Invention of the Holy Cross

Norbury, Derbyshire, originally uploaded by Vitrearum.

This figure of St Helen holding the True Cross is an appropriate image for today as we celebrate the feast of the Holy Cross, or to give it its western title Exaltatio Sanctae Crucis, the ‘Raising Aloft of the Holy Cross’ . This feast commemorates the discovery of the True Cross in 326 by Saint Helen, who was the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Helen and Constantine ordered that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem should be built at the site of the discovery of the cross and when the church was dedicated in 335 a portion of the cross placed inside it.

The stained glass panel is at Norbury in Derbyshire and dates from the third quarter of the fifteenth century. Now in the east window of the chancel it formed part of a series of windows once in the north nave aisle of the church commissioned by the Fitzherbert family.

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