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

Wednesday of the Fifth week of Easter

"Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit"

Saint Cyril of Alexandria (380-444), Bishop, Doctor of the Church

Commentary on Saint John's Gospel, 10, 2 (trans. Breviary, Tuesday Wk.5 of Easter)

Because Christ wished to show his disciples how necessary it is to be rooted in love of him, and how beneficial it is to cling to him, he told them (...) that he was the vine, and that the branches of the vine were those who were united with him, and, so to speak, inserted in him so as to "participate in his nature" (2 Pt 1:4) through a share in the Holy Spirit; for we are made one with Christ the Savior by his Holy Spirit (...).

For we have been reborn from him and in him, that is, in the Spirit, in order to bear the fruit of life; not the old life we used to live but the life that consists of newness of faith and of love for him. We are preserved in being if we grow on to him and cling fast to the holy commandment that has been handed down to us, and if we are eager to keep the blessing of nobility, that is to say, if we never consent in any way to "grieve the Holy Spirit" (Eph 4:30), who has come to dwell in us and through whom, we believe, God has made his home in us. (...)

For just as the vine-stock supplies and distributes the virtue of its own inherent natural quality to the shoots, so, too, the only-begotten Word of God implants in his people a sort of affinity with his own nature and that of the Father. By the gift of the Spirit they are united with him by every kind of holiness. He nourishes them so that they become devout, and he moves them to knowledge of all virtue and good works.


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