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Author Topic: Sign of the Cross according to the Old Rite  (Read 14441 times) Average Rating: 0
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arimethea
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Does anyone really care what you think?


« Reply #45 on: May 03, 2010, 06:23:40 PM »

It would, but I'm not sure who is guilty of that? I know some received their bishops from ROCOR, but they thought ROCOR was Orthodox at the time, and were even in communion with them for a while.

I can cite the example of a parish a few hours from here, headed by a reader most of the time. They have on occasions received priests from other churches (churches they uncompromisingly lable heretical), until said reader decided they weren't Orthodox enough and sent them on their way. Of course, everyone in this parish is clearly nuts, but they're an example of how people can become so fanatical about one thing that they happily ignore other far more important things.

Such a thing is not relegated to Old Believers.  I know of parishes where priests have come home from errands to find their bags packed and the locks changed on the rectory door because they were not ethnic enough for their congregation.  Even the bishop knew about this before the priest did. 

Thats horrible, why wasn't that Church closed or the people temporarily excommunicated? Shame on the Bishop for not acting to punish them...

I can't answer that, as I do not know.  All I know is that this particular priest was, by all accounts, shamefully treated.
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« Reply #46 on: May 03, 2010, 09:24:43 PM »

I can't answer that, as I do not know.  All I know is that this particular priest was, by all accounts, shamefully treated.

Did he find another parish?
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« Reply #47 on: May 03, 2010, 09:25:22 PM »

STAY ON TOPIC!

Sorry, I just saw this!
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« Reply #48 on: May 04, 2010, 09:53:20 AM »

I really do not see what people find attractive about the Old Believers, everything screams cult and pharisee... Honestly I'm sick about hearing about them. Many of the Old Believers aren't even Orthodox and so I don't see why there is any interest in them. They are not right and never have been right, they committed heresy and have been schismatics ever since they split from the Church. They aren't any different from any other non-Orthodox groups out there.
Again, I do not really see why anyone has an interest in these people, I've only found them to be very pharisaic and self-righteous...

Also, when I refer to the Old Believers, I'm referring to those who remained in schism, not those who were reunited to the MP.

Well, that is your opinion, and you know what they say about opinions.  Look at the history.  I suppose real Orthodox people burn people at the stake and put them in cold water until they die.  If someone did to my family what the "Orthodox Church" did to the Old Believers, I would never have anything to do with "Orthodoxy" again.  As to heresy, I have found nothing at all heretical regarding their teachings.  I find them far preferable to the modernist drivel that I have seen coming out of some of the current seminaries.  I have really had to compromise a lot of my beliefs to become part of "mainstream" Orthodoxy.  Often I wonder if that is right to do.

Punch,

You sort of remind me of General George Patton of the U.S. Third Army (of WWII fame), who also felt an affinity to days of old. In the movie "Patton," one scene has him looking over an ancient battle field near Carthage and describing the action, as if it is unfolding right before his eyes. When his aide remarks that his is like an eye-witness blow-by-blow account, General Patton replies" "But, I was there!"

I said "I have really had to compromise a lot of my beliefs to become part of "mainstream" Orthodoxy.  Often I wonder if that is right to do." General Patton was also an odd fit, but he carried on because the core elements of his life were shared by the much more mainstream US Army of his time. I hope and pray that you are able to separate the essentials from the not-so-essential beliefs (and opinions) so that you can be in peace and grow in the Lord, instead of growing in frustration and anger. Forgive me if I sound condescending; I am attempting to share from personal experience--certainly not from any position of superiority.
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« Reply #49 on: May 04, 2010, 02:03:35 PM »

To go back to the OP, I would suppose a good way to find out when the sign of the Cross is made in liturgy (when it is supposed to be made, if such a thing is so regulated), would be to contact the church in Erie. The Jordanville Prayerbook, IIRC, has a little section on when to make the Cross. It may be quite the same as the Old Rite.
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« Reply #50 on: May 04, 2010, 07:56:48 PM »

I really do not see what people find attractive about the Old Believers, everything screams cult and pharisee... Honestly I'm sick about hearing about them. Many of the Old Believers aren't even Orthodox and so I don't see why there is any interest in them. They are not right and never have been right, they committed heresy and have been schismatics ever since they split from the Church. They aren't any different from any other non-Orthodox groups out there.
Again, I do not really see why anyone has an interest in these people, I've only found them to be very pharisaic and self-righteous...

Also, when I refer to the Old Believers, I'm referring to those who remained in schism, not those who were reunited to the MP.

Well, that is your opinion, and you know what they say about opinions.  Look at the history.  I suppose real Orthodox people burn people at the stake and put them in cold water until they die.  If someone did to my family what the "Orthodox Church" did to the Old Believers, I would never have anything to do with "Orthodoxy" again.  As to heresy, I have found nothing at all heretical regarding their teachings.  I find them far preferable to the modernist drivel that I have seen coming out of some of the current seminaries.  I have really had to compromise a lot of my beliefs to become part of "mainstream" Orthodoxy.  Often I wonder if that is right to do.

Punch,

You sort of remind me of General George Patton of the U.S. Third Army (of WWII fame), who also felt an affinity to days of old. In the movie "Patton," one scene has him looking over an ancient battle field near Carthage and describing the action, as if it is unfolding right before his eyes. When his aide remarks that his is like an eye-witness blow-by-blow account, General Patton replies" "But, I was there!"

I said "I have really had to compromise a lot of my beliefs to become part of "mainstream" Orthodoxy.  Often I wonder if that is right to do." General Patton was also an odd fit, but he carried on because the core elements of his life were shared by the much more mainstream US Army of his time. I hope and pray that you are able to separate the essentials from the not-so-essential beliefs (and opinions) so that you can be in peace and grow in the Lord, instead of growing in frustration and anger. Forgive me if I sound condescending; I am attempting to share from personal experience--certainly not from any position of superiority.

My friend, you have no need for me to forgive you.  I thank you for your prayers.  Given that you do not know me, but have chosen this story is indication enough that it is not just from you, but that you were moved to write it.  I will take your words very seriously.  Sometimes we become so immersed in something that is almost seems that we were there.  If we partake of the Body of Christ, are we not part of all of those that are part of that Body throughout history?  Does our conscience become part of a collective conscience?  I don't know, nor do I dwell on it.  But your words have brought me comfort and peace, and again I thank you.
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« Reply #51 on: May 11, 2010, 02:42:24 AM »

No, but have you ever purchased and used an Old Believer PrayerBook?

They are fantastic. Much better than the Jordanville Prayer Book.

But I read online that Pope Innocent III changed the whole practice of the sign of the cross.

I also read that when they changed the Old Rite in Russia, many Monks and Laity of the Old Believers were martyred because they did not want to change to the new rite. This was is 1666-1667 when they changed to the new-rite. The Year of the antichrist?

But the Old Believers  make the sign of the cross in the original way it was made to be done. The Pantocrator Icon from Sinai in the 6th Century confirms this, as do other icons.




I don't know why this is perpetuated.

He is not making the Sign of the Cross


nor the Old Ritualist sign of the Cross

but blessing in His name IC XC


I think you may need to look again, ialmisry.  That icon is clearly depicting Christ giving the traditional two-fingered blessing and not the later ICXC Christogram.  There are more examples here.

In Christ,
Michael
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« Reply #52 on: May 11, 2010, 03:29:46 AM »

I have really had to compromise a lot of my beliefs to become part of "mainstream" Orthodoxy.  Often I wonder if that is right to do.

As do I, Punch.  I certainly worry at some of the things taught and done by those with whom we have entered into the fullness of communion. Yet I have seen the other side of this as well and its dangers.  I think all we in the Church Abroad can do is pray for mercy that we, along with others, may form part of the conscience of the Church.

