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Author Topic: Another sign of the cross question please  (Read 1763 times) Average Rating: 0
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primuspilus
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« on: July 19, 2011, 03:12:26 PM »

Heyas! I've seen alot of posts on the Sign of the Cross, but my question is actually what this is for as a lay person. Why does a lay person do the sign? What is its function? Any direction to other posts is also welcome.

In other news, is a baptism valid if I was only "dunked" once in the name of the father, son, and holy spirit or must it be 3 separate "dunks"?

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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2011, 05:38:33 PM »

Heyas! I've seen alot of posts on the Sign of the Cross, but my question is actually what this is for as a lay person. Why does a lay person do the sign? What is its function? Any direction to other posts is also welcome.

In other news, is a baptism valid if I was only "dunked" once in the name of the father, son, and holy spirit or must it be 3 separate "dunks"?

primuspilus

The answers to your first question are manifold and vary in veracity.

The answer to you second question is that is depends on how your Priest understands your Bishop's stand on the issue. Some jurisdictions are more uniform on the issue, the OCA ain't.

I am in a similar tank. A change in Bishop put my timing for entry into the Church a bit into question due to my Priest wanting to get an understanding of what the new "approach" will be to single dunk, Trinitarian, backwoods baptisms.



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« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2011, 09:18:08 AM »

Heyas! I've seen alot of posts on the Sign of the Cross, but my question is actually what this is for as a lay person. Why does a lay person do the sign? What is its function? Any direction to other posts is also welcome.

In other news, is a baptism valid if I was only "dunked" once in the name of the father, son, and holy spirit or must it be 3 separate "dunks"?

primuspilus

The answers to your first question are manifold and vary in veracity.

The answer to you second question is that is depends on how your Priest understands your Bishop's stand on the issue. Some jurisdictions are more uniform on the issue, the OCA ain't.

I am in a similar tank. A change in Bishop put my timing for entry into the Church a bit into question due to my Priest wanting to get an understanding of what the new "approach" will be to single dunk, Trinitarian, backwoods baptisms.





The answer to your second question is yes, it is valid. While there may be a diversity of opinion among Orthodox hierarchs and clergy on this matter, if you are baptized in any of the jurisdictions of what was SCOBA and is now the EA in the USA you were validly baptized and each of these jurisdictions will recognize your baptism as such. If you run into a renegade priest making an issue about this, contact the Dean and the Chancery ASAP so that the appropriate Bishop is aware of the local issue.
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« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2011, 09:40:04 AM »

Thanks!

If there are any threads/posts that would help me with the first question, direction would be much appreciated.

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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2011, 10:57:58 AM »

You may want to read this article here:
http://www.orthodox.net/articles/about-crossing-oneself.html

It is a good general explanation of "Why Orthodox Christians Cross Themselves" with a bit about how to do it.

Thomas

(edited for spelling error)
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2011, 11:36:44 AM »

The article help quite a bit. Thanks!

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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2011, 12:04:30 PM »

An Orthodox convert friend of mine told me many years ago that the change in direction for the Sign of the Cross for RC's came about because the people did it the way they saw the priest doing it during the Mass....the priest did it from right to left, but the way the people saw it was left to right. That's what she had told me, anyway.
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2011, 01:34:34 PM »

The answer to your second question is yes, it is valid. While there may be a diversity of opinion among Orthodox hierarchs and clergy on this matter, if you are baptized in any of the jurisdictions of what was SCOBA and is now the EA in the USA you were validly baptized and each of these jurisdictions will recognize your baptism as such.

He is talking about a Protestant baptism, not an Orthodox one. We don't "recognize the validity" of baptisms outside of the church. The empty shells or forms of baptism are filled with the holy chrism when one is sealed with the Holy Spirit, and this is done by economy for the sake of the recipient. So those churches which baptize all converts to Orthodoxy are of the same mind as those that only chrismate: There is something deficient in any heterodox baptism, and it must be corrected upon entry either by an economic retroactive bestowal of grace on the act, or by a properly performed first baptism. There is no re-baptism.

For Baptists this should be no issue, as they don't even believe that anything "happens" when they baptize, meaning they don't believe that the waters save you. So a question of sacramental "validity" to a Baptist should be totally moot.

An Orthodox convert friend of mine told me many years ago that the change in direction for the Sign of the Cross for RC's came about because the people did it the way they saw the priest doing it during the Mass....the priest did it from right to left, but the way the people saw it was left to right. That's what she had told me, anyway.

