April 5, 2015

The Annual Palm Sunday Reception of the Holy Cross from Mount Athos to Petrokerasa

A portion of the True Cross from Xeropotamou Monastery

The most important, significant and holiest event in the religious life of the people of Petrokerasa, is when the Holy Cross from Xeropotamou Monastery in Mount Athos is brought to this village in the region of Thessaloniki.

For three centuries (since 1753) the Holy Cross has come to this village every year, departing on the Saturday of Lazarus, accompanied by at least two Athonite monks and by the ecclesiastical delegation of the village that goes to the Monastery for this purpose.

The cause and occasion for the Holy Cross first being brought to Petrokerasa was a tragic life and death circumstance for the people of Petrokerasa, because a terrible infectious disease broke out and affected the entire village, which came after a devastating earthquake and aftershocks that lasted one and a half months. At that time a delegation of the village was sent to Xeropotamou Monastery to plead with the fathers of the Monastery for help. Indeed the Holy Cross was sent to the village and saved Petrokerasa and its inhabitants from extinction and then, out of gratitude, they began to invite the Holy Cross back to the village annually.

Thousands of pilgrims arrive at the village on Palm Sunday to venerate the Holy Cross, at the reception of which is present all the Authorities of the Prefecture and Region.

Since September of 2007, a new arrival for the Holy Cross to the village was established, during the week of the feast of the Exaltation of the Honorable Cross (September 14th), as an extension and renewal of this sacred custom of the annual reception on Palm Sunday, because in recent years the Holy Cross does not remain in the village for as many days as it used to, but it departs on Holy and Great Monday.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Reception of the Holy Cross in 1930

Reception of the Holy Cross in 2012