In our Coptic Church, we celebrate the Feast of the Cross of our Lord twice every year: on Tout 16 (around mid-September) and the 10th of Baramhat which is March 19th of this year.
On Tout 16, we celebrate Queen Helena going to Jerusalem and finding the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. When she had climbed up the hill of Golgotha, she saw three crosses (one for Jesus and two for the thieves crucified with Him). She did not know which one was our Saviour’s so she brought a dead man and laid him upon each of the crosses: on the first cross, nothing happened and so for the second. But when he was placed on the third, he rose immediately. In that moment, the queen knew that this was the holy cross of our Lord. She rejoiced and held many celebrations. Soon after, she built many churches to commemorate and honour the Lord’s cross.
The second feast commemorates Emperor Heraclius retrieving back the Cross from the Persians. One day, a Persian prince went into the Church of the Cross in Jerusalem, which was built by St. Helena. He saw a great light shinning from a piece of wood located on a place decorated with gold. He tried to touch it but fire came out and burned his fingers. The Christians told him that this is the base of the Holy Cross and that no one was able to touch it except a Christian. He lied to two deacons who were standing to guard the Cross and gave them a lot of money so they would carry this piece and take it with him to Persia. They agreed and followed him. When Emperor Heraclius heard about this, he went with his army to Persia and fought them and looked everywhere for the piece of the Holy Cross. He could not find it because the Persian prince had buried the box in his garden. A daughter of a priest had seen the prince burying the cross by chance and told Heraclius where he hid it. The Emperor went with the bishops, priests and the soldiers to that place. They dug there and found the box, wrapped it in luxurious cloth and took it to the city of Constantinople and kept it there.
May the blessings of the Holy Feast of the Cross be with us.