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Author Topic: The Sign of the Cross.....  (Read 2573 times) Average Rating: 0
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fatman2021
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« on: March 09, 2011, 10:47:35 AM »

Why did the Armenian(and the Greek) Christians stop crossing themselves with two fingers(for the natures of Christ)?
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2011, 02:23:53 PM »

Why did the Armenian(and the Greek) Christians stop crossing themselves with two fingers(for the natures of Christ)?

As far as I know historically, the three-fingered and two-fingered crossing are both equally ancient. The three-fingered dates at least to the 6th Century. The two-fingered dates to the same time or even earlier.

Why not expand your question?
Why did Christians (in general) stop crossing themselves with their thumbs on their foreheads? (this was the practice in the Apostolic/Post-Apostolic Age)

An ancient practice doesn't always mean it's more "right" than a more modern practice. Are either ways inherently wrong? No... But the Orthodox Church has, for centuries now (and almost 2,000 years) crossed with three-fingers. This symbolizes the Holy Trinity, with two fingers on the palm symbolizing Christ's two natures.

I would say that the three-fingered way was another inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It doesn't really matter which way you do it. But since the Orthodox Church crosses with three-fingers, then I would say that is the way to do it.

So why did we change? Because it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. If he hadn't inspired these developments, we would still be crossing ourselves with our thumbs on our foreheads. (that isn't wrong either, but I'm just illustrating a point)
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« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2011, 01:12:02 AM »

A couple more questions: 

Why do Catholics cross from left to right instead of right to left?  Which was the original direction? 
Also, why do most protestants cease to use the sign of the cross at all?  It seems to me that they may pray in the name of Jesus instead of in the name of the Trinity since they end prayers with "In Jesus' name we pray."  Is that the reason?

In Christ,
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« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2011, 03:31:12 AM »

Why do Catholics cross from left to right instead of right to left? 
Actually it is not just the Roman Catholics that cross from left to right. All the Oriental Orthodox (Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopian and Malankara) crosses from left to right as well.  My understanding is that the Byzantine practice of crossing from right to left started during the period of crusades as they wanted to distinguish themselves from the invading crusaders.
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« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2011, 03:33:38 AM »

Welcome, Alicia!   Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2011, 03:35:21 AM »

Why did the Armenian(and the Greek) Christians stop crossing themselves with two fingers(for the natures of Christ)?

I don't think the Armenians ever crossed themselves with two fingers.  Did you read that somewhere?
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2011, 05:31:00 AM »

Somewhere, I recall reading that today's Roman Catholic practice of crossing themselves with the open palm is more ancient; that the Eastern Orthodox of the middle centuries of the 1st millennium changed the style to emphasize the Holy Trinity (the 3 fingers), "Trinity, One in essence and undivided,"  and the two natures of Christ (two fingers), human and divine, as the heresies in regard to these matters raged in the East (Roman Empire).  I'm not at all sure of the accuracy of what I've stated herein.
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2011, 09:14:26 AM »

It seems to me that they may pray in the name of Jesus instead of in the name of the Trinity since they end prayers with "In Jesus' name we pray."  Is that the reason?

You're thinking of Protestants. They do this because Christ says "whatever you ask in my name".

The traditional Roman endings are to the Father and usually go something like "through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the union of the Holy Ghost, God world without end. Amen.", which is Trinitarian, and sometimes they will shorten it to just "through Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ". Our WRO use these same formulas for ending their prayers.
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2011, 12:41:02 PM »

Some folks in my parish double cross. Right left then left right.
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2011, 12:45:15 PM »

Actually, the Orthodox way, from Right-Left, is more "ancient", if only slightly. From what i've learned thus far in times i've researched this... It seems that the most ancient way to cross yourself is with your thumb on your forehead. Soon after this, I think Christians moved to two-fingers from right to left. Very soon after that, it changed to three fingers. Eventually, the Churches in the West (I haven't found out why this happened) started crossing from left to right.

There is evidence that the three-fingers and right-left was as early as the 4th/5th Century
In the 12th/13th Century, the Pope of Rome instructed his faithful to cross that same way. But mentioned that some in the West were beginning to cross from left to right.

