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

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Behold, the Lamb of God"

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

Commentary on Saint John's Gospel, 2, Prologue ; PG 73, 192 (trans. ©Friends of Henry Ashworth)

When he saw Jesus coming toward him John said: "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29). No longer does he say: "Prepare the way of the Lord" (Mt 3:3). That would be out of place now that at last he who was prepared for is seen, is before our very eyes. The nature of the case now calls for a different type of homily. An explanation is needed of who is present, and why he has come down to us from heaven. That is why John says: "Behold the Lamb of God". The prophet Isaiah told us of this in the words: «He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and like a lamb before his shearer he opened not his mouth» (Is 53:7). In past ages he was typified by the law of Moses, but (…) its salvation was only partial; its mercy did not reach out to embrace the whole world. But now the true lamb, the victim without blemish obscurely prefigured in former times, is led to the slaughter. It was to banish sin from the world, to overthrow the world's Destroyer, to abolish death by dying for the entire human race, and to release us from the curse: "Dust you are and to dust you shall return" (Gn 3:19). He will become the second Adam who is not of earth but of heaven (1 Cor 15:47), and will be for us the source of every blessing (…) and our way to the kingdom of heaven. For one Lamb died for all to restore the whole flock on earth to God the Father; "one died for all" to make all subject to God; "one died for all" to gain all so that "all might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised to life for them" (2 Cor 5:14-15).

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