Question: Why is water poured over the cross during the evening service on the Feast of the Exaltation? Does this act have a symbolic meaning? I was unable to find an answer to this on the internet. Thank you in advance for your response.
Answer: Water is poured over the cross during the great doxology, completing the matins service on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Life-giving Cross. This tradition is symbolically related to the events that gave birth to this Feast.
Historians do not mention this fact, but we can be sure that after being buried under the ground for almost three centuries, the Cross of the Lord was completely covered with soil and dust. It is therefore assumed to have been washed and anointed with incense before it was displayed for veneration by the faithful.
Notably, this symbolic washing of the cross takes place at the end of the service, which, again, sends us back to the chronology of the historical events in which the Cross was honored as the instrument of salvation only after its authenticity was proved to be true.
Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds