Feast of St Euphemia the Great Martyr
THE CROSS is raised on high, and urges all the creation to sing the praises of the undefiled Passion of Him who was lifted high upon it. For there it was that He killed our slayer, and brought the dead to life again: and in His exceeding goodness and compassion, He made us beautiful and counted us worthy to be citizens of heaven. Therefore with rejoicing let us exalt His Name and magnify His surpassing condescension.
Moses prefigured thee, O precious Cross, when he stretched out his hands on high and put Amalek the tyrant to flight (Ex. 17.10-14). Thou art the boast of the faithful and succor of the persecuted, the glory of the apostles, the champion of the righteous, and the preserver of all the saints. Therefore, beholding thee raised on high, creation rejoices and keeps feast, glorifying Christ, who in His surpassing goodness through thee has joined together that which was divided.
O most venerable Cross, attended by ranks of rejoicing angels, thou art exalted today, and by divine command thou dost lift up again all those who, through the stealing of the fruit, had been made outcasts and were sunk in death. Therefore, embracing thee in faith with heart and lips, from thee we draw sanctification and we cry aloud: Exalt ye Christ, the God most good, and venerate His divine footstool.
Come, all ye peoples, and let us venerate the blessed Wood, through which the eternal justice has been brought to pass. For he who by a tree deceived our forefather Adam, is by the Cross himself deceived; and he who by tyranny gained possession of the creature endowed by God with royal dignity, is overthrown in headlong fall. By the blood of God the poison of the serpent is washed away; and the curse of a just condemnation is loosed by the unjust punishment inflicted on the Just. For it was fitting that wood should be healed by wood, and that through the Passion of One who knew not passion should be remitted all the sufferings of him who was condemned because of wood. But glory be to Thee, O Christ our King, for Thy dread dispensation towards us, whereby Thou hast saved us all, for Thou art good and lovest mankind.
—The Fathers, Great Vespers for the Exaltation of the Cross