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Sign of the Cross for Western Rite

militantsparrow

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Which Liturgy do you use and how do you make the sign of the Cross. Finger position? Left to right?
 

dcointin

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The way Fr. Aidan described is also the way I was taught to do it in the Antiochian Archiocese, English usage (Liturgy of St. Tikhon).
 

Papist

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Fr.Aidan said:
I sing Mass according to the Sarum Use of the Roman Rite (old Roman rite). In Western rite, using three fingers, we cross ourselves from right to left. I hope this is helpful.
Fr. Aidan, does your parish celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi?
 

Fr.Aidan

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First, although I have a standing blessing to perform Western Rite services, the parish in which I currently serve (Holy Protection, Austin, Texas) is an Eastern Rite parish in the standard ROCOR tradition, with standard customs, mixture of English with some Slavonic, standard music style. It's a typical ROCOR parish. I have never celebrated a WR service at Holy Protection.

I have done WR in Oklahoma City (St. Benedict's ROCOR, where I served as a cantor) and at St. Nicholas women's monastery in N. Ft. Myers, Florida (ROCOR), where I celebrated the divine office and holy Mass in the Roman rite (Sarum use).

But in the Sarum Use as approved for the ROCOR in Sept. of 2008, there is no celebration of the Corpus Christi feast. The RWRV has some places which keep it, and other places which do not keep it.

The three-fingers, right-to-left sign of the Cross was, if I understand correctly, always done in the Russian Church's Western Rite (whether Moscow or ROCOR's). In the Antiochian jurisdiction, time was when the five-fingered, left-to-right sign was very widespread and was defended, although some also did the other way. Then, some time around the late 1990s, it seems, there was a decision by the AWRV to go from the "Western Patrimony" (Western culture and tradition including all the Roman Catholic changes and developments across time) to the "Western Orthodox Patrimony" (Western culture and tradition from the times when the West was in communion with and was a part of the Church), as regards, that is, how to make the sign of the Cross.

And there are doubtless more such adjustments coming, as the Western Rite finds its path, its way, remaining true to its Western roots while pursuing its place within the "big picture" of the Orthodox Family. It would be unnatural if this process did NOT unfold.
 

Alpo

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Fr.Aidan said:
In the Antiochian jurisdiction, time was when the five-fingered, left-to-right sign was very widespread and was defended, although some also did the other way. Then, some time around the late 1990s, it seems, there was a decision by the AWRV to go from the "Western Patrimony" (Western culture and tradition including all the Roman Catholic changes and developments across time) to the "Western Orthodox Patrimony" (Western culture and tradition from the times when the West was in communion with and was a part of the Church), as regards, that is, how to make the sign of the Cross.
Interesting. Has there been any other changes than way of making the sign of the Cross?
 

Fr.Aidan

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Christ is risen.

All that's coming to mind is that in many editions of the Canon of the Mass (Canon Missae) in approved Western Rite usages over the past 20 years, portions of the ancient canon were marked off as optional to do or omit. But from what I see, this movement to make chunks of the ancient Canon "optional" is getting replaced with presenting the ancient Canon as simply To Be Done.
 

kijabeboy03

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I've only visited Christminster in Hamilton and Holy Incarnation in Lincoln Park, but in both places the sign of the cross was made right to left in the 'new ritualist' style (three fingers together to the forehead, two to the palm).

militantsparrow said:
Which Liturgy do you use and how do you make the sign of the Cross. Finger position? Left to right?
 

WPM

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You make the +Sign of the Cross from left to right most traditionally Catholic liturgy & vespers . . . In the Eastern liturgy of St. John Chrysostom I was told to make the sign of the cross from left to right.
 

Shanghaiski

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The oldest way of making the Cross in Greek and Roman use is right to left. The number of fingers, two or three, is up for debate, last I checked. Left to right came about later in Roman use, well after the schism.
 

Ergib

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Left to right with the index finger up and other fingers bent (like stairs).
 

primuspilus

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Ergib said:
Left to right with the index finger up and other fingers bent (like stairs).
There's Western Rite in the Ethiopian Church?

Anyways, right to left, in the Orthodox way. No different.

PP
 

kijabeboy03

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I think you mean "the Byzantine/Roman way." Orthodox Armenians, Copts, Eritreans, Ethiopians, Indians, and Syrians cross themselves left to right.

primuspilus said:
Ergib said:
Left to right with the index finger up and other fingers bent (like stairs).
There's Western Rite in the Ethiopian Church?

Anyways, right to left, in the Orthodox way. No different.

PP
 

kijabeboy03

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The Mahibere Qidusan way? :)

Ergib said:
Left to right with the index finger up and other fingers bent (like stairs).
 

Ergib

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kijabeboy03 said:
I think you mean "the Byzantine/Roman way." Orthodox Armenians, Copts, Eritreans, Ethiopians, Indians, and Syrians cross themselves left to right.

primuspilus said:
Ergib said:
Left to right with the index finger up and other fingers bent (like stairs).
There's Western Rite in the Ethiopian Church?

Anyways, right to left, in the Orthodox way. No different.

PP

Thanks, kijabeboy03 :)
 

Ergib

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primuspilus said:
Ergib said:
Left to right with the index finger up and other fingers bent (like stairs).
There's Western Rite in the Ethiopian Church?

Anyways, right to left, in the Orthodox way. No different.

PP
Didn't see "for Western Rite" until now....

Don’t know why you (EO) cross the way you do, but  we (Ethiopian Orthodox) cross ourselves left to right for a very special reason. Ending our sign to the right symbolize us raising/standing on the right of Jesus Christ on judgment day.
 

JR

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kijabeboy03 said:
I think you mean "the Byzantine/Roman way." Orthodox Armenians, Copts, Eritreans, Ethiopians, Indians, and Syrians cross themselves left to right.

primuspilus said:
Ergib said:
Left to right with the index finger up and other fingers bent (like stairs).
There's Western Rite in the Ethiopian Church?

Anyways, right to left, in the Orthodox way. No different.

PP
The Eastern Rite Catholics / Byzantine cross themselves from right to left.
 

kijabeboy03

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All Eastern Catholics or just Byzantine Catholics? I imagine Armenian/Coptic/Malankara/Syrian/Syro-Malabar Catholics cross themselves left to right...

JR said:
kijabeboy03 said:
I think you mean "the Byzantine/Roman way." Orthodox Armenians, Copts, Eritreans, Ethiopians, Indians, and Syrians cross themselves left to right.

primuspilus said:
Ergib said:
Left to right with the index finger up and other fingers bent (like stairs).
There's Western Rite in the Ethiopian Church?

Anyways, right to left, in the Orthodox way. No different.

PP
The Eastern Rite Catholics / Byzantine cross themselves from right to left.
 

James2

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Left-to-right, as do Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics.  Most in our parish do it right-to-left, but I am more comfortable with left-to-right as part of our living Western heritage carried over into Orthodoxy.
 

James2

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We use the Liturgy of St. Gregory.
 

Sleeper

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James, do you also use the open-palm or do you hold your hand in the Eastern Orthodox manner?

Those who came in from liturgically Western contexts, it seems, are permitted to cross themselves in the manner they're used to, but it many new converts are catechized to cross themselves in the traditional Orthodox way. I don't think this is a top-down decision or anything, just a common pastoral approach.

I, for one, think either way is legitimate and theologically rich.
 

James2

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Sleeper said:
James, do you also use the open-palm or do you hold your hand in the Eastern Orthodox manner?

Those who came in from liturgically Western contexts, it seems, are permitted to cross themselves in the manner they're used to, but it many new converts are catechized to cross themselves in the traditional Orthodox way. I don't think this is a top-down decision or anything, just a common pastoral approach.

I, for one, think either way is legitimate and theologically rich.
Open palm.
 

