Read about the Procession of the Cross here
In the Greek Horologion of 1897 the derivation of this Feast is explained: “Because of the illnesses that occur in August, it was customary, in former times, to carry the Venerable Wood of the Cross through the streets and squares of Constantinople for the sanctification of the city, and for relief from sickness
In the Russian Church this Feast is combined also with the remembrance of the Baptism of Rus, on August 1, 988.
Liturgical Hymns in Honor of the Cross from the Menaion
Translations copyright by Br. Isaac E. Lambertsen, drawn from the Menaion of the Orthodox Church, in 12 volumes (in English), published by the St. John of Kronstadt Press, 1180 Orthodox Way, Liberty TN 37095; www.sjkp.org. Authorized only for private devotional purposes. Further distribution, reproduction, or incorporation into other documents is prohibited without prior permission from the publisher. All rights reserved.
I bow down before the Cross, the salvation of the faithful, and I kiss it fervently, and, embrace it, crying out: O most blessed Tree of Christ, illumine my soul and mind, I pray!
Today the sign of the Cross hath shown itself to be victorious over the passions and the demons. Wherefore, O ye faithful, radiantly illumined in soul, let us all kiss it now.
The precious Cross emitteth brilliant rays and illumineth those who bow down before it with faith today, sanctifying our souls and bodies.
Lying, visible, before us, the life-giving Cross sendeth forth brilliant rays of grace. Offering praise unto the Lord, let us approach and receive enlightenment, gladness, salvation and remission.
Of old, a sword was given to guard the blessed tree of life after the disobedience of Adam the first-created; but the Cross hath opened a path thereto.
With eyes, mouth and soul, with our faces and hearts, let us all bow down before the all-holy Cross of Christ, the Bestower of life, whereby the whole world is sanctified.
Becoming temples of God today, as the prophets said, bowing down before the wood of the all-holy Cross, all of us who are the heirs thereto kiss it with fear.
We chant hymns to thee, O Christ, and with faith entreat thy power: Rescue us from the snares of the enemy, and direct all of us who hymn thee to the haven of salvation.
Let the whole earth drop forth joy, and let the trees of the forest be glad, deified today by the most precious Cross which illumineth the ends of the world.
O all-glorious Cross, who wast intended to be an instrument of execution, but becamest an invincible weapon of victory bearing life into the world: illumine our hearts!
O most honored Cross, thou art the divine conquest, thou art the accomplishment of our salvation, thou art the victory of the faithful and the divine sacrifice: Sanctify those who hymn thee!
With all the earth is heaven gladdened. The passion-bearers, martyrs and apostles, and the souls of the righteous now joyfully rejoice, and the life imparting Tree, which lieth visibly in our midst, saveth all and sanctifieth the faithful with grace.
With joy let us uplift the all-blessed Cross which is set forth in the churches and cities, and let us bow down before it, that we may receive remission of our debts.
The wicked serpent is now slain, the prince of darkness, unable to bear the radiance which the life-bearing Cross emitteth, the precious scepter of the divine King.
Like a most brilliant star, like a magnificent pearl and the all-radiant sun doth the Cross of the Lord, which we venerate, illumine all the ends of the earth. Lift up your voices in jubilation, ye nations!
Leap up, ye tribes, and chant unto God Who hath given us the indestructible confirmation of the Cross, which He now setteth before us! Rejoice, all ye faithful, receiving good things for its sake!
Seeing the Cross set forth today as a divine vessel, as a radiant lamp in churches, temples and cities, we hymn Him Who hath caused it to shine.
Death is slain, corruption is put to death, and the hordes of the demons flee, beholding the victorious and awesome Cross of Christ set forth today, unable to endure its touch.
Hymning Thee, God the King and Lord, in that Thou hast given us the Cross as an impregnable bulwark, we now kiss it with joy and thus escape evils.
O ye faithful, let us bow down before the saving Tree, the all-holy Cross, which all the armies of the angels serve, beholding it displayed, pouring forth sanctification and life upon us.
The all-holy Cross of Christ, the Bestower of life, hath been shown to be victorious, from on high driving away a multitude of the demons and the audacity of the barbarians, and showing our Orthodox hierarchs forth as conquerors of all heresies.
We hymn, glorify, magnify and bow down before Thy might, O Christ, for Thou hast given Thy divine Cross to us, Thy servants, as inexhaustible sweetness and a guardian for our souls and bodies.
Prefiguring Thy Cross, Jacob once laid his arms cross-wise over his grandsons, blessing them and teaching grace among the nations. Ye children, bless; ye priests, hymn; ye people, exalt God supremely forever!
O Thine ineffable condescension and Thine indescribable good things, O Christ! Thou becamest incarnate, and, being crucified and accepting death, didst decide to release man from the curse, pouring forth incorruption upon the thrice-blessed Tree, this all*glorious Cross, forever.
Let us praise today the all-holy Cross of the Lord, the divine victory, the origin of life, the destroyer of falsehood, the annihilator of the demons, the repeller of barbarians, the protector and champion of kings.
Through disobedience we became corrupt, being shown to be violators of the commandment of God; wherefore, death came upon men. For this cause immortality hath blossomed forth today; the victorious Cross of Christ, which we venerate.
Lo! the all-holy Tree hath appeared; the mighty hope of the faithful, the deliverance from the curse; and it setteth joy before men, denouncing the prince of darkness. O ye faithful, let us bow down before it with gladness.
The desired Tree, the invincible weapon, the origin of blessing, the confirmation and bulwark of Christians, the steadfast aid, the deliverance from the curse, hath appeared to us; and it hath illumined and sanctified us who bow down before it.