Everybody is just repeating guesses when they say this stuff. It's not based on any primary documentation. Nobody is sure about the reasons for the change or exactly when it happened. But it is clear that at one time the West made the sign in the same manner as the East.
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2011, 01:41:48 PM »

But it is clear that at one time the West made the sign in the same manner as the East.

And that everyone did it differently at one time before that.
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2011, 02:12:40 PM »

Even thoughI was baptized in the Southern Baptist tradition, I fully intend to be baptized after I am chrismated. Why?  Why not?  There should be no question afterwards Grin
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2011, 02:46:04 PM »

Even thoughI was baptized in the Southern Baptist tradition, I fully intend to be baptized after I am chrismated. Why?  Why not?  There should be no question afterwards Grin

Because it ain't up to you.
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2011, 03:12:02 PM »

Even thoughI was baptized in the Southern Baptist tradition, I fully intend to be baptized after I am chrismated. Why?  Why not?  There should be no question afterwards Grin

Because it ain't up to you.

Way to show the love of Christ brother.  No need for the rudeness!
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2011, 03:18:18 PM »

Even thoughI was baptized in the Southern Baptist tradition, I fully intend to be baptized after I am chrismated. Why?  Why not?  There should be no question afterwards Grin
That couldn't work because you'd be baptized beforehand if you were to be baptized at all. Wink

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2011, 03:21:58 PM »

Even thoughI was baptized in the Southern Baptist tradition, I fully intend to be baptized after I am chrismated. Why?  Why not?  There should be no question afterwards Grin
That couldn't work because you'd be baptized beforehand if you were to be baptized at all. Wink

In Christ,
Andrew

Thanks Andrew, I obviously have alot to learn.  Forgive my ignorance angel
Even thoughI was baptized in the Southern Baptist tradition, I fully intend to be baptized after I am chrismated. Why?  Why not?  There should be no question afterwards Grin

Because it ain't up to you.

Way to show the love of Christ brother.  No need for the rudeness! 
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« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2011, 03:49:50 PM »

Way to show the love of Christ brother.  No need for the rudeness! 

Passive-aggressive sarcasm + reprimand vs. straight forward statement, after already answering the question in a more verbose manner

Good luck on surviving the internets.





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« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2011, 03:57:02 PM »

Quote
Good luck on surviving the internets
Dude, laughed so hard I almost peed myself.

All your base belong to us  laugh

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« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2011, 05:35:08 PM »

Even thoughI was baptized in the Southern Baptist tradition, I fully intend to be baptized after I am chrismated. Why?  Why not?  There should be no question afterwards Grin
That couldn't work because you'd be baptized beforehand if you were to be baptized at all. Wink

In Christ,
Andrew

Thanks Andrew, I obviously have alot to learn.  Forgive my ignorance angel
Even thoughI was baptized in the Southern Baptist tradition, I fully intend to be baptized after I am chrismated. Why?  Why not?  There should be no question afterwards Grin

Because it ain't up to you.

Way to show the love of Christ brother.  No need for the rudeness! 
No problem. We all have much to learn Smiley

In Christ,
Andrew
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« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2011, 09:31:33 AM »

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May I remind you that in the Convert Forum purpose it states "this forum is a safe place to discuss issues that arise after one converts  in a safe and supportive forum without retribution or recrimination."  May I humbly remind you that sarcasm and cutting wit often are often viewed by new converts and inquirers to the Holy Orthodox Faith as retribution and recrimination. I will ask you to please refrain from this inappropriate behavior on a convert issues forum. May I recommend that you utilize the free-for-all area or the private boards which allow a little more leeway in these matters.

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« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2011, 09:46:43 AM »

Many apologies, I didn't look at which board it was on, just the OP name.

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« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2011, 10:25:54 AM »

Correct of course. My apologies for egging on orthobaptist.

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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2011, 10:35:01 PM »

I read a bit several years ago, a translation of a 10th or 11th century pre schism English Bishop who said that when Christians make the sign of the cross they are putting on the armor of Christ and putting the forces of darkness on notice that here stands a Christian ready to do battle.  That's a very rough summary, but it is the gist of the idea. There was more, and a few nuances…but the basic idea was that a Christ understood that moment as a contest with the darkness and took his stance for Christ in the sign of the cross.
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« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2011, 10:40:09 PM »

I posted this somewhere else, but it belongs here too....