Basically I think it's not quite clear whether one-finger, two-fingers, whole hand or otherwise is the earliest. All may be different developments in different parts of Christendom.

However, the two-fingered method is said to have been a defense against Monophysitism.

As for why the Roman Catholics changed, there are MANY theories as to why. Some say it was because when the Priest blesses you (in both East & West), he does it from left to right. In the East, we trace that upon ourselves from right to left. In the West, they may have just been mimicking his movements (he does it left-right, so they do it left-right).
Another theory says in the East, right to left symbolizes Christ passing from the Jews (right) to the Gentiles (left) and the West, left to right symbolized passing from misery (left) to glory (right).
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« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2011, 05:30:49 PM »

The most ancient practice was simply made with a single finger upon the forehead. Things develop over time, of course. Interestingly enough, the way we Orthodox cross ourselves now appears to have likely originated in the West.

From OrthodoxWiki.org:

However, at least by the 9th century, the practice had become prevalent throughout the Orthodox East and West for the sign of the cross to be made using three fingers instead of two. The thumb, index finger and middle finger were joined together to symbolize the Holy Trinity, while the ring finger and little finger were tucked into the palm to represent the two natures of Christ.

The first written record of this form is found in the writings of the Orthodox Pope Leo IV of Rome who reposed in 855 A.D., and whom St. Photius the Great considered a Saint and attributed many miracles. Thus, Pope Leo writes: "Sign the chalice and the host, with a right cross and not with circles or with a varying of the fingers, but with two fingers stretched out and the thumb hidden within them, by which the Trinity is symbolized. Take heed to make this sign rightly, for otherwise you can bless nothing" (see Georgi, "Liturg. Rom. Pont.", III, 37).

In about 1000 A.D., Aelfric, Abbot of Eynsham in England, who reposed in 1020 A.D., wrote the following: "A man may wave about wonderfully with his hands without creating any blessing unless he make the sign of the cross. But if he do the fiend will soon be frightened on account of the victorious token. With three fingers one must bless himself for the Holy Trinity" (Thorpe, "The Homilies of the Anglo-Saxon Church" I, 462).

Over a century after the schism of 1054, the Frankish Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), made the following declaration: "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)."

The practice of making the sign of the cross with three fingers may or may not have originated in the West. Nevertheless, it existed in the West by at least the year 855, before the repose of the Orthodox Pope Leo IV, and thus was practiced in the Orthodox West before the schism of 1054, and even for several centuries after the schism. In the East, the practice of making the sign of the cross with three fingers was the common practice by at least the 12th century.
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« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2011, 06:38:19 PM »

The most ancient practice was simply made with a single finger upon the forehead.

If I'm not  mistaken, this was originally using a finger to retrace over the cross that one received on their forehead at their Chrismation.
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2011, 06:41:23 PM »

Thank you everyone for your answers and your welcome!  I joined the forum quite a while ago, but never posted, and just started reading it again. 

Melodist, I was referring only to Protestants (and I am not sure if this includes all protestants, as I am most familiar with Presbyterian and non-denominational) when I said they pray in the name of Jesus only.  Do you think I am right that this is the reason they do not use the sign of the cross? 

My family is Catholic, so, of course, I grew up with the sign of the cross, and beginning and ending every prayer that way.  As our prayer before meals we said, "Bless us, O Lord, and these thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty through Christ, our Lord, Amen."  But then we ended with the sign of the cross. 

Long story, but after 6 years of debate over reconciling "religious differences", I married my wonderful Greek Orthodox gentleman (I was 23 and he was 26 Cheesy) in the Greek Orthodox Church.  I attended church with my husband and our children as our family grew.  Eight years after our marriage and after much soul-searching, theological research and consultation with our beloved priest,  I was chrismated in the Greek Orthodox Church.  I was at peace with my reasoning for doing so -- though I was not changing my belief in God, I wanted maintain unity within our family and to be able to receive the Holy Eucharist.  Our 5 beautiful children have been baptized in the Orthodox Church and this year we will celebrate our 25th anniversary and the college graduation of our eldest son. 

Sorry for rambling on with my story, but I would like to say that I have adapted to the Greek Orthodox way of making the sign of the cross and the habit of using it often -- more often than when I was growing up.  I love the sign of the cross and feel that it is a great gift to us that helps us be in frequent communication with God. 

In Christ,
Alicia     
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2011, 06:52:17 PM »

Thank you everyone for your answers and your welcome!  I joined the forum quite a while ago, but never posted, and just started reading it again. 

Melodist, I was referring only to Protestants (and I am not sure if this includes all protestants, as I am most familiar with Presbyterian and non-denominational) when I said they pray in the name of Jesus only.  Do you think I am right that this is the reason they do not use the sign of the cross? 

Most Protestants do believe in the Trinity, even though they don't express it much in their prayer. "In Jesus name" is more about "following the bible" (based on one verse) and emphasising that Christ is the way the truth and the life and that no man comes to the Father but by Him. They don't mean to use it as an expression or denial of Trinitarian beliefs either way. It's baptism "in the name of the Lord Jesus" that you have to look out for with Protestants, that is done as a denial of the Trinity and only a handful of groups actually do that.
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2011, 02:27:25 AM »

Actually, the Orthodox way, from Right-Left, is more "ancient", if only slightly. From what i've learned thus far in times i've researched this... It seems that the most ancient way to cross yourself is with your thumb on your forehead. Soon after this, I think Christians moved to two-fingers from right to left. Very soon after that, it changed to three fingers. Eventually, the Churches in the West (I haven't found out why this happened) started crossing from left to right.
So then how is it that the entire Oriental Orthodox communion (Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopian and Indian) crosses themselves from left to right ?
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« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2011, 04:02:00 AM »

Thanks, Melodist, for the clarification.  I didn't mean to say that most Protestants deny the Trinity, just that they emphasize the name of Jesus more strongly.  However, I have heard some debate over those who do baptize in the name of Jesus only, and I see how that is problematic. 

Blessings to you,
Alicia
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« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2011, 10:30:15 AM »

Actually, the Orthodox way, from Right-Left, is more "ancient", if only slightly. From what i've learned thus far in times i've researched this... It seems that the most ancient way to cross yourself is with your thumb on your forehead. Soon after this, I think Christians moved to two-fingers from right to left. Very soon after that, it changed to three fingers. Eventually, the Churches in the West (I haven't found out why this happened) started crossing from left to right.
So then how is it that the entire Oriental Orthodox communion (Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Ethiopian and Indian) crosses themselves from left to right ?

You can turn that around and ask why then does the entire Eastern Orthodox communion cross from right to left. The Assyrian Church of the East also goes from right-left with three fingers...

Really I don't think we can get anywhere by arguing which is the most ancient. I forgot which Saint said it, but they said basically that an ancient practice doesn't always mean it's the right one.

I don't think it's harmful to cross yourself differently than right-left with three-fingers. In fact, I think the evidence is that the Church wasn't uniform in this until recent centuries. Before then, you had a diversity of practices (same with the many Masses/Liturgies).
I would say that the Holy Spirit has guided us to the current practice, and that is why we do it. It emphasizes the whole Trinity, and Christ's two natures, as well as being made in the sign of the cross.
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2011, 09:13:37 PM »

Why did the Armenian(and the Greek) Christians stop crossing themselves with two fingers(for the natures of Christ)?
From what I've read the East Armenians still use two fingers, right-to-left though I have yet to find an actual Armenian Non-Chalcedonian to substantiate this.

If you read through the arguments above about the three-fingered Sign-of-the-Cross you notice that several statements/assertions are put forward with no citations or evidence. Where is there any evidence from the 4th/5th Century that any Christians at that time used three fingers to draw the Sign of the Cross upon themselves? What evidence do we have until a citation from Aelfric in the Eleventh Century? To then use a quote whose origin is long after the Western half of the Church fell away into heresy from one of the worst and most Papist of popes, Innocent III, as evidence that the three-fingered Sign of the Cross is Orthodox makes little sense unless you don't think about it. The Two-Fingered Sign-of-the-Cross has been covered and defended by me in other discussions as being more ancient and the Orthodox Practice and I will not rehash it all here. You can judge for yourself but please keep in mind my defense was by no means exhaustive and if I was able to translate Russian and Church Slavonic I could offer much more. http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,27290.0.html









  
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« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2011, 11:18:37 PM »

Why did the Armenian(and the Greek) Christians stop crossing themselves with two fingers(for the natures of Christ)?

I don't think the Armenians ever crossed themselves with two fingers.  Did you read that somewhere?

Armenians use two fingers in making the sign of the cross, while the Greeks use three, and the Papists the whole hand. The Armenians make the sign of the cross from the left to the right, and the Greeks from the right to the left. - Accounts and papers of the House of Commons(1851 edition) - Page 82

For example, the Armenians use two fingers in making the sign of the cross, while the Greeks use three, and the Papists the whole hand. The Armenians make the sign of the cross from the left to the right, and the Greeks from the right ... - THE SESSIONAL PAPERS(1851 edition) - Page 82

The Armenians agree with ie Greeks in maintaining the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father only, ... but they make the sign of the cross with two fingers (in reference to the two natures made one in Christ's person), ... - The American cyclopaedia(1873 edition): a popular dictionary of general knowledge: Volume 1 - Page 725

And if any one make not with these three fingers the sign of the cross on his forehead, such a one is an imitator of the Armenians ; for the Armenians so cross themselves.' That was not all. On the Sunday of Orthodoxy the tsar being in ... - Testimonies Concerning the Patriarch Nicon, the Tsar, and the (2010 edition) ... - Page 422

ii, 5) before retiring to rest — and we soon hear also of the sign of the cross being traced on the lips (Jerome, ... the C. In Armenia, how- cver; the sign of the cross made with two fingers is still retained to the present day. ... - The Catholic encyclopedia(1913 edition): an international work of reference on ...: Volume 13 - Page 786

In the Armenian Church the sign of the cross is made with two fingers, indicating the two natures of Christ blended into one ; in the Greek Church it is made with three fingers, indicating the Trinity. The Seven Sacraments are nominally ... - Frank Leslie's Sunday magazine(1880 edition): Volume 8 - Page 390

Are the Armenians as a nation Christianf* Has Armenia been at any time an independent nation? ... and thrice pouring water upon their heads, but they make the sign of the cross vith two fingers, while ^he Greeks make it with three. ... - The Inter Ocean curiosity shop for the year(1891 edition) ... - Page 114

the sign of the cross should be made with two fingers or with three. The Armenians say it should be made with two fingers, to remind us that Christ had two natures ; that .he was both God and man. The Greeks say it should be made with ... - The Youth's dayspring(1850 edition): Volumes 1-2 - Page 130

For instance, the Greeks make the sign of the cross with three fingers, in token of their belief in the doctrine of the Trinity, while the Armenians use two fingers, and the Jac obites one ... - The book of religions: comprising the views, creeds, sentiments(1859 edition), ... - Page 303

For instance, the Greeks make the sign of the cross with three fingers, in token of their belief, in the doctrine of the Trinity, while the Armenians use two fingers. The Armenians hold to seven sacraments, like the Latins, ... - History of all Christian sects and denominations: their origin(1875 edition), ... - Page 241

For instance, the Greeks make the sign of the cross with three fingers, in token of their belief in the doctrine of the Trinity — while the Armenians use two fingers, and the Jacobites one. The Armenians hold to seven sacraments like ... - The antiquities of the Christian church(1841 edition) - Page 470

For instance, the Greeks make the sign of the cross with three fingers, in token of their belief in the doctrine of the Trinity — while the Armenians use two fingers, and the Jacobites one. The Armenians hold to seven sacraments like ... - Ancient Christianity exemplified in the ... life of the primitive(1852 edition) ... - Page 559

church; that hallelujah should be repeated at the end of psalms twice instead of thrice ; but he insisted particularly that the sign of the cross should be made with two fingers (which is the Armenian manner), and not with three, ... - Penny cyclopaedia of the Society for the diffusion of useful knowledge(1841 edition): Volume 20 - Page 268

