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Principal Feasts of the Crosiers

We draw our inspiration from our Crosier heritage and celebrate it liturgically on a number of days throughout the year. Our titular feast is the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on September 14. Our most ancient identity is as Brethren of the Holy Cross and as we live the rule of St. Augustine we honor him as patriarch of the Order. When we celebrate these feasts, we are united with our Crosier ancestors and with our confreres around the world.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

exaltationThe Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is the titular feast of the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross. Most early documents of the Order indicate that the first Crosiers were inspired by the legends of the Holy Cross, popular throughout Europe in those times because of the Crusades to the Holy Land. Russelius indicated that Theodore of Celles, whom he identifies as the founder of the Brethren of the Holy Cross, actually made a crusade and visited the sacred shrines in Jerusalem.

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St. Odilia, Principal Patroness of the Order

st odiliaEarly documents of the Order identify St. Odilia as a companion of St. Ursula, part of a group who were supposedly martyred for their Christianity by Huns near Cologne. In 1286, John of Eppa, a Crosier in the Paris community, received a vision to exhume the relics of three of Ursula's companions: Christina, Basilia, and Yma. He went to Cologne, found the relics, and transferred them to various churches. The next year, he received a vision from Yda and Odilia, also companions of Ursula.

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St. Augustine

augustineAugustine was born November 13, 354, in North Africa. His father, Patricius, was a pagan who later converted to Christianity, but his mother, Monica, was a devout Christian who labored untiringly for her son's conversion. Augustine was educated as a rhetorician. Between the ages of 15 and 30, he lived with a Carthaginian woman whose name is unknown; in 372 she bore him a son, whom he named Adeodatus, which is Latin for "the gift of God."

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Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church

dedication of churchSince the early days of the Church, May 3 was celebrated as the Invention (finding) of the Holy Cross. This is significant to Crosiers because of our tradition that on this day in 1216 Pope Innocent III confirmed the Brethren of the Holy Cross.

With the long history of the feast on this day and the significance of the Cross for the Crosiers, the Order devotes this day to the dedication of churches, evoking the early tradition of the Crosiers to dedicate most churches and priories of the Order to the Holy Cross. In other churches or priories, we make a commemoration of the Holy Cross on this day.

St. Helena

st helenaA central figure in Crosier history, St. Helena was the mother of Emperor Constantine. According to legend, she found the true cross and built the churches on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and a church in Bethlehem. She died around 330.

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Blessed Theodore De Celles, Founder


Blessed-TheodoreTheodore of Celles (in present day Belgium) is venerated as the primary founder of our Order. It is believed that Theodore died in 1236. For more information on Blessed Theodore, please see Our Founder.

All Holy Canons Regular of St. Augustine

all holy canons regularWhile many religious orders or congregations have numerous canonized saints, the Crosiers do not. However, there is a sense of a shared history and tradition among those religious who, like the Crosiers, are canons regular. In the eighteenth century, the Order adopted an officium canonicum celebrating saints connected with the canonical life. This list included numerous saints who lived as canons regular.

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