The Victory of the Cross
From the Introduction by A.M. Allchin
During his visit to England during the summer of 1970, Fr. Dumitru Staniloae was able to spend some days in Oxford, staying at the Convent of the Incarnation, Fairacres. On the last morning of his stay he spoke to the whole Community on the meaning of the cross. The following article has been made from the recording of what he said then, supplemented by further explanations provided by Fr. Staniloae. The subject had arisen out of a discussion on the meaning of suffering, and in particular of undeserved suffering. Here as always the teaching of this theologian arises out of experience and illuminates experience. Romania was one of the countries which in the course of 1970 suffered a catastrophic natural disaster in the form of devastating floods. But the experience which lies behind the following pages is not, of course, only the experience of a single moment or event. What is written here comes from a lifetime lived in solidarity with the sufferings of mankind, in a century when the peoples of Europe have suffered two world wars and all that has followed from them. It comes from the centuries' old experience of the Church as it has learned to live in the dying and rising of the Lord. There is here a combination of great simplicity and directness with profound perception and understanding. Learning and life have come together into one….
All men find the cross in their lives. The monk is one who accepts it willingly and can therefore find joy through it, the joy of Christ who took up the cross in freedom and in love. “One sees in the faces of monks and nuns everywhere a joy and a serenity ... It is the sign of their victory over the weakness of their humanity through their union with Christ. I see this joy here too. Jesus "had no man" with him either in Gethsemane or on the cross. In Gethsemane the apostles were asleep.
On Calvary all had abandoned him. We have Christ with us. He does not sleep and he has not fled. It is he who gives us the victory and the joy in our cross, and this joy is the foretaste of the resurrection.”