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Author Topic: Sign of the Cross  (Read 6606 times) Average Rating: 0
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marlo
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« on: November 13, 2007, 05:59:20 AM »

I'm reading a study about the Old believers in Russia, and found this icon of christ, a 6th century icon depicting the Lord with the sign of the cross 2 fingers straight, according to this study. it was originally 2 fingers, any comments on this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Spas_vsederzhitel_sinay.jpg
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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2007, 06:12:45 AM »

This hand position in Icons of Christ was used after the Oecumenical Council of Chalcedon. Christ extending two fingers symbolizes His Two Natures. You will also see this in Hodegetria Icons, for example:
http://www.msu.edu/~rabbatjo/hodegetria3.jpg
http://ikona.art.pl/grafika/galeria/hodegetria.jpg
http://www.tbumm.org/images/TikhvinHodegetria.jpg
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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2007, 08:46:28 AM »

marlo, peace be with you.

Believe you will find this shows Christ giving a blessing not making the Sign of the Cross.

Many icons show Christ with His hand held thusly. We Oriental Orthodox also have them and of course do not consider it to represent two natures Wink
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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2007, 11:22:14 AM »

All this information is accurate. However, the Old Belivers make the sign of the Cross a bit differently. They hold the thumb, pinky and third finger together. The index finger is straight (representing Christ's humanity) and the middle finger is slighlty bent (indicating His divinity). Also the bending of the middle finger is symbolic of Christ bowing the heavens to come down to earth for our salvation.
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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2007, 06:25:37 PM »

All this information is accurate. However, the Old Belivers make the sign of the Cross a bit differently. They hold the thumb, pinky and third finger together. The index finger is straight (representing Christ's humanity) and the middle finger is slighlty bent (indicating His divinity). Also the bending of the middle finger is symbolic of Christ bowing the heavens to come down to earth for our salvation.

Salve Mickey,

But isn't the what a Priest does not the Laity or do I have my understanding confused?
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2007, 01:47:56 AM »

Salve Mickey,

But isn't the what a Priest does not the Laity or do I have my understanding confused?
I believe that if you read fatman2021's thread on the Old Believer sign of the Cross, you might find the answer to this question.  The thread is now closed to new posts for reasons you'll find obvious if you go there, but you can still read it.

How to Make the Sign of the Cross
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2007, 02:15:11 AM »

Hi didymus

in the Russian Old Believers, blessing and sign of the cross is done using the same method. This signify that the Old believers probably have preserved the original sign of the Cross, as evident by the image shown.  Also by a famous study of a Russian Theologian.  This is a significant evidence in contrast to the Eastern Orthodox claim that they did not changed their tradition.



marlo, peace be with you.

Believe you will find this shows Christ giving a blessing not making the Sign of the Cross.

Many icons show Christ with His hand held thusly. We Oriental Orthodox also have them and of course do not consider it to represent two natures Wink

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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2007, 02:20:57 AM »

This signify that the Old believers probably have preserved the original sign of the Cross, as evident by the image shown. 
Not necessarily.
It could be that the Old Believers actually changed the sign themselves.
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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2007, 02:54:39 AM »

the fact that even the Old Roman Catholic documents also states that the sign of the Cross was done with 2 fingers, and Admitted by Timothy Ware saying, “The Greek form with three fingers was more recent than the Russian form with two: why should the Russians, who remained loyal to the ancient ways, be forced to accept a “modern” Greek innovation?” from his famous book The Orthodox Church.

 
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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2007, 03:25:08 AM »

the fact that even the Old Roman Catholic documents also states that the sign of the Cross was done with 2 fingers, and Admitted by Timothy Ware saying, “The Greek form with three fingers was more recent than the Russian form with two: why should the Russians, who remained loyal to the ancient ways, be forced to accept a “modern” Greek innovation?” from his famous book The Orthodox Church.

 

Well, then that settles it! Two fingers it is!! Grin
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marlo
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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2007, 03:44:56 AM »

also settles that the claim of the Eastern Orthodox of preservation of Tradition is not True as what they claim.

Well, then that settles it! Two fingers it is!! Grin
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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2007, 03:57:51 AM »

also settles that the claim of the Eastern Orthodox of preservation of Tradition is not True as what they claim.


