The Rector - St Michael and All Angels', Victoria, BC

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Dawna's Message 17th September

This  week we will mark Holy Cross day (transferred from September  14).  In the year 326, Helena, the mother of the Roman Emporor Constantine, made  a pilgrimage to Jerusalem hoping to discover the place where Jesus was  crucified.  After researching the options, she settled on the site where the  Church of the Holy Sepluchre was built. Dedicated on September 14, the Church of  the Holy Sepulchre remains a place of pilgrimage for Christians from all over  the world.  When I visited there in April one tradition that mesmerized me was  watching pilgrims from all corners of the earth bring a piece of cloth to be  used at their burial and douse it in frankincense and rosewater and then stretch  it across the anointing stone thought to have been used for Jesus. Each pilgrim,  when it came their turn, would spread their cloth out, smooth it, and pray over  it as the scents would swirl around those of us who watched and prayed with  them.  As they finished, they would fold their cloth carefully and place it in a  storage bag to be used when they die.  It was profound to share in this ritual  and to know that while our languages, customs and cultures might be very  different, we shared a bond in knowing that each of us will suffer, each of us  will die and that in that place where we had journeyed from our homelands, we  each found strength and hope and in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.   
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