In Christ,
Michael
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« Reply #53 on: May 31, 2010, 10:37:27 AM »

Years ago when I first came to Orthodoxy I was a very hard-headed young man who took a reactionary opposing view of the Old Believers and Old Rite similar to 88Devin12 and re-hashed all the old arguments against them referring to them as simply superstitious and obstinate heretics. I had not known anything really about the Raskol or the Old Rite when I said this and I was wrong and am ashamed of having said what I did.
After years of growth in Orthodoxy and studying I can say that I do think some Old Believers are and were superstitious-obstinate heretics but for the most part that was not the case nor is it the case now. There are no ways of getting around this: the Russian Tsars and the Church officials who persecuted and anathematized the Old Rite and Old Believers were wrong! The MP and ROCOR have admitted this, though I don't know how they think we should view Avvakum and Pavel of Kolomna, and even apologized for the actions taken in the past. Look at the horrible blasphemy of what was done to St.Anna of Kashin!
As for the Old Rite sign of the Cross and blessing I would say that I've seen this in old icons and mosaics many more times than the link shows.
In my own Serbian parish Church there is a large reproduction of a medieval fresco of St.Sava blessing in this way.

Why should this bother anyone who is not Old Rite? Both ways of blessing are Orthodox.
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« Reply #54 on: December 10, 2010, 06:57:12 PM »

Quote
For this is the Sign of the Passion, displayed and made manifest against the devil, provided that you do it with faith,
not to be seen by men, but by presenting it with skill like a shield. Because the Adversary, when he sees the strength of the heart and when he sees the inner man which is animated by the Word show, formed on the exterior, the interior image of the
Word, he is made to flee by the Spirit which is in you. 3This is symbolized by the Paschal lamb which was sacrificed, the blood of which Moses sprinkled on the threshold, and smeared on the doorposts. He told us of the faith which is now in us, which was given to
us through the perfect Lamb.
-St.Hippolytus (215 AD) The Apostolic Tradition

Then we should also marvel how demons and various diseases are dispelled by the sign of the precious and life-giving Cross, which all can make without cost or effort. Who can number the panegyrics composed in its honour? The holy fathers have handed down to us the inner significance of this sign, so that we can refute heretics and unbelievers. The two fingers and single hand with which it is made represent the Lord Isus Christ crucified, and He is thereby acknowledged to exist in two natures and one hypostasis or person.
The use of the right hand betokens His infinite power and the fact that He sits at the right hand of the Father. That the sign begins with a downward movement from above signifies His descent to us from heaven. Again, the movement of the hand from the right side to the left drives away our enemies and declares that by His invincible power the Lord overcame the devil, who is on the left side, dark and lacking strength.   
- St.Peter of Damascus (12th Century) The Philokalia: The Complete Text, (Volume Three), translated and edited by G.E.H Palmer, Philip Sherrard, Kallistos Ware,1984 Faber and Faber London

I added the above quotes to show first one of the earliest and clearest explanations of the Sign of the Cross being a Seal of the Blood of the Lamb of God, our Lord Christ. The second quote is a very explicit explanation of how to make the Sign of the Cross with two fingers as the norm.
To delve deeper into this and respond to previous posts. This reform was not minor in the eyes of Russians in 1667 when the two finger sign of the cross was anathematized or in 1653 when it was first pushed on the public by Patriarch Nikon. You have to understand that the old Slavic Nomocanon specifically repeats an older anathema that whoever does not cross himself with two fingers let him be anathema  http://www.staropomor.ru/Ustav%282%29/kormchaya/k3.pdf (pg. 13, anathema 23). The Stoglav also repeated this. For the pious Russians the Nikonian Reform of the Sign of the Cross was blasphemy. It completely abolished the doctrine related to the Sign of the Cross being a Seal in the Blood of the Passion of our Lord represented by the two fingers with which we make the Seal on our bodies. It replaced this with a new Sign of the Cross and doctrine in which we seal ourselves with the Trinity and placed the Trinity on the Cross! Not only did this seem blasphemous and heretical it made no sense! The traditional two finger Sign/Seal confessed the Trinity with the remaining fingers already so why was it necessary to change it even if you believe the Trinity should be confessed when making the Sign of the Cross? The only reason was to be like the Greeks as they were in the 17th Century. The two fingered Sign of the Cross was the norm for all Orthodox until the 16th century when the three fingered form first written about by Pope Innocent III gradually made inroads into Orthodoxy through the influence of the Latins in the Thirteenth Century and later in the 16th Century through Greeks living in places that were under the control of the Venetian Republic (Venice, obviously, but also Nafplion in the heart of Greece). There are many, many books on this subject written in Russian but sadly in the English speaking world there are still people fooled by lies that began shortly after the Nikonian Reforms.
My own belief is that Old Orthodox were just in fightiing what was clearly wrong and even if you view them as now being in schism it is hard to understand how any pious and erudite Russian could have not objected and fought against reforms that clearly seemed contradict the canons of the Church which are produced through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Personally I think the Orthodox way of life led by many Old Believers, I am thinking primarily of the Popovsti, is proof that adherence to the old ways has served to protect and maintain the Truth of the Orthodox Faith.
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« Reply #55 on: December 10, 2010, 07:00:58 PM »

I'm wondering, are those reforms considered Orthodox/Ecumenical and are they accepted today?
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« Reply #56 on: December 10, 2010, 07:39:35 PM »

I'm wondering, are those reforms considered Orthodox/Ecumenical and are they accepted today?

I'm not sure just what you're asking here. The reforms of the Moscow Council of 1666 are Orthodox and are still accepted today. Moreover, the issue of the sign of the Cross and the other changes was largely confined (as an actual issue, not a gradual change) to the Russian Church. At that time, the Russian Church was brought into conformity with the rest of the Orthodox Church as regards various practices. However, in the Russian Church, there is no longer an issue with the old books and old customs, as there has been a blessing to serve according to the old books since the 19th century.
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« Reply #57 on: December 10, 2010, 08:05:15 PM »

Quote
The two fingered Sign of the Cross was the norm for all Orthodox until the 16th century when the three fingered form first written about by Pope Innocent III gradually made inroads into Orthodoxy...

I beg to differ.  It was not the norm.  We know that the Orthodox of England were using three fingers 600 years before the Nikonian reforms and before the Crusades.

There is an interesting sermon of Abbot Aelfric of Abingdon which he gave around the year 1000 in which he states, "Though a man wave wonderfully with his hand, yet it is not the sign of the Cross: With three fingers you shall sign yourself."
(Sermon for Sept. 14)
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« Reply #58 on: December 10, 2010, 08:13:10 PM »

I'm wondering, are those reforms considered Orthodox/Ecumenical and are they accepted today?

I'm not sure just what you're asking here. The reforms of the Moscow Council of 1666 are Orthodox and are still accepted today. Moreover, the issue of the sign of the Cross and the other changes was largely confined (as an actual issue, not a gradual change) to the Russian Church. At that time, the Russian Church was brought into conformity with the rest of the Orthodox Church as regards various practices. However, in the Russian Church, there is no longer an issue with the old books and old customs, as there has been a blessing to serve according to the old books since the 19th century.
Well let me qualify that by stating that the Anathemas against the Old Rite, along with Oaths against the Old Rite, later imposed on Nikonian priests were lifted in 1971 and 1974 by the MP and ROCOR respectively. To lift an anathema means that it was never valid at all!
Of course if you are Popovsti Old Orthodox (an Old Believer) you believe that the Nikonian Reforms are heretical and that the Old Believers remained faithful to Orthodoxy.
Below is yet another example of the antiquity of the Two Fingered Seal/Blessing of the Cross.
These two are of the same icon from the Catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter


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« Reply #59 on: December 10, 2010, 09:19:46 PM »

Of course if you are Popovsti Old Orthodox (an Old Believer) you believe that the Nikonian Reforms are heretical and that the Old Believers remained faithful to Orthodoxy.

