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Author Topic: When do Copts do the Sign of the Cross?  (Read 1206 times) Average Rating: 0
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zekarja
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« on: August 22, 2011, 02:32:19 PM »

If this isn't to hard to answer... When do Copts do the Sign of the Cross (such as during the Liturgy)?

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mabsoota
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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2011, 03:37:10 PM »

ha ha! you might regret that question...
short answer: all the time!
when i was protestant, i thought catholics made the sign of the cross a lot, and wondered why.
when i became coptic orthodox, i wondered why the catholics hardly ever made the sign of the cross in the liturgy, and it was the same catholic church i used to attend  Wink

we like it as it's part of our participation in the liturgy, we are asking for a blessing, or repenting of our sin, or praising God, or trying not to let our concentration wander, or some combination of the above.

long answer:
(you have been warned)...
at the end of saying 'our father'
every time the priest or (sub)deacons or congregation say 'in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit' (this happens quite at lot!)
every time anyone says 'blessed be...' (God)
any time anyone says 'worship' (e.g. the nicene creed when we say we 'worship and glorify' the Holy Spirit)
so, also any time we say 'glorify'
when we are praying as the bread for consecration is chosen, saying 'Kyrie eleison' (Lord have mercy) 41 times (the pious do one sign of the cross for every 'Kyrie eleison')
after the Bible has been read (optional)
before the gospel is read
any time anyone says 'Holy' (Agios) when referring to God
any time the priest waves incense vaguely in your direction (the priest censes the congregation and prays for them during the 2 epistle readings and during morning or evening prayers and other times as well)
any time the priest says 'peace be with you' while making the sign of the cross (optional, you can also bow you head in reverence at this point without making the sign of the cross, same as with the incense)
during prayers and intercessions (optional)
when the priest is telling how Jesus Christ took the Body/Blood and 'gave thanks', 'blessed it' and 'sanctified it'
before taking Holy Communion
after praying the prayer from the prayer book for 'after Holy Communion'
anytime the priest is blessing the congregation (optional)
and any other time during the liturgy that it seems appropriate to make the sign of the cross.

i may have missed a few, feel free to correct me...
 Wink
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zekarja
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2011, 03:50:07 PM »

Thanks, mabsoota! I appreciate that. Cool
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« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2011, 04:39:55 PM »

i forgot, also...
on entering the church
on lighting a candle
on venerating icons or relics
on leaving the church during liturgy, like if you have to look after kids etc.
on coming back into the church during liturgy

and outside of the church...
when praying before eating
any other praying
before sleeping
on waking up
before driving a car (or getting in someone else's car if u don't like their driving...)
when narrowly avoiding a crash on the motorway due the car in front of you swerving in and out of the traffic like a crazy guy, and thanking God you kept a really safe distance back
(this one was in front of my muslim friend, she was not best impressed!)

sorry, u got me started...
 Wink
 Grin

edit: oh, and one last one, when visiting my friend's lovely antiochian church
 Smiley
« Last Edit: August 22, 2011, 04:42:38 PM by mabsoota » Logged
zekarja
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« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2011, 04:56:29 PM »

lol Thanks!
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Hiwot
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2011, 07:30:01 AM »

Selam Everyone  Smiley
Mabsoota God bless you dear! I cant tell you how hard I loughed at the way you answered it, it is so true !!! some elderly people  at my church can not even do it properly yet seeing what they are doing as often as they are doing it , you get the point.  Grin
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2011, 09:48:14 AM »

yeah, i should mention the ethiopians and eritreans are like us, but more so.
they probably make the sign of the cross before leaving to go to church and then when seeing the church, then when entering the outside of the church, then when opening the door to go into church, then before taking their shoes off, then after taking their shoes off...
ok, i exaggerate a little... but they are cute and cool
 Cool
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2011, 12:47:31 PM »

It doesn't sound too different from when we make the sign.