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 Damaskos - The Philokalia, vol. 3, pg. 209-210)

I read that he lived around the time of the 11th or 12th century.
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« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2011, 06:15:32 PM »

Nobody really knows why the Roman Catholics changed from crossing themselves right to left, as they all used to do, to left-to-right, as they now do. It doesn't seem very logical that it was from seeing the priest, since that had been the case for centuries and centuries, with no change made. We do know that when the left-to-right cross appeared among the heretics in the late 15th century, it almost immediately was fitted with a new symbolism, that Christ came down from heaven to earth in His incarnation (forehead to bosom), descended into hell (left shoulder), and from thence ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God (right shoulder). This is much more appealing than the way it was taught before, which is that Christ came from heaven to earth (forehead to bosom), first turned Himself to the salvation of the Jewish people (right shoulder, for chosen people), then when they rejected Him, passed over to become worshipped among the Gentiles (left shoulder). The whole Jew-Gentile thing is just not as inspiring.

We also can view the sign of the cross in a personal, spiritual context: That God be in our minds (forehead), in our hearts and feelings (bosom), help us to do every good thing (right shoulder) and forgive us all our evil deeds (left shoulder).

It is common in the canonical Orthodox Churches for converts who were baptized as some heretical form of Christian, to be united to the Orthodox Church by being given an Orthodox baptism. I know this is common in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which is canonical.
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« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2011, 09:46:50 AM »

to make things more complicated:
the oriental orthodox churches have always crossed from left to right.
eastern orthodox visiting us are very welcome to cross from right to left, and i usually go from right to left when i am in EO churches. except when i forget and do it both ways!
and of course, if you don't have a right hand, you are very welcome to use your left hand, or a foot if you have no arms.
 Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2011, 01:23:03 PM »

Heyas! I've seen alot of posts on the Sign of the Cross, but my question is actually what this is for as a lay person. Why does a lay person do the sign? What is its function? Any direction to other posts is also welcome.

In other news, is a baptism valid if I was only "dunked" once in the name of the father, son, and holy spirit or must it be 3 separate "dunks"?

primuspilus

As one moves through the Sign, one recites, at the forehead, “Lord “; at the stomach, “Jesus Christ”, on the right shoulder, “Son of God”; and on the left shoulder, “have mercy on us” followed by a bow(to the ground during great lent).

 

Joining two fingers together-the index and the middle finger-and extending them, with the middle finger slightly bent, represents the two natures of Christ: His Divinity and His Humanity. He is God according to His divinity and Man according to His humanity, perfect in both natures. The index finger represents His divinity, while the middle finger represents His humanity, since He came down from on high and saved those below. The bending of the middle finger is interperted to mean that He bowed the heavens and came down upon the earth for our salvation.

 

And thus it proper to make the Sign of the Cross and to bless; thus was it laid down and ordained by the holy fathers; such is the power of the Sign of the Cross, with which we faithful sign ourselves when we pray, confessing sacramentally the Saviour’s economy: His being begotten of God the Father before all creation; His decent to earth from on high; His Crucifixion; and His second coming, which is the sealing of His entire philanthropic dispensation concerning us.

 

- The Old Orthodox Prayer Book (Translated and Edited by Hiermonk German Ciuba, Hiermonk John Berzins, Archpriest Pimon Simon, and Priest Theodore Jurewicz, (C) 2001 Russian Orthodox Church of the Nativity of Christ(Old Rite)) See pages 334 - 337

 

The sign of the cross must be made according to the rules, in the form of a cross; and the right hand, that is, the dextral hand, must be used in crossing oneself, with the thumb and the two lower fingers joined together, and the extended index finger joined to the middle finger, slightly bent; thus should prelates [and] priests give their blessing and thus should men cross themselves. . . . It befits all Orthodox Christians to hold their hand thus, and to make the sign of the cross upon their face with two fingers, and to bow, as we said before. If anyone should fail to give his blessing with two fingers, as Christ did, or should fail to make the sign of the cross with two fingers, may he be accursed.. . .

 

-Chapter 31 of The Council Of The Hundred Chapters.
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« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2011, 01:35:20 PM »

I received this tradition from my father... we cross from right to left (above - below - right shoulder - left shoulder) and the we open our palm on our chest... Is it wrong?Does it mean anything?If anyone knows please let me know.
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« Reply #26 on: July 30, 2011, 01:43:34 PM »

About the power of sign of the cross.


If there is a wiZARD AROUND, WHEN YOU DO THE SIGN OF THE CROSS, THE DEVIL THAT STAYS INTO WIZARD GETS ANGRY AND HITS THE WIZARD PRETTY HARD AND THE WIZARD DOES A MOVEMENT LIKE HE/SHE IS HIT WITH A BASEBALL WOOD. THE WIZARD SUFFERS TERRIBLY AND USUALLY GO AWAY.

I SAW THIS WITH MY OWN EYES.