But the canonical Old Believers don't believe this do they? I don't see how they could since they are a part of the Orthodox Church.
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« Reply #60 on: December 11, 2010, 01:18:38 AM »

Because The Ikona Of St.Sava Shows Him Holding His Fingers That way , Doesn't mean he crossed himself with two fingers..For us serbs He is Our Holy Father ...If it was true which its not ,we would be using two fingers Even Now ...Also the Ancient Assyrian church of the East, uses the Three Fingers and right to left like we Eastern Orthodox do ,they got that from us ,so ours is the ancient and athentic way of crossing onesself.....
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« Reply #61 on: December 11, 2010, 02:00:39 AM »

Thing is though, Orthodoxy does evolve, it isn't static. While our faith stays the same, some of our traditions change. We no longer cross ourselves with our thumbs on our foreheads, we no longer worship in house churches (for the most part), etc...

So really, just because something is an ancient practice, doesn't mean we should revert to it. (this isn't just for crossing yourself though) While nothing is wrong with those practices, we have moved on, and because we are one Church, we need to be in conformity (for the most part).

If someone wants to cross themselves with two fingers, or with their thumb on their forehead, I don't see a problem with it if approved by the Priest and/or the Bishop. But as a whole, Orthodoxy has moved on and evolved. There are canonical Old Believers, and I believe that shows that such practices are not heterodox or wrong, it's just that we've moved on.
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« Reply #62 on: December 11, 2010, 02:28:14 AM »


I see a problem with two fingers ..I  Rather confess the Complete God Head when crossing Myself ..... Plus
I was taught when we cross ourselfs with three fingers we confess the The Most Holy Trinity, plus the two Fingers that rest in the palm confess the Humanity and Divinity of Christ.. So Im Curious ,How can anything else evolve that would be considered a greater Confession than that.... Huh Holy Eastern Orthodoxy Got it Right....
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« Reply #63 on: December 11, 2010, 04:30:47 AM »


I see a problem with two fingers ..I  Rather confess the Complete God Head when crossing Myself ..... Plus
I was taught when we cross ourselfs with three fingers we confess the The Most Holy Trinity, plus the two Fingers that rest in the palm confess the Humanity and Divinity of Christ.. So Im Curious ,How can anything else evolve that would be considered a greater Confession than that.... Huh Holy Eastern Orthodoxy Got it Right....

Thing is, we know that historically Christians first crossed themselves with their thumb, and (from what I understand) it went to two fingers, then to three.
East crossed themselves right to left and West cross themselves from left to right, both were based on correct theology/symbolism. (the difference existed well before the schism)

So why do we cross ourselves with three fingers from right to left? This is what the Church has taught us, and is the commonly accepted way of doing it in Orthodoxy.

The Sign of the Cross has grown and evolved just as the Liturgy has grown and evolved over time. (as well as many of our traditions)
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« Reply #64 on: December 11, 2010, 04:42:15 AM »


I never heard or read any orthodox writings about crossing oneself in the begining with the thumb or the two fingers  ..iv heard about the catholics doing it,,the thumb  and thats about it and they still do...


I see a problem with two fingers ..I  Rather confess the Complete God Head when crossing Myself ..... Plus
I was taught when we cross ourselfs with three fingers we confess the The Most Holy Trinity, plus the two Fingers that rest in the palm confess the Humanity and Divinity of Christ.. So Im Curious ,How can anything else evolve that would be considered a greater Confession than that.... Huh Holy Eastern Orthodoxy Got it Right....

Thing is, we know that historically Christians first crossed themselves with their thumb, and (from what I understand) it went to two fingers, then to three.
East crossed themselves right to left and West cross themselves from left to right, both were based on correct theology/symbolism. (the difference existed well before the schism)

So why do we cross ourselves with three fingers from right to left? This is what the Church has taught us, and is the commonly accepted way of doing it in Orthodoxy.

The Sign of the Cross has grown and evolved just as the Liturgy has grown and evolved over time. (as well as many of our traditions)
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« Reply #65 on: December 11, 2010, 10:16:45 AM »

Catholics sign themselves with the thumb cross on the forehead, lips and heart at the beginning of the Gospel reading. When the priest announces the passage to be read, the congregation responds, "Glory to You, Lord," and then makes the sign that way. At all other times, including the beginning and end of the Mass, Catholics of the Eastern Rite will make the Cross in the same way as the Eastern Orthodox; Catholics of Western origin (such as the Roman Rite) will make the Cross with the pinky and ring fingers folded into the palm, to signify that Christ is fully God and fully Man, and the three other digits pressed closely together (usually side-by-side rather than at the tips), to signify the Holy Trinity. It looks like an EO cross but without your fingertips pressed together.
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« Reply #66 on: December 11, 2010, 03:23:35 PM »

Tertullian (200)
At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign. If, for these and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386)
Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ; but though another hide it, do thou openly seal it upon thy forehead, that the devils may behold the royal sign and flee trembling far away. Make then this sign at eating and drinking, at sitting, at lying down, at rising up, at speaking, at walking: in a word, at every act.

Theodoret (393–457)
This is how to bless someone with your hand and make the sign of the cross over them. Hold three fingers, as equals, together, to represent the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. These are not three gods, but one God in Trinity. The names are separate, but the divinity one. The Father was never incarnate; the Son incarnate, but not created; the Holy Ghost neither incarnate nor created, but issued from the Godhead: three in a single divinity. Divinity is one force and has one honor. They receive on obeisance from all creation, both angels and people. Thus the decree for these three fingers.
You should hold the other two fingers slightly bent, not completely straight. This is because these represent the dual nature of Christ, divine and human. God in His divinity, and human in His incarnation, yet perfect in both. The upper finger represents divinity, and the lower humanity; this way salvation goes from the higher finger to the lower. So is the bending of the fingers interpreted, for the worship of Heaven comes down for our salvation. This is how you must cross yourselves and give a blessing, as the holy fathers have commanded.

Pope Innocent III (1198–1216):
The sign of the cross is made with three fingers, because the signing is done together with the invocation of the Trinity. ... This is how it is done: from above to below, and from the right to the left, because Christ descended from the heavens to the earth, and from the Jews (right) He passed to the Gentiles (left). Others, however, make the sign of the cross from the left to the right, because from misery (left) we must cross over to glory (right), just as Christ crossed over from death to life, and from Hades to Paradise. [Some priests] do it this way so that they and the people will be signing themselves in the same way. You can easily verify this — picture the priest facing the people for the blessing — when we make the sign of the cross over the people, it is from left to right...

So we can see that the earliest form was in fact crossing yourself on your forehead with your thumb. This later changed during the time of Eutyches in reaction to the Monophysite heresy. This changed occurred sometime between the 2nd/3rd Ecumenical Councils and the Fourth Ecumenical Council. This makes sense when you think about how we cross ourselves, with the pinky and ring fingers symbolizing the dual natures of Christ...

Also, what I found about the "Old Believer" practice, was that was the way Russians crossed themselves, and historically we can see that this was different than the "traditional" way. I don't think that made it wrong, and while the "reforms" were implemented very wrongly, the ancient way seems to be the three-fingered practice.
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« Reply #67 on: December 12, 2010, 11:37:52 PM »

There is much available online about how one makes the sign of the Cross according to the Old Rite, but very little about when. In current practice, when to make the Sign of the Cross is generally a matter of personal preference. In the Old Rite, however, the Sign of the Cross, like bows and prostrations, is only made when called for in the rubrics of the service. Old Believers therefore tend to make the Sign of the Cross less often than we do - it is not done at every invocation of the Holy Trinity, for example, contrary to modern practice.

John Alden very kindly gave me a link to the Ustav (Typikon) in Slavonic and said the appropriate times for crossing oneself is indicated there. Unfortunately I am not able to read Slavonic, so I was wondering if anyone had access to anything in English or simply knew from personal experience/observation.

