Every year on September 14 the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross Feast” is celebrated at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Iskenderun, St. Paul and Peter’s Greek Orthodox Church in Antioch, Samandağ Greek Orthodox Church and Altınözü Tokaçlı Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church. The Holy Cross, adorned with the branches of basil and flowers on a tray, was circulated among the congregation, and the basil branches were distributed to those who attended the service.
The mass at the Saint Nicholas Church of Iskenderun was led by Fr. Dimitri Yıldırım, in St. Paul and Peter’s Greek Orthodox Church in Antioch by Fr. Can Delüller and Fr. Dimitri Doğum, in Samandağ Orthodox Church by Fr. Abdullah Trifon Yumurta and in Altınözü Tokaçlı Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church by Fr. Musa Papas.
Fr. Dimitri Yıldırım said that the branches basil have been distributed to bring blessing to the houses.
The celebrations of the Feast of the Holy Cross ended after the members of the community who attended the ceremony kissed the Holy Cross.
The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is celebrated in the Eastern Churches in a manner similar to the Easter on the 14th of September. The Emperor Constantin built up a basilica on Golgota and on the tomb of the Risen Christ and these basilicas have been consecrated on the 1st September 335. In the same day, also the victory of Eracles on Persians (627) is celebrated. Because, after this victory, the Emperor got the remaining relics of the Holy Cross and brought them back to Jerusalem. Since then, the Church has been celebrating the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy cross, as the sign of salvation. We should praise the cross of our Savior Christ, because it means salvation, life and resurrection for us.