The Miraculous Crucifix that Survived the Fall of Byzantium and the Bolshevik Regime (Cross of Godenovo)

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Global Orthodox Staff

The time of the appearance of Godenovo Cross

One of the most revered Orthodox holy objects is the miraculous Godenovo Cross. Since nothing happens without a reason, and especially such an important event as the appearance of the miraculous Holy Cross, the researchers associate it with an important event in Christian life.

In 1439, a Roman Catholic council took place in Florence, Italy. A number of Orthodox bishops attended the council as well. A false union was proclaimed, suggesting that the Patriarch of Constantinople had become a servant of the Pope. Several years later, in 1453, Constantinople fell, conquered by the Turks.

It was just before these sad events that in uninhabited places near Rostov the Great the image of the Holy Life-giving Cross of the Lord appeared. All the details of the Cross indicate that it could not be created by Russian craftsmen. At that time, many Greek shrines miraculously appeared in Russia. So, Russia took the spiritual torch from Byzantium, and the Russian Church gained independence from the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Descent of the cross

According to the chronicle, the miraculous Cross of the Lord descended from the sky on the night of June 11, 1423. Local shepherds saw incredible light near the Sakhta swamp. Surprised, they came up closer, and the Life-giving Cross with the Savior crucified on it appeared before them right in the air.

Near the Cross there was the image of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker. And there was a voice to the shepherds: “The grace of God and the house of God will be in this place, and many will be healed.” After such a wonderful finding of the shrine, a wooden Church in honor of the Exaltation of the Cross was built for it right on the swamp, where a hill formed in one night.

The chronicle says that both during the construction of the church and after it, many miracles and signs happened, which were recorded in a special book. Currently, the Church of St. John Chrysostom, where the Cross is, is a compound of the Pereyaslavl St. Nicholas Convent in Russian village Godenovo (Yaroslavl Region). For almost 600 years, the Orthodox people have been aware of this shrine, and today pilgrims flock as an endless stream to the Cross to pray to the Lord about their needs.

Enemies of God and Godenovo Cross

After the October take-over of 1917, the Bolsheviks decided to blow up the church, but this did not happen, although church objects of value were confiscated, and the icons were thrown right into the mud. Then the miraculously revealed icon of Saint Nicholas disappeared.

The new authorities did their best to erase from the people’s memory the amazing story about the appearance of the miraculous crucifixion. Old-timers told how several activists decided to take the Cross out onto the street in order to publicly burn it, but they did not succeed in lifting it up, as if the Cross suddenly became extraordinary heavy. Atheists did not manage even to move the shrine from its place. Then they were sawing the Cross for several hours, but they got tired, the teeth of the saw became dull, and the Cross remained unharmed. There were attempts to butcher the Cross with an ax, they tried to set fire to it, they were pouring tractor transformer fluid so that it burned better, but this did not lead to anything.

And then a strong young man from a neighboring village came to the blasphemers’ aid. With an ax, he slightly damaged the little finger on the Savior’s right foot. The enemy of God triumphed, boasting that his strength had never failed, but that very night, when chopping wood, this unfortunatem man wounded the same little finger that he had damaged on a crucifix, and three days later died of gangrene. After that, the authorities threw the Cross into the swamp, thus wanting to get rid of it. But most people of the villages were believers. People secretly took the Cross out of the swamp, washed it from the mud, and returned it to the church.

Already in the fifties, a local atheist teacher considered the Cross a piece of art of arts and crafts and took it to the State Rostov Museum. In the evening of the same day he was paralyzed, and a year later he died, without repenting.

Through the efforts of the priest and parishioners, the Cross was returned to Godenovo. This church with small interruptions operated all the time, although all the other churches in the district were destroyed. This is another proof of the miraculous action of the Life-giving Cross.

Godenovo Cross and modernity

In the mid-fifties, the temple was open to believers. The restoration of veneration of the Cross began only in the nineties. The relic had to be restored, in 2002 and 2003, craftsmen from the St. Petersburg State Russian Museum carried out serious work to save the Godenovo Cross. Specialists returned it to its original form. So, the icons of the Mother of God and St. John the Theologian were revealed on both sides of the Cross.

Today Godenovo is a place that attracts many pilgrims. Services are constantly being performed before the shrine. People sometimes come here as to a last resort, and receive healing. The Lord shows that He is always close to man and is ready to help everyone who flows to Him with faith.

Source: (Russian)

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