A Great Procession of Priests and Laymen The Canon
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A procession of priests and laymen—
each walk of life represented—
moves through streets, squares, and gates
of the famous city, Antioch.
At the head of this imposing procession
a handsome white-clad boy
carries the Cross, his arms raised—
our strength and hope, the holy Cross.
The pagans, lately so full of arrogance,
now reticent and cowardly,
quickly slink away from the procession.
Let them keep their distance, always keep their distance from us
(as long as they do not renounce their errors).
The holy Cross goes forward; it brings joy and consolation
to every quarter where Christians live;
and these God-fearing people, elated,
stand in their doorways and greet it reverently,
the strength, the salvation of the universe, the Cross.
 
 
This is an annual Christian festival.
But today, you see, it is more conspicuous.
The empire is delivered at last.
The vile, the appalling Julian
reigns no longer.
 
For most pious Jovian let us give our prayers.

Translated by Edmund Keeley/Philip Sherrard

(C.P. Cavafy, Collected Poems. Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Edited by George Savidis. Revised Edition. Princeton University Press, 1992)

- Original Greek Poem