Chosroës was broken by these defeats, and when in his flight, he was about crossing the Tigris, he proclaimed his son Medarses partner in his kingdom. Chosroës' eldest son Siroës took this slight to heart, and formed a plot to murder his father and brother, which plot he brought to effect soon after they had come home. Then he got the kingdom from Heraclius upon certain terms, whereof the first was that he should give back the Cross of the Lord Christ. The Cross therefore was received back after that it had been fourteen years in the power of the Persians, and Heraclius came to Jerusalem and bore it with solemn pomp unto the Mount whereunto the Saviour had borne it.
This event was marked by a famous miracle. Heraclius, who was adorned with gold and jewels, stayed perforce at the gateway which leadeth unto Mount Calvary, and the harder he strove to go forward, the harder he seemed to be held back, whereat both himself and all they that stood by were sore amazed. Then spake Zacharias, Patriarch of Jerusalem, saying: See, O Emperor, that it be not that in carrying the Cross attired in the guise of a Conqueror thou shewest too little of the poverty and lowliness of Jesus Christ. Then Heraclius cast away his princely raiment and took off his shoes from his feet, and in the garb of a countryman easily finished his journey, and set up the Cross once more in the same place upon Calvary whence the Persians had carried it away. That the Cross had been put by Heraclius in the same place wherein it had first been planted by the Saviour caused the yearly Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross to become the more famous thenceforward.
Sermon of St. Leo the Pope
Dearly beloved, when we look to Christ lifted up on the Cross, the eyes of faith see more than what the wicked saw, unto whom it was said through Moses: And thy Life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy Life. They saw in the Crucified nothing but the work of their own wickedness. As it is written: They feared greatly. But their faith was not unto faith, which giveth life by justification, but unto the torture of their own bad conscience. But our understanding is enlightened by the Spirit of Truth. And so with pure and open hearts we can see the glory of the Cross shining over heaven and earth, and discern by inward sight what the Lord meant when his passion was nigh at hand, and he said: Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out; and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
O how wonderful is the power of the Cross! O how unutterable is the glory of the Passion, wherein standeth the Lord's judgment-seat, and the judgment of this world, and the might of the Crucified! Verily, O Lord, thou hast drawn all men and all things unto thee! Albeit thou didst spread out thine hands all the day unto an unbelieving and gainsaying people, yet the world was made to feel and own thy Majesty! Verily, O Lord, thou hast drawn all things unto thee! For the senseless elements gave one wild cry of horror at the iniquity of Jewry; the lights of the firmament were darkened; day was turned into night; earth quaked with strange tremblings; and thus all God's works refused to serve the guilty. Verily, O Lord, thou hast drawn all things unto thee! For the veil of the Temple was rent in twain from top to bottom, and thus the Holy of Holies denied itself as a sanctuary for the ministration of unworthy priests, that the shadow might be changed for the substance, prophecy for realization, and the Law for the Gospel.
Verily, O Lord, thou hast drawn all things unto thee! What was once veiled under types and shadows in the one Jewish Temple, is now hailed by the love of all peoples in full and open worship everywhere. There is now a higher order of Levites, a more honourable rank of Elders, a priesthood with an holier anointing. Thy Cross is for all men a well of blessings and a cause of thanksgiving. Thereby for them that believe in thee, weakness is turned into strength, shame into glory, and death into life. The changing ordinance of divers carnal sacrifices is gone; the one oblation of thy Body and Blood fulfilleth them all. For thou art the true paschal Lamb that takest away the sins of the world. Thou art thyself the accomplishment of all mysteries, so that as now there is one Sacrifice in place of many victims, so there shall be one kingdom composed of all peoples.