The Syriac sources largely complement the Armenian materials, attesting that Armenians settled in northern ... They follow the Chalcedonians in making the sign of the Cross with two [fingers]; the Nestorians because they move the hand ... - Armenian Tigranakert/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa(2006 edition)

This haughty watchfulness was, of course, also applied to the Uniate Church in the Ukraine and to the Armenian Church, and was resented as a blow ... 'The schismatics would go to the block for the sign of the cross with two fingers. ... - Nicholas II: Last of the Tsars(1995 edition) - Page 13

... and whether the sign of the cross should be made with three fingers, symbolising the Trinity, according to the Greek ritual, or with two fingers, in allusion to the two natures in the person of Christ, as prescribed in the Armenian Rite - Russia: its rise & progress, tragedies, & revolutions(1856 edition) - Page 134

One of the earliest and most influential defenders of the Old Belief in Siberia was an Armenian convert to Orthodoxy, who had been conditioned by his previous Nestorianism to make the sign of the cross with two fingers rather than ... - The icon and the axe: an interpretive history of Russian culture(1970 edition)

... have accused the Old Believers of being secret Armenians for making the sign of the cross in the Nestorian way with two fingers ; but it was in fact the Nikonians who were bringing Armenians into the new hierarchy.11 In like manner, ... - Russia and Orthodoxy: Essays in honor of Georges Florovsky(1975 edition): Volume 2

In Armenla ... the sign of the cross made with two fingers is still retained to the présent day ». Le signe de la croix uniquement sur le front avec un seul doigt remonte à une tradition encore plus ancienne, Idem., ... - Armenia between Byzantium and the Sasanians(1985 edition)

The Armenians in the Caucasus have their own thing, and they aren't so far away but what he can see them. ... "He who does not hold two fingers in making the sign of the cross — be he damned." A little later, however, they are holding ... - The three Romes(1985 edition)

In Armenia ... the sign of the cross made with two fingers is still retained to the present day ». Le signe de la croix uniquement sur le front avec un seul doigt remonte à une tradition encore plus ancienne, Idem., ... - Byzantinoslavica(1974 edition): Volume 35

The book in question amounted to a rather crude account of a monk called Martin, an Armenian by birth, who came to Kiev ... schismatic teachings, such as the double Alleluia, making the sign of the cross with two fingers, and so forth. ... - Peter the Great: the great reforms begin(1981 edition)
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« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2011, 08:58:44 AM »

The Armenians received without question the decrees of the councils of Nice (325) and Ephesus (431); but those of Chalcedon (451) were formally rejected by the Armenian bishops, though they also anathematized Eutyches, while they strenuously maintained the formula of one nature in Christ. The Armenian church has been therefore anathematized as heretical by both the Greek and Roman churches.—The Armenians agree with the Greeks in maintaining the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father only, and in most other doctrines; but they make the sign of the cross with two fingers (in reference to the two natures made one in Christ's person), while the Greeks make this sign with three fingers (in reference to the Trinity). - The American cyclopaedia(1873 edition): a popular dictionary of general knowledge, Volume 1 - Page 725
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« Reply #20 on: July 16, 2011, 10:13:33 AM »

St. Meletius ascended the throne of the Patriarchate of Antioch by consent of the Orthodox and the Arian Bishops. Because of the confidence of the Council in him, they all, including King Constantius, agreed in writing to accept the saint's interpretations of the verse in Solomon the Wise which says, 'The Lord created me", which in the opinion of the Arians, reffered to the creation of the Son. The saint said that Adam begat Seth, and that the meaning of the word created in this verse is to give birth, not to create in the usual sense. Those who were present rejoiced, and asked him for further proof. Then he raised three fingers of his right hand, the thumb, the index, and the middle finger, and bent the other two, as he said, "These three fingers are a symbol of the Trinity." Then bending the index and middle fingers and leaving the thumb raised, he added, "And as these fingers now are one, so also the Substance is one." The Arians were greatly enraged at hearing this, accusing St. Meletius of harboring the heresy of Sabellius, Bishop of Pentapolis. Conspiring with the king's viceroy, they caused him to be exiled to his native city, Sabaste. - Divine Prayers and Services of the Catholic Orthodox Church of Christ compiled and arranged by the late Reverend Saraphim Nassar, page 1066
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« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2011, 10:27:34 AM »

It seems that the most ancient way to cross yourself is with your thumb on your forehead.