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Andrew

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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2011, 01:14:19 PM »

ok you're cool too!
 Cool
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2011, 01:22:47 PM »

.
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2011, 10:01:16 PM »

I suppose the ultimate question is: "When don't Copts make the sign of the cross?"  Cheesy
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2011, 10:53:27 PM »

This sounds like a weird episode of 'Jeopardy.'  Smiley
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2011, 05:33:51 PM »

Selam:)
LOL mebsoota , well lets just say  back home, if u were to see a bus full of people and I mean realy packed and holding on to the rails if u can or just being supported by the bodies of people surrounding you kind of packed bus, pass by a church, you would start to see people do an amazing fit of keeping balance and crossing themselves as well as bowing a little with thier knees bent as far as it is possible. hehehe,


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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2011, 11:22:50 PM »

ok ok, so the ethiopians get the 'most signs of the cross' prize!
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u made me laugh!
 Grin
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2011, 04:22:17 PM »

ha ha! you might regret that question...
short answer: all the time!
when i was protestant, i thought catholics made the sign of the cross a lot, and wondered why.
when i became coptic orthodox, i wondered why the catholics hardly ever made the sign of the cross in the liturgy, and it was the same catholic church i used to attend  Wink

we like it as it's part of our participation in the liturgy, we are asking for a blessing, or repenting of our sin, or praising God, or trying not to let our concentration wander, or some combination of the above.

long answer:
(you have been warned)...
at the end of saying 'our father'
every time the priest or (sub)deacons or congregation say 'in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit' (this happens quite at lot!)
every time anyone says 'blessed be...' (God)
any time anyone says 'worship' (e.g. the nicene creed when we say we 'worship and glorify' the Holy Spirit)
so, also any time we say 'glorify'
when we are praying as the bread for consecration is chosen, saying 'Kyrie eleison' (Lord have mercy) 41 times (the pious do one sign of the cross for every 'Kyrie eleison')
after the Bible has been read (optional)
before the gospel is read
any time anyone says 'Holy' (Agios) when referring to God
any time the priest waves incense vaguely in your direction (the priest censes the congregation and prays for them during the 2 epistle readings and during morning or evening prayers and other times as well)
any time the priest says 'peace be with you' while making the sign of the cross (optional, you can also bow you head in reverence at this point without making the sign of the cross, same as with the incense)
during prayers and intercessions (optional)
when the priest is telling how Jesus Christ took the Body/Blood and 'gave thanks', 'blessed it' and 'sanctified it'
before taking Holy Communion
after praying the prayer from the prayer book for 'after Holy Communion'
anytime the priest is blessing the congregation (optional)
and any other time during the liturgy that it seems appropriate to make the sign of the cross.

i may have missed a few, feel free to correct me...
 Wink

Actually there's a fair bit of variation from parish to parish on some of these...

My priest instructed me that we should not make the sign of the cross when coming forward to receive (or rather, that it was not strictly necessary as some were insisting) since we are coming to receive the Body of the Incarnate Logos, so it is not necessary or necessarily fitting to bless ourselves in the Name of the Trinity at this time.

I was instructed not to make the sign of the Cross when the priest turns to bless the congregation, just to bow and receive the blessing. The priest is blessing us, and it is presumptuous to think to bless our selves. Later in the Liturgy, after the consecration, the priest no longer makes the sign of the cross, he just steps aside when he says "peace be with you", for the Lord is now present on the Altar, so the preist does not dare to bless in His presence. How much less should we think to bless ourselves when the preist does not even dare bless?

Similarly, if someone is giving a Sunday School lesson, they start "In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit", but if a priest is present the do not say this, they ask the priest to and then they begin. If a reader give the sermon, it is still the priest who says this. In any case those present cross themselves.

Also, when the preist censes the people I have been taught to bow only, and to be mindful of when the preist is actually censing the people, and when he is merely censing towards the west.

I have never seen the practise of crossing at "worship" and "glorify". I have only seen everyone bowing down in worship whenever reference to worship of God is made (and often when the Bible reading makes reference to worshipping Satan if people are half asleep and just hear the word without noticing the context...)

When the priest says "gave thanks", "blessed," "sanctified" during the institution narrative, I do not think we should cross ourselves. To each of these the deacon replies "Amen". Often people in the congregation say the "Amen" as well, but it is clear that it is not correct to do so (just as it is not correct to sing along with the priest's parts). Similarly, it is the role of the priest to sign the gifts. While it is not the preist alone who performs the Liturgy, rather all the people lead by the priest, still each has their role. At this time the priest signs, the deacon replies Amen, and the people participate in prayer in their hearts.