Thanks

The Old Orthodox Prayer Book gives indications in every service for where to make the sign of the cross, as well as what kind of bow.

I agree with the others who have praised this book. Given all the interest here, perhaps we'll see a sudden renaissance of pre-Nikonian communities!
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« Reply #68 on: December 13, 2010, 01:07:27 AM »

perhaps we'll see a sudden renaissance of pre-Nikonian communities!

I seriously doubt that will happen, especially since we've seen historically that pre-Nikonian Russian communities (at least when it comes to the sign of the cross) actually were not in conformity with other Orthodox communities, and actually differed from the ancient practices.
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« Reply #69 on: December 13, 2010, 01:33:35 AM »

perhaps we'll see a sudden renaissance of pre-Nikonian communities!

I seriously doubt that will happen, especially since we've seen historically that pre-Nikonian Russian communities (at least when it comes to the sign of the cross) actually were not in conformity with other Orthodox communities, and actually differed from the ancient practices.

 I mentioned this once before, the balkans have 1200 yrs. of christianty three fingers are used to cross ourselfs plus we recieved the rite of constantinople ,, russ/ukranija have only 1000 yrs of christianity and they also recieved the rite of constantinople ,so how did they end up with this, called the old rite and also crossing  themselfs with two fingers something had to be distorted in the trasmission of the faith there, to create these old believers and old rites as they call themselves, even before the russian reform back to the the rite of constantinople for the the old rite, it shows that the transmitting the faith did get distorted ,thats why the reforms had to happen.... We in the balkans cross ourselfs three fingers as we recieved from constantinople and its Eastern Rite ........ Huh....
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« Reply #70 on: December 13, 2010, 02:31:19 AM »

perhaps we'll see a sudden renaissance of pre-Nikonian communities!

I seriously doubt that will happen, especially since we've seen historically that pre-Nikonian Russian communities (at least when it comes to the sign of the cross) actually were not in conformity with other Orthodox communities, and actually differed from the ancient practices.

 I mentioned this once before, the balkans have 1200 yrs. of christianty three fingers are used to cross ourselfs plus we recieved the rite of constantinople ,, russ/ukranija have only 1000 yrs of christianity and they also recieved the rite of constantinople ,so how did they end up with this, called the old rite and also crossing  themselfs with two fingers something had to be distorted in the trasmission of the faith there, to create these old believers and old rites as they call themselves, even before the russian reform back to the the rite of constantinople for the the old rite, it shows that the transmitting the faith did get distorted ,thats why the reforms had to happen.... We in the balkans cross ourselfs three fingers as we recieved from constantinople and its Eastern Rite ........ Huh....

I wouldn't say it is "wrong" or a "distortion", as even the Western Church before the schism was crossing itself differently than in the East. (and as shown in the quotations above, Christians didn't always cross themselves this way)
Is there anything wrong with crossing yourself that way? No. But is it the traditional, ancient Christian way of doing it? No it isn't.

Again, I think it's up to the Priests & Bishops to determine if it is okay for personal, private use or not. If someone has been given permission to do so, then okay. The canonical Old Believers have been given an okay to do it within the Church. But should parishes just switch to this practice? I don't think so, because the way we do it now is the way it's been done for 1600 years.
(think of it like the Western Rite, sure it's permitted, but not everyone should or will switch to it)
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« Reply #71 on: December 13, 2010, 02:51:02 AM »


So your saying the the russian old riters or old believers,in practicing a distortioned version of the rite of constantinople decided to cannonize there version as a authentic one and condemned the Authentic one from constantinople as the distorted one .....And fought against the reforms, to bring them back to the original  rite of constantinople ...Interesting.... Grin


perhaps we'll see a sudden renaissance of pre-Nikonian communities!

I seriously doubt that will happen, especially since we've seen historically that pre-Nikonian Russian communities (at least when it comes to the sign of the cross) actually were not in conformity with other Orthodox communities, and actually differed from the ancient practices.

 I mentioned this once before, the balkans have 1200 yrs. of christianty three fingers are used to cross ourselfs plus we recieved the rite of constantinople ,, russ/ukranija have only 1000 yrs of christianity and they also recieved the rite of constantinople ,so how did they end up with this, called the old rite and also crossing  themselfs with two fingers something had to be distorted in the trasmission of the faith there, to create these old believers and old rites as they call themselves, even before the russian reform back to the the rite of constantinople for the the old rite, it shows that the transmitting the faith did get distorted ,thats why the reforms had to happen.... We in the balkans cross ourselfs three fingers as we recieved from constantinople and its Eastern Rite ........ Huh....

I wouldn't say it is "wrong" or a "distortion", as even the Western Church before the schism was crossing itself differently than in the East. (and as shown in the quotations above, Christians didn't always cross themselves this way)
Is there anything wrong with crossing yourself that way? No. But is it the traditional, ancient Christian way of doing it? No it isn't.

Again, I think it's up to the Priests & Bishops to determine if it is okay for personal, private use or not. If someone has been given permission to do so, then okay. The canonical Old Believers have been given an okay to do it within the Church. But should parishes just switch to this practice? I don't think so, because the way we do it now is the way it's been done for 1600 years.
(think of it like the Western Rite, sure it's permitted, but not everyone should or will switch to it)
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« Reply #72 on: December 13, 2010, 04:15:15 AM »


So your saying the the russian old riters or old believers,in practicing a distortioned version of the rite of constantinople decided to cannonize there version as a authentic one and condemned the Authentic one from constantinople as the distorted one .....And fought against the reforms, to bring them back to the original  rite of constantinople ...Interesting.... Grin


perhaps we'll see a sudden renaissance of pre-Nikonian communities!

I seriously doubt that will happen, especially since we've seen historically that pre-Nikonian Russian communities (at least when it comes to the sign of the cross) actually were not in conformity with other Orthodox communities, and actually differed from the ancient practices.

 I mentioned this once before, the balkans have 1200 yrs. of christianty three fingers are used to cross ourselfs plus we recieved the rite of constantinople ,, russ/ukranija have only 1000 yrs of christianity and they also recieved the rite of constantinople ,so how did they end up with this, called the old rite and also crossing  themselfs with two fingers something had to be distorted in the trasmission of the faith there, to create these old believers and old rites as they call themselves, even before the russian reform back to the the rite of constantinople for the the old rite, it shows that the transmitting the faith did get distorted ,thats why the reforms had to happen.... We in the balkans cross ourselfs three fingers as we recieved from constantinople and its Eastern Rite ........ Huh....

I wouldn't say it is "wrong" or a "distortion", as even the Western Church before the schism was crossing itself differently than in the East. (and as shown in the quotations above, Christians didn't always cross themselves this way)
Is there anything wrong with crossing yourself that way? No. But is it the traditional, ancient Christian way of doing it? No it isn't.

Again, I think it's up to the Priests & Bishops to determine if it is okay for personal, private use or not. If someone has been given permission to do so, then okay. The canonical Old Believers have been given an okay to do it within the Church. But should parishes just switch to this practice? I don't think so, because the way we do it now is the way it's been done for 1600 years.
(think of it like the Western Rite, sure it's permitted, but not everyone should or will switch to it)

From what I understand, the Moscow Patriarchate allows Old Believers to practice under their omophor. Not to mention the anathemas of the Nikonian Period were rescinded. If I'm incorrect in this, I'm sorry.

Now... I will also say there is definitely a danger to practicing something outside of traditional Orthodoxy on your own. We should not be "mesmerized" by the Old Believers and awed by their practices. We must remember that the vast majority (if not nearly all) Old Believers are separated from the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church.

I just want to make it clear that I'm not defending the Old Believers. I'm simply pointing out that we can't really demonize them. (if we demonize them, wouldn't we demonize most of Russia prior to the 1600s?)
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« Reply #73 on: December 13, 2010, 04:21:11 AM »


So your saying the the russian old riters or old believers,in practicing a distortioned version of the rite of constantinople decided to cannonize there version as a authentic one and condemned the Authentic one from constantinople as the distorted one .....And fought against the reforms, to bring them back to the original  rite of constantinople ...Interesting.... Grin


perhaps we'll see a sudden renaissance of pre-Nikonian communities!

I seriously doubt that will happen, especially since we've seen historically that pre-Nikonian Russian communities (at least when it comes to the sign of the cross) actually were not in conformity with other Orthodox communities, and actually differed from the ancient practices.

 I mentioned this once before, the balkans have 1200 yrs. of christianty three fingers are used to cross ourselfs plus we recieved the rite of constantinople ,, russ/ukranija have only 1000 yrs of christianity and they also recieved the rite of constantinople ,so how did they end up with this, called the old rite and also crossing  themselfs with two fingers something had to be distorted in the trasmission of the faith there, to create these old believers and old rites as they call themselves, even before the russian reform back to the the rite of constantinople for the the old rite, it shows that the transmitting the faith did get distorted ,thats why the reforms had to happen.... We in the balkans cross ourselfs three fingers as we recieved from constantinople and its Eastern Rite ........ Huh....

I wouldn't say it is "wrong" or a "distortion", as even the Western Church before the schism was crossing itself differently than in the East. (and as shown in the quotations above, Christians didn't always cross themselves this way)
Is there anything wrong with crossing yourself that way? No. But is it the traditional, ancient Christian way of doing it? No it isn't.

Again, I think it's up to the Priests & Bishops to determine if it is okay for personal, private use or not. If someone has been given permission to do so, then okay. The canonical Old Believers have been given an okay to do it within the Church. But should parishes just switch to this practice? I don't think so, because the way we do it now is the way it's been done for 1600 years.
(think of it like the Western Rite, sure it's permitted, but not everyone should or will switch to it)

From what I understand, the Moscow Patriarchate allows Old Believers to practice under their omophor. Not to mention the anathemas of the Nikonian Period were rescinded. If I'm incorrect in this, I'm sorry.

Now... I will also say there is definitely a danger to practicing something outside of traditional Orthodoxy on your own. We should not be "mesmerized" by the Old Believers and awed by their practices. We must remember that the vast majority (if not nearly all) Old Believers are separated from the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church.

I just want to make it clear that I'm not defending the Old Believers. I'm simply pointing out that we can't really demonize them. (if we demonize them, wouldn't we demonize most of Russia prior to the 1600s?)

I am a loyal son of the church, and yet I simply cannot believe God cares whether we make the sign of the cross with two fingers or three. Christ commands us to love one another and says that is how people will know we follow Him, if we love one another. So I make the sign of the cross with three, as I was taught. But let's not get too worked up over it, shall we? The symbolism works in either case. And it's possibly worth remembering that this was only one of the Nikonian reforms.
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« Reply #74 on: December 14, 2010, 08:47:02 PM »

Quote
The two fingered Sign of the Cross was the norm for all Orthodox until the 16th century when the three fingered form first written about by Pope Innocent III gradually made inroads into Orthodoxy...

I beg to differ.  It was not the norm.  We know that the Orthodox of England were using three fingers 600 years before the Nikonian reforms and before the Crusades.

There is an interesting sermon of Abbot Aelfric of Abingdon which he gave around the year 1000 in which he states, "Though a man wave wonderfully with his hand, yet it is not the sign of the Cross: With three fingers you shall sign yourself."
(Sermon for Sept. 14)

What I meant by "the norm" was the majority were making the sign of the Cross in this way and that it was the acknowledged and accepted practice in the Roman Empire and Slavic Orthodox lands. I do not at all mean to discount the Orthodox West and from what iconographic evidence I've found from the West the Two fingered Priestly Blessing was clearly the norm, even after the Great Schism, however I've not yet found enough evidence or references to clearly find when the three fingers representing the Trinity became the normative sign of the Cross in Western Europe.
However I admit that the statement you quoted was poorly written and could be interpreted to mean "the majority everywhere."
I've reviewed several quotes from the West pertaining to the sign of the Cross and Priestly Blessing however based on these quotes I can only guess when or how the three fingered sign of the Cross came about in the West.

Because The Ikona Of St.Sava Shows Him Holding His Fingers That way , Doesn't mean he crossed himself with two fingers..For us serbs He is Our Holy Father ...If it was true which its not ,we would be using two fingers Even Now ...Also the Ancient Assyrian church of the East, uses the Three Fingers and right to left like we Eastern Orthodox do ,they got that from us ,so ours is the ancient and athentic way of crossing onesself.....

I see a problem with two fingers ..I  Rather confess the Complete God Head when crossing Myself ..... Plus
I was taught when we cross ourselfs with three fingers we confess the The Most Holy Trinity, plus the two Fingers that rest in the palm confess the Humanity and Divinity of Christ.. So Im Curious ,How can anything else evolve that would be considered a greater Confession than that.... Huh Holy Eastern Orthodoxy Got it Right....

So your saying the the russian old riters or old believers,in practicing a distortioned version of the rite of constantinople decided to cannonize there version as a authentic one and condemned the Authentic one from constantinople as the distorted one .....And fought against the reforms, to bring them back to the original  rite of constantinople ...Interesting.... Grin


perhaps we'll see a sudden renaissance of pre-Nikonian communities!

I seriously doubt that will happen, especially since we've seen historically that pre-Nikonian Russian communities (at least when it comes to the sign of the cross) actually were not in conformity with other Orthodox communities, and actually differed from the ancient practices.

 I mentioned this once before, the balkans have 1200 yrs. of christianty three fingers are used to cross ourselfs plus we recieved the rite of constantinople ,, russ/ukranija have only 1000 yrs of christianity and they also recieved the rite of constantinople ,so how did they end up with this, called the old rite and also crossing  themselfs with two fingers something had to be distorted in the trasmission of the faith there, to create these old believers and old rites as they call themselves, even before the russian reform back to the the rite of constantinople for the the old rite, it shows that the transmitting the faith did get distorted ,thats why the reforms had to happen.... We in the balkans cross ourselfs three fingers as we recieved from constantinople and its Eastern Rite ........ Huh....

I wouldn't say it is "wrong" or a "distortion", as even the Western Church before the schism was crossing itself differently than in the East. (and as shown in the quotations above, Christians didn't always cross themselves this way)
Is there anything wrong with crossing yourself that way? No. But is it the traditional, ancient Christian way of doing it? No it isn't.

Again, I think it's up to the Priests & Bishops to determine if it is okay for personal, private use or not. If someone has been given permission to do so, then okay. The canonical Old Believers have been given an okay to do it within the Church. But should parishes just switch to this practice? I don't think so, because the way we do it now is the way it's been done for 1600 years.
(think of it like the Western Rite, sure it's permitted, but not everyone should or will switch to it)
Stashko if you are going to choose to ignore all the evidence, quotes from the HOLY FATHERS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH that you claim to belong to and follow, icons from the first Christians, a fresco painted by Medieval Serbs of St.Sava making the Two-Fingered Priestly Blessing, than why are you in the discussion? If you want to simply ignore all the evidence and want to believe that the way the Serbs are now is the only way it has ever been and that only the Serbs have been faithful to Orthodoxy than why discuss at all? No matter what Church Fathers, Holy Icons, Sacred Canons I place before you defending the verity of the Two Fingered Sign of the Cross and Blessing you are simply going to ignore it.
I'm sorry but it is very frustrating to try to argue with someone who refuses to listen or even accept reality.

Tertullian (200)
At every forward step and movement, at every going in and out, when we put on our clothes and shoes, when we bathe, when we sit at table, when we light the lamps, on couch, on seat, in all the ordinary actions of daily life, we trace upon the forehead the sign. If, for these and other such rules, you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386)
Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ; but though another hide it, do thou openly seal it upon thy forehead, that the devils may behold the royal sign and flee trembling far away. Make then this sign at eating and drinking, at sitting, at lying down, at rising up, at speaking, at walking: in a word, at every act.