All Roman Catholics do this in every Mass. They actually have two different ways of crossing themselves. One of the ways is to trace a cross with the thumb in a downward motion. I saw it when I went with my mother to a western Christmas Mass last year.
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« Reply #22 on: July 16, 2011, 10:49:57 AM »

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.

- Theodoret of Cyrus(Born: 398 A.D. in Antioch, Died:  457 A.D. in Cyrus)
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« Reply #23 on: July 16, 2011, 11:22:03 AM »

Theodoret of Cyrus (393-458) was born to moderately wealthy parents in Antioch. He spent his first twenty-three years in Antioch, where he was exposed to the secular education offered by rhetors, as well as Christian teachings from the monks living in the mountains surrounding Antioch and possibly the writings and sermons of John Chrysostom, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Diodore of Tarsus. Theodoret refers at one point to Theodore and Diodore as his teachers, but this should not be read literally, as we lack evidence of an organized school of Antiochene theology as might has been found in Caesarea or Alexandria. - Historical handbook of major biblical interpreters(1998) - Page 70
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« Reply #24 on: July 16, 2011, 10:36:20 PM »

It seems that the most ancient way to cross yourself is with your thumb on your forehead.

All Roman Catholics do this in every Mass. They actually have two different ways of crossing themselves. One of the ways is to trace a cross with the thumb in a downward motion. I saw it when I went with my mother to a western Christmas Mass last year.

As do Western Rite Orthodox Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2011, 06:26:37 AM »

At the moment I'm reading an excellent book by Fr Andreas Andreopoulos:  The Sign of the Cross: The Gesture, The Mystery, The History. It gives an excellent Orthodox perspective.
As a convert from R.Catholicism, I am encouraged that the thumb tracing of one's baptismal Cross on one's forehead is an ancient practice and not proscribed in Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2011, 06:41:00 AM »

Not many people know but the Church of Rome used three fingers and right to left for the first 1000 years and even longer.  So they were in tune with the Eastern Orthodox. 

Pope Innocent III (1198 - 1216) has a commentary on the sign of the cross making clear that the three fingers were used and that it was, in his day, right to left still.

Please see this message for some information.

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http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19362.msg351155.html#msg351155
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« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2011, 11:19:59 AM »

I still use two fingers, and have since I converted to Orthodoxy.  The first prayer book that I owned was the Old Believer prayer book, and that is where I learned many of my current "habits".  My Priest has no problem with this.  I confessed to him that this is what I did, and when I have tried to use the three fingers, I just get confused (or forget).  He told me that it did not matter since the two fingers were more ancient anyway and accomplished exactly the same thing.
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« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2011, 12:44:53 PM »

Why not expand your question?
Why did Christians (in general) stop crossing themselves with their thumbs on their foreheads? (this was the practice in the Apostolic/Post-Apostolic Age)

This. Also, why don't we get to take communion home any more?
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« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2011, 03:59:15 PM »

Not many people know but the Church of Rome used three fingers and right to left for the first 1000 years and even longer.  So they were in tune with the Eastern Orthodox. 

Pope Innocent III (1198 - 1216) has a commentary on the sign of the cross making clear that the three fingers were used and that it was, in his day, right to left still.

Please see this message for some information.

Message 27
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http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19362.msg351155.html#msg351155

You surpass the Jews in their devices. This modern and accursed heresy of yours, when it is overthrown by argument, when it is cast down and coverd with shame by the very Truth, forthwith endeavous to coerce by violence and stripes and imprisonment those whom it has been unable to persuade by argument, thereby acknowledging itsef to be anything rather then godly. For it is godliness not to compel, but to persuade.
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