(Elaborating on Father Michael’s Children’s Homily from last Sunday)
Every Christian is encouraged to wear a small cross after their baptism. In some Eastern Christian traditions, parish priests, bishops, monks and nuns may also wear a larger cross outside of their clothing. Generally, a priest receives a silver cross from his bishop on the day of his ordination. A gold cross means that he has been given the honor of being an archpriest (a title usually given for exemplary service) after years of ministry. An enameled cross is a further honor, usually given to a protopriest (highest honor given to a priest, with only a few receiving this honor) or bishop. Bishops usually wear an icon of the Theotokos called a Panagia (“All Holy”) instead of a cross. A Metroplitan Archbishop (or any head bishop of a self-governing church) may wear multiple icons or crosses. Often, a priest’s pectoral cross will contain the icon of Christ “not made with hands”. This is the icon that is usually approached when partaking in the Mystery of Confession. Many priest’s pectoral cross have 1 Timothy 4:12 written on the back: “Be an example to the believers in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity”. They will kiss the cross, and be encouraged by this command before putting the cross around their neck.