Theodoret (393–457)
This is how to bless someone with your hand and make the sign of the cross over them. Hold three fingers, as equals, together, to represent the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. These are not three gods, but one God in Trinity. The names are separate, but the divinity one. The Father was never incarnate; the Son incarnate, but not created; the Holy Ghost neither incarnate nor created, but issued from the Godhead: three in a single divinity. Divinity is one force and has one honor. They receive on obeisance from all creation, both angels and people. Thus the decree for these three fingers.
You should hold the other two fingers slightly bent, not completely straight. This is because these represent the dual nature of Christ, divine and human. God in His divinity, and human in His incarnation, yet perfect in both. The upper finger represents divinity, and the lower humanity; this way salvation goes from the higher finger to the lower. So is the bending of the fingers interpreted, for the worship of Heaven comes down for our salvation. This is how you must cross yourselves and give a blessing, as the holy fathers have commanded.

Pope Innocent III (1198–1216):
The sign of the cross is made with three fingers, because the signing is done together with the invocation of the Trinity. ... This is how it is done: from above to below, and from the right to the left, because Christ descended from the heavens to the earth, and from the Jews (right) He passed to the Gentiles (left). Others, however, make the sign of the cross from the left to the right, because from misery (left) we must cross over to glory (right), just as Christ crossed over from death to life, and from Hades to Paradise. [Some priests] do it this way so that they and the people will be signing themselves in the same way. You can easily verify this — picture the priest facing the people for the blessing — when we make the sign of the cross over the people, it is from left to right...

So we can see that the earliest form was in fact crossing yourself on your forehead with your thumb. This later changed during the time of Eutyches in reaction to the Monophysite heresy. This changed occurred sometime between the 2nd/3rd Ecumenical Councils and the Fourth Ecumenical Council. This makes sense when you think about how we cross ourselves, with the pinky and ring fingers symbolizing the dual natures of Christ...

Also, what I found about the "Old Believer" practice, was that was the way Russians crossed themselves, and historically we can see that this was different than the "traditional" way. I don't think that made it wrong, and while the "reforms" were implemented very wrongly, the ancient way seems to be the three-fingered practice.
How was the Old Believer practice not traditional or the normative practice of those who taught them the Orthodox Faith?
Blessed Theodoret whom you quoted above teaches the two-fingered (Dvoeperstie) method of making the Sign of the Cross and Priestly Blessing and this quote comes from the 5th Century.
The quote I provide from St.Peter Damascene specifically teaches the importance of the two-fingered method of sealing/signing oneself and this quote is from the 12th Century at the latest.
The Slavic Nomocanon derived its canon stating that "all who do not cross themselves with two fingers are anathema" from a Council held in Constantinople in 1029 in which the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople was trying win the Jacobite Patriarch John VIII bar Abdoun to Orthodoxy.
-Also the way that you view this as development from one-to-two-to-three fingers is too simplistic and ignores any disctinctions between the Priestly Blessing and Sign of the Cross, and the distinction that can still be found amongst traditional Roman Catholics between the small sign of the cross (with the thumb over the forehead, lips, and breast) and larger sign of the Cross (from head, to abdomen, to right shoulder, and last, the left shoulder).

What is key is that the Sign of the Cross and Priestly Blessing are the Sealing with the Blood of the Lamb of God our Lord as is clearly taught by the quote I provide from St.Hippolytus from the third century. The two-fingered priestly blessing is seen in some of the earliest Christian art, after the icon from the catacombs I already provided one can look at the Dogmatic Sarcophagus.
What is of key importance in discussing this is that the Three-Fingered Sign of the Cross represents a departure from Orthodoxy as the Trinity replaces Christ on the Cross with the Nikonian Reforms (the Nikonian reforms never mentioned anything about the remaining fingers representing Christ).
This contradicted what pious Russians were taught about obeying the Canons as instituted through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, about the Seal of the Cross as confessing faith in and blessing through "Christ-Crucified", and it was forced on the Russian people with violence and blasphemy (consider what was done to St.Anna of Kashin).
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« Reply #75 on: December 14, 2010, 08:51:38 PM »

Even if the two-fingered sign of the cross/blessing is more ancient, that doesn't mean it's the Orthodox way. As I've pointed out before, there are many ancient practices that are no longer followed in our Church, and we don't revive them. The Church and parts of its tradition evolves, our Faith does not.

You quoted:
Quote
Then we should also marvel how demons and various diseases are dispelled by the sign of the precious and life-giving Cross, which all can make without cost or effort. Who can number the panegyrics composed in its honour? The holy fathers have handed down to us the inner significance of this sign, so that we can refute heretics and unbelievers. The two fingers and single hand with which it is made represent the Lord Isus Christ crucified, and He is thereby acknowledged to exist in two natures and one hypostasis or person.
The use of the right hand betokens His infinite power and the fact that He sits at the right hand of the Father. That the sign begins with a downward movement from above signifies His descent to us from heaven. Again, the movement of the hand from the right side to the left drives away our enemies and declares that by His invincible power the Lord overcame the devil, who is on the left side, dark and lacking strength.   
- St.Peter of Damascus (12th Century) The Philokalia: The Complete Text, (Volume Three), translated and edited by G.E.H Palmer, Philip Sherrard, Kallistos Ware,1984 Faber and Faber London

And I'm willing to admit that there were various ways of crossing yourself.  And I agree that the 2-fingered is an Orthodox way. (what can possibly be an un-Orthodox way of making the sign of the cross?) What I'm arguing is that the Old Believers are essentially wrong in that they incorrectly reject the other ways, and in fact, have separated themselves from the Church because of their adherence to the Old Rite.

Another example could be iconography. We see very early Christian iconography painted in a slightly different manner from Byzantine iconography, and yet both are Orthodox ways, but it has developed, and the expected & "common" way is to paint it the Byzantine/"Modern" way. (Modern, not meaning realistic or western, but in development)

Look at the Liturgy as well, there were many various Liturgies in the Pre-Byzantine and Byzantine periods, and yet it was eventually standardized in the Orthodox Church to be primarily the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The other liturgies (such as St. James, St. Basil, Pre-Tridentine Mass, etc...) are all Orthodox Liturgies, but aren't in common use anymore so we can maintain conformity and unity in practice.

So the same has occurred with the sign of the cross. It was once made with the thumb on the forehead, with two-fingers, with three-fingers, and even some Orthodox made it left to right. But now we have conformed to make it with three from right to left. That doesn't make those others invalid or wrong, but it does mean that the expected and common Orthodox way is with three from right to left. What I would argue is that what is definitely wrong is splitting off (even in reaction to persecution, as our Holy Saints never broke communion, even with the hierarchs/clergy/laity persecuted them) because of this conformity/change/evolution.
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« Reply #76 on: December 16, 2010, 09:26:41 AM »

Only by the Holy Spirit can we say Jesus is Lord. Why not admit both two-fingered and three-fingered believers are faithful followers of the risen Lord? This is the kind of Pharasaical debate Christ railed against. It is by loving one another that people will know we follow Him, not by how many fingers we use to make a gesture that wasn't even used until long after His Ascension.
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« Reply #77 on: December 16, 2010, 11:34:12 AM »

Only by the Holy Spirit can we say Jesus is Lord. Why not admit both two-fingered and three-fingered believers are faithful followers of the risen Lord? This is the kind of Pharasaical debate Christ railed against. It is by loving one another that people will know we follow Him, not by how many fingers we use to make a gesture that wasn't even used until long after His Ascension.

