Author Topic: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy  (Read 3767 times)

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Offline carpo-rusyn

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Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« on: December 14, 2009, 06:50:31 PM »
Just a rather basic question and might be kind of silly.

After liturgy this past Sunday someone came up to me and told me that I should be crossing myself at each petition of the litanies.  I don't normally do this, the priest (ACROD) who instructed me and chrismated me never taught me to do that.  I cross myself at the invocation of the Trinity and the mention of the Theotokos, as well as when the royal doors open.  I'm new to the parish (OCA) but no one else mentioned anything about this to me and I've been here the past 3 months.  To be honest I've seen a great variety of when and even how people cross themselves.   Anyone have any thoughts.

Thanks

Offline mike

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2009, 06:55:29 PM »
I personally cross myself, but don't care about that. It's not the most important thing to bother. If you weren't told by your Priest to do it - don't do it. On the other hand if most of the people in your new Parish do that and you will feel unconformable with that - cross yourself too.

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2009, 07:06:53 PM »
Never heard that one, even from traditionalist sources.

Just keep doing what you're doing. Cross yourself when it complements your interior prayer.
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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2009, 07:09:53 PM »
Just keep doing what you're doing. Cross yourself when it complements your interior prayer.

Amen!
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Offline HandmaidenofGod

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2009, 07:17:43 PM »
The Jordanville prayerbook has a list of when to cross yourself, bow, etc.

It's been my observation that all of this varies greatly parish by parish and personal piety.
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Offline carpo-rusyn

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2009, 08:12:55 PM »
Thanks everyone.  Just a rather odd thing to happen on a Sunday.  I knew I was under observation by the Almighty but didn't know someone else was watching. :laugh:

Offline tuesdayschild

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2009, 08:23:06 PM »
...told me that I should be crossing myself at each petition of the litanies.

"Exercise caution when relying upon unsourced claims."
« Last Edit: December 14, 2009, 08:24:30 PM by tuesdayschild »

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2009, 11:43:59 PM »
Yuck. Phariseeism at it's finest. It's unfortunate that this person was monitoring your every movements instead of devoting that attention to God.

Offline Basil 320

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2009, 02:28:04 AM »
When to cross yourself is not prescribed by the church.  What you mentioned in your original post, is the common recommendation of a priest.  No one should be telling you when to cross yourself.  Making the sign of he cross is part of your (our) personal, silent prayer.  Cross yourself when you feel it, not when some know it all tells you to.  I happen to cross myself at the mention of the bishops name, as that is my personal reinforcement of my own prayer for him and his work.  There are two other petitions I cross myself at, which is my choice and not common. I have noticed in Russian practice, they tend to cross themselves at the "let us pray to the Lord," for each petition.
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Offline LBK

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2009, 02:39:41 AM »
In Slavic tradition, it is common for people to cross themselves at the mention of their patron saint if that saint is one of those commemorated in the Prayer of Intercession at Vespers and/or Matins.

Also according to the Slavs, one time you should not cross yourself is during the reading of the Six Psalms at the opening of Matins.
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Offline Basil 320

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2009, 09:51:36 AM »
REPLY #9, LBK,

The Greek practice is to not move, including crossing themselves, during the Reading of the Six Psalms, too, though I've noticed that the faithfull are not necessarily cognizant of it.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2009, 09:52:53 AM by Basil 320 »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2009, 10:45:15 AM »
REPLY #9, LBK,

The Greek practice is to not move, including crossing themselves, during the Reading of the Six Psalms, too, though I've noticed that the faithfull are not necessarily cognizant of it.
Isn't "the Greek practice" whatever "the Greeks" practice? As you point out, there aren't actually any rubrics about this, just customs, and customs change with time and location.
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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2012, 03:10:33 PM »
Why do people cross themselves at all, i mean, what's the basis and meaning of it in todays church?
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2012, 03:16:55 PM »
Why do people cross themselves at all, i mean, what's the basis and meaning of it in todays church?

