"Listen, Christians, how we should cross ourselves and what does the sign of the Cross means. Answer: The practice of tracing the sign of the cross is most prominent in the Roman Catholic Church but is also practiced in the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic, Lutheran, Anglican, and Episcopalian churches. Nikon, that wolf, and the Devil ordered us to cross ourselves with three fingers: but our first pastors crossed themselves with two fingers and likewise gave their blessing with two fingers according to the tradition of the holy fathers, Meletius of Antioch, the blessed Theodoret Bishop of Cyrene, Peter of Damascus, and Maximus the Greek. These two fingers come down to touch the palm of the hand, which symbolizes Christ descending to earth. first we will describe the mechanics of making the cross, then explain why it is indeed important that we make the sign of the cross correctly. The arrangement of the fingers while making the sign of the cross is incredibly important. The most prominent enemy of reform was the well-known Protopresbyter Abbacum. When you are baptized, you will wear a cross around your neck as a sign that you are an Orthodox Christian. When people were facing problems, Elder Paisios said to them: “You see that your children are nervous and cry a lot, you should make the sign of cross upon your … And it allows the faithful to commune with God in a way that transcends understanding. In the early Church, sources explain that the sign was only made upon the forehead and other objects, with only one finger, until at least the fourth century. Orthodox Christians also view it as a prayer in its own right, as it conveys love for God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strengths. Among you Orthodoxy has become mottled because of the violence of Mehmet the Turk – and one must not be amazed at you: you have become powerless. your own Pins on Pinterest It is also claimed that St. Meletius the Confessor, Bishop of Antioch, also wrote a treaties outlining the signing of the cross with two fingers. Rom. Many members of the Faith will make the Sign in a way that may seem idiomatic to some: for example, if a member is exposed to blasphemy, he or she may make the Sign, partly to suggest subtly and politely to the speaker that an offense has been committed. This practice is the opposite of Roman Catholics and some Protestants, who often go from left to right. Others including Aelfric, Abbot of Eynsham in England, and Pope Innocent III have also described the sign of the cross in the same way as Pope Leo IV. Individuals may make it at any time, clergy must m… Around this time, Christians used two fingers to make the sign of the cross, each finger representing one of the natures of Christ – fully God and fully Man. Thus, the practice of making the sign with three fingers had reached the Italians, Spaniards, French, Germans, and English in the west. However, all of the Monophysites make the sign of the cross from right to left, contrary to the practice of the Orthodox. Finally the hand is moved to the right shoulder and horizontally across to the left. The same USVA headstone emblem is called Russian Orthodox cross. Roman Catholics also typically use all five fingers to cross themselves. The exact point of origin for the three-fingered sign of the cross remains a mystery. If you cannot attend services in person, join our livestream or call in at (617) 941-8945. Please consider supporting OrthodoxWiki. Nevertheless, by the time the Russian lands were enlightened in the 10th century, it was this tradition that prevailed in Cappadocia, Asia Minor, and wherever else missionaries would have been sent to Russia from Byzantium. The sign of the cross serves as a ritualistic symbol in the Orthodox Church. Later it was done only on the forehead and eventually over the head and torso as we do it today. The following is an account by Protopresbyter Abbacum regarding his dialogue with the Greek and Russian bishops at the Council of 1666-1667: "The last word they said to me was, "Why are you stubborn? Interestingly, the Monophysites, Copts, Syrians, Armenians, and Ethiopians also adopted this practice. Peter of Damascus (12th Century) gave the following instruction: Then we should also marvel how demons and various diseases are dispelled by the sign of the precious and life-giving Cross, which all can make without cost or effort. In Eastern Orthodox prayers, the sign of the cross is usually made whenever all three persons of the Trinity are addressed, or even alluded to. There are not three gods, but one God in Trinity; there is a distinction of names, but one Godhead. I was wondering do any other Christians out there use the sign of the cross … Before commencing any prayer, in fact, the Sign is typically made. The Orthodox Church of Russia continued to observe the practice of making the sign of the cross with two fingers, as had been prescribed by Theodoret of Cyrus and St. Peter of Damascus. Orthodox Christians make the sign of the Cross because it affirms what we believe about Christ as the Incarnate Son of God and all that He did for us. Basil the Great's Hall' started by Jude1:3Contendforthefaith, Mar 28, 2019. The thumb, index, and middle finger are brought to a point. On the contrary, the Synod of 1666-1667 anathematized all those who continue to make the sign of the cross with two fingers. It conveys the importance of the cross as a symbol of Christ’s victory over death and His … It had reached the Greeks, Bulgarians, Georgians, Albanians, Serbs, Wallachians, Moldavians and Poles. Many members of th… Thus the decree for these three fingers. Orthodox laymen will make the Sign as one way of venerating an icon; Priests have many more specific occasions upon which to make the Sign. And the Saturday Sabbath was appropriate to the Old Covenant. Interestingly, the use of three fingers also became the norm among the Monophysites Copts, Syrians, Armenians, and even the far off Ethiopians. You may also notice that the way the Orthodox make the sign of the cross is a bit different. Specifically, ignoring the sabbath and the feast days. The sign of the cross may be made by individuals upon themselves as a form of prayer and by clergy upon others or objects as an act of blessing. Thank you so much for this well put together explanation of why we Orthodox cross ourselves. This is how you must cross yourselves and give a blessing, as the holy fathers have commanded. However, this practice was not introduced in the East, neither among the Orthodox, nor among the Monophysites and Nestorians. 