Societas Sanctae Crucis

The Society of the Holy Cross (SSC from the Latin Societas Sanctae Crucis). We are a congregation of priests in the Anglican Church who live and minister under a Common Rule of Life.

There are over 1,000 members around the world, mainly in the UK and North America. Our members work in parishes, missions, chaplaincies, schools and other areas of pastoral ministry. They are committed to witnessing to the Cross of Christ by their lives and ministry. The Society has a number of members here in Australasia.

The Society of the Holy Cross (SSC) was founded in London in 1855 by a small group of Anglo-Catholic priests led by Father Charles Lowder.

At a time when the Catholic Revival in the Church of England was threatened by persecution and misunderstanding. A group of priests came together for support, mutual prayer and encouragement. Fr Lowder spelled out the objects of SSC: "To defend and strengthen the spiritual life of the clergy, to defend the faith of the Church, and to carry on and aid Mission work both at home and abroad".

The members of this society, meeting together in prayer and conference, were deeply impressed with the evils existing in the Church, and saw also, in the remedies adopted by St Vincent de Paul, the hope of lessening them.

Society of the Holy Cross

Priests of the Society live under a common Rule of Life, and meet together in their local SSC Chapters every month or two for prayer, Mass, and some kind of study or conversation. Presiding over the Society worldwide is a Master-General who has a special responsibility to ensure an on-going fidelity among the Brethren to the spirit of the Society.

SSC is not a devotional guild, but takes its stance upon a shared vision of : “a disciplined priestly life fashioned after a definite spiritual rule". This Rule of Life unites the Brethren in our various priestly ministries and lives. We are required to: ‘consider our obligation to the Society as a close spiritual bond - and takes precedence to that of any other voluntary society.’

This obligation includes a commitment to attend local SSC Chapter meetings and annual Regional and Provincial Synods. The life of the Society is experienced primarily through the local Chapter. Attendance at Chapter is of obligation unless prevented by genuine pastoral duties.

Priests of the Society are recognized by the small gold lapel cross they generally wear. On it is inscribed the motto of the Society - in hoc signo vinces - in this sign, conquer!

In Hoc Signo Vinces

In this Sign Conquer

Saint Matthew, apostle and evangelist - Feast

Saint Matthew, one of the four evangelists

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-c.208), Bishop, theologian and martyr

Against Heresies c. Book III, 11, 8-9

    It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. There are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, and the Church is scattered throughout all the world, and her "pillar and ground" (1 Tm 3:15) is the Gospel and the Spirit of life; therefore it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying us afresh. The Word, the Shaper of all things, who sits upon the cherubim and upholds all things (Ps 79:2; Heb 1:3), who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four aspects but bound together by one Spirit. David says, when entreating this manifestation, "You that sit between the cherubim, shine forth."(Ps 79:2) For the cherubim, too, were four-faced (Ez 1:6), and their faces were images of the dispensation of the Son of God.

     For, as Scripture says, "The first living creature was like a lion," (Rev 4:7) symbolizing his effectual working, his leadership, and royal power; “the second was like a calf”, signifying his sacrificial and priestly order; but "the third had, as it were, the face as of a man,"-an evident description of his coming as a human being; "the fourth was like a flying eagle," pointing out the gift of the Spirit hovering with its wings over the Church. And therefore the Gospels of John, Luke, Matthew, and Mark are in accord with these living things, among which Christ Jesus is seated. (…)

    Such was the form of the living creatures, so was also the character of the Word of God himself: the Word of God himself conversed with the patriarchs before Moses in accordance with his divinity and glory; but for those under the law he instituted a priestly and liturgical service. Afterwards, being made man for us, he sent the gift of the Spirit over all the earth, protecting us with his wings (Ps 16:8). (…) These things being so, all who reject the form the Gospel has taken – that is, those who say the Gospels should be more or fewer in number – are futile, ignorant, and presumptuous.