What I was told is that the Russians changed the Sign of the Cross due to their seclusion from the rest of the Orthodox Church. It makes sense that it could go either way, I guess.
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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2007, 09:11:23 AM »

also settles that the claim of the Eastern Orthodox of preservation of Tradition is not True as what they claim.


Whoa, there friend. Not cool to slide in "Tradition" where you originally ( and improperly) used "tradition". The Big T/little t aspect does apply as well as your implication that we assert traditional Orthopraxis with Faith. Not the same.
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« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2007, 09:21:05 AM »

also settles that the claim of the Eastern Orthodox of preservation of Tradition is not True as what they claim.
Oh my! Now you are reaching. The Old Believers and the Holy Orthodox Church use the same symbolism when making the sign of the cross. Two fingers represent the divinity and humanity of Christ---and two finger united with the thumb represent the Trinity. But because the finger groupings are different, you proclaim that Orthodoxy has veered from Tradition! Surely you have better topics to discuss.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2007, 09:32:11 AM »

also settles that the claim of the Eastern Orthodox of preservation of Tradition is not True as what they claim.


How so?  One way does the cross with 2 up and 3 down, 2 for the natures and 3 for the Trinity.  Other way does the cross with 3 up and 2 down, 2 for the natures and 3 for the Trinity.  Yes, the external form is slightly different, but the essence of the teaching is the same.  If you wanted to make the "claim of preservation of tradition is not true as what they claim," there are better examples to be found in the Divine Liturgy.  If you want to bring that up, go to the Liturgy section and start a thread about it.
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« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2007, 02:10:47 PM »

So is there still an anathema on the Old Believers who use this formulation?
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« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2007, 02:25:34 PM »

Anathema? From whom?

Council?
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« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2007, 01:21:36 AM »

I believe the Russian Orthodox Church lifted her anathema against the Old Believers many years ago.
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« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2007, 01:47:00 AM »

yes, the finger group association did change, showing that the Eastern Orthodox changes after all.

Oh my! Now you are reaching. The Old Believers and the Holy Orthodox Church use the same symbolism when making the sign of the cross. Two fingers represent the divinity and humanity of Christ---and two finger united with the thumb represent the Trinity. But because the finger groupings are different, you proclaim that Orthodoxy has veered from Tradition! Surely you have better topics to discuss.  Roll Eyes

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« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2007, 01:48:29 AM »

they need to do it, it shows that the Russian Orthodox church did make a mistake on insisting the Change not only on the sign of the cross but the liturgy itself.
I believe the Russian Orthodox Church lifted her anathema against the Old Believers many years ago.
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« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2007, 02:13:11 AM »

they need to do it, it shows that the Russian Orthodox church did make a mistake on insisting the Change not only on the sign of the cross but the liturgy itself.
Lifting the anathema means nothing of the sort.  If anything, the Russian Church admitted by this move that her complicity in the persecution of the Old Ritualists was totally unwarranted.
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« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2007, 02:14:26 AM »

yes, the finger group association did change, showing that the Eastern Orthodox changes after all.
Whoever said that the Orthodox practice of the faith doesn't change?
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« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2007, 04:57:55 AM »

Whoever said that the Orthodox practice of the faith doesn't change?

Why, the Old Believers!
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« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2007, 09:16:25 AM »

yes, the finger group association did change, showing that the Eastern Orthodox changes after all.
Bravo, marlo! You have proved that the Orthodox Church can change in some areas of praxis. But you have not proved that they promulgate outright innovations of doctrine and dogma. Hence, I am happy to be home.  laugh
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« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2007, 05:07:40 PM »

yes, the finger group association did change, showing that the Eastern Orthodox changes after all.


I have to assume you are using a bit of humour here because I know you are smarter than that to use this limp example of the Old Believers as an example of changing doctrine.  This is simply a change in praxis and little "t" tradition.
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« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2007, 04:49:12 PM »

So is there still an anathema on the Old Believers who use this formulation?

There are Old Believer parishes within ROCOR.
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« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2007, 04:54:42 PM »

Old Believers are Orthodox in their faith. Many Orthodox use their prayer book. Their service and some prayers are a bit longer in certain cases and they do the sign of the cross a bit differently. That is not to make light of the fact that this was a big deal to them and that they suffered for their position. But we all believe the same faith and in fact they are starting to come back into communion with us.

