Canon of the Holy Cross

The Canon of the Holy Cross

of which the Acrostic is:

We all praise the Tree that should be worshipped.

A Composition by Joseph.

Ode 1. Tone 8.
The wonderworking rod of Moses.

Let us today with pure mind and devout intent worship the life-bearing Cross of the Lord; for it is set forth granting to those who approach it sanctification and salvation, illumination, glory and mercy.

The life-giving Cross set forth and contemplated sends out a beam of grace formed of light. Let us draw near and receive enlightenment of joy, salvation and forgiveness, as we bring praise to the Lord.

A strange sight is set forth for those who watch, the precious Cross; and like a source it pours out spiritual gifts of grace, brings sins to an end, abolishes diseases and strengthens the thoughts of those worship it sincerely.

A rod which parted the sea prefigured the trophy of the Cross, through which we by faith sail the troubled water of life undrowned, escape all the streams of sin and are filled with divine calm.


When I gave birth to you ineffably, my Child, I escaped the pangs of labour; how then am I now all filled with griefs? For I see you, who hung the earth without restraint, hanged like a malefactor on a Tree.

Ode 3. You established.

The Cross, cause of all blessings, is seen and worshipped; and all creation keeps festival with joy, enlightened by the grace of our God who was willingly lifted up on it.

Made radiant with the light of the splendours of the Cross and having put all our trust in it, let us flee the darkness of sins and let us cry, ‘O enlightenment of all thins, compassionate Lord, glory to you!’

We sing your praise, O Cross, and we embrace you with faith as we beg your mighty power, ‘Rescue us from the snares of the foe, and pilot us all to the haven of salvation as we sing your praise’.


As she watched life that had died on a Cross, and unable to bear the pain in her heart, the holy Virgin was deeply troubled and she cried, ‘Alas, my Son! What has a lawless people done to you?’

Ode 4. You, Lord, are my strength.

See, the mighty protection and restoration of mortals, the invincible weapon of the faith, the saving Cross is set forth and appears. And sanctifying the hearts of all who approach it with faith it enlightens by grace.

The great guardian of the Orthodox is set forth in the midst of all, the precious Cross in the midst of the earth, on which you were lifted up, supremely loving Lord, by your own free will. It sanctifies the world by its worship and it routs the regiments of demons.

Heaven with all the earth is glad; Champions, Martyrs, Apostles, souls of the Righteous now rejoice exceedingly as they see the life-giving Tree set forth in the midst, which saves all and sanctifies believers by grace.

Without conscience I have not kept your laws, O Lord, and am going to be condemned when you come from heaven to judge the works of mortals. Therefore I cry to you, ‘By the power of your Cross turn me back, save me, granting me tears of repentance’.


‘From a virgin womb, my Child, I gave you birth, and now as I see you hanging on a Tree, I am at a loss and do not comprehend the height of the mystery and the depth of your judgements’, cried the All-pure, whom as Mother of God with never silent voices we call blessed.

Ode 5. Why have you rejected me.

Shout for joy, you nations, sing, leap and chant, you tribes, to God who has given the Cross as an unshakeable support. As it now set forth let all of us believers rejoice as through it we enjoy the blessings.

All the spiritual armies escort you, all-holy Cross, and we mortals, touching you today with lips of clay, with love draw sanctification and blessing, as we glorify the One who was nailed upon you.

Compassionate Lord, heal the persistent passions of my soul, and save me as I worship your precious Cross. By its power all that impedes is driven off and we remain unaffected by evils.

Ode 6. Have mercy on me, Saviour.

When the Cross was fixed in the earth, the fall of demons came about. As we see it now gloriously set forth and as we greet it lovingly we rise up from the sin of our falls.

As we praise you, God and King and Lord, we now embrace with joy the Cross which you have given us as an unbreachable wall and are delivered from perils.

The Cross of the Lord, which grants us all great gifts, appears set forth. Mortals, let us approach, as we draw fro it enlightenment of heart and soul.


Give us strength, Pure Virgin, to fast from every evil, and ever give us power to keep from mean and wicked deeds, for you are the protection of all mankind.

Ode 7. The fire in Babylon once stood in awe

The One beyond time is revealed in time bearing flesh, and through his loving-kindness he heals our chronic passions of both flesh and spirit; while already he sanctifies us by his divine Cross.

We praise and glorify, we worship and magnify your might, O Lord; for you have granted us your servants the divine Cross as inexhaustible delight and guardian of our souls and bodies.

Do not prove me condemned to evils, Lord, on the day of decision; do not cast me away from your presence in shame, but take pity, save me by your precious Cross as you are supremely good.

When Moses made the bitter waters sweet with wood, he prefigured your grace, O Cross; for we too have been delivered from the bitterness of evils by your power; therefore as we now greet you lovingly, make us sweet by compunction of soul.


Make broad the narrowness of my mind by your intercession, Sovereign Lady, who narrowed all the devices of the foe, guide me through the narrow way to walk towards the broad plain of life, O Mother of God.

Ode 8. The Chaldean tyrant.

Godlike Elissaios once drew the iron from a river with wood, from long ago foreshadowing you, all-honoured Cross. For we who through you have also been drawn out of the abyss of error to sure faith are today counted worthy to behold you and to worship you in faith to all the ages.

From long ago Jacob most clearly prefigured you, all-honoured Cross, by his blessings. While we, who have been counted worthy by grace to look on you, all with undoubting faith draw near and sing, plucking blessing richly, and light and salvation and release from faults.

Robed in white with virtuous deeds, let us draw near crying to Christ with joy, ‘All-loving Master, by your divine and most high Cross exalt the horn of us your people, that bears the name of Christ, so that with faith and profound peace it may praise your might to all the ages’.

Of the Trinity.

As we all praise a single nature, consubstantial, equally without beginning, co-eternal, equal in majesty, yet distinct in persons, the Father unbegotten, the Son and the holy Spirit, uncreated essence and Godhead, we sing, ‘You priests, you people highly exalt God to all the ages.


‘As I now see you as an innocent lamb hanged and nailed to the Cross by lawless people, my Son who are from all eternity, I am assailed with griefs and beset with a mother’s pangs’ cried the All-pure, whom with never silent voices we devoutly praise to all the ages.

Ode 9. Heaven was amazed.

Once fixed to the Cross with nails through feet and hands, pierced in the side, your thirst quenched with vinegar and gall, you healed my wounds, O King of all, supremely good, the joy, the sweetness, glory and eternal redemption of all.

Fair beyond sapphire and gold, bright as the sun you are, divine Cross, lying circumscribed by place and ever manifestly surrounded by spiritual Powers, yet enlightening every part of the inhabited world with rays of the divine power.

The Cross is the harbour of the storm-tossed, guide and support of the wandering, glory of Christ, strength of Apostles and Prophets, boast of Champions, refuge of all mortals. As we all see it set fourth in the midst, we greet it with loving devotion.

When you are about to come on earth to judge the world which you fashioned, Lord, with the Angelic hosts marching ahead and the Cross shining out more brightly than the beams of the sun, take pity on me by its power and save me who fallen more than all mortals.


‘Without corruption I gave birth to you from the womb, whom the Father begot before the ages; how do corrupt mortals rend you, my Son, and inhumanly gouge your side with a lance, your hands and feet with nails?’ cried the All-pure, whom we fittingly magnify.