Sacred Relic of the True Cross


Did you know that Monasterio de Tarlac is the only place in Asia where you can find the sacred relic of the True Cross of Jesus Christ?

In 2005, Fr. Archie Cortez, founder of the Monastic Community of the Servants of the Risen Chist in Tarlac, was invited to attend the World Youth Day celebration in Cologne, Germany.  He met Msgr. Volker Bauer of Essen, Germany, who was the custodian of the relic. Coincidentally, Msgr. Volker was looking for someone who could take care of the relic since the monastic life in Europe is slowly dying.

After learning that Fr. Archie leads a monastic community in the Philippines, Msgr. Volker entrusted the fragment of the Holy Cross of Christ to him.

On January 30, 2007, the sacred relic was enshrined in a beautiful chapel on the Mountain of Resurrection in San Jose, Tarlac, officiated by Archbishop Fernando Filoni, then Papal Nuncio to the Philippines.

The relic is said to be part of the True Cross discovered by Saint Helena in Jerusalem. She excavated three crosses in Jerusalem, which were believed to be the crosses used during the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. She brought a woman who was about to die and asked her to touch the first two crosses. Nothing happened. But when she touched the third cross, the woman was suddenly healed.

Pilgrim Aidan with Rev. Fr. Ezekiel Augustine, SRC, who celebrated the mass.

Ever since the enshrinement, a lot of pilgrims have gone to the Monastery to offer their prayer petitions and requests. There were a lot of documented miracles and testimonials from people getting healed because of their pilgrimage to the Holy Cross of Christ.

A beautiful Holy Mass is celebrated every day at 10.30am (except Thursday), followed by the veneration of the True Cross by the pilgrims. On Sundays, there is an additional 3pm mass.

Tip: Make sure to leave Manila before 7am to reach the monastery just in time for the Mass.

The veneration process is simple and organized. All the pilgrims would line up, silently waiting for their turn to go up to the altar, touch the reliquary, and pray or utter their petitions. 

The line is usually short when you visit on a weekday. This chapel gets full with pilgrims every January 30 (enshrinement anniversary), Holy Week and September 14 — the foundation day of the Monastic Community of the Servants of the Risen Chist in Tarlac and, coincidentally, the Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross.

There are three classes of relics:

  • The first class consists of the part of the body of a Saint, like hair, arm, bone, etc., and the instruments of Christ’s Passion like the relic of the True Cross.
  • The second class consists of things owned by the Saint or instruments of torture against the martyrs.
  • The third class consists of things that touch or have touched the first two classes of relics.

According to the monks, the sacred relic is about the size of a matchbox, protected by this golden reliquary with beautiful symbols inscribed around it.

Most pilgrims bring a piece of cloth that they use to touch the reliquary.

The chapel is part of the entire monastery compound for the monks of the Servants of the Risen Christ. It is like the monastery of the Benedictine monks that you can find in Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

There is a natural rock formation on the monastery grounds that resembles a top sideview of the head, upper body and arm of Jesus Christ nailed on the cross.

 The hermitage was supposed to be the home of the monks committed to a life of seclusion. But ever since the relic of the True Cross arrived, they had to open the community to welcome the pilgrims.

They also opened small rooms (5 in total), with two beds and a comfort room, for families who want to go on a retreat in this part of Tarlac. They have a per-head cost, which includes 3 meals and merienda (snacks).

“Ora et Labora (Pray and Work)” is their motto. The beauty of going on a retreat in the monastery lies in being able to join the monks in their prayers:

3.45am Rising
4.15am First Prayer (Lauds)
5.30am Holy Rosary
6.00am Holy Mass (breakfast afterwards)
8.00am –  Mid day Prayer
10.30am Holy Mass (lunch afterwards)
3.00pm Mid-afternoon prayers
6.00pm Vespers (supper afterwards)
8.30pm: Compline, Salve Regina

Great Silence.

