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EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS

A virgin, wood, and death were the symbols of our defeat. For, Eve was a virgin; she had not yet known her husband when she was deceived. The wood was the tree; death was the chastisement imposed on Adam. Do you see how a virgin, a tree, and death were the symbols of our defeat? See, then, how they also became, in turn, causes of our victory. Instead of Eve, Mary; instead of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the Tree of the Cross; instead of Adam's death, the Master's death. Do you see how the Devil was defeated through the same means through which he conquered us? Through the Tree the Devil laid Adam low; through the Cross Christ vanquished the Devil. The former Tree sent mankind to Hades, whereas the latter Tree, the Tree of the Cross, recalled the departed from Hades. The former Tree concealed defeated Adam as one captive and naked, whereas the latter Tree revealed to all the Victor nailed naked to it on high. The former death condemned all who came after it, but the latter death truly raised up those who came before it. "Who shall tell of the mighty acts of the Lord? Who shall make all His praises to be heard?" (Psalm 105:2, Septuagint). From being dead we have become immortal, from a fall we have been raised up, and from being defeated we have become victors. These are the achievements of the Cross, and they constitute the greatest proof of the Resurrection.

Homily on Holy Pascha by St. John Chrysostom



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