The Orthodox Christians following the old calendar celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross or the Feast of the Cross on September 27. In the Christian liturgical calendar, there are several different Feasts of the Cross, all of which commemorate the cross used in the crucifixion of Jesus. Unlike Good Friday, which is dedicated to the passion of Christ and the crucifixion, these feast days celebrate the cross itself, as the sign of salvation.
The cross is also present on the coat of arms of the Republic of Moldova, being an element that has determined the identity of the people and statehood since the founding of the Principality of Moldavia (1359) until present.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross recalls three events: the finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena; the dedication of chruches built by Emperor Constantine on the site of the Holy Sepulcher and Mount Calvary, and the restoration of the True Cross to Jerusalem in AD 629 by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, after it had fallen into the hands of the Persian Emperor Chosroes II in the AD 614 Sasanian conquest of jerusalem.
This is a holy day of fasting and repentance. On this day the faithful make dedication to the crucified Christ and pledge their faithfulness to him by making prostrations at the Lords’ feet on the life-creating Cross. For the feast, the Cross is placed on a tray surrounded by flowers or branches of basil, and placed in the center of the Church for veneration.
It is an old custom on this day for cattle to be covered with tar in the sign of the cross to protect themselves from disease. People think that on the Feast of the Cross, the snakes retire and are no longer there. They also say that on this day, holes should be dug to plant fruit trees so that its branches can branch as much as possible. People in the church consecrate basil, grapes, wheat and apples. The consecrated basil is held with an icon and is later used for various healings.
The weather is also predicted for many parts of the day. If the Day of the Cross is cloudy, the winter will be rich in snow, and if it is dry, it will be dry next year. “If the swallows don’t go until the day of the cross, there won’t be a strong winter.” “The quiet rain on the Day of the Cross foretells a mild winter.” – The daily thunder of the Cross foretells a fruitful year. – Hot and dry September is followed by cold and rainy October.
This is one of the two feast days that are held as a strict fast. The other is the commemoration of the Behading of St. John the Forerunner.