Holy Cross Day

Celebrated on September 14th, Holy Cross Day honors and commemorates the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross for our salvation. This holiday is also known as “The Triumph of the Cross” in the Roman Catholic Church and as the “Exaltation of the Holy Cross” in the Eastern Church. Occasionally, this day is called Holy Rood Day.

History of Holy Cross Day

Holy Cross Day is associated with the dedication of a group of buildings that were built by Emperor Constantine in Jerusalem on the sites of Christ’s crucifixion and his tomb. This dedication occurred on September 14, 335. During the excavation, a relic believed to be the cross was discovered by Constantine’s mother, Helena.

From the fourth century onward, the Church of Jerusalem claimed to have this relic in their possession and had a feast to celebrate its discovery. This feast also celebrates the exposition given at Jerusalem on the matter of the cross by Heraclius, the Byzantine Emperor.

It is said he recovered the cross from the Persians, who seized it from Jerusalem around the 7th century when they sacked the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The authenticity of these claims remains unproven.

Celebrating Holy Cross Day

Holy Cross Day is celebrated with reflection on and veneration of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made for humankind’s salvation. It is usually celebrated with some form of religious service, prayer, and reflection, but it can also be celebrated in other ways.

Baked goods in the form of a cross can be made—this includes things such as Hot Cross Buns and cross-shaped cakes.

Traditions state that sweet basil grew on the hill where the Holy Cross was found, so some people use basil to create a special dish for Holy Cross Day. This can include basil soups, breads, or pesto dishes.

When is it?
This year (2024)
September 14 Saturday
Next year (2025)
September 14 Sunday
Last year (2023)
September 14 Thursday