Divine Services from the Beginning of the Church Year (Vol IV, Ch 7)

From Michael Ruse:

The Most Holy Theotokos, Mother of God, is closely tied to the celebration of Exaltation of the Cross. When we take Scripture and Tradition together in the experience of the Liturgy, the two cannot be venerated too far from each other. A barren womb gives birth, a virgin conceives a child from God, and the wood of the Cross gives all light and life to mankind. 

The triumph over nihilism, chaos and the devil come to a conclusion with the Most Holy Theotokos’ miraculous birth and Christ’s conquering of death and the deep chaos of the serpent through the Cross. Our history was prefigured through the Cross a long time ago and we who live in the Orthodox Church are now in the middle of it. 

In the Church year, we venerate Mary, the Mother of God, and the Cross of Christ close in time. They can be taken as celebrations of victory, not a mere remembrance of a list of tragedies. The Menaion of the Church lists many well-known Old Testament names who show us the Cross of Christ:  Moses’ parting of the Red Sea, Joshua’s outstretched arms, the cross-shaped blessing from the patriarch, Jacob, on Manasseh and Ephraim, Aaron’s miraculously budding-rod, and Jonah’s three-day trip into the abyss of a whale. How do we know that these events happened in the Old and New Testament? How do we really know that Empress Helen found the true cross of Christ? How do we know that our prayers to Mary are right? A very practical test in the real world is that the Cross of Christ heals our heart, body and mind.