Alpo

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Btw, at least some of the Finnish Lutherans use the Orthodox way except that they cross themselves from left to right.
 

kijabeboy03

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Ah, the Coptic Orthodox way then :).

Alpo said:
Btw, at least some of the Finnish Lutherans use the Orthodox way except that they cross themselves from left to right.
 

WPM

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Standing up in the wooden pew at St. Peter's WR Orthodox church we make it from the right to left in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
 

LakaYaRabb

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On the whole it seems probable that the ultimate prevalence of the larger cross is due to an instruction of Leo IV in the middle of the ninth century. "Sign the chalice and the host", he wrote, "with a right cross and not with circles or with a varying of the fingers, but with two fingers stretched out and the thumb hidden within them, by which the Trinity is symbolized. Take heed to make this sign rightly, for otherwise you can bless nothing" (see Georgi, "Liturg. Rom. Pont.", III, 37). Although this, of course, primarily applies to the position of the hand in blessing with the sign of the cross; it seems to have been adapted popularly to the making of the sign of the cross upon oneself. Aelfric (about 1000) probably had it in mind when he tells his hearers in one of his sermons: "A man may wave about wonderfully with his hands without creating any blessing unless he make the sign of the cross. But if he do the fiend will soon be frightened on account of the victorious token. With three fingers one must bless himself for the Holy Trinity" (Thorpe, "The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church" I, 462). Fifty years earlier than this Anglo-Saxon Christians were exhorted to "bless all their bodies seven times with Christ's rood token" (Blicking Hom., 47), which seems to assume this large cross. Bede in his letter to Bishop Egbert advises him to remind his flock "with what frequent diligence to employ upon themselves the sign of our Lord's cross", though here we can draw no inferences as to the kind of cross made. On the other hand when we meet in the so-called "Prayer Book of King Henry" (eleventh century) a direction in the morning prayers to mark with the holy Cross "the four sides of the body", there is a good reason to suppose that the large sign with which we are now familiar is meant.

At this period the manner of making it in the West seems to have been identical with that followed at present in the East, i.e. only three fingers were used, and the hand traveled from the right shoulder to the left. The point, it must be confessed, is not entirely clear and Thalhofer (Liturgik, I, 633) inclines to the opinion that in the passages of Belethus (xxxix), Sicardus (III, iv), Innocent III (De myst. Alt., II, xlvi), and Durandus (V, ii, 13), which are usually appealed to in proof of this, these authors have in mind the small cross made upon the forehead or external objects, in which the hand moves naturally from right to left, and not the big cross made from shoulder to shoulder. Still, a rubric in a manuscript copy of the York Missal clearly requires the priest when signing himself with the paten to touch the left shoulder after the right. Moreover it is at least clear from many pictures and sculptures that in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Greek practice of extending only three fingers was adhered to by many Latin Christians. Thus the compiler of the Ancren Riwle (about 1200) directs his nuns at "Deus in adjutorium" to make a little cross from above the forehead down to the breast with three fingers". However there can be little doubt that long before the close of the Middle Ages the large sign of the cross was more commonly made in the West with the open hand and that the bar of the cross was traced from left to right. In the "Myroure of our Ladye" (p. 80) the Bridgettine Nuns of Sion have a mystical reason given to them for the practice: "And then ye bless you with the sygne of the holy crosse, to chase away the fiend with all his deceytes. For, as Chrysostome sayth, wherever the fiends see the signe of the crosse, they flye away, dreading it as a staffe that they are beaten withall. And in thys blessinge ye beginne with youre hande at the hedde downwarde, and then to the lefte side and byleve that our Lord Jesu Christe came down from the head, that is from the Father into erthe by his holy Incarnation, and from the erthe into the left syde, that is hell, by his bitter Passion, and from thence into his Father's righte syde by his glorious Ascension".
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LakaYaRabb

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I beg everyone's forgiveness! I am very sorry for any offense I might have caused! I can't believe I forgot to post the link!  :-[    Here it is:
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13785a.htm
 
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