True Cross Veneration

Monthly True Cross Veneration

St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica offers Veneration of a relic of the True Cross on the First Friday of every month from Noon to 1pm. Confessions are offered concurrently. The monthly veneration is held in silence and concludes with a blessing and the opportunity for the faithful to come forward to personally venerate the True Cross relic. The monthly veneration is sponsored by the Knights and Dames of the Covington-Lexington section of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

History of the True Cross

In 326, Emperor Constantine’s mother, St. Helena, traveled to Jerusalem and found the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified. The tradition of the discovery of the True Cross is that when visiting the sacred sites in the Holy Land, St. Helena was guided to the site of the crucifixion by an pious Jew who had inherited knowledge of its location. After the ground at the site had been dug to a considerable depth, three crosses were found, along with the superscription placed over the Savior’s head on the cross (INRI), along with the nails with which he had been crucified. 

The True Cross of the Lord was distinguished from the other two after touching all three to a dead youth; after touching the third cross, the dead youth was revived and brought back to life. Tradition holds the cross was constructed from four different woods: Cedar for the foot rest; Palm for the horizontal bar; Cypress for the vertical bar; and Olive for the titulus inscription. As the Church grew and spread, small slivers of the cross were distributed to make the power and witness of the cross accessible around the world.