You should be banned from this forum for daring to make such a sane and logical post.
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I would be happy to agree with you, but then both of us would be wrong.
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« Reply #78 on: December 16, 2010, 11:51:25 AM »

Only by the Holy Spirit can we say Jesus is Lord. Why not admit both two-fingered and three-fingered believers are faithful followers of the risen Lord? This is the kind of Pharasaical debate Christ railed against. It is by loving one another that people will know we follow Him, not by how many fingers we use to make a gesture that wasn't even used until long after His Ascension.

The difference is that the Old Believers aren't a part of the Church. Now, if there were Orthodox crossing themselves with two-fingers, then there would be no problem. But the problem here is not really the practice of crossing yourself with two or three fingers. The problem here is that the Old Believers are willingly in schism.
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« Reply #79 on: December 16, 2010, 12:02:40 PM »

Only by the Holy Spirit can we say Jesus is Lord. Why not admit both two-fingered and three-fingered believers are faithful followers of the risen Lord? This is the kind of Pharasaical debate Christ railed against. It is by loving one another that people will know we follow Him, not by how many fingers we use to make a gesture that wasn't even used until long after His Ascension.

You should be banned from this forum for daring to make such a sane and logical post.


Uh-oh. I promise to be more careful. ALL TWO-FINGER CROSS MAKERS ARE GOING TO HELL!! (How's that?)

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« Reply #80 on: December 16, 2010, 12:06:01 PM »

Only by the Holy Spirit can we say Jesus is Lord. Why not admit both two-fingered and three-fingered believers are faithful followers of the risen Lord? This is the kind of Pharasaical debate Christ railed against. It is by loving one another that people will know we follow Him, not by how many fingers we use to make a gesture that wasn't even used until long after His Ascension.

The difference is that the Old Believers aren't a part of the Church. Now, if there were Orthodox crossing themselves with two-fingers, then there would be no problem. But the problem here is not really the practice of crossing yourself with two or three fingers. The problem here is that the Old Believers are willingly in schism.

I don't see how you can say Old Believers aren't part of the church. At least in the case of ROCOR and MP, this would be inaccurate.
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« Reply #81 on: December 16, 2010, 12:12:42 PM »

Only by the Holy Spirit can we say Jesus is Lord. Why not admit both two-fingered and three-fingered believers are faithful followers of the risen Lord? This is the kind of Pharasaical debate Christ railed against. It is by loving one another that people will know we follow Him, not by how many fingers we use to make a gesture that wasn't even used until long after His Ascension.

The difference is that the Old Believers aren't a part of the Church. Now, if there were Orthodox crossing themselves with two-fingers, then there would be no problem. But the problem here is not really the practice of crossing yourself with two or three fingers. The problem here is that the Old Believers are willingly in schism.

I don't see how you can say Old Believers aren't part of the church. At least in the case of ROCOR and MP, this would be inaccurate.

Old Believers have been in schism for almost 350 years. ROCOR was only in schism for about 80 years or so. And it wasn't entirely in schism, as it maintained somewhat good relations with canonical churches (sometimes including the MP) and in fact, would sometimes be in communion with the other Churches. The Old Believers are not in communion with any canonical Orthodox jurisdiction, and aren't in good relations with any of them. I do think there is one group of Old Believers that has sought reunion, but they are regarded by the other groups as being heretics. Besides, even if the Old Believers are re-united to the Church some day, that doesn't mean that they were always Orthodox, even during the schism.

I'm not being Pharasaic here. I'm saying that the two-finger sign of the cross is an Orthodox way of crossing yourself, however, what I'm saying is that entering schism over things like that is wrong, especially when the rest of Orthodoxy practices the sign of the cross with three fingers.

Again, I'm not saying that is an incorrect way to make the sign of the cross, what I'm saying is that entering into a schism over such an issue is wrong.

We are taught to be wary of schismatics in addition to heretics. So if we see a group that is willingly in schism, why should we be admiring their practices when there is an obvious reason they are in schism?

(you also must remember that as Orthodox, we don't believe there is no salvation outside of the Church. That isn't for us to judge, so saying a group is schismatic, or heretical is not wrong or Un-Orthodox (if it's true) and it isn't making a "judgement" of their souls. Even if they have Saintly people, that doesn't mean they are Orthodox and it doesn't mean their practices/schism is justified)
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« Reply #82 on: December 16, 2010, 07:25:01 PM »

Only by the Holy Spirit can we say Jesus is Lord. Why not admit both two-fingered and three-fingered believers are faithful followers of the risen Lord? This is the kind of Pharasaical debate Christ railed against. It is by loving one another that people will know we follow Him, not by how many fingers we use to make a gesture that wasn't even used until long after His Ascension.

The difference is that the Old Believers aren't a part of the Church. Now, if there were Orthodox crossing themselves with two-fingers, then there would be no problem. But the problem here is not really the practice of crossing yourself with two or three fingers. The problem here is that the Old Believers are willingly in schism.

I don't see how you can say Old Believers aren't part of the church. At least in the case of ROCOR and MP, this would be inaccurate.

Old Believers have been in schism for almost 350 years. ROCOR was only in schism for about 80 years or so. And it wasn't entirely in schism, as it maintained somewhat good relations with canonical churches (sometimes including the MP) and in fact, would sometimes be in communion with the other Churches. The Old Believers are not in communion with any canonical Orthodox jurisdiction, and aren't in good relations with any of them. I do think there is one group of Old Believers that has sought reunion, but they are regarded by the other groups as being heretics. Besides, even if the Old Believers are re-united to the Church some day, that doesn't mean that they were always Orthodox, even during the schism.

I'm not being Pharasaic here. I'm saying that the two-finger sign of the cross is an Orthodox way of crossing yourself, however, what I'm saying is that entering schism over things like that is wrong, especially when the rest of Orthodoxy practices the sign of the cross with three fingers.

Again, I'm not saying that is an incorrect way to make the sign of the cross, what I'm saying is that entering into a schism over such an issue is wrong.

We are taught to be wary of schismatics in addition to heretics. So if we see a group that is willingly in schism, why should we be admiring their practices when there is an obvious reason they are in schism?

(you also must remember that as Orthodox, we don't believe there is no salvation outside of the Church. That isn't for us to judge, so saying a group is schismatic, or heretical is not wrong or Un-Orthodox (if it's true) and it isn't making a "judgement" of their souls. Even if they have Saintly people, that doesn't mean they are Orthodox and it doesn't mean their practices/schism is justified)

I understand, but you must surely acknowledge there's at least some debate about who went into schism. Just because the larger part of the church came to a conclusion (that turned out to be wrong, btw) about what the leaders thought was an older practice doesn't mean the smaller part that remained faithful (to what really was the older practice) was schismatic. This discussion can go back and forth forever. The faithful Old Believers vs. the obedient new ones...and so many people killed or exiled and ostracized. Today, some Old Believers are in communion with some whatever one calls the opposite of Old Believers (and don't tell me it's Orthodox, because I definitely regard my Old Ritualist brothers and sisters as at least as Orthodox--and orthodox--as I am), and for the grace of these communities coming together I think we should give praise to Our Lord Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #83 on: December 16, 2010, 08:51:42 PM »

Only by the Holy Spirit can we say Jesus is Lord. Why not admit both two-fingered and three-fingered believers are faithful followers of the risen Lord? This is the kind of Pharasaical debate Christ railed against. It is by loving one another that people will know we follow Him, not by how many fingers we use to make a gesture that wasn't even used until long after His Ascension.

The difference is that the Old Believers aren't a part of the Church. Now, if there were Orthodox crossing themselves with two-fingers, then there would be no problem. But the problem here is not really the practice of crossing yourself with two or three fingers. The problem here is that the Old Believers are willingly in schism.

I don't see how you can say Old Believers aren't part of the church. At least in the case of ROCOR and MP, this would be inaccurate.

