Hymn for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (14 September)

Hymn background, with Holy Cross feast day picture
A selection of hymns and songs, based on themes from the Roman Catholic lectionary for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (previously called The Triumph of the Cross, and sometimes referred to as Elevation of the Cross, Holy Cross Day, or (incorrectly) Holy Rood Day Roodmas.  This is celebrated every year on 14 September. 

Most are free-to-use (ie public domain or copyright-free), so the words can be copied and sung to at least one tune with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing - sometimes in a limited setting.  Many of these hymns are old / traditional - but where possible a variety of styles and genres are included.  A small selection of hymns that are still copyright may also be included, if these are particularly relevant.

Suggestions about hymns that could be included are welcome: leave a comment below.

Seasonal note

When 14 September is a Sunday, then the readings for the feast are used instead of the regular readings for that day.

Historically, the feast commemorates the day in 628 that the piece of the cross taken by the Persian Empire was recovered by the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius.


First: Numbers  - The Israelites lose patience as they travel through the desert.   God send fiery serpents among them - they appeal to Moses, who prays and follow's Gods instructions to create a way to protect the people.

Psalm:  77 - Never forget the deeds of the Lord / Give heed my people, to my teaching / When he slew them they would seek him / But the words they spoke were mere flattery / Yet he who is full of compassion.

Second:  Philippians  - His state was divine ... he was humbler yet, even to accepting death on a cross.   But God raised him up ....

Gospel:  John  -  Jesus said ... the Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.   ... For God so loved the world that he gave his only son so that everyone who believes may not be lost.


The cross as the instrument of salvation, the symbol of Jesus victory over evil.    Redemption.

Free-use hymns

All Hail the Power of Jesus Name

Crown Him with Many Crowns

God so Loved the World

Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer

Hail the Sign, the Sign of Jesus

He is Lord

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

Jesus Keep me Near the Cross

My Song is Love Unknown

O Cross of Christ, Immortal Tree

Psalm 77 - Music for Mass setting

Praise my Soul the King of Heaven

Take Up Your Cross

The Head that Once was Crowned with Thorns

The Royal Banners Forward Go

Those Who Love and Those who Labour

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Suggested hymns which may still by copyright

Lift High the Cross

We Acclaim the Cross of Jesus - Siwek

Wood of the Cross - Alstott (ref)

See also ...

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