The basis is that it's a universal part of Christian tradition.

The meaning of it is the same as it ever was. There are multiple layers of meaning. Calling to remembrance the power of the blood of Christ on the cross, our own call to take up our own cross, as a weapon against demons and invisible adversaries, etc.

Offline FountainPen

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2012, 03:22:21 PM »
Where/when/by whom was the practice was first recorded?
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2012, 03:36:46 PM »
Where/when/by whom was the practice was first recorded?

Jesus was the first to take up his cross...we are called to follow him, and doing this reminds us of that.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2012, 03:40:17 PM »
Where/when/by whom was the practice was first recorded?

Adam and Eve did it in the garden of Eden, and it has been around ever since. Genesis 1:1. Orthodoxy never changes anything.

Offline William

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2012, 03:43:55 PM »
Where/when/by whom was the practice was first recorded?

Tertullian referred to it c. 200 A.D according to wikipedia.
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Offline William

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2012, 03:45:12 PM »
Where/when/by whom was the practice was first recorded?

Adam and Eve did it in the garden of Eden, and it has been around ever since. Genesis 1:1. Orthodoxy never changes anything.

Did they do with three fingers joint or just two? Did they cross themselves at every petition in the Litanies during Vigil or just at the invocations of the Trinity?
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Offline scamandrius

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2012, 05:56:10 PM »
Just a rather basic question and might be kind of silly.

After liturgy this past Sunday someone came up to me and told me that I should be crossing myself at each petition of the litanies.  I don't normally do this, the priest (ACROD) who instructed me and chrismated me never taught me to do that.  I cross myself at the invocation of the Trinity and the mention of the Theotokos, as well as when the royal doors open.  I'm new to the parish (OCA) but no one else mentioned anything about this to me and I've been here the past 3 months.  To be honest I've seen a great variety of when and even how people cross themselves.   Anyone have any thoughts.

Thanks

Someone actually took the time to observe you throughout Vespers and/or Liturgy and then approached you to have you correct your practice?  I would have told this person to mind his own business and probably in harsh manner.
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Offline Punch

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2012, 07:03:02 PM »
Just a rather basic question and might be kind of silly.

After liturgy this past Sunday someone came up to me and told me that I should be crossing myself at each petition of the litanies.  I don't normally do this, the priest (ACROD) who instructed me and chrismated me never taught me to do that.  I cross myself at the invocation of the Trinity and the mention of the Theotokos, as well as when the royal doors open.  I'm new to the parish (OCA) but no one else mentioned anything about this to me and I've been here the past 3 months.  To be honest I've seen a great variety of when and even how people cross themselves.   Anyone have any thoughts.

Thanks

Someone actually took the time to observe you throughout Vespers and/or Liturgy and then approached you to have you correct your practice?  I would have told this person to mind his own business and probably in harsh manner.

Exactly. 
I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.

Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2012, 07:07:27 PM »
Did they do with three fingers joint or just two? Did they cross themselves at every petition in the Litanies during Vigil or just at the invocations of the Trinity?

They did it during the Trinitarian invocations, except for the reference made during the Phos Hilaron at Vespers.

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2012, 07:22:28 PM »
After liturgy this past Sunday someone came up to me and told me that I should be crossing myself at each petition of the litanies.

I am so sick of people like this ...
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2012, 07:24:18 PM »
Yuck. Phariseeism at it's finest. It's unfortunate that this person was monitoring your every movements instead of devoting that attention to God.

Not to mention that this person was wrong (as they usually are).
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #24 on: March 04, 2012, 07:38:18 PM »
Why do people cross themselves at all, i mean, what's the basis and meaning of it in todays church?

It means "cross".

