The Commemoration of the Renewal of the Temple of the Resurrection of Christ at Jerusalem

Commemorated on September 13

      The Commemoration of the Renewal of the Temple of the Resurrection of Christ at Jerusalem celebrates the solemnity on the occasion of the consecration of the Church of the Resurrection of Christ, built by the Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great and his mother Equal-to-the-Apostles the empress Helen. This feastday is still called among the people by its unique title "having reputation from the Resurrection" ("Voskresenie slovuschee") and it means that it reputes to or pertains to the Resurrection, in distinction from the Feast of the Luminous Resurrection of Christ, and refers particularly to the consecration of the Church in honour of the Resurrection of Christ.
      The history of the construction of this temple is thus. After the voluntary Passion and Death on the Cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the holy place of His suffering was long trampled on by pagans. When the Roman emperor Titus in the year 70 conquered Jerusalem, he razed the city and destroyed the Temple of Solomon on Mount Moriah, leaving there not a stone upon a stone, as even the Saviour had foretold about in conversation with the disciples (Mt. 13: 1-2). Later on the zealous pagan emperor Adrian (117-138) built on the place of the Jerusalem destroyed by Titus a new city, which was named after his name Aelia Adriani (Aelia Capitolina) and made it forbidden to call the city by its former name. The Holy Sepulchre of the Lord he gave orders to cover over with ground and stones and on that spot to set up an idol; and on Golgotha where the Saviour was crucified, in 119 he constructed a pagan-temple dedicated to the goddess Venus. In front of the statues they offered sacrifice to demons and performed pagan rites, accompanied by wanton acts. In Bethlehem, at the place the Saviour was born of the AllPure Virgin, the impious emperor set up an idol of Adonis. He did all this intentionally, so that people would forget completely about Christ the Saviour and that they would no more remember the places where He lived, taught, suffered and arose in glory.
      When there began the reign of Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great (306‑337), the first of the Roman emperors to recognise the Christian religion, he together with his pious mother the empress Helen decided to rebuild the city of Jerusalem and on the place of the suffering and Resurrection of the Lord to erect a new temple, to purify from the foul pagan cults the places connected with memory of the Saviour, and again to consecrate them. The nobleborn empress Helen journeyed to Jerusalem with a large quantity of gold, and Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great wrote a letter to Patriarch Makarios I (313-323), in which he requested him to assist in every possible way for the task of the renewal of the Christian holy places. Having arrived in Jerusalem, the holy empress Helen destroyed all the idolous pagan temples and had the desecrated places re-consecrated. She was ardent with the desire to find the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ and she gave orders to dig up the place, where stood the temple of Venus. There they discovered the covered over Sepulchre of the Lord and the place of the Skull, not far from where they found three crosses and nails. In order to determine, upon which of the three crosses lay the Saviour, Patriarch Makarios gave orders to touch alternately against a dead person, whom they happened to be carrying by towards a place of burial. Just as the Cross of Christ touched the dead person, he immediately came alive. With the greatest of joy the nobleborn empress Helen and Patriarch Makarios raised up high the Life-Creating Cross and displayed it to all the people standing about.
      The holy empress quickly set about the construction of a large church, which enclosed in its walls the place of the Crucifixion of the Saviour Golgotha, and the Sepulchre of the Lord, located a not large distance from each other, and as the holy Apostle and Evangelist John wrote about this: "At that place, where He was crucified, was a garden and in the garden a new tomb, in which still no one had been put; there they did place Jesus because of the Jewish Friday, since that the tomb was nearby" (Jn. 19: 41-42). The Church of the Resurrection was 10 years in building, and the holy empress Helen did not survive to the completion of construction. Having returned to Constantinople, she reposed in the year 327. After the time of her arrival in Jerusalem the holy empress built churches in Bethlehem, on the Mount of Olives, at Gethsemane and in many other places, connected with the life of the Saviour and events in the New Testament.
      The completion of construction of the New Testament temple of the Resurrection of Christ, called "Martyrion", in memory of the sufferings of the Cross of the Saviour, co‑incided with the passage of the First Council of Tyre, and with it the thirty year reign of the Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great. Wherefore at the assemblage of 13 September 335 the consecration of the temple was particularly solemn. At the consecration of the church participated hierarchy of the Christian Churches from many lands: Bythnia, Thrace, Cilicia, Cappadocia, Syria, Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, Arabia, Palestine and Egypt. To the solemnity of the renewal were invited only the fathers that concluded the Tyre Council. On this day was consecrated all the city of Jerusalem. The commemoration of this remarkable event by the fathers of the Church was established as 13 September.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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The Commemoration
of the Renewal of the Temple of the Resurrection of Christ at Jerusalem

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