Many times "Holy, holy, holy" is said in quick succession, and you can see everyones hands whipping wildly across their chests, or making very small quick signs of the cross that one monk referred to as "playing their ukuleles". I do not believe that the Liturgy ever encourages to make the sing of the cross irreverently. I believe that in these cases, we should make the sign of the Cross once, slowly and prayerfully as we say "Holy, Holy, Holy", rather than three times quickly. It is one Trinity who is "holy, holy, holy", not three.

what I am familiar with is:
-At the conclusion of the Lord's prayer
-At the conclusion of, or optionally thought a set of "Lord have mercy" (41, 100, or 400).
-When "Blessed be He who comes in the Name of the Lord" is said.
-Whenever the Trinity is mentioned (e.g. "Blessed art Thou in truth with Thy Good Father and the Holy Spirit", or "In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.")
-When Holy is said in reference to God.
-After prostrating when entering the Church.
-optionally after prostrating (or worshipping by bowing on Sundays and during Pentecost when prostrations are forbidden), though I believe more in the context of a prostration (quick down and up) rather than a kneeling (prolonged).

(Of course it is much more important to focus in praying in spirit and truth rather than to focus too much on when the proper times to cross one's self are, and I don't mean to be argumentative.)

« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 04:33:50 PM by Jonathan » Logged
zekarja
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« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2011, 04:28:03 PM »

Thanks!
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Hiwot
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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2011, 08:09:15 PM »

Selam Lekmu:)
lol mabsoota
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Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2011, 08:20:39 PM »

thanks for that johnathan, very useful
i have never heard anyone talk about when to make the sign of the cross, i have just watched and drawn my own conclusions.
probably we also shouldn't make the sign of the cross when we drop something, it doesn't break and someone says 'bism is saleeb (in the name of the cross)' in the sense of meaning 'thank God it didn't break'. but i have seen people do it! what do you think about that?

as for prostrating on sunday, i had a discussion (on tasbeha.org) with father peter and some other educated people about whether kneeling was ok or whether it was prohibited by various church laws over the centuries, and we concluded that probably we should do a waist bow instead. i stopped kneeling on sundays anyway.

but you are right about the most important point; that it is our relationship with God and our genuine worship from the heart that matters, not the outward appearances.
 Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2011, 08:33:39 PM »

thanks for that johnathan, very useful
i have never heard anyone talk about when to make the sign of the cross, i have just watched and drawn my own conclusions.
probably we also shouldn't make the sign of the cross when we drop something, it doesn't break and someone says 'bism is saleeb (in the name of the cross)' in the sense of meaning 'thank God it didn't break'. but i have seen people do it! what do you think about that?

as for prostrating on sunday, i had a discussion (on tasbeha.org) with father peter and some other educated people about whether kneeling was ok or whether it was prohibited by various church laws over the centuries, and we concluded that probably we should do a waist bow instead. i stopped kneeling on sundays anyway.

but you are right about the most important point; that it is our relationship with God and our genuine worship from the heart that matters, not the outward appearances.
 Smiley

At my Church no one kneels on Sundays. The priests, about half the 'deacons', and a small percentage of the congregation continue to stand, and bow either at the waist or bow the head. The rest sit in the pew and bow from the waist so the head rests on the pew in front. At weekday Liturgies many kneel with the head to the floor. There is less clarity about Saturdays and feasts of the Lord. Nicea maintains the tradition of not kneeling on Sundays and during Pentecost, and makes the practice uniform, so even by this early time it seems to have been the norm, rather than a later development.

As for whether it is proper to bow from the waist or just to bow the head, I believe this comes down to the condition of one's back (especially whether or not it is possible to straighten back up after 10 min bowed), and culture. In western culture where one would presently greet nobility with a bow of the head, not a bow of the waist, I would think that would be culturally appropriate, so long as there is sufficient reverence and awe in the heart. For those who are more culturally familiar with deep bows to the ground to greet monks (whether by birth or adoption of culture), then certainly a deeper bow would be appropriate. This is just my opinion though. If I remember correctly, the old Liturgy books just make reference to "on days when it is legal to do so" in reference to kneeling, but don't go into detail about exactly what to do instead. If I'm wrong and a deep bow is prescribed I'd be interested to hear.

I believe when "in the Name of..." is said during, or as the beginning of communal prayer or study, it is appropriate to cross one's self. When someone says "on the Name of the Cross", whether superstitiously or in sincere thanks or petition, this is not communal, but private prayer, and so I don't see why there would be any need for those around the respond by crossing themselves.
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2011, 08:46:12 PM »

thanks for your insight.
i had thought that some people are saying 'bism is saleeb' superstitiously and so it is a practice i have not so far adopted.
i like to think about things deeply before doing them, although my non orthodox friends just assume i have been brainwashed and become egyptian!
 Wink
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