Thy Cross We Adore…
Today is the Feast of the Universal Exaltation of the Precious and Life-giving Cross on the traditional Orthodox calendar.
During services today I was reminded of the “Prayer to the Precious Cross,” included in the Prayers before Sleep in many prayerbooks:
Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered, and let them that hate Him flee from before His face. As smoke vanisheth, so let them vanish; as wax melteth before the fire, so let the demons perish from the presence of them that love God and who sign themselves with the sign of the Cross and say in gladness: Rejoice, most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, for thou drivest away the demons by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who was crucified on thee, Who went down to hades and trampled on the power of the devil, and gave us thee, His precious Cross, for the driving away of every adversary. O most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, help me together with the holy Lady Virgin Theotokos, and with all the saints, unto the ages. Amen.
The prayer appears in a memorable way in the 2006 Russian movie Ostrov (The Island) when Father Anatoly says it to heal a demonized woman. Sad to say, the English subtitles in Ostrov are so sketchily done that Fr. Anatoly often seems almost to be raving when in fact he is reciting psalms or well-known Orthodox prayers. Despite this, it’s a powerful film, one of my favorites.