Sign of the Cross

Bulletin as of October 17 2020

The sign of the cross is one of the earliest Christian traditions.  We find very specific guidelines for its use dating back to the 2nd century (Hippolytus of Rome “Apostolic Tradition”), but it was obviously used before the guidelines were set down.  Over time the various Churches and Rites have developed slightly different forms of making the sign of the cross.

Here are some guidelines given by our Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Church (Ordo Celebrationis):

-There are 3 forms of the sign of the cross made during various rituals in the life of the faithful.

  1. A sign of the cross made without any sort of bow at the beginning and end of the reading of the gospel
  2. A sign of the cross while making a “small bow” (inclining the head and shoulders slightly) is the most common form of our sign of the cross.  We make this sign of the cross a) When the Persons of the Trinity are mentioned together b) at the beginning of a liturgical service c) when you receive a blessing from a priest or bishop d) The Trisagion (“Holy God, Holy and Mighty…) and other prayers that are repeated three times (usually marked with a “+” in the text) e) when you stand before an icon, cross or gospel (including when you first walk into the temple) f) when a personally reverenced saint or intention is referenced in a prayer or hymn g) any other time a sign of the cross is prescribed in the rubrics (liturgical guides).
  3. A sign of the cross while making a prostration is performed at specified times during the Great Fast (Lent) and during the Presanctified Divine Liturgy.  You may also make this sign of the cross during penitential private prayer. 

Our sign of the cross is made by touching the tips of the thumb, index and middle finger of your right hand (symbolizing the Holy Trinity) and tucking the ring and pinky finger into your palm (symbolizing Jesus’ two natures, Divine and human) then slowly and reverently touching your forehead while referencing the Father, your chest while reverencing the Son and then your right shoulder then left shoulder respectively while referencing the Holy Spirit.   

Saturday, October 17 –

  • 10:02 PM