Following His Resurrection from the dead, our Savior still carried with Him the wounds that He had endured from His Passion and Crucifixion. In fact, as Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos observes, Christ God carried these wounds along with His full humanity as He ascended in glory to His Kingdom in Heaven.(1) Our Lord even “boasts” about them with love, inviting Saint Thomas to examine His side and the prints of the nails in His hands, inspiring the Apostle to believe in Him as Lord and God. (John 20:28). For the angels in Heaven, the wounds of Christ are their reminder of His great love for each person conceived in a mother’s womb. In essence, every one of our wounds has become one of God’s wounds, because, as Saint Gregory Nazianzus would say, “What is not assumed is not healed; and that which is united to God is saved.”(2). The humanity of Christ is our humanity, as well.

Each of us is worth the death of God on the Cross! This fact gives us a true picture of our personal self-worth. The false picture of our self-worth is formed by the notion that God is not God, but that we are gods. This notion led to Adam’s fall, as he stood before the Tree of Knowledge. Saint Maximus the Confessor appeals to the hymnography of our Church in which the Cross is often referred to as the Tree of Life and he compares the “two trees” – the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life. Accordingly, the Tree of Life – the Cross – is the Sign of God’s Love. The Tree of Knowledge of good and evil is the symbol of deception, by which we arrogantly seek “worldly pleasures” (as good) that are always beyond our reach, thereby causing grief (which is evil). The Tree of Knowledge provides knowledge for satisfying our bodily passions, as worship of “self.” The Tree of Life provides knowledge of God and the wisdom to maintain loving relationships in worship of Christ.(3).

Since our wounds come from both our personal sins, as well as from the sins of the world around us, the Cross serves to cure us with forgiveness and provides the gift of repentance. Our repentance from sins is the “cross” we carry to follow Christ, Who then makes our “cross” His own Cross, upon which our sins are nailed (4). As Larchet points out, wherever the Cross is, that is where Christ is, also, Who is the Physician of the sick (5). Thus, the Cross is not simply a “relic” from the past, but a Tree that lives in eternity -- a trophy showing the victory over death; a lasting weapon against sin and evil.

In that Christ bears our wounds that He suffered on the Cross, He takes personal interest in the prayers that we offer for one another. We become ministers in Christ’s “Royal Priesthood,” since healing and sanctification for both our souls and bodies have one Origin, Who is Christ (6). This “Royal Priesthood” is clearly implied in the liturgical words asking for the prayers of the Holy Theotokos and all the Saints, as we “commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.”

The Family Wellness Ministry of our Metropolis is in the process of introducing a program for teens whereby we can truly “commit ourselves and one another” to Christ our God. Let’s not assume that the name of this new ministry comes as a trite coincidence which echoes the message of the Holy Cross -- the Tree of Life. The ministry itself is known as Faithtree Resources, which can be reviewed at  

It is with faith in Christ our God that we can be givers instead of takers, being less worried about being accepted by the world, and more concerned about embracing our neighbors in the world with God’s love. Let us strive to become dedicated coworkers with Christ, bearing one another’s wounds as Christ bears our own, thereby providing for each other a foretaste of salvation in this present life as we begin to live like the Holy Saints of our Church.

1. Οι Δεσποτικές Εορτές,: Μητροπολίτου Ναυπάκτου και Αγίου Βλασίου Ιεροθέου, pg. 256-257;
2. The Theology of Illness, by Jean-Claude Larchet, pg 128.
3.Philokalia, Vol. 2, “Second Century on Theology,” by St. Maximos the Confessor, pg. 145;
4. St. Basil’s Prayer for the Sixth Hour;
5. The Theology of Illness, by Jean-Claude Larchet, pg. 95 . Note also: ”On the Second Coming of Christ,” Ch. 15 from The Truth of Our Faith by Elder Cleopa of Romania. The appearance in the heavens of the sign of the True Cross is the sign of victory of our Lord and there is no other sign that alerts us of His imminent arrival as does His Cross;
6. Health & Medicine in the Eastern Orthodox Church, by Fr. S. Harakas, (St. John Chrysostom’s analysis of Suffering), pg. 49.