Elevation of the Cross, which is observed Sept. 14, is one of the “Great Feasts” or major celebrations of the Orthodox Church.

The Orthodox Church in America’s website says the day “commemorates the finding of Christ’s Cross by Saint Helen, the mother of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century; and, after it was taken by the Persians, of its recovery by the Emperor Heraclius in the seventh century at which time it was ‘elevated’ in the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem. From this latter event, the ‘universal elevation’ of the Cross was celebrated annually in all of the churches of the Christian Empire.”

Sept. 14 is also the date of several other events from Christian history.

In 407, John Chrysostom, considered a great preacher, died. 

In 1224, Francis of Assisi awakens after a vision of a Seraph to discover he has stigmata, wounds like that of Jesus on the cross.

In 1321, Dante Alighieri, author of “The Divine Comedy,” died.

In 1741, George Frederick Handel completed “The Messiah,” which he produced in only 24 days, apparently fueled by coffee.

In 1932, hymn composer Charles H. Gabriel died. Among his compositions are “Send the Light” and “I Stand Amazed in the Presence.”

In 1975, Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton was canonized by Pope Paul VI. She was the first person born in the United States to be declared a saint of the Catholic Church.

SOURCES: interfaith-calendar.org/2019.htm, christianhistoryinstitute.org/today/9/16, www.oca.org/orthodoxy/the-orthodox-faith/worship/the-church-year/elevation-of-the-cross, hymntime.com/tch/bio/g/a/b/gabriel_ch.htm

Facets of Faith runs every other Saturday in Living. Reach Leila Pitchford-English at lenglish@theadvocate.com.