Author Topic: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross  (Read 977 times)

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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« on: June 14, 2011, 12:52:58 AM »
I wonder when it's most appropriate to bow when making the sign of the cross.  I bow at "God save me a sinner (x3)" during my prayers, and when anything is chanted three times at liturgy.

When else should we bow?  Since converting, I've gone from not bowing at all, moderately bowing, and now I'm a bowing fiend.  When exactly is it not appropriate to bow after making the sign of the cross?

Offline Benjamin the Red

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Re: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2011, 08:55:22 AM »
I wonder when it's most appropriate to bow when making the sign of the cross.  I bow at "God save me a sinner (x3)" during my prayers, and when anything is chanted three times at liturgy.

When else should we bow?  Since converting, I've gone from not bowing at all, moderately bowing, and now I'm a bowing fiend.  When exactly is it not appropriate to bow after making the sign of the cross?

You do it just about all the time during Great Lent! (as bows become prostrations, and crossing becomes a bow). Otherwise, the times you've mentioned above are dead on. You can bow at the refains of a canon (sentences chanted at Matins like, "O Holy Martyr Name, pray to God for us!" or "Glory O Lord to thy Holy Resurrection!", and then cross yourself at "Glory..." and "Both now...", which are the standard refrains at the end of an ode (this is also transformed at Lent, particularly for the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete, when we prostrate at "Have mercy on me, O God..." and bow at the "Glory..." and "Both now..."

At the Liturgy, you can also bow in the anaphora at "It is meet and right...", "Take eat...", "drink of it all of you..." and "Thine Own of Thine Own..." Also, during the actual epiclesis at "make this bread...", "make what is in this cup..." and "changing them by the Holy Spirit. Amen! Amen! Amen!" bowing at the final "Amen." If it is not a Sunday, you make a full prostration at the end of the Amens (and some traditions will prostrate here even on a Sunday. It's quite beautiful.) You also bow immediately after the priest proclaims "Especially for Our Most Holy, Most Pure, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary!"

You may also bow as the priest stands on the solea with the Gifts and proclaims "In the fear of God..." (this is a prostration if not on a Sunday or Feast of the Lord). And finally, you may bow at the end of the Liturgy at "...now and ever and unto ages of ages!" When the priest moves the remaining Gifts from the Altar back to the Table of Oblation (if you have communed. If not, it's a prostration....unless its Sunday or a Feast of the Lord, then bow regardless).

If I've forgotten anything, my apologies! I'm definitely open to additions to and corrections of what I've said, and I hope I've been helpful!  ;D
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 08:57:23 AM by Benjamin the Red »
"Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life. Here we already have contact with the divine..." -St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily On the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Offline bogdan

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Re: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2011, 09:14:44 AM »
I was under the impression that a slight bow (more of a "lean forward") is always made when making the sign of the Cross (except for the Alleluia in the middle of the Six Psalms, when we are to stand motionless).

Make the sign of the Cross with a bow when the priest blesses the people with the Cross (equivalent to venerating the Cross).

But only bow when the priest blesses with his hand, without making the sign of the Cross. (I remember a priest saying emphatically, "I am not a saint! So don't make the sign of the Cross at me!")

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2011, 09:18:53 AM »

Bogdan, that is exactly as I've been taught, too.
Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2011, 12:26:36 PM »
Thanks, everyone!  very helpful!

Offline joasia

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Re: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2011, 12:39:31 PM »
I'd also like to add something about bows in general.  I was told way back, not to cross myself and bow at the same time as that is making the Cross bent.  First we cross ourselves fully, then bow.  I've seen some people bent over and crossing themselves too.  And others whip their hands so fast when crossing themselves.  The demons rejoice at this as we are being careless with that which is our most strongest weapon against them. 
Stillness,  prayer, love and self-control are a four-horsed chariot bearing the intellect to Heaven. (Philokalia 2: p.308 - #24) - St. Thalassios

The proper activity of the intellect is to be attentive at every moment to the words of God.   (Philokalia 2: p. 308 - # 30) - St. Thalassios

Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 12:41:51 PM »
I'd also like to add something about bows in general.  I was told way back, not to cross myself and bow at the same time as that is making the Cross bent.  First we cross ourselves fully, then bow.  I've seen some people bent over and crossing themselves too.  And others whip their hands so fast when crossing themselves.  The demons rejoice at this as we are being careless with that which is our most strongest weapon against them. 

very true, I've also seen this.  I've seen people make little triangles in the air over their faces, thinking their making the sign of the cross quickly. 

Offline Shlomlokh

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Re: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2011, 12:58:02 PM »

Bogdan, that is exactly as I've been taught, too.
Same here!

In Christ,
Andrew
"I will pour out my prayer unto the Lord, and to Him will I proclaim my grief; for with evils my soul is filled, and my life unto hades hath drawn nigh, and like Jonah I will pray: From corruption raise me up, O God." -Ode VI, Irmos of the Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos

Offline Benjamin the Red

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Re: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2011, 04:37:37 PM »

Bogdan, that is exactly as I've been taught, too.
Same here!

In Christ,
Andrew

Same for me, too.

I believe the "slight bow" is a Slavic pious custom. I could be wrong.
"Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life. Here we already have contact with the divine..." -St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily On the Sunday of Orthodoxy

Offline Shlomlokh

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Re: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2011, 05:44:41 PM »

Bogdan, that is exactly as I've been taught, too.
Same here!

In Christ,
Andrew

Same for me, too.

I believe the "slight bow" is a Slavic pious custom. I could be wrong.
Could be, but I naturally felt inclined to do it before having any Slavic exposure. It almost seems completely natural, in a sense, along with many other aspects of our Faith. :)

In Christ,
Andrew
"I will pour out my prayer unto the Lord, and to Him will I proclaim my grief; for with evils my soul is filled, and my life unto hades hath drawn nigh, and like Jonah I will pray: From corruption raise me up, O God." -Ode VI, Irmos of the Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos

Offline Benjamin the Red

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Re: when to bow when we make the sign of the cross
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2011, 12:01:07 PM »

Bogdan, that is exactly as I've been taught, too.
Same here!

In Christ,
Andrew

Same for me, too.

I believe the "slight bow" is a Slavic pious custom. I could be wrong.
Could be, but I naturally felt inclined to do it before having any Slavic exposure. It almost seems completely natural, in a sense, along with many other aspects of our Faith. :)

In Christ,
Andrew

It always felt natural to me, too, but then again...I was catachized in an OCA parish that sticks quite unilaterally to Russian traditions (think liberal ROCOR! lol), so I've always been around it. Whether I think to do it because it "feels right" or because that's what I've always seen...I can't really say.
"Hades is not a place, no, but a state of the soul. It begins here on earth. Just so, paradise begins in the soul of a man here in the earthly life. Here we already have contact with the divine..." -St. John, Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Francisco, Homily On the Sunday of Orthodoxy