating at
all; you are keeping awake - and I never sleep. There is one thing,
however, in which you surpass me." "And what is that?"
asked the saint. "Your humility," replied the devil. "It
is for this reason that I cannot cope with you."
Upon the cross, the Lord showed us the highest degree of selflessness,
meekness and humility, in suffering. He prayed for those who crucified
In elevating the cross of the Lord, we recall also His suffering.
These sufferings were more horrifying, for Christ suffered for all
the sins of mankind. That is why the cross is the highest expression
of God's love for man: "For God so loved the world, that he
gave his only begotten Son." But the cross can also be an expression
of the love given by man to God in return. This love was shown to
us by Apostle Paul, when he said: "But God forbid that I should
glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world
is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Gal 6:14). This
love in return is expressed by wearing the cross. One can wear the
cross internally and externally. Internally, in our battle with
passion and lust. This struggle is not easy, since passion and lust,
besides their basis in physical corruption, are also prodded by
the devil, so our struggle is not only with flesh and blood, but
in the words of Apostle Paul, "against spiritual wickedness
in high places" (Eph 6:12). Fasting and prayer are effective
weapons in this battle.
Wearing the cross externally means the suffering and sorrows which
assail us from all sides. Mostly these sufferings are involuntary,
but when they are accepted without grumbling, they greatly benefit
us. Voluntary sufferings are those which are assumed for faith in
Christ. These martyric sufferings are like those of Christ, and
so martyrs have a special place before the Lord, and the Holy Church
often appeals to them on behalf of worshipers for intercession.
In bowing before the cross, we immediately recall the Resurrection
of Christ, showing that it is the result of the victory over evil,
expressed by sin, the devil and death. And this victory took place
upon the cross through humiliation and suffering.
Kneeling before the cross, through our humility we express veneration
for the humility, humiliation and sufferings of Christ; in rising
up again, we symbolize the Resurrection of Christ.
So let us venerate the cross not only in prostrations and genuflection,
but in our lives, in emulating Apostle Paul, so that the bearing
of our cross would be the greatest expression of mutual love for