The Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates the discovery by St Helena of the True Cross of Christ. The Cross had been buried for centuries and was underneath a pagan temple.
What Is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross?
After Constantine embraced the Christian Faith in the eary 300s, his mother St Helena began her own conversion to Christianity.
In becoming Catholic, she excavated a former site of a temple dedicated to Venus, near the place in Jerusalem where Christ was crucified. The date was September 14th, 320. (This became the date that the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.)
Three wooden crosses were discovered buried at this location, and Helena suspected one was the true Cross of Christ.
She brought a woman nearing death to the crosses and had her touch all three, and when she touched one of them she miraculously was healed.
It was then known that St Helena had found the True Cross of Christ.
Over the subsequent centuries, pieces of the True Cross were distributed around the world, typically housed in reliquaries for veneration by the faithful.