101.). God in His divinity, and human in His incarnation, yet perfect in both. In 1654, Patriarch Nicon of Moscow, after having visited the Ottoman Empire, understood that the practice of the Russian Church differed from that of the Greeks, Georgians, Romanians, Bulgarians and Serbs. Discover (and save!) We also make the sign upon entering and leaving the church, when venerating (kissing) icons or the cross itself, before receiving communion, when crossing in front of the altar in the temple, and on many other occasions. THE RELIGION GUY’S ANSWER: Catholic and Orthodox parishioners make the “sign of the cross” before personal prayers, upon entering a church, at various points during worship, and otherwise. Nevertheless, it existed in the West by at least the year 855, before the repose of the Orthodox Pope Leo IV, and thus was practiced in the Orthodox West before the schism of 1054, and even for several centuries after the schism. So don’t be surprised if you see the sign of the cross being used the next time you visit an Orthodox parish. Greek, Slavic, Latin, West Armenian, Ethiopian, Coptic and Antiochian Rites: Therefore Tertullian also says: "We Christians wear out our foreheads with the sign of the cross." Read More: 8 Things to Expect in an Orthodox Church >>. This is because these represent the dual nature of Christ, divine and human. The thumb, index and middle finger brought to a point symbolize the Trinity, three persons sharing a single essence. "Placing the cross on oneself" We place our thumb and first two fingers together in a … In Unicode the symbol (☦) is denoted as Orthodox cross. 8 Things to Expect in an Orthodox Church >>. Some Orthodox may make the sign of the cross a hundred or more times during a Divine Liturgy or lengthy service. The two fingers and the one hand then, represent then the crucified Lord Jesus Christ, who we profess as having two natures in one person. Hi there, I see people making the sign of the cross three times, and some do it once. Therefore, it is possible that the signing of the cross with two fingers was not a universal custom, but only an Antiochian tradition. What is the sign of the cross? A Russian Orthodox believer makes the sign of the Cross during an Easter service in the Trinity Cathedral in St Daniel Monastery. But the custom now prevailing among Christians is for the two fingers to be conjoined with the thumb; and with these three together to represent the Holy Trinity…" (OCES, The Rudder, "The 92 Canons of St Basil the Great," Canon 91, footnote 2). Rome has long since fallen and lies prostrate, and the Poles perished with them, and are the enemies of Christians to the end. The Nestorians also sign the cross from right to left, thereby having the exact same practice as the Greeks. Pont. Follow Christ as an obedient disciple. Be the cross our seal, made with boldness by our fingers on our brow and in every thing; over the bread we eat and the cups we drink, in our comings and in goings; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we awake; when we are traveling, and when we are at rest. First, we will describe the mechanics of making the sign of the Cross, then explain why it is indeed important that we make the sign of the cross … And I answered them for Christ as follows: "Ecumenical teachers! (‘Gudzy, Zhitie’ p. This is ironic because the Nestorians would want to emphasize the two natures of Christ. Just like a deployed soldier may kiss a photo of his wife, we kiss icons of Saints who have fallen asleep in Christ. Before commencing any prayer, in fact, the Sign is typically made. I am Eastern Orthodox and we have never changed the way in which we make the Sign of the cross: forehead to stomach, right to left. The sign of the cross is most often made at the name of the Holy Trinity, to show reverence for a saint, holy object, or person, at the beginning or end of a prayer, to show humility or agreement, or on numerous other occasions which may vary slightly according to regional/ethnic practice or personal piety. Dec 13, 2019 #21. Such is the explanation of these three fingers. By the twelfth century, most churches in the East (with the exception of the Russian Church, which accepted the practice in the 1600s) adopted the practice of making the sign of the cross with three fingers. He therefore called a Council, with the Czar’s approval, in which he requested revisions to be made to liturgical texts, as well as for the Russian Church to adopt the practice of using three fingers to make the sign of the cross. Priests make the sign not only during the sacraments but use it to impart blessings on people or objects. The names are separate, but the divinity one. That is not fitting!" Upon entering a church, and the sanctuary within the church, one will make the Sign partly as an outward sign of reverence and veneration. Many Orthodox may make the sign of the cross at the beginning and end of a prayer. Please note: The respectful and pious Orthodox Christian makes the sign of the Cross with faith, conviction, thought, humility, understanding, carefully, and earnestly. , a public access Christian television show airing in Minnesota //orthodoxwiki.org/index.php? title=Sign_of_the_Cross & oldid=129303 be. 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