That is a horse of a different color than what we find in Western Christianity where often the core theology and liturgy and Daily practices can vary greatly.   
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« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2007, 05:53:04 PM »

There are Old Believer parishes within ROCOR.

I know that, but very few...I know of one in the US and it's about 9 hours from me! Needless to say I don't go there every Sunday Grin
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« Reply #28 on: December 03, 2007, 07:56:20 PM »

I know that, but very few...I know of one in the US and it's about 9 hours from me! Needless to say I don't go there every Sunday Grin

 Huh
I need some explanation on this subject old believers ...If orthodoxy came to russia/ukrain via constantanople how does the old belivers way become a  older tradition than from the Mother Church [constantinople]..how does the mother become younger and the daughter becomes older in her traditions ..inquiring  mind wants to know.... Huh Huh
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« Reply #29 on: December 04, 2007, 01:59:22 AM »

Huh
I need some explanation one this subject old believers ...If orthodoxy came to russia/ukrain via constantanople how does the old belivers way become a  older tradition than from the Mother Church [constantinople]..how does the mother become younger and the daughter becomes older in her traditions ..inquiring  mind wants to know.... Huh Huh
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From what I have read, Russia was secluded for years at a time by different foreign invaders. Because of this seclusion, many traditions changed. I don't know what else to say. Many feel the Greeks changed...Patriarch Nikon changed, or rather reformed, many traditions of Russian Orthodoxy to conform to the rest of the Orthodox world. This included liturgical books and the Sign of the Cross. There are many good books on the subject if you're interested...Patriarch Nikon was literally despised and if my memory serves me right, he died in exile in a Siberian monastery...
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« Reply #30 on: December 04, 2007, 02:55:49 AM »

From what I have read, Russia was secluded for years at a time by different foreign invaders. Because of this seclusion, many traditions changed. I don't know what else to say. Many feel the Greeks changed...Patriarch Nikon changed, or rather reformed, many traditions of Russian Orthodoxy to conform to the rest of the Orthodox world. This included liturgical books and the Sign of the Cross. There are many good books on the subject if you're interested...Patriarch Nikon was literally despised and if my memory serves me right, he died in exile in a Siberian monastery...

Peace..How did the original orthodox tradition from constantinoble get distorted by the russian/ukrainian old believers ,,i would of assumed they recieved the correct form from constantinoble ,,why would they of needed reform later on...this is  really confusing to me ....as a serb we have 1200 years of orthodoxy as the greeks gave it to us ,,i never heard of serbian old believers ,,,have you,.. i believe  all the slavic peoples have christianity for 1200 to 1300 yrs now including poland .....stashko
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« Reply #31 on: December 05, 2007, 11:42:21 AM »

I am not sure I understand the significance of the finger grouping. This symbolism is surely very important as it has deep theological meaning, however why would it be so important which fingers are used as a symbol to that theology.

It doesn't seem like something that will warrant people separating themselves from the church. Is there any thing else that they object to that is more significant.

Same thing with Old Calendarists, is it merely when to celebrate Easter and other calendar issues or do they have other objections.

When it comes to Orthodoxy, there are things that are worth fighting for and dying for. I just don't understand why how to draw the sign of the Cross would be one of these things.

I would appreciate a response to help me understand.
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« Reply #32 on: December 05, 2007, 11:48:00 AM »

I am not sure I understand the significance of the finger grouping. This symbolism is surely very important as it has deep theological meaning, however why would it be so important which fingers are used as a symbol to that theology.

It doesn't seem like something that will warrant people separating themselves from the church. Is there any thing else that they object to that is more significant.

Same thing with Old Calendarists, is it merely when to celebrate Easter and other calendar issues or do they have other objections.

When it comes to Orthodoxy, there are things that are worth fighting for and dying for. I just don't understand why how to draw the sign of the Cross would be one of these things.

I would appreciate a response to help me understand.

Welcome to the forums!

Perhaps because of some peoples' hyper-traditionalism? I'm all for the Old Calendar, but the whole Sign of the Cross tradition varies throughout the history of the Church to begin with...that there was change may be unfortunate, but that there are many varying traditions amongst the Orientals and Latins is also a testimony to the diversity of practices from antiquity (some exceptions)...
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