You do it for protection. If the are sick angels around or wizards they will flee. So by this you can check on somebody to see if it is sorcerer or not. when he is not looking you can make the sign of the cross and if becomes angry then something is not right.


17 March 2006, 14:40 The sign of the cross and Orthodox prayer are capable of killing microbes and change the optical properties of water - a study

Moscow, March 17, Interfax - Scientists have proved experimentally the miracle-working properties of the sign of the cross and prayer.

‘We have ascertained that the old custom to make a sign of the cross over food and drink before a meal has a profound mystical meaning. Standing behind it is the practical use: the food is purified literally in an instant. This is a great miracle, which happens literally every day,’ physicist Angelina Malakhovskaya said as cited by the Zhizn newspaper on Friday.

Malakhovskaya have studied that power of the sign of the cross with the blessing of the Church for nearly ten years now. She has carried out a great number of experiments, which have been repeatedly verified before their results were made public.

She has discovered in particular the unique bactericidal properties of water after being blessed by an Orthodox prayer and a sign of the cross. The study also revealed a new, earlier unknown property of the Word of God to transform the structure of water, increasing considerably its optical density in the short ultra-violet spectral region, the newspaper writes.

The scientists have verified the impact the Lord’s Prayer and the Orthodox sign of the cross make on pathogenic bacteria. Water samples from various reservoirs - wells, rivers, lakes - were taken for the research. All the samples had goldish taphylococcus, a colon bacillus. It turned out however, that if the Lord’s Prayer is said and a sign of the cross is made over them, the number of harmful bacteria will decrease seven, ten, hundred and even over thousand times.

The experiments were made in such a way as to exclude a possible impact of mental suggestion. The prayer was said by both believer and non-believers, but the number of pathogenic bacteria in various environments with different sets of bacteria still decreased as compared to the reference templates.

The scientists have also proved the beneficial impact that the prayer and the sign of the cross have on people. All the participants in the tests had their blood pressure stabilized and blood indexes improved. Strikingly, the indexes changed towards the healing needed: hypotensive people had their blood pressure raised, while hypertensive people had it reduced.

It was also observed that if the sign of the cross is made offhandedly, with the three fingers put together unscrupulously or placed outside the necessary points - the middle of the forehead, the center of the solar plexus and the recesses in the right and left shoulders - the positive result was much weaker or absent altogether.



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« Reply #27 on: July 30, 2011, 01:49:33 PM »

I received this tradition from my father... we cross from right to left (above - below - right shoulder - left shoulder) and the we open our palm on our chest... Is it wrong?Does it mean anything?If anyone knows please let me know.

That is correct. The "open our palm on our chest" is what a lot of people do but it isn't necessary in making the Sign of the Cross.
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« Reply #28 on: July 30, 2011, 01:59:28 PM »

I received this tradition from my father... we cross from right to left (above - below - right shoulder - left shoulder) and the we open our palm on our chest... Is it wrong?Does it mean anything?If anyone knows please let me know.

That is correct. The "open our palm on our chest" is what a lot of people do but it isn't necessary in making the Sign of the Cross.

Does it mean anything?
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« Reply #29 on: July 30, 2011, 02:02:51 PM »

I received this tradition from my father... we cross from right to left (above - below - right shoulder - left shoulder) and the we open our palm on our chest... Is it wrong?Does it mean anything?If anyone knows please let me know.

That is correct. The "open our palm on our chest" is what a lot of people do but it isn't necessary in making the Sign of the Cross.

Does it mean anything?

You are venerating the Cross that you made by touching your hand to your heart. Smiley
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« Reply #30 on: July 30, 2011, 02:05:37 PM »

I received this tradition from my father... we cross from right to left (above - below - right shoulder - left shoulder) and the we open our palm on our chest... Is it wrong?Does it mean anything?If anyone knows please let me know.

That is correct. The "open our palm on our chest" is what a lot of people do but it isn't necessary in making the Sign of the Cross.


Does it mean anything?

You are venerating the Cross that you made by touching your hand to your heart. Smiley

i thought so..

anyway i must say i found intreguing the meaning of the catholic sign of the cross..
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« Reply #31 on: July 30, 2011, 02:07:55 PM »

i have another question : what does it mean to do the sign of the cross wrong?is it true that that brings demons?
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« Reply #32 on: July 30, 2011, 02:09:54 PM »

I received this tradition from my father... we cross from right to left (above - below - right shoulder - left shoulder) and the we open our palm on our chest... Is it wrong?Does it mean anything?If anyone knows please let me know.

That is correct. The "open our palm on our chest" is what a lot of people do but it isn't necessary in making the Sign of the Cross.