And it helps.
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Offline JamesRottnek

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2012, 05:56:36 AM »
I am rather surprised that someone actually approached you about this.  I would, if they do so again, remind them that during the liturgy our focus is supposed to be on our prayer, instead of those around us.  Also, while many people do practice this, it is far from a requirement.  I don't believe either of the priests at my parish cross themselves at every petition, and it seems that most of the people who cross themselves at each petition don't even cross themselves at each petition (evidently, the crops aren't really that important...)
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2012, 05:33:28 PM »
REPLY #9, LBK,

The Greek practice is to not move, including crossing themselves, during the Reading of the Six Psalms, too, though I've noticed that the faithfull are not necessarily cognizant of it.

It is because they have not been beaten into practice by yia-yias and babushki. Someone who knows better should take up a cane and volunteer or our churches will descend into U2-charistic anarchy in a single generation.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2012, 05:34:08 PM »
Why do people cross themselves at all, i mean, what's the basis and meaning of it in todays church?

The same meaning it always had from the time of the Apostles, dude.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2012, 05:36:27 PM »
Yuck. Phariseeism at it's finest. It's unfortunate that this person was monitoring your every movements instead of devoting that attention to God.

Not to mention that this person was wrong (as they usually are).

Wrong to assume the mantle of enforcer, perhaps, but not wrong on the practice, unless one wants to join the ranks of usurping enforcers oneself.
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Online Jonathan Gress

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2012, 05:42:38 PM »
FWIW, my Jordanville prayerbook says to cross yourself, but not to bow, during the Six Psalms when "alleluia" is said in the middle. My HTM prayerbook on the other hand says not to make the sign of the cross or bow.

I think it would be wrong to be upset with anyone who tries to correct you. For you all you know, he or she may be genuinely trying to help. It's not wrong to correct someone who you think is making an important mistake. If you saw a newcomer wandering up to the iconostas and trying to enter through the Royal Doors, would you just stand by and let him? Of course, just because that person corrects you doesn't mean she's right; always check with your priest. If she brings it up again, tell her what your priest said.

Offline Punch

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2012, 06:32:17 PM »
FWIW, my Jordanville prayerbook says to cross yourself, but not to bow, during the Six Psalms when "alleluia" is said in the middle. My HTM prayerbook on the other hand says not to make the sign of the cross or bow.

I think it would be wrong to be upset with anyone who tries to correct you. For you all you know, he or she may be genuinely trying to help. It's not wrong to correct someone who you think is making an important mistake. If you saw a newcomer wandering up to the iconostas and trying to enter through the Royal Doors, would you just stand by and let him? Of course, just because that person corrects you doesn't mean she's right; always check with your priest. If she brings it up again, tell her what your priest said.

Yes, but what does "A Son of the Church" have to say?  This is the only correct way to do it  ;)
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Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2012, 06:57:25 PM »
...and it seems that most of the people who cross themselves at each petition don't even cross themselves at each petition (evidently, the crops aren't really that important...)


My priest crosses himself at each petition, and I follow suit.

I always understood each petition to be a tiny prayer....and I cross myself.

...and yes, sometimes my mind wonders...and it's not that I don't "care" about the crops....but, I might miss one or two.   ;)

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Offline Father H

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2012, 08:36:51 PM »
Why do people cross themselves at all, i mean, what's the basis and meaning of it in todays church?

Why are you on this forum? 

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2012, 08:39:41 PM »
...and it seems that most of the people who cross themselves at each petition don't even cross themselves at each petition (evidently, the crops aren't really that important...)


My priest crosses himself at each petition, and I follow suit.

I always understood each petition to be a tiny prayer....and I cross myself.

...and yes, sometimes my mind wonders...and it's not that I don't "care" about the crops....but, I might miss one or two.   ;)



No, I mean literally there are at least two people I can think of (the only reason I even know this is because I usually stare at the icon of Christ during most of the service, and these two are frequently chanters, and consequently stand near the icon) who will cross themselves at almost every petition, but whenever the petition about the crops comes up, they do not cross themselves.  I just find it bizarre, is all.
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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #34 on: March 06, 2012, 08:50:17 PM »
I've read before that one is not supposed to cross themselves while they are bowing, or bowed; that is, one should cross themselves only in the upright position. Something like "it disrespects the cross to place it on your bent over body". Is there any merit to this rule of thumb?