Old Believers have been in schism for almost 350 years. ROCOR was only in schism for about 80 years or so. And it wasn't entirely in schism, as it maintained somewhat good relations with canonical churches (sometimes including the MP) and in fact, would sometimes be in communion with the other Churches. The Old Believers are not in communion with any canonical Orthodox jurisdiction, and aren't in good relations with any of them. I do think there is one group of Old Believers that has sought reunion, but they are regarded by the other groups as being heretics. Besides, even if the Old Believers are re-united to the Church some day, that doesn't mean that they were always Orthodox, even during the schism.

I'm not being Pharasaic here. I'm saying that the two-finger sign of the cross is an Orthodox way of crossing yourself, however, what I'm saying is that entering schism over things like that is wrong, especially when the rest of Orthodoxy practices the sign of the cross with three fingers.

Again, I'm not saying that is an incorrect way to make the sign of the cross, what I'm saying is that entering into a schism over such an issue is wrong.

We are taught to be wary of schismatics in addition to heretics. So if we see a group that is willingly in schism, why should we be admiring their practices when there is an obvious reason they are in schism?

(you also must remember that as Orthodox, we don't believe there is no salvation outside of the Church. That isn't for us to judge, so saying a group is schismatic, or heretical is not wrong or Un-Orthodox (if it's true) and it isn't making a "judgement" of their souls. Even if they have Saintly people, that doesn't mean they are Orthodox and it doesn't mean their practices/schism is justified)

I understand, but you must surely acknowledge there's at least some debate about who went into schism. Just because the larger part of the church came to a conclusion (that turned out to be wrong, btw) about what the leaders thought was an older practice doesn't mean the smaller part that remained faithful (to what really was the older practice) was schismatic. This discussion can go back and forth forever. The faithful Old Believers vs. the obedient new ones...and so many people killed or exiled and ostracized. Today, some Old Believers are in communion with some whatever one calls the opposite of Old Believers (and don't tell me it's Orthodox, because I definitely regard my Old Ritualist brothers and sisters as at least as Orthodox--and orthodox--as I am), and for the grace of these communities coming together I think we should give praise to Our Lord Jesus Christ.

As Eastern Orthodox, there isn't a debate about who went into schism. I'm sorry, but also to call them "Orthodox" would also imply that they should be able to receive communion in our Churches and vice-versa. That is wrong unless the schism is officially healed. Now, to referring to them as "orthodox" is something entirely different.

Either way, I'm done with this discussion, as I don't think it's going to lead anywhere good. (at least for me)
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« Reply #84 on: December 17, 2010, 04:35:30 AM »

Quote

As Eastern Orthodox, there isn't a debate about who went into schism. I'm sorry, but also to call them "Orthodox" would also imply that they should be able to receive communion in our Churches and vice-versa. That is wrong unless the schism is officially healed. Now, to referring to them as "orthodox" is something entirely different.

Either way, I'm done with this discussion, as I don't think it's going to lead anywhere good. (at least for me)

That's the spirit.

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« Reply #85 on: November 01, 2011, 04:36:16 PM »

I'm wondering, are those reforms considered Orthodox/Ecumenical and are they accepted today?

I'm not sure just what you're asking here. The reforms of the Moscow Council of 1666 are Orthodox and are still accepted today. Moreover, the issue of the sign of the Cross and the other changes was largely confined (as an actual issue, not a gradual change) to the Russian Church. At that time, the Russian Church was brought into conformity with the rest of the Orthodox Church as regards various practices. However, in the Russian Church, there is no longer an issue with the old books and old customs, as there has been a blessing to serve according to the old books since the 19th century.
Well let me qualify that by stating that the Anathemas against the Old Rite, along with Oaths against the Old Rite, later imposed on Nikonian priests were lifted in 1971 and 1974 by the MP and ROCOR respectively. To lift an anathema means that it was never valid at all!
Of course if you are Popovsti Old Orthodox (an Old Believer) you believe that the Nikonian Reforms are heretical and that the Old Believers remained faithful to Orthodoxy.
Below is yet another example of the antiquity of the Two Fingered Seal/Blessing of the Cross.
These two are of the same icon from the Catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter




Though this is an old post I wanted to add to it a recent photo of yet another earlier christian artifact in which St.Constantine is performing the gesture of Benediction utilizing two-fingers with the thumb, ring, and pinky closed.


However, as I've stated in previous posts, there is much, much more important to validating the Old Orthodox as the keepers of the Apostolic Tradition in fullness than debating the two fingered benediction/sign of the cross, though the theology behind why this is the correct method to exemplify the Christian faith while the three-fingered benediction departs from the traditional meaning is highly important. Numerous more examples can be found in icons dating from before the 16th century as far back as the catacombs. It was this investigation into Iconography that first caught my attention and propelled me to investigate Old Orthodoxy more intently and learn why they considered the Nikonian reforms, and, later, the Petrine reforms which any honest Orthodox scholar must admit were anti-Orthodox, as a departure from Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #86 on: November 01, 2011, 05:16:23 PM »

To go back to the OP, I would suppose a good way to find out when the sign of the Cross is made in liturgy (when it is supposed to be made, if such a thing is so regulated), would be to contact the church in Erie. The Jordanville Prayerbook, IIRC, has a little section on when to make the Cross. It may be quite the same as the Old Rite.

The Old Orthodox Prayer Book contains a section on when to bow, when to cross, when to make metania, and when to prostrate. Anyone interested in Old Believer practices should have that book and their Horologion at the very least.

I'm sure others have made this point--sorry for belaboring it.
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« Reply #87 on: November 02, 2011, 02:09:51 PM »

After going back and reviewing several posts I wanted to state that thought I know this is about the correct way to make the Sign of the Cross I wanted to also respond that for mainstream Orthodox I think that there are many who argue, quite correctly, that while they stand by Patriarch Nikon, who started the Nikonian Reforms but was eventually willing to allow the Old Rite to still be practiced, that the dictatorial spirit of the enforcing of the reforms, particularly by Tsar Alexi was totally contrary to Sobornost and thus not legitimate in that it violated Orthodox Tradition. Then the Petrine Reforms under Tsar Peter the [NOT] Great were basically aimed at making the Russian Orthodox Church conform itself to a Lutheran style of governance totally subject to secular rule. The nobility from the time to Tsar Peter I until the latter half of the 19th Century, and even then for the most part, ceased to live pious Orthodox lives engaging in the vices of the Western nobility of parties, alcoholism, tobacco, and promiscuity. It has always been difficult for me to comprehend how Fr.Seraphim (Rose) and many in ROCOR looked upon Tsar Nicholas I so highly as a truly Orthodox Tsar when he fought so terribly to enforce the Nikonian Reforms, the parasitic lifestyle of the boyars, and lead a promiscuous life of several affairs?! My concluding on the side of the Popovsti (Priested Old Believers) was not an easy one as I was drawn to convert to Orthodoxy through the works of Fr.Seraphim (Rose), Elder Cleopa (his biography and the dialogues recorded in the The Truth of Our Faith vol.1&2), the Lives of the saints of Optina, the Spiritual Counsels of the St.Nikodemos the Hagiorite, St.John of San Francisco, St.Seraphim of Sarov, and many others who came after the Raskol in the "mainstream" Orthodox world. However it was the only conclusion I could come to in good conscience. I never close my mind or stop searching and seeking for the fullness of Truth and am always open to learn more and if persuaded to change my mind but it has to accord fully with logic, intuitive wisdom, and my mind & heart. There simply is no way that I could agree that the Petrine Reforms of Church nor the Nikonian Reforms of the Church were legitimate and did not depart from the True Faith. Along with most Popovsti I don't believe that those pious Orthodox who came after the Raskol in the mainstream Church were totally bereft of Ecclesial Grace but the Errors adhered to by them were serious enough to break communion with them.
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« Reply #88 on: November 02, 2011, 02:38:55 PM »

Nevermind. Should have read more carefully.
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« Reply #89 on: November 02, 2011, 03:16:19 PM »

Please forgive my stupidity!
Noticed the many spelling errors in my last post!
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