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Hymns to the Holy Cross

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The following are the Aposticha hymns that are chanted for Great Vespers (Ἑσπερινός) for the feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross on September 14. The major feasts of the Lord and the Panagia are never just a one-day celebration.  We are in the period of celebration of the Holy Cross until September 21.

Since I am a seminarian at Holy Cross, this feast is especially dear to me. It is beautifully celebrated – to say the least – here at the school, our beloved Σχολή.


Hail! life-giving Cross, unconquerable trophy of godliness, door to Paradise, succour of the faithful, rampart set about the Church. Through thee corruption is utterly destroyed, the power of death is swallowed up, and we are raised from earth to heaven: invincible weapon, adversary of devils, glory of martyrs, true ornament of Saints, haven of salvation bestowing on the world great mercy.

Exalt ye the Lord our God; and worship at His footstool, for He is holy (Psalm 98:5).

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Hail! Cross of the Lord: through thee mankind has been delivered from the curse. Shattering the enemy by thine Exaltation, o Cross all-venerable, thou art a sign of true joy. Thou art our help, thou art the strength of kings, the power of righteous men, the majesty of priests. All who sign themselves with thee are freed from peril. Thou rod of strength under which we like sheep are tended, thou art a weapon of peace round which the angels stand in fear. Thou art the divine glory of Christ, who grants the world great mercy.

God is our King of old: working salvation in the midst of the earth (Psalm 73:12).

Hail! guide of the blind, physician of the sick and resurrection of all the dead. O precious Cross, thou hast lifted us up when we were fallen into mortality. Through thee corruption has been destroyed, and incorruption has flowered forth; we mortal men are made divine and the devil is utterly cast down. Seeing thee exalted by the hands of bishops on this day, we exalt Him who was lifted high upon thee, and we venerate thee, plenteously drawing from thee great mercy.

From The Festal Menaion, translated from the original Greek by Mother Mary and Archimandrite Kallistos Ware, Saint Tikhon’s Seminary Press: South Canaan, PA, 1998.



Χαίροις ὁ ζωηφόρος Σταυρός, τῆς εὐσεβείας τὸ ἀήττητον τρόπαιον, ἡ θύρα τοῦ Παραδείσου, ὁ τῶν πιστῶν στηριγμός, τὸ τῆς Ἐκκλησίας περιτείχισμα· δι᾿ οὗ ἐξηφάνισται, ἡ φθορὰ καὶ κατήργηται, καὶ κατεπόθη, τοῦ θανάτου ἡ δύναμις, καὶ ὑψώθημεν, ἀπὸ γῆς πρὸς οὐράνια. Ὅπλον ἀκαταμάχητον, δαιμόνων ἀντίπαλε, δόξα Μαρτύρων Ὁσίων, ὡς ἀληθῶς ἐγκαλλώπισμα, λιμὴν σωτηρίας, ὁ δωρούμενος τῷ κόσμῳ τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.

Στίχ. Ὑψοῦτε Κύριον τὸν Θεὸν ἡμῶν καὶ προσκυνεῖτε τῷ ὑποποδίῳ τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ.

Χαίροις ὁ τοῦ Κυρίου Σταυρός, δι᾿ οὗ ἐλύθη τῆς ἀρᾶς τὸ ἀνθρώπινον, τῆς ὄντως χαρᾶς σημεῖον, ὁ καταράσσων ἐχθρούς, ἐν τῇ σῇ ὑψώσει πανσεβάσμιε· ἡμῶν ἡ βοήθεια, Βασιλέων κραταίωμα, σθένος δικαίων, ἱερέων εὐπρέπεια, ὁ τυπούμενος, καὶ δεινῶν ἐκλυτρούμενος, ῥάβδος ἡ τῆς δυνάμεως, ὑφ᾿ ἧς ποιμαινόμεθα, ὅπλον εἰρήνης ἐν φόβῳ, ὃ περιέπουσιν Ἄγγελοι, Χριστοῦ θεία δόξα, τοῦ παρέχοντος τῷ κόσμῳ τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.

Στίχ. Ὁ δὲ Θεὸς Βασιλεὺς ἡμῶν πρὸ αἰῶνος εἰργάσατο σωτηρίαν ἐν μέσῳ τῆς γῆς.

Χαίροις ὁ τῶν τυφλῶν ὁδηγός, τῶν ἀσθενούντων ἰατρός, ἡ ἀνάστασις, ἁπάντων τῶν τεθνεώτων, ὁ ἀνυψώσας ἡμᾶς, εἰς φθορὰν πεσόντας, Σταυρὲ τίμιε· δι᾿ οὗ διαλέλυται, ἡ φθορὰ καὶ ἐξήνθησεν, ἡ ἀφθαρσία, καὶ βροτοὶ ἐθεώθημεν, καὶ διάβολος, παντελῶς καταβέβληται. Σήμερον ἀνυψούμενον, χερσὶ καθορῶντές σε, Ἀρχιερέων ὑψοῦμεν, τὸν ὑψωθέντα ἐν μέσῳ σου, καὶ σὲ προσκυνοῦμεν, ἀρυόμενοι πλουσίως τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.

The Greek text is from Father Leo Schefe’s website,

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