Does it mean anything?

You are venerating the Cross that you made by touching your hand to your heart. Smiley

i thought so..

anyway i must say i found intreguing the meaning of the catholic sign of the cross..

This might be helpful in understanding the Orthodox Sign of the Cross: http://www.orthodoxphotos.com/readings/beginning/cross.shtml
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« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2011, 02:14:30 PM »

i have another question : what does it mean to do the sign of the cross wrong?is it true that that brings demons?

It doesn't bring demons. Demons, however, do rejoice when it's done incorrectly because the Cross has been messed up.

Here is St Athanasius the Great on the power of the Sign of the Cross:
And let him come who would test by experience what we have now said, and in the very presence of the deceit of demons and the imposture of oracles and the marvels of magic, let him use the Sign of that Cross which is laughed at among them, and he shall see how by its means demons fly, oracles cease, all magic and witchcraft is brought to nought.


[EDIT] Also:

"When legions of demons appeared to St. Anthony the Great and other desert-dwellers, the saints guarded themselves with the Sign of the Cross, and the demons vanished." - St John the Wonderworker

"If we are striving to drive out demons, we use the Cross, and it is also of aid in healing sickness." - St John Chrysostom
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 02:17:16 PM by zekarja » Logged

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« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2011, 03:19:32 PM »

i have another question : what does it mean to do the sign of the cross wrong?is it true that that brings demons?

It doesn't bring demons. Demons, however, do rejoice when it's done incorrectly because the Cross has been messed up.

Here is St Athanasius the Great on the power of the Sign of the Cross:
And let him come who would test by experience what we have now said, and in the very presence of the deceit of demons and the imposture of oracles and the marvels of magic, let him use the Sign of that Cross which is laughed at among them, and he shall see how by its means demons fly, oracles cease, all magic and witchcraft is brought to nought.


[EDIT] Also:

"When legions of demons appeared to St. Anthony the Great and other desert-dwellers, the saints guarded themselves with the Sign of the Cross, and the demons vanished." - St John the Wonderworker

"If we are striving to drive out demons, we use the Cross, and it is also of aid in healing sickness." - St John Chrysostom

what would qualify as an incorrect sign of the cross?
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St Theodora of Alexandria, pray for us!


« Reply #35 on: July 30, 2011, 05:14:33 PM »

i have another question : what does it mean to do the sign of the cross wrong?is it true that that brings demons?

It doesn't bring demons. Demons, however, do rejoice when it's done incorrectly because the Cross has been messed up.

Here is St Athanasius the Great on the power of the Sign of the Cross:
And let him come who would test by experience what we have now said, and in the very presence of the deceit of demons and the imposture of oracles and the marvels of magic, let him use the Sign of that Cross which is laughed at among them, and he shall see how by its means demons fly, oracles cease, all magic and witchcraft is brought to nought.


[EDIT] Also:

"When legions of demons appeared to St. Anthony the Great and other desert-dwellers, the saints guarded themselves with the Sign of the Cross, and the demons vanished." - St John the Wonderworker

"If we are striving to drive out demons, we use the Cross, and it is also of aid in healing sickness." - St John Chrysostom

what would qualify as an incorrect sign of the cross?

A hastily done Cross like swatting flies.

From that website that I linked earlier:

So how should we make the sign of the Cross correctly?

We are to put together the first three fingers of the right hand, which symbolizes the Unity of the Holy Inseparable Trinity. The other two fingers should be bent towards the palm signifying the descent of the Son of God to earth from Heaven (two fingers being the image of two natures of Christ). The fingers put together first touch the forehead — to sanctify the mind, then — the belly near the solar plexus — for sanctification of feelings, then to the right and finally to the left shoulder — to sanctify one’s bodily strength. We bow only after the hand is dropped along the body. Why? Because we have just shown the Calvary Cross on ourselves and we bow to it. Incidentally, there is one more widespread mistake: a bow performed simultaneously with the sign of the Cross. We should not do that (break the Cross).

In many old textbooks on the law of God the lower end of the sign of the Cross is mistakenly proposed to be made at the level of the breast. In that case the Cross appears as if it is upside down (the lower part is shorter) and involuntarily it turns into a cross of the Satanists.

The sign of the Cross follows a believer everywhere. We make this sign when we get up and go to bed, going out of our house and entering a church; we make the sign of the Cross both over ourselves and the meal before eating. The sign of the Cross of Christ sanctifies all and everything, so when a believer is making this sign over himself it is brings him closer to salvation and is good for his soul.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2011, 05:15:51 PM by zekarja » Logged

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