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #35 on: March 06, 2012, 08:57:46 PM »

I was taught to cross, then bow....however, aren't we nitpicking it all too much?

If we do it so much "by the book"....aren't we in danger of losing the true meaning behind the gesture?



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Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #36 on: March 06, 2012, 08:59:54 PM »

I was taught to cross, then bow....however, aren't we nitpicking it all too much?

If we do it so much "by the book"....aren't we in danger of losing the true meaning behind the gesture?





i just want to do it the right way... :)

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2012, 09:34:09 PM »

I think that as long as your doing it with an earnestness and love of God....and with definite intent, you are okay.

I always tell the kids that if they look like they are chasing flies away.....then it doesn't count.
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Offline genesisone

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #38 on: March 06, 2012, 09:34:32 PM »

I was taught to cross, then bow....however, aren't we nitpicking it all too much?

If we do it so much "by the book"....aren't we in danger of losing the true meaning behind the gesture?




I was taught to bow then cross. Should nitpicking be mentioned in confession?  :-\

Those of us who came into Orthodoxy later in life need to do it "by the book" in order to get a routine started. However, I'm guessing we agree that one should expect this routine to make its way from the head to the heart. Once in a while, I even get out the book used in my catechism just to be sure I'm still on track - not just with crossing myself but with other things. It's easy in a nearly all convert parish for no one to be really sure what should be done and when.

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #39 on: March 06, 2012, 09:56:09 PM »

LOL!

It's easy in cradle parish, too!

Just because folks are born "in to" the Faith, doesn't mean they understand it, do things properly, or appreciate what they have.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 09:56:30 PM by LizaSymonenko »
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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #40 on: March 06, 2012, 10:55:20 PM »
Yes, when I'm in a Russian church the people cross then bow, but in the Greek church they bow then cross.

When in Rome…

Offline Father H

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2012, 10:56:25 PM »

I was taught to cross, then bow....however, aren't we nitpicking it all too much?

If we do it so much "by the book"....aren't we in danger of losing the true meaning behind the gesture?




I was taught to bow then cross. Should nitpicking be mentioned in confession?  :-\

Those of us who came into Orthodoxy later in life need to do it "by the book" in order to get a routine started. However, I'm guessing we agree that one should expect this routine to make its way from the head to the heart. Once in a while, I even get out the book used in my catechism just to be sure I'm still on track - not just with crossing myself but with other things. It's easy in a nearly all convert parish for no one to be really sure what should be done and when.

depends on which book you are doing it "by the book" by.  And yes, I meant that to sound confounded.  :laugh:  (ps, I didn't actually laugh for those who are looking at a protocol from 1876 from a monastery in northern Russia that says that priests should not laugh during lent, or ever).     :P

Offline akimori makoto

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #42 on: March 07, 2012, 12:55:06 AM »
All the above discussion is quite disturbing.

Lord forbid someone should make a prostration at a time not appointed as "prostration time" or should make the sign of the cross thrice rather than a simple once at a particular moment of liturgical time.


I think that as long as your doing it with an earnestness and love of God....and with definite intent, you are okay.

I always tell the kids that if they look like they are chasing flies away.....then it doesn't count.

Thank you, as always, Liza. Forgive me, brothers, but this is the only sensible thing said so far.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

Offline Ortho_cat

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #43 on: March 07, 2012, 01:53:39 AM »
Yep, we bow then cross. Same way we venerate icons (metania then cross).

Offline Father H

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Re: Crossing yourself at vespers and liturgy
« Reply #44 on: March 07, 2012, 04:08:07 PM »
Yep, we bow then cross. Same way we venerate icons (metania then cross).

Right, the mediterranean practice is to bow then cross, the slavic to cross then sweep/bow.  Is ok one way or the other