Sanctuary of the Holy Cross-46.jpg
Pilgrim Aidan with the 35ft. statue of the Risen Lord, welcoming travelers to the monastery.

Thanks to Fratter Anthony Michael, SRC for showing us around the monastery.

From Manila, take the North Luzon Expressway all the way to SCTEX and exit via Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. Proceed to the Tarlac City proper (turn left after SM Tarlac). Go straight into the city and follow the signs leading to the monastery.

It takes one hour to go up the 50-hectare monastery located at the heart of the 278-hectare Tarlac Ecotourism Park in Brgy. Lubigan, San Jose, Tarlac.

Monasterio de Tarlac
Mount of Resurrection, Eco-tourism Park, San Jose, Tarlac
Telephone: +63 45 493-3002
Mobile: +63908 932-7394

May you have a blessed First Friday on this Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! 🙂

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P.S. On this site will rise the Basilica of the Holy Cross, which is also part of the Monastery compound. Feel free to donate and contribute to the construction of the Basilica.

9 thoughts on “Sacred Relic of the True Cross

  1. Oh I’ve been here!! We covered it for our travel magazine. It’s beautiful at night! 🙂 Plus we were able to hear the priests sing their evening prayers (ala Gregorian Chant) I got goosebumps all over! Really nice place to reflect 🙂
    But the only problem is they don’t get to maintain the bathrooms for the devotees. It was dirty and had no flush..soo yeah! Hahaha

  2. Hi Mai Maybe you can make some donations for the improvement of the bathroom facilities. When was your last visit? May I inform you that the monks have done their best to provide clean facilities to the pilgrims because the washrooms we used were CLEAN

  3. How to go there using public transportation?Feasible ba or really need to have a personal car? Thanks in advance 😀

  4. gud pm.. we visited the monasterio de tarlac last satuday (feb 11) we attended the 3pm mass. after the mass we had a chance to touch and pray with the relic at the altar. we are blessed because it was our first time to visit that holy place. Me and my husband has no any idea about the place but we believe when we got their our prayer will be granted and we will be healed… But last night when we got home from our travel… We had our prayer time before bed. MY husband lead the prayer.. he prayed to our GOD to heal my breast cysts (fibro adenoma) during jis prayer he ask for the help and he mention the relic of the holy cross their at tarlac… then out of nowhere.. cried so loud and crying for the help to heal my sickness.. he got goosebumps…. and he feel that there are something get inside him…. he cannot move… and he just want to cry sooooo loud and continuously mention the relic of the holy cross to heal me… then when he mentioned the relic of the cross i pray also and claimed his powerful healing…. after a while my husband paused… but still crying… then i told him what he felt… he siad… feel that he was so clean inside… he also told me that it was his 2nd time to feel that feelings…”parang may spirit” daw po napumasok sa kanya.. he first felt that feeling when we receive the baptism last year at the couples for christ….Fr. Cortez.. can ypu please help us explain and analyze what does it mean.. and what maybe the sign of this kind of experience… me and my husband personally do not know why he experienced that… thanks and appreciate your time reading my concerns. god bless po ( that’s my email address po.. thanks po

  5. We were here last March 6th with a group of friends from Canada. They are my wife’s former colleagues from the company they worked with years ago. We were brought to this place, also by their former colleague, who owns a resort in Concepcion, Tarlac. I found this place soothing and a nice place to reflect what with its religious significance, a reliquary of a fragment of the True Cross. It was quiet with just the chirping of the birds flitting from tree to tree, and the cool soft breeze blowing from the trees below as you stand beside the statue of the Risen Christ overlooking the municipality of San Jose area.

  6. For the 6th times I went to monasterio de Tarlac.. I cannot explain my feelings. It was indeed a very solemn place I can’t help myself but to cry.. All my prayers were granted.. Thank you Lord.. WE just arrived now. We went there again with my family.. I am